Monthly Archives: March 2015

Time spent alone with God

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All Hail The Power Of Jesus’ Name – Paul Baloche (Lyric Video)

 

Do not lose hope if you’re a habitual sinner (Part 1)

Someone reading this might be having an issue with habitual sin. I mean, one knows that a particular sin is bad for him and so he’s on guard against it but in a few days he again commits that sin. Now such a person wants to get out of this sin habit but keeps going back to it. I do not come to judge any habitual sinner but rather to encourage him or her to do what is right for his or her soul.

To any such person I’d say, ” Don’t lose hope if you’re a habitual sinner but keep trying to live up for the Lord”. I have a few principles from the Bible which you can use with enough faith and perseverance you could no longer be slaves to bad desires.

Be willing to leave your sins

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)

Acknowledge and confess your sins to the Lord

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah (Psalm 32:5)

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)

Exercise your choice to choose life and blessings

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live (Deuteronomy 30:19)

In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death. (Proverbs 12:28)

Be sad for your sins that you repent well

For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

You need to believe in Christ for your justification

For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:10-11)

Open your heart to Jesus once again

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:23)

Love God more that you follow him better

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5: 1-5)

Desire to be a slave no more as Christ wants you to be free

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1)

Even if it’s the Nth time you sinned you still crucify the flesh

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. (Galatians 5:22-24)

A reflection on the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem

entry in Jesuralem

The prophecy about Jesus coming to Jerusalem on a donkey:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9)

The  above prophecy about Jesus fulfilled:

1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,“Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and he sat on them. Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” 10 And when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.” (Matthew 21:1-11)

Reflection:

When Jesus entered into Jerusalem, he didn’t come as a rich man. He came upon a donkey as prophesied for he was the descendant of King David. Even the way his disciples got the donkey is a miracle in itself. At this point even though the religious elders hated him, the people still gave him a grand welcome. They even said, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Hosanna is a word used to express adoration, praise, or joy (mostly in Jewish and Christian liturgies or worship). And truly Christ was worthy to receive this praise. Being the Son of God that he is, Jesus entered Jerusalem rather humbly in obedience to the will of God. Even today Christ is meek and humble of heart and his burden light.

Here are a few questions for your own reflection keeping in mind the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem:

  • Do you still believe God to be faithful to his promises and his word? Yes, you will if you have read that Bible and understood that God’s been fulfilling them all through the ages and continues to do so.
  • Are you enamored by mere physical appearances or do you look for the truth in the midst of it all? Indeed, you will when you decide to discern things in a way consistent with the principles of the Lord God.
  • When celebrating Christ in your life, will you fear others and not praise him? Surely not when you care more for the desires of God than the desires of men.
  • Will you only welcome him but forget and abandon him later in the days to come? Certainly never if you hold close the fact that salvation comes from Christ alone.
  • Do you adore Christ just because of the crowd or because you know who he is? You’d worship him more personally when you read about him in the Scriptures and fall in love with him.

Remember to be humble

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God told you to do it but

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He Was Pierced for Our Transgressions

The Lord Jesus despite being the Son of God had leave his heavenly comfort and riches to do God’s will that salvation be obtained for all mankind. No one else was more worthy nor more holy than him to take away the sins of the world. Jesus in spite of being the Prince of all Creation and the heir to throne of all Israel humbled himself and became the humblest of all men. If it was possible to be more humble, Jesus Christ would do even that. He loved God and knew that his time had come to glorify God his father.

He was focused on being God’s servant who would bring salvation to those who believe that God sent him. Truly it’s written, “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”. Deep was his love for the Father that he took upon himself the sins of the world. Condemned to die on the cross by unrighteous men, he suffered from physical violence that his appearance became pitiful and bloodied. He was lifted up, even on the cross not for his sins but for ours for he was sinless and without guile. In his lowliness was he exalted as the Savior of the world. Blessed are those who believe that Christ was and is and shall always be the Son of God.

Let’s read the following verses that show God’s plan for Jesus who humbled himself as a servant despite being the Son of God:

Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you—his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind — so shall he sprinkle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand. (Isaiah 52:13-15)

The Lord Jesus Christ didn’t come here for a pleasant excursion but rather he came on a tough mission. He came to seek and save the lost and to destroy the works of the Enemy. What’s been the most wicked of all the work’s of the Evil One? It’s nothing less than causing mankind to reject God’s loving friendship and therefore being out of God’s living light to live eternity in despair and grief. Mankind accepted sin but rejected the Lord. People yearned for that peace with God but couldn’t get right with God as they were in the grasp of sin. And along with sin came death. Yet God had a plan for mankind. Jesus had to fulfill this plan both as the Son of Man and the Son of God. Therefore he is the one intermediary between man and God.

In his condemnation was to be our acceptance before God. In his death was our life before God. Knowing this, Jesus became the willing victim and bore the wrath for our sins. He was silent like a lamb before his oppressors. It was due to him that the veil between man and God couldn’t hold up any longer.

It was a great tragedy for the Prince of Creation to be killed by his own creation whom he loved to the very end of his life. Yet this was needed to atone for man so that everyone who believes gets saved from sin. There was no other option because when the Law was given to Israel they failed in following it. Only the Lord Jesus could just follow it fully but also impart his righteousness in God to those who believed him.

Christ dying forever might have been the worst tragedy for us all. This is where God gave hope in form of the promise that he will raise Jesus Christ on the third day. The power of the Evil one was defeated at the cross of Christ. Jesus was not be forever in the grave for God wouldn’t let his Holy One see corruption. He had to come to live again for us. His life went for God and it had to come back for God. It was ordained for Jesus to rejoice with those he gained and continues to gain back for the Lord God. Happy are those who can appreciate the goodness of God in his Son Jesus Christ.

Let’s read the following verses while we honor the Lord Jesus and his sacrifice for us:

Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned — every one— to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt,he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:1-12)

Christ be with you!

Psalm 131 – Be focused and hopeful in the Lord

Let’s read Psalm 131 which is small with just three verses and yet filled with great wisdom:

1 O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.

Our hearts in the Lord God must not revel in pride. Don’t give your heart to things that distract you from the Lord God. We must have a humble outlook in life and never live in a fantasy world. There’s no need to waste our time, effort and energy into mindless entertainment, foolish rumors, obscenity etc in the world. Such things can keep you from focusing on what Jesus wants from you.

You’ve got to learn to be calm and quiet in your soul. This is not about being dormant nor passive. It’s more about not getting too busy in the things of the world. You are not to be ever anxious about various wicked things that go on in the world. Like know your priorities and you know that is right. Therefore, you take that time, you make that choice to be calm in world full of chaos so that you can pay attention to the things of God.

One must hope in the Lord Jesus not just today but forever.  Being calm and attentive to the Lord is not something you do only once and then go back to the world again. This is something that goes on into eternity.

Christ be with you!

Desire not damnation for anyone

You might not like the way some people act in life. You might not approve of their sins. That’s fine but don’t wish damnation for them. Instead you walk with God and pray for their conversion and repentance.

Now this I say and testify in the Lord,that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:17-24)

There are various enemies of the Christian faith on earth such as heretic’s, apostates, god haters etc. These have at times fought openly and at times fought covertly against the name of Christ and those who follow him. Their way of thinking is rebellious. You must not desire their mindset but rather be focused on the Gospel in your life. This doesn’t mean that you don’t expose their falsehood as you wouldn’t want others to walk in their errors. Sometimes being silent is considered as consent, so raise your voice if the situation calls for warning other Christian’s against earthly, sensual and demonic wisdom.

When I say desire not damnation for anyone, I simply mean that. I’m not saying give up your rights nor safety for anyone. Neither am I saying that be approving of the rebellion of others towards the Lord God.

Instead pray for the conversion of those who sin against you and against the Lord. Desire that the lost are saved just like Jesus Christ wants them to be.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost”(Luke 19:20)

It’s easy to rejoice at the downfall of those who are evil. At times you’ll feel vindicated by the way they’re in trouble forever. However we are to keep our focus on God and not get proud of our own safety in Christ when others suffer due to their sins. Never feel happy if someone dies and goes to hell. Those who are in rebellion towards the Lord God even at the time of their death will surely not go to heaven, whether you wish this or not. So don’t waste your energy on wishing damnation for those unrepentant. Instead be happy for those who strive to walk with Christ for the glory of God.

The generosity of Abraham at Mamre

All praise unto the Lord God and to Christ Jesus his son. O Lord, you are indeed the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. You have fulfilled your promises to Abraham and given him a heritage by which many are being blessed today and evermore in the future. Fill us with hope and generosity towards the poor and needy. Teach by your Holy Spirit to find opportunities to serve in your Kingdom and be a blessing to your servants and friends. Amen.

Abraham and Sarah at Mamre - artwork by Felix Fossey ( 1826-1895)

Abraham and Sarah at Mamre – artwork by Felix Fossey ( 1826-1895)

The instance of the generosity of Abraham at Mamre in mentioned in Genesis 18:1-16 as mentioned below:

18 And the Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. He lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, three men were standing in front of him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth and said, “O Lord, if I have found favor in your sight, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree, while I bring a morsel of bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham went quickly into the tent to Sarah and said, “Quick! Three seahs of fine flour! Knead it, and make cakes.” And Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to a young man, who prepared it quickly. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them. And he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” And he said, “She is in the tent.” 10 The Lord said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”

16 Then the men set out from there, and they looked down toward Sodom. And Abraham went with them to set them on their way.

The above verses have lots of implications with regards to how it affected the course of destiny for Abraham. For now let’s look at this from the perspective of being generous.

Abraham had great respect for the Lord God and believed in him. So he sought to be generous towards God and did all this for the Lord out of freewill.  He was not expecting to get anything out of that but simply wanted to respect the Lord God by his deeds. However, the Lord God too wanted to be generous towards Abraham and confirmed his promise that Sarah would bear a child. Now Sarah was not sure about this as looked her old age. Yet, the Lord God knew her thoughts and corrected her about that though she was afraid about even admitting that she laughed about it. God was faithful to his promise to Abraham and blessed him abundantly despite his wife’s initial wonderment.

The Lord expects his people to be generous and promises to pay back them. Like Abraham we too are encouraged to be generous towards God. We can express this by being kind and generous to the poor, to the servants of God and to his people in need.

You can refer to the below verses:

  1. Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again. (Ecclesiastes 11:1)
  2. And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42)
  3. Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. (Proverbs 19: 17)
  4. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)

So what I mean is that God rewards those who are generous towards him. He will remember what you’ve given to him and pay you back in just measure. This is not about someone asking you for money always. Now at time’s money is needed but there’s other things too. You can invest time with the needy, give some water, say a kind word etc.

Of course you can even be a blessing to people who are outside the faith. There is no limit to generosity in the name of the Lord God as long as you are not compromising on the teachings of the Gospel.

Be generous to those who want good counsel. Encourage someone who is trying to quit smoking etc. This way you help that person have a healthy lifestyle. Be kind to waiters at the restaurants. Watch out for unattended children’s safety at parks, malls etc. Seriously, there is no limit to goodwill if you do it right and for the glory of God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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