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Use your blessings for the Lord

Use your blessings for the Lord,
Be in sync with God’s plan in accord.
For such blessings are not for insanity,
So rid yourself of selfishness and vanity.

Use your blessings for God’s holy name,
So that his love to all you truly proclaim.
Your talents, your wealth, your security, your time,
Are loaned to you to preach the Gospel Divine.

Be not like Gehazi who carried out a conspiracy,
Seeking unlawful gain that he got cursed with leprosy.
His master Elisha was told of his sin,
In Spirit before he got back to him therein.

For eyes of God roam the whole earth,
To show His strength to those who act with true worth.
So live your life with obedience to his commands,
For God’s grace and mercy have only just demands.

Anti Narcissist series – Part two (A few men who were narcissist’s in the Bible)

real narcissist

The Bible mentions many narcissists and also their how they got punished. So I’ll mention four such men below:

  1. Gehazi
  2. Nebuchadnezzar
  3. Judas Iscariot
  4. Herod

 

1) Gehazi the servant of the prophet Elisha

Elisha had chosen Gehazi as his servant. Many a times Gehazi must have first hand experienced miracles of God by the hands of Elisha. It’s an honourable thing to work with a true prophet of God. I’d say Gehazi initially was not a bad person. If we read  2 Kings 4:8-37 you’ll notice that he was entrusted by Elisha to even help out in the case of the dead son of the Shunnamite woman. Though he tried to revive the child and couldn’t succeed, Elisha never rebuked him. Instead Elisha simply by faith in the Lord revived the woman’s son. Gehazi still had potential in him for a great future.

So where did it go wrong for Gehazi?

It’s when Elisha healed Naaman the Syrian that Gehazi acted wrong. If you read 2 Kings 5:20-27, you’d notice a change in attitude of Gehazi. Through self-exaltation and deception he acted the way a narcissist acts and misused the healed Naamans gratitude towards Elisha for healing him. He pursued Naaman after Elisha said no to any gift and lied in the name of Elisha to Naaman as asked for gifts for prophets. And so he obtained two talents of silver in two bags and also two changes of clothes. Now when confronted by Elisha, he will still more impudent and lied about what he had been doing. So, then Elisha the prophet of God, pronounced upon him a serious punishment and here it goes :

“Did not my heart go when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Was it a time to accept money and garments, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male servants and female servants? 27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow. (2 Kings 5:26-27)

The very leprosy that Naaman once had now got passed over to Gehazi. A bad way to ruin one’s legacy of being the prophet’s servant!

 

2) Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonian emperor

A pagan emperor who built his empire on violence and bloodshed. He too had an abundantly clear experience of the power and deliverance which comes from the Lord God. You can refer to Daniel Chapter 3 and you’d notice that the emperor first raised up an image of a false god made of gold, then his sly Chaldean citizens accused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (the three holy colleagues of the prophet Daniel) of wrong doing. Nebuchadnezzar in his furious rage assigned them to the fires all bound up to prevent their escape. Yet in the fires a fourth person appeared and prevented them from getting burnt. Even Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged this one as from God in saying “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.” (Daniel 3:25). He soon enough made a declaration all through his empire that in favour of the Lord God and the three men who stood up for God. Seemed liked he almost had a conversion.

So where it go wrong for Nebuchadnezzar?

Now even after Daniel helped Nebuchadnezzar in getting to know the meaning of the Second Dream the emperor received (refer to Daniel Chapter 4) there came big time humiliation for him. He was already warned that “Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” (Daniel 4:27).

Yet after a year of receiving the warning he still spoke pompously about himself on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon. And this there was no Daniel speaking, instead it as a voice from heaven which spoke to Nebuchadnezzar “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” (Daniel 4: 31-32)

So if you see, Nebuchadnezzar was through a dream warned by the Lord God about his pride. Yet despite getting a prophetic confirmation later he rebelled. Then he was punished by the Lord. He did repent and came back to his senses. The following verses confirm this:

Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws.  At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,  for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (Daniel 4: 33-37)

A narcissist at times if he or she is willing to acknowledge his pride and then humble themselves, can actually get out narcissism for good!

identify a narco

3) Judas Iscariot the vile betrayer of Jesus Christ

Judas Iscariot was a narcissist too. In spite of personally bearing witness to the Lord Jesus performing miracles, he didn’t have a clean heart. It may seem remarkable that when most of Jesus’ disciples left the Lord, Judas still continued with Jesus. However, before anyone says that he did it out of faith, I’d like to point that he was stealing from the Lord’s treasury and that’s one thing that kept him going on with Jesus. The following scriptures confirm this:

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.  So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:1-7)

When did it go even more wrong with Judas?

Now just because he was not harmed due to stealing, he got even more obsessed with his own base desires. It went to be so evil in his soul that Judas for a few silver coins betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ. This betrayal is the worst ever betrayal till date and for the record he betrayed Jesus unto death. He did experienced grief but never really repented. As a result he committed suicide by hanging himself and later his body burst forth too (refer Matthew 27: 1-10 and also Acts 1:15-20) .

For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:21)

Even Jesus said that it was better for Judas Iscariot to have not to be born at all. The following scriptures confirm this:

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”  Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26:20-25)

A horrible way for once a person who was called an Apostle of Jesus to down to the grave and to hell!

 

4) Herod the impious king

Herod was a king who was way too full of himself. The only thing he was truly great was in actually was in wickedness. He persecuted the Church and even got the Apostle James killed!

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church.  He killed James the brother of John with the sword,  and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.  (Acts 12:1-3)

Herod was a manipulative narcissist who would go to any extent to please the crowd so as to get in favour with them. So he got Peter arrested and kept him in prison because Peter proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, the Church didn’t lose hope. The people of the Church prayed very earnestly unto the Lord God. And the Lord sent his angel to rescue Peter. Despite being guarded by two soldiers who even kept watch as the Apostle slept the rescue was still successful. God’s angel got rid of Peter’s chain and led him to a safe place (Refer Acts 12:5-19). Yet this didn’t humble Herod but rather drove him into rage due to which he got the prison sentries killed. He had no regard for the Lord at all.

What finally nailed Herod in the end?

His most evil deed was yet to come. He began manipulating the people of Tyre and Sidon by his anger. And they depended on his country for their food they had assembled to meet him and ask for peace. Instead like a vile narcissist he gave such a speech that he got them to shout out that he is a god. This provoked the Lord God with burning rage that the angel of the Lord struck him and as a result Herod died of worms

Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.  But the word of God increased and multiplied.  (Acts 12:20-24)

Herod was never a good man from the beginning nor was he a good man at his end. He tried to please others only for his selfish agendas. Not giving God the glory cost him his very life!

 

bible warning

I shall soon write about the first narcissist ever to exist (hint: the Fallen one). However for now, from the above four examples we can learn that:

  1. It’s possible for a narcissist to repent.
  2. Not every narcissist might repent.
  3. The actions of narcissists can be harmful and even ungodly.
  4. Narcissistic people may even lie in the face of facts.
  5. Narcissist’s can hide their true inner motives by covering them up with good motives publicly.
  6. God can bring down the most proud narcissist to his or her rightful end.
  7. It’s possible for narcissist’s to experience miracles of God but remain unchanged.
  8. God can at times warn narcissists too either directly or through others.
  9. As in the example of Peter there is no need to deliberately get back to a narcissist who intends you harm.
  10. The Church though prayer and faith in the Lord God can actually defeat the plans of narcissist’s especially those one’s who persecute the Church and try to hinder the preach of the Gospel.

Never pay for your miracles as Jesus has already paid it all

Anyone who believes in Christ ought to be careful against those who put a price on miracles of healing and restoration. There are wrong concepts being passed around that you must pay for your miracle. Basically, someone will say that pay up a certain amount of ‘love offering’ or ‘tithe’ over to their ‘ministry’ to get restored physically for financial, emotional or physical restoration. Nothing could be more far from the truth of the Gospel.

Jesus didn’t ask for anyone to charge others for miracles. In fact he said to his Apostles, “And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8 KJV)

Before I can elaborate on this, let me make something very clear, lest you miss the point. There is nothing wrong in donating to the cause of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s good to give to ministries that work to bring relief to the poor and afflicted. Now it’s true that certain preachers actually need money to cover the cost of running their ministries. They are genuinely into preaching the word and there are valid expenses in terms of travel and equipment costs, building maintenance costs etc. Never shy away from helping such ministers in whatever little way you can. For instance you can donate money or give them your extra Bibles or clothes that you don’t use which they can give to those who might need them.

Now coming back to the topic of not paying for miracles remember that Jesus himself never charged anyone to grant them their healing or deliverance. We are called to imitate Christ (read 1 John 2:6, 1 Corinthians 11:1 and 1 Thessalonians 1:6) and as we imitate him we are do so without being legalistic. As Jesus walked in wisdom so must we.

Jesus blesses us without charging us, all we need to do is believe in him. He has paid the price for your salvation and healing. Scripture says; 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. (Isaiah 53:5). This is again in the Scripture where it says; He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

Such a simple truth yet this is difficult to grasp for a world that is brought up on ‘earning your worth’. Here is our Lord Jesus who is giving you things you couldn’t even buy if you worked all your life for it. Now, lets read and reflect on the following verses:

Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)

I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star. The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (Revelation 22:16-17)

By these verses it becomes very clear that these blessings of God do NOT come with a price tag. What is most important is that you come to the Lord because he himself wills that you come.

Now I am aware of what the ‘pay for your miracle’ bandwagon say to justify their deeds as good. They usually quote; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38). And also they will quote “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it]. (Malachi 3:10 KJV)

I wish they could preach these verses but in the right context. The context of these verses is never about paying for your miracle but rather its about being generous towards God and partnering with him for his work on earth. The emphasis is on giving rather that receiving. And putting this in conjunction with Matthew 10:7-8 we can confirm that it’s not about buying up your miracle nor trying to sell one.

Even back in the Old Testament we have the instance of Elisha the prophet of God who refused any compensation from Naaman the Syrian whom he cured of leprosy (all this is mentioned in 2 Kings 5). The following verses stand witness to this:

Then he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and he came and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” But he said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive none.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused. (2 Kings 5:15-16)

Moving forward to the New Testament we have the instance where the Apostles Peter and John encountered a lame beggar on their way into the temple. They didn’t ask him for money. How could they even ask anything from a beggar? But instead Peter healed the lame man in the following manner as mentioned in the Bible:

Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 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!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. (Acts 3:3-8)

With both the Old and New Testaments showing that those who did miracles by God didn’t need a payment for that we can understand one thing very clearly. That those who are demanding money in exchange for miracles are neither following the Old nor the New Testaments.

To this effect let us remember that when a certain Simon who previously practiced magic tried to bribe Peter to receive power, he got rebuked for it. Not just any power but that by which he could put his hands on anyone so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. Simon was duly rebuked by Peter for his sin of trying to get the free gift of God with money and then Simon did repent.

Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,  who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”  And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.” (Acts 8: 14-24)

So to conclude, never pay for your miracles as Jesus has already paid it all. He is all good and loving towards those who believe in him. We are to walk in light of the Holy Scriptures which not just tell us to be generous towards God but also to walk in wisdom. Never pay for your miracle ever again!

The specific will of God for you (Part 1)

You must try to know the specific will of God for yourself. In certain Christian circles this is also called as knowing your vocation in Christ or your specific role in the Church. This might be being a preacher of the Word of God, a prophet, an intercessor, teacher, evangelist etc so that you build your brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12)

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church: first are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers, then those who do miracles, those who have the gift of healing, those who can help others, those who have the gift of leadership, those who speak in unknown languages. (1 Corinthians 12:27-28)

You need to keep yourself open to the will of God and attentive to the Holy Spirit. This means that you are determined to be in union with Christ and hold on to the Gospel in your daily life. Let me make is real to you, suppose you feel that God is calling you to overseas missionary work then in your local church do you care for the salvation of the people over there? Do you pray that they are always sinless and in the love of God? Do you like to hear the preaching of the word of God and do you yourself like to read it? Do you feel compassion for the lost? Are you willing to die rather than give up on Christ? Are you willing to get no thanks and no appreciation from majority of the people you are preaching to, but are still will to move on and preach to the next group of people?

If you said a yes to all these questions, then its a sign that your actions are in sync with your calling of being a preacher. But if there’s even a single no, then you need to check your motivation for being a preacher either by yourself or with a sincere and mature Christian. Better to correct your desires now, than realizing it the hard way when you are on an overseas missionary assignment and you realize that you feel too lazy to preach or can’t handle rejection by the people. It could be a serious matter of shame to the ministry that sent you abroad if they realize that you are NOT preaching the gospel but are held up in worthless pursuits.

The same standards apply for being a Bible teacher, prophet, apostle etc for the Lord Jesus. You need to get your actions in sync with your holy calling in the Lord Jesus. Before anything else, you need to pray about the specific will of God in your life. You must never walk into any position of work for God without praying to God about it. It’s a sign of discernment and a sign of respect.

You need to be very specific in your prayer to God for knowing what he specifically calls you to be. Sometimes you can say ‘God make me the person you want me to be’ and wait for your answer. It doesn’t have to be that you will hear a voice audibly. You may just get a strong feeling in your heart that desires to serve God in so and so way, then check if is consistent with the Bible’s teachings. Patience is important here. You will need to be patient as the answer may not come immediately. This where it’s important that you speak to people who waited on the Lord Jesus and then by him are following their specific calling in God.

Even when I didn’t know what was the specific will of God, I wouldn’t waste my time with the skeptics and impious to get me the answers. I couldn’t immediately get to speak to people who came to know the specific will of God. But here’s what I did, I read about their experiences. It read how Christians in the past few years understood the will of God. I didn’t bypass the Bible. The story of how the prophet Samuel received his calling from God as a prophet inspired me. I was thrilled to know how Elisha was chosen Elijah due to the Lord God’s instructions to Elijah. Then in the due course of time, I actually go to speak to people in the flesh who by prayer, tears and hard experiences came to know of what God specifically wanted of them. Some of these individuals didn’t have to undergo hardships to know God’s will. It was surprisingly simple for them. But all in all, everyone who received the specific will of God had a thing in common; the unrelenting desire to know God’s will.

So for anyone who desires to know the specific will of God, have a strong desire towards it. I’m not talking about mere emotions but actions that are in sync with it. This desire should manifest in holiness. You can’t be yelling, shouting to the world that you are searching God’s will. Keep it between yourself and God and only few trusted spiritually mature Christians. You need not be proud. Be humble in spirit and in action. This should get you closer to know the specific will of God.

 

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