Monthly Archives: February 2015
All praise and glory to the Lord God who sent his only begotten Son Jesus Christ to save us from sin, hell and death. Thanks be unto Him who loved us even when we were still sinners. We pray that the Holy Spirit guides us and leads us into all truth. Grant that we in the example of Christ our Lord, be truly sensitive to the needs and situations of others. All this for the glory of God. Amen.
In the Holy Scriptures we come to know of instances when the servants and prophets of God gave spiritual hope to others in trouble. This is shown in both the Old and New Testaments. A person who believes in the Lord God must be ready to be attentive to those in suffering and pain or in trouble. We are to this without compromising on our belief in the teachings of the Bible nor falling prey to tricksters.
The example of Eli the priest of God at Shiloh
Hannah was barren and so didn’t have any children. She faced a lot of ridicule and humiliation from others. So when she prayed to the Lord God at the place of worship at Shiloh she was deep anguish and desperation. Eli initially thought she was drunk but on questioning her found that her pain was strong. So he said to her “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him” and then we read in 1 Samuel Chapter 1 that ‘And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked for him from the Lord” ‘. There would be no prophet Samuel born unless Eli blessed Hannah in the name of the Lord God.
This was not the only time that Eli did good. We read in 1 Samuel 3 as to how Eli helped the child Samuel hear the voice of the Lord God which then helped Samuel eventually realize his calling from the Lord God to be his prophet unto the people of Israel. Again, there was no way Samuel would know he is to be God’s prophet unless Eli helped him to be attentive to the Lord God.
The example of the prophet Elijah and Widow of Zarephath
17 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. 20 And he cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?” 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child’s life come into him again.” 22 And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives.” 24 And the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth.” (1 Kings 17:17-24)
If the prophet Elijah would have refused to pray for the dead son, then the widow of Zarephath would live in despair. But in truth, he had compassion on them and God heard his voice and the child came back to life again.
The example of the Apostles Peter and John with the Beggar at the temple gate
1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (Acts 3:1-10)
Though they didn’t have silver nor gold, the Apostles Peter and John had something precious. They had faith in the name of Jesus Christ. And by this faith, did Peter make the crippled beggar walk normally. They too acted with trust in the Lord so that they can bless this beggar.
What about your example in life?
From all the above examples you see one thing in common, the prophets, priests and apostles were spiritually sensitive to the needs and situations of others. They didn’t dwell on the ‘I will only pray’ approach to help others in trouble. They gave counsel, preached deliverance, gave healing and raised the dead besides interceding for others. Do not get into the stupidity of ‘prayer only’ when you see someone who needs rescue from danger be it hunger, sickness, poverty.
14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food,16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; 23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. (James 2:14-23)
Do not say that you don’t have any opportunity nor the time to care for others. If anyone insists on saying he doesn’t have time and opportunities to be spiritually sensitive to the needs of others, then he might as well add that he doesn’t have the desire and will power for that as well.
When you read the newspapers, do you read about crimes or someone in suffering due to grave illness? If yes, then do you then pray about such things? Or do you switch to the sports and entertainment pages which are at time full of the vain acts of vain people taking bribes and changing their spouses every few months? Do you pray against acts of unjust violence across the world? Or do you enjoy watching movies that glorify murder and robbery?
Suppose if you know of a relative or friend in need of a job, do you too start searching suitable jobs for them? Or do you spend time gossiping about them? If your church announces a time of prayer and fasting for a preacher who’s gone missing after entering into a nation hostile to the Gospel, do you actually care to do what is told? Or do you want to go to some amusement park which coincides with the time of intercession?
Not everyone reading this can pray and heal others instantly or gradually. Not everyone can raise the dead. But then does anything in the Bible say that you are not to ask for such gifts from Christ our Lord? If not, then do ask and ask in faith, hope and love till you receive. Don’t lose heart but pray. I’ve seen people getting healed after I pray for them and I give the whole credit to the Lord God for his mercy and power. I still am praying for the power to raise the dead. God only knows when I shall receive it but I will keep asking him in faith or expect some better gift for his glory alone.
In the Christian faith many people have certain gifts from God in the supernatural such as healing, deliverance and casting out demons. While some are yet to receive them. You might not have supernatural powers manifest as yet, but you do have the Word of God. Then if anyone needs scriptural counsel, are you willing to help out to whatever level you have learnt so far? Or are you suddenly after years of church going and Bible study, are going to say you don’t know the Bible? Even if that is your reality, I don’t judge you but encourage to get reading and studying the Bible with more sincerity that you ever had.
Resolve that you will be more spiritually sensitive to help others all for the glory of God. Pray that you won’t be discouraged by the ungrateful but will continue to fight the good fight against evil in the name of Jesus. Ask that the Holy Spirit leads you do all this in safety and without being deceived by anyone, and God will surely look at your faith and answer you in his time and way. Sincerity is the key in all this.
Christ be with you.
And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:1-2)
Be careful to obey all these words that I command you, that it may go well with you and with your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God…Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it. (Deuteronomy 12:28,32)
Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. (Proverbs 30:5-6)
In the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word came from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lord‘s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah that come to worship in the house of the Lord all the words that I command you to speak to them; do not hold back a word. It may be they will listen, and every one turn from his evil way, that I may relent of the disaster that I intend to do to them because of their evil deeds. (Jeremiah 26:1-3)
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)
It’s good to pray to God in desperate times. And it’s even better to remain prayerful in good times as well. Do not forget the Lord Jesus who gives you salvation and grace.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:2-5)
The Israelites of the times of Moses, were in clear terms told not to forget the Lord God who saved them from slavery from the Egyptians and were later going to receive prosperity for themselves. It was desired that they continue to give honor and praise to Lord God and not to any false god.
“And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth. (Deuteronomy 6:10-15)
Yet the people of Israel were so engrossed in material prosperity that most of them gave up on their prayers to the Lord God and didn’t worship him in truth. Rather they went on to worship false gods instead. This then provoked God so greatly, especially since they rejected his prophets and sometimes even killed them, that he allowed various nations to overcome the Jews in battle and cause great devastation. The damage was profoundly grave, as lots of Israelites lost their lives, the survivors were put into captivity in foreign lands and only the poorest of the poor were left in Israel.
Do not fall into such sin. Or let in other words don’t make a golden calf of your blessings. The Israelites made Aaron prepare for themselves a golden calf false god with the gold which the Lord God had provided for them on their way out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Instead of giving credit to the Lord God, they gave credit to a worthless idol. This provoked God so greatly that unless Moses the prophet and leader of Jews made intercession for them, they wouldn’t go unpunished as a nation. (On a side note, how many of us ask God to have mercy on our own nation or do we just want fire fall down from heaven?)
You can express your gratitude to Christ in times of prosperity by praying and thanking him for all the benefits that you have received through him. Praise him freely and with deep respect.
Thank him for your salvation, the forgiveness of your sin, your reconciliation with God the Father. In truth even in the worst of times, there’s always these spiritual blessings that you can be ever thankful to God. So in better times, you have all the more reason to pray to God.
Do not limit your pray to God to only thankfulness but even desire to remain in God’s will. Ask him to lead you and guide you by the Holy Spirit in righteousness and truth. Never get deceived by the sight of riches and luxury that you forget the counsel of God and then go on to sin. Instead pray that you are sanctified by the grace of God, in your body, soul and spirit.
But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. (1 Timothy 6:6-11)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)
You can also bring to your mind especially in good times, that there are lots of people in the world who don’t have their basic needs met. Be generous to the poor and needy. Also, pray for the those who are born into slavery in various parts of the part. It might seem odd but slavery is still rampant in certain nations of the world. Pray that the captives be set free. It’s good that you pray for people so that they repent from their sins and believe in the Gospel. Pray that those in life who are suffering from various diseases, family problems and financial problems receive respite from trouble and be delivered from their sorrows. By all this make good use of your prosperity to pray to God so that he is glorified in your praise and that people receive hope in life.
I don’t get into any wonder when so many people are living in deception. As they accept the lies of the Devil and reject the truth from God. It’s a very foolish thing to take in false gospels and still expect to go to heaven. The verse which says “Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” usually is used to warn us against the Devil. Indeed one must be on guard against this hellish serpent who is going to judged most severely on Judgement Day. Now to make your understanding more complete read the verses before the part where it mentions Satan appearing like an angel of light and it you will realize that the chapter of 2 Corinthians 11 is much more than warning about Satan alone.
This is a warning about false Gospels, false spirits and false men who claim to be servants of God. Satan is not alone in his gambit of deception, he will try to appear to lose to a few doctrine’ just so that you go off guard and then accept his lie. Some false gospels do speak against worship of idols but permit adultery. While other’s speak of repentance but do not warn against falling into sin later on. Some gospels acknowledge Jesus Christ but deviate from what the Bible says about him.
The main trick of false gospels it to have a percentage of deception mixed with truth but enough deception to keep you away from believing the true Gospel and serving the Lord God. It’s like a small drop of poison which is enough to kill a fully grown lion. Here are the verses of 2 Corinthians 11: 1-15 that you can reflect on:
11 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me! 2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough. 5 Indeed, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to these super-apostles. 6 Even if I am unskilled in speaking, I am not so in knowledge; indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things.
7 Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God’s gospel to you free of charge? 8 I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you. 9 And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. 10 As the truth of Christ is in me, this boasting of mine will not be silenced in the regions of Achaia. 11 And why? Because I do not love you? God knows I do!
12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
What is your reaction in desperation? Are you so overwhelmed by the problem that you panic? What about your faith in God? Do you pray to God in such cases?
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. (Psalm 34:4-7)
In desperate times don’t worry if you seem too emotional unto others when praying. Because your prayer is unto God and not to men or women.
You might feel to pray spontaneously in your own words. Sometimes, its possible that you may even pray some of the prayers you were taught in church or read in the Bible such the Lord’s Prayer. Don’t worry about. Your focus must be that you pray in faith unto God with an expectant hope in Him to rescue you from trouble. Leave all doubts alone.
God will help you through any means. Maybe an idea or an escape plan. Might be a worker of justice may come to your aid. Or sometimes, you too will gain courage to overcome. So just be open to the will of God in your prayers. Fear not when Christ is with you!
O believer in Christ hear this loud,
Leave behind vanity, do not be proud.
Focus on things for God that matter,
Let not in odd things your mind scatter.
Strive to enter by the road that is narrow,
Worth are you more than any sparrow.
Open the door of your heart for sure,
So that God’s word in you does endure.
Heal those in affliction and despair,
Give them divine grace beyond compare.
Pray for those in need, pain and tears,
Rescue those tormented by evil and fears.
God’s spirit will guide you in truth strong,
Hold onto your faith and don’t do wrong.
Be an example noble and not wild,
Live holy for you’re now God’s child.
Visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
Give them respite and hope with true conviction.
Pray for those in prison and those mistreated,
Be as if in their place you are seated.
Provide for your relatives, especially of your household,
By this do not give faithlessness in you a stronghold.
Preach the Gospel to all and without any guile,
Let your testimony unto Christ be worthwhile.
- I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. (Psalm 101:3)
- Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. (Proverbs 4:26)
- Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14)
- Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)
- What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (James 2:14)
- Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27)
- Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)
- But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
- Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.(Ephesians 5:15-16)
- For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.(2 Corinthians 2:17)
- For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:23-25)
The Holy Scripture encourages us be faithful to our confession of hope in God. In this light, we are to stir up one another to love and good works. We are to love the Lord God and love one another. And also to good works. There are many good things we can do. Do your best in doing the works on God with full sincerity of heart and mind.
A vital thing in exhorting one another to do the will of God is to have fellowship with one another. In fact, we are clearly told not neglect meeting each other. There might be some who believe in being solitary believers and keeping the faith to themselves. However, such things are not encouraged. Rather what the Scriptures says is that we are to be in fellowship with others who believe in Christ by meeting up. You can meet up in Church or any other place where one can concentrate on the teachings of the Gospel. I’m not talking about a picnic nor entertainment. This is about actually reminding others about the greatness of the Lord God. We are to uphold the teachings of the Christian faith which are mentioned in the Bible, not just individually but also as a group. We as believers in Christ are to give no exemption to anyone to go ahead to sin or be unbelieving in the midst of the people of God.
Rarely in offices, factories, schools, colleges etc are people encouraging each other to live with honor and respect. For them success at work or studies is the end all and be all of life. They do not care for the afterlife and neither for holiness even when they’re living. No wonder we need Christian fellowship with each other and then exhort each to follow Christ without fail.