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Do not idolise those close to the Lord

We often make the people closest to the Lord into our idols. This is why Moses was not given a public burial, because God knew the people would have dug up his bones and worshiped them, making them into idols and relics, which is what eventually happened to Moses’s staff. It’s also why he veiled his face, to keep himself from pride, and other from worshiping him. (Robert Brownell)

Hope came in a basket (Christian poem)

Hope came in a basket,
Moses if you ask it.
Born a child to liberate,
God’s plan to operate.

Escaped from a death so cruel,
By the Lord’s grace, no duel.
Raised by Pharaoh’s daughter kind,
Grown up with a princely mind.

A vile Egyptian oppressor he smote,
Of which two Hebrews took note.
Avenging his brethren cost him exile,
He had to flee from the land of the Nile.

With no regard for idols of obsidian,
Moses dwelt in the land of Midian.
His divine calling at Horeb needed a push,
God spoke to him within a burning bush.

The Lord all merciful heard each cry,
Of Israel when their hope went dry.
Sent he Moses to lead them all,
Egypt’s king’s pride to fall.

Spoke Moses freedom for Israel’s sake,
From Pharaoh’s ruthless grasp to take.
God worked miracles through him a plenty,
He only needed ten plagues not twenty.

Striking fear and warnings to the impudent,
Moses with Aaron blessed by the Lord proved prudent.
Eventually Jacob’s children were set free,
One day to have milk and honey under their own tree.

Will power, discipline and legalism in doing the works of God

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing (Psalm 100:2)

Do you serve the Lord with gladness? Do you feel that serving God is something that you need to do legalistically or freely?

Never get into a legalistic mode when serving God. Because your will power and disciple will get affected in the course of time. You are not a robot!

The Christian faith goes beyond religion because it concentrates not on rituals but on relation. Not any ordinary relation but a relationship with God through Jesus Christ his Son. So keep ritualistic attitudes outside and far away from your relationship with God.

It may be possible to show your gladness externally like smiling, singing when preaching the Gospel to unbelievers. But sometimes you can’t actually do this in instances of praying for a person who is suffering from cancer and is in pain. The point is that the expression of gladness must always be there in your inner being. You can be happy in your heart that Christ gives you salvation even in the midst of pain and suffering that you encounter either in yourself and others. Even Moses said in Exodus 15:2 that; The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Getting your mind right can dramatically affect your will power and discipline in doing the works of God. You will need to be very familiar with the word of God for this and put it to action.

Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:7-10)

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22)

A sure sign of faith that is disciplined is that you do not empower the flesh nature but rather you focus on the desires of the Spirit.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. (Galatians 5:16-17)

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:5-6)

We must encourage each other to hold on the to word of Christ. Never force anyone but rather do it in freedom and respect. We do not condone sin but we exhort each other to be holy for God.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:1-12)

Accept the discipline of God because he loves you. God loves you as his child. No good parent will like to see his child eat stale food. If a child still tries to eat stale food then the good parent will surely try to correct the child. This is because the parent is aware of what is beneficial to the child and what is not.

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. (Proverbs 3:11-12)

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage (Psalm 94:12-14)

And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:5-6)

Never mistake the correction (or chastisement) of God as punishment. Because if you were to be punished he would have done so already. Correction is so that you improve while punishment comes due to lack of repentance.

Correction may come in form of preaching, teaching and examples in real life. Most of the while the Lord God will speak through your conscience about whether you are making a wrong move or walking on the right path. Sometimes godly people will approach you and try to get you on the right track. Never get confused between false accusers and those who truly are trying to help. Check the facts for yourself with the Bible as your guide. Because skepticism is not a substitute for discernment.

The difference between correction and punishment must be clear to you. Otherwise you might simply be bitter over nothing. Suppose you are speeding in your car and your dad is in your car too and he yells at you to slow down, he is not punishing you. He is only correcting you. However, if he makes you stop because you refused to slow down and then bans you for a month from driving then that is punishment.

You are to remain disciplined even as you commend others to godliness. If you train people to be holy but yourself commit robbery, you are in danger of hell fire.

But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27)

You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? As it is written: “God’s name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2: 23-24)

Have your will power and discipline for the Lord God not out of compulsion but out a free and thankful heart. This way you will truly give glory to God through Jesus Christ his Son. God be with you!

Never have unbelief lest you miss out on God’s rest

restThere 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.

The Book of Life as mentioned in the Bible

The Book of Life

 

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.

 

Psalm 1 (The two ways of life)

Let’s read Psalm 1 which speaks of the two ways of life that are available to mankind. Here we go:

1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,nor stands in the way of sinners,nor sits in the seat of scoffers;Psalm-1-Tree
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

The above Psalm has great meaning. It speaks of the way of righteousness and the way of wickedness. It speaks how blessed are those who do not take wicked counsel. There are many people who give wicked advice like against attending the church service and being obedient to God and so on they ramble on. These are not be entertained by the righteous and must be rejected.

This also speaks about how blessed are those who don’t stand in the way of sinners nor in the seat of scoffers. Standing or sitting here is that a person is being still with them so that he can listen to their nonsense. There are people who are so sinful that they won’t keep their sinfulness to themselves but try to pass their wicked opinions to others who don’t sin or even more so those who don’t sin like them.

A person determined to please God must have delight in the law of the Lord and must keep it in highest regard. Now this law for Christians is not necessarily the law of Moses and definitely is not legalism. Because Jesus has already fulfilled the law of Moses. We have something greater, which is to love God with all your heart, with all your mind and with all your strength and also to love one’s neighbor as ourselves. In other words, we must follow the Gospel. It wouldn’t be possible to follow all of the laws of Moses because there is much animal sacrifice in it. We must remember that the perfect sacrifice of Jesus shedding his blood on the sacrifice is the greatest sacrifice of the New covenant and this does away with the need for animal sacrifice.

Now, the righteous are like a tree planted by streams of water. You may be living in a desert or in the prairies but that is only your physical surrounding where you are based. Spiritually it’s much different. For Jesus gives to all who ask of him the living waters so that you are spiritually satisfied for eternal life.

John 4:10,14 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”..but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 7:37-39 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Isaiah 12:3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

No wonder the righteous prosper being filled with the living waters that Jesus gives. I can speak a lot on true prosperity but let me tell you this. True prosperity is to be in a relation with Jesus in this life and in the next. True prosperity is to be in heaven after you pass away from this earth.

A measure of how successful you were in life is what happens of it when you are at the end of your life on earth. A wicked person may have achieved a lot in life. They may have made a lot of money and received a lot of fame in the process. But what happens of it when they die. This all turns to no use because receiving their punishment of this in hell due to their sins they don’t get out. I mean they never get any relief. Their achievements simply testify against them in the fires of hell. Like the chaff that is driven away by the wind so is their prosperity.

The Lord won’t let the wicked and the righteous have the same fate after death. This is where the difference becomes very clear. God keeps track of those who are righteous in Jesus. God is personally interested in each and every believer. He also is very aware of the sins of those who don’t believe in Jesus. He is a loving Father but remains a just God. Happy are those who choose to be righteous in Jesus Christ for the love of God. Amen.

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How to obtain the grace of God?

When in difficult situations people keep praying that they get the grace of God so that they overcome their situations. Some receive it easily but some struggle to receive it. Its a great help to know how to obtain the grace of God.

If the grace of God can be earned or bought then it’s not grace at all!

Just before I elaborate more on this, I’d suggest that you desire to seek the true revelation that comes from God in faith. You can also try to read through the entire article more than once to understand the points more clearly.

faith in GodFirstly, one can never buy the grace of God. You may give your money to the poor and the church which is a good thing to do but that doesn’t get you the grace of God. It’s because God himself gave you the grace to earn wealth in the first place. Refer Deut 8:18 You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth

Secondly, you can never earn the grace of God. You may try to skip a few meals or sacrifice a lot to earn God’s grace. Now there could be seasons in life that need fasting or sacrifice so that you can spend more time with God in prayer. However, these in themselves do not earn you the grace of God.

Thirdly, the only way you can receive the grace of God is that by faith you seek the Lord God to favor you not because of what you can do but because he has mercy on you in Christ Jesus. Hebrews 11:6 says that; And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Now fasting, praying and charity are good things in themselves but remember one thing, none of these can give you the grace of God unless you totally have faith in him. These things are very helpful if they take your mind off yourself and the world and let you look up to Christ who actually gives the grace to you. If you can directly have faith then its very good. Not every time can one fast or do good works but you can always have faith. So what is important is that you have the faith that comes through Christ. Instead of looking at your faith alone, look at Christ who is the author and finisher of the faith.

It’s very easy to receive the grace of God when you are focused on Jesus. The problem is sometimes people really want the grace of Christ in their lives but keep getting scared of their situation which makes them lose faith easily if the situation worsens. You need to be realistic but also without fear. It doesn’t mean that you don’t take responsibility of yourself. When you ask for the grace of God, you take authority of your situation and also start being responsible to trust God to be good to you.

Let it make it real to you. You need to have confidence in what God is and what God can do for you. Here are a few helpful scriptures in this regard:

Hebrews 4:16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need

John 1:15-17 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:20-24 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it — the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

When you need the grace of God you need to express it to him vocally or mentally if you can’t speak it loud. Sometimes you may even get it without asking but make it a habit to ask of him. It’s because praying audibly for God’s grace, you manifest your trust in Him not just to yourself but to others near you. In this way God would be glorified by your faith in his Son Jesus. Amen.

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