Monthly Archives: September 2014
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (Matthew 16:24-27)
We are called to carry our Cross. No one else can carry your cross. It is your personal responsibility. You must not be focused whether it is hard or easy to carry it. All you need to focus is that it is the right thing to do. Because in the Gospel Jesus Christ himself made it very clear that you need to carry it.
Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:27)
One thing that our current generation of Christian lacks is having deep respect for our spiritual teachers. I consider those who teach us the principles of the Christian faith as spiritual teachers even if they do not claim any such status. Some of them rather use the term ‘workers in the Lord’s vineyard’ which is fine enough for me.
Back in the early centuries of Christianity it was difficult to gain access to teachers of the faith. This was because the Roman Empire heavily persecuted the preachers of the Gospel. Persecution by death to be precise! Yet time and again there arose teachers who risked their lives to help other Christians learn the teachings of our faith.
We have a lot to thank our Lord Jesus for the past teachers of the faith. Augustine of Hippo defended the Christian faith from pagan critics. Athanasius of Alexandria preached against the heresy of the Arians. St. Irenaeus gave canonical status to the gospels of Luke, Matthew, Mark and John which are now part of the Bible. Sometimes the teachers made Bible reading easier, for instance the Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton who helped develop the concept of assigning the chapters and verses of the Bible for easier study.
Cut back to today’s world. Most of the teachings of our faith are available free on the internet and on TV as well. In some places you still get free Bibles and Christian literature without paying anything. Now some people equate ‘free’ with ‘low quality’. Yet these are the ones are among the first to complain if the teaching series is available by payment only. They have made their minds to blame a teacher of the faith if he gives out the teachings for free or at a cost. They will accuse such teachers of having hidden agendas. Double standards indeed!
People make fun of teachers who preach against silly divorces saying that these are still ‘stuck’ in the middle ages. But when these people themselves undergo a divorce they rush to these teachers to pray for ‘reconciliation’ with their spouses. And poor teacher simply forgives those who made fun of him and then helps the person facing the divorce issue. Now when the divorce is averted, what do such people do? They never apologize for making fun of the teacher but only keep hugging their reconciled spouse. Selfishness indeed when the only point of these people is their own happiness!
Then we have people who ridicule the preachers who remind us that Jesus gave us authority to cast out evils spirits. They will make jokes about such preachers though there are Bible verses to prove that we have authority to cast out demons. Then all of a sudden when their own kids get possessed and when medico-psychological help fails, they then sheepishly approach preachers who can exorcise. Again the preacher forgives them of their stupidity and simply goes on to help them out. Couldn’t have their read the Bible first before making fun of those who preach deliverance?
One of the people I hate the most are those who bully their preachers into preaching only what they want to hear. For instance, the people won’t put in donations if the preacher starts speaking about being a bright and responsible Christian at home, school and work. Yet if the preacher speaks loads of blessings without any responsibility then they will praise him to the clouds. Economic bullying in action, I’d say. While some people simply walk out on preachers who preach against wrong doing or having lack of faith in Jesus. They simply want to be validated about the state of sin they are living in. Surely such people will receive their reward from God for their disrespect.
One must always respect a teacher of the faith no matter how odd their methods seem. Even if you do not agree with them, you can speak politely to them. There’s always the Bible which you can reach for yourself to get the right idea on the Gospel topic that was preached to you. You still have your own choices to make because its your own soul that you are responsible for.
There are many Christians who are missing on the rest which comes from God. Due to which they are restless. God loves them but they are unable to receive the love of God because they have closed their hearts to Jesus due to their unbelief. Instead these love the deceitfulness of the world. They are like functional atheists. Though they profess the name of Christ on their lips their hearts do not put in even an ounce of faith in Christ. They value pleasures of the world but ignore the joy of the Lord. They choose the earthly, sensual and demonic by choosing pride and being arrogant towards the Gospel in their thoughts, words and deeds.
Instead of simply trusting the Lord Jesus who is the high priest of our confession they turn towards the vanities of life. Moses was a great prophet of the Lord God and yet he was humble towards God. He totally depended on the faithfulness of God when he had to prophecy for the liberation of the Jews. Indeed great miracles came through Moses and at a great cost to Pharaoh because that Egyptian king hardened himself towards the commands of God. Pharaoh’s stubbornness earned him the wrath of God.
Jesus is without a doubt greater that Moses. If the people couldn’t escape judgement due to Moses, do they even stand a chance if they challenge Jesus the Son of the Living God? No chance in heaven nor on earth!
When the Holy Spirit speaks you better listen. But when the Holy Spirit speaks the same thing over and over again, you ought to make sure that you listen even more fully and that too without any falsehood.
Your calling is to enter into God’s rest. God wants to give it to you freely without any need of you to earn it. You receive it by faith in Jesus. God’s will is that you don’t miss out on it. No wonder the Holy Spirit expresses his desire repeatedly that you do not harden your heart lest you do not enter in God’s rest due to your unbelief. Happy are those who believe on the Lord Jesus in all sincerity for truly they will enter into God’s rest!
Let’s read Hebrews 3:1-19 which says:
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession, 2 who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house. 3 For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses—as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself. 4 (For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.) 5 Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, 6 but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,
“Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion,
on the day of testing in the wilderness, 9 where your fathers put me to the test
and saw my works for forty years. 10 Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, ‘They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways.’11 As I swore in my wrath, ‘They shall not enter my rest.’”
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,
“Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”
16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.
Is there another book greater than the Bible? No, but the Bible speaks of a great book both in the Old and New Testaments. While the Bible is the written word of God that no one must add or subtract from, the Book of Life still gets updated by the Lord Jesus. Now the Book of Life is a record of all those righteous before the Lord God who will not be punished in the Final Judgement and will therefore escape it. The Book of life and the Bible do NOT compete with each other but rather they complement each other. The main difference is that the Bible teaches us the principles of the Christian faith while the Book of Life is the record of those who are faithful to the Lord God.
The church in the current age must keep reminding itself that the Book of Life is to be held with great honor. I’m surprised that not many people in the church are aware of it. If you honor the teachings of the Bible then you automatically honor the Book of Life, even if you never knew of it’s existence till now. There’s nothing too mysterious about this. All you need to do is to search for it in the Bible.
Is the Book of Life a new teaching?
No, as the Book of Life has been mentioned even in the Old Testament. Let’s read the following:
So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.” The Lord replied to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against me I will blot out of my book. (Exodus 32:31-33)
For they persecute him whom you have struck down, and they recount the pain of those you have wounded. Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from you. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; let them not be enrolled among the righteous. (Psalm 69: 26-28)
The Lord God records the life and struggles of his people in the Book of Life. He remembers them all.
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name. (Malachi 3:16)
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:16)
Jesus himself spoke of the Book of Life even when he was on his mission on Earth and also later he spoke of it in heaven.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:17-20)
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)
The context of the Book of Life is related to being faithful to God despite the tribulations of life.
At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)
The Book of Life is linked to prophecy and the Final Judgement
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. (Revelation 17:8)
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)
Only those who have their names written in the Book of Life will be allowed in the new Jerusalem of the future, which is the inheritance of those who believe in the Lord God.
But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Revelation 21:27)
Those who add or remove from the Scriptures are warned very clearly about their status in the Book of Life.
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)
What to do so that one’s name always remains in the Book of Life?
You need to believe in the Lord Jesus and repent of your sins if you still into sinning. Romans 6:23 says that; For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36)
You need to realize that you can either remain in Christ or remain in sin but never be in both. Ephesians 5:5 says that; For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
You cannot earn the grace of God, you simply need to believe in the Lord Jesus for your salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says that; For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Isaac was a day dreamer, Jacob was a cheater, Peter had a temper and denied Christ, David had an affair and tried to cover it up with murder, Noah got drunk. Elisha was suicidal, Jonah ran from God, Paul was a murderer and he was way too religious.
Timothy had too many ulcers, Gideon was insecure, Miriam was a gossiper, Martha was a worrier, Thomas was a doubter, Sara was impatient, Elijah was moody, Rehab was a prostitute, Samson – he liked prostitute. Isaiah preached naked for three years, John the Baptist ate bugs and had second thoughts about the very Messiah he baptized.
Jeremiah was way too emotional, Moses stuttered, Zacchaeus was too short, Abraham was old and Lazarus was dead. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!
I picked this up from a friend’s Facebook status. I don’t know if it is his original stuff, but it…
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It’s vital to know what the Lord God wants you to do in life. You can’t go on aimlessly in your walk with Christ. God has a will for your life which only you can do. He has already been preparing your for it though you may not immediately see how. This is done by the enabling grace of God. He can qualify the unqualified. Remember how David was just a shepherd but the Lord made him the King of Israel. Also, how Jeremiah said he was too young, yet God still encouraged him to be his prophet (Jeremiah 1:1-7).
Even Jesus had to follow the specific will of God for him. He didn’t come on earth without a mission. He came for the salvation of the world as per the will of God.
Jesus said in John 6:38-40 “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
If Jesus had to stick to God’s will, how much more are we to abide in God’s will for our lives? No wonder there’s a verse which is part of the Lord’s prayer which is “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). When the Apostles wanted to know how to pray, Jesus gave them a prayer what is popularly called as ‘The Lord’s prayer’ which isn’t a legalistic prayer but aptly points to doing the will of God.
Once you know the specific will of God, never back down on it. Make your life for God abide in him forever. Remember 1 John 2:17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
The Lord will enable you to specifically do what he has called you to do and will confirm it to you. I remember the words by a wise person which go on like this ‘no supernatural revelation without supernatural attestation’. At certain times of my life, I would meet men and women who I had never seen nor met before and they would say to me that I would do so and so great things for God. It was not about speaking a blessing, these people were very clearly told me the works I’d do, though by prayer only I had witness to those good deeds. No one else knew the plans of God for me but some how they knew it word for word. This would amaze me a lot. So after they would speak I normally wouldn’t get to see them again but would feel stronger in spirit.
Now you don’t need a person coming to you all of a sudden to confirm the will of God. You can get it by praying, reading the Bible, being with people who themselves have received the specific will of God for themselves (like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts).
Psalm 138:8 says that; The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Once you know that God has given you a good work to fulfill, be rest assured that he will see you through. He will make sure that you receive all the wisdom, provision and favour that you need to do his will. Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
It always about giving glory to God. A believer in Christ our Lord must not focus so much on the good works than the Lord God who is the giver of the good works. Boast not of your good works but rather boast that the Lord God chose despite your limitations. Humility is the key to doing the specific will of God in sincerity both before men and God. It’s that virtue which gives back the glory to God who first blessed you to bless others. It that thing which prevents the Devil from filling you with pride and other vices. This will save you from deception.
May you be always be humble before the Lord God in the service of people whom he chooses to bless through you. What God has given you freely, give to other freely in faith.
With Israel facing enormous pressures from all sides, would you pray today for one full hour for the peace of Jerusalem? Here’s a suggested prayer.
Today, on this first day of the ninth month, would you join Anne Graham Lotz and me and Christians all over the world to pray for at least one full hour for the peace of Jerusalem?
The citizens and leaders of Israel face enormous geopolitical and economic pressures from every side. They also face a fierce and raging spiritual battle beyond what most of us can understand or imagine. What’s more, some of us have a sense that the Jewish State will soon face its darkest and most difficult hour. Let us not just say we love Israel. Let us intercede on her behalf. Let us come before the God of Israel and ask Him to grant His protection and blessings and pour out His Holy Spirit on all the people of Israel — Jews, Arabs and all inhabitants of the Land. The Bible commands us in Psalm 122 to “pray for the peace…
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Please see the prayer request below. Please pray for all involved.
This is a forwarded e-mail from one of my dear BSF friends from
many years ago.
ISIS is killing many Christians that the WORLD NEWS is
not reporting to us. Please be much in prayer. We recently received
these two emails from missionary friends, one yesterday and one this
morning. I pass it on so that people can pray specifically for our
brothers and sisters.
This is so sad. A friend from Ohio just got a text message from her
brother asking her to shower him and his parish in prayer. He is part
of a mission team and ISIS has taken over the town they are in today.
He said ISIS is systematically going house to house to all the
Christians and asking the children to denounce Jesus. He said so far
not one child has. And…
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“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”
― Dante Alighieri, Inferno
Those who believe in Christ are not called to be neutral at all. There are some Christians who don’t do bad things but they don’t do the good things either. Like they do not kill or steal but at the same time they do not help the poor either. And they have a ready made excuse for that as well.
The Bible is very clear on such types of Christians, lets read Revelation 3:14-22:
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold…
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