“Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.” (Lamentations 2:19)
The righteous considers the cause of the poor: but the wicked regards not such knowledge. (Proverbs 29:7)
Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
In prayer we express to God our praise and love of him. We also bring forth our needs and petitions unto him. It’s wise to cast your worries and anxieties unto the Lord Jesus Christ for he cares for you.
Now the aim of prayer always must be to give glory to God. Some people however are way too focused on their problems and needs that they miss out on the essence of prayer, which is to give glory to God. For them prayer is just a transaction instead of a sign of a relationship with God. One cannot have a wrong focus like this if one wants to worship God in spirit and in truth. This does not mean that you never bring your problems and needs before the Lord God. What this means is that your focus on these must never be the whole and sole reason you pray to God.
Problem or Problem Solver
Are you going to keep worrying about your problem or look up to the Problem Solver in heaven above? If you are going to keep worrying about your problem instead of trusting God for such situations then you are not exhibiting the faith that you need to have in God. Never get too emotionally overwhelmed that you are crying about your problem but are not expressing your faith in God. It’s normal and reasonable to acknowledge your emotions about the problem. However, making your emotions the central point of your prayer will make you focus on yourself instead of looking up to God to help you.
Healing or the Healer
When it comes to healing what is more important, your sickness or the One who can heal you? It is God indeed who gives cures and healing. He can give cures supernaturally or by way of a physician who give dues medical treatment. It is right it ask for healing but what is not right is that you make a drama about your sickness. Trust me there are a lot of people who are sick but face their illness without making themselves or others miserable. Some of them face terminal illness and yet are calm for the sake their family, friends etc. And now knowing this, one must not worry so much on their healing that they see past the Healer. One must know the will of God for their healing and move forward in faith then.
Comfort or the Comforter
There is no true comfort without the Comforter. The Holy Spirit comforts us with the peace of Christ in this fallen world that we live in. He gives us hope within when the external conditions look hopeless. It is unwise, then that a person desires comfort so badly that he doesn’t want to honor the Comforter but only sees him as a means to an end. If you seek the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter from God, you will have his comfort for your own.
We live in an age where instant coffee is highly coveted. Because people do not want to wait for it being prepared the normal way. However, these very people will waste hours chatting over cups of instant coffee in some downtown cafe. One wonders why do they hurry to get the coffee then. And then we have the issue of instant gratification. The world puts a premium on instant gratification. Like taking a loan for an overseas luxury vacation and then pounding your way at work once you’re back so that you can pay off the loan. This approach applied to prayer will make you look impulsive instead of discerning. You may have instant coffee from a coffee vending machine but don’t ever treat God like a miracle vending machine. He is NOT a machine but a loving, powerful, merciful and wise God. Don’t let your desire for instant gratification of your needs get the better of you when praying to God then.
A suggested prayer:
Dear Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ your Son. Forgive me of all my sins, including the times and occasions when I focused more on my problems and needs instead of focusing on you. I desire to say a firm and solemn yes to your will for me all times. Guide and comfort me by your Holy Spirit who brings forth the peace of Christ in those who believe in you. I surrender all my worries and anxieties unto you, knowing that you are Lord of all and nothing is greater than you. I trust in you for my health in all aspects of life, be it physical, mental or spiritual. You have made me the head and not the tail by the saving grace of Christ. So then let not evil nor sin reign over me but you O Lord God always reign over me and protect me from all dangers.
Amen and amen.
The abundant grace of God does no where in the Bible ever permit abundant stupidity nor abundant heresy. Any teaching that shows the grace of God as merely ‘say a prayer and get your ticket to heaven’ without being clear on all the points of the Gospel is surely out of sync with God’s will. Do not listen to teachers of falsehood who corrupt the Gospel’s true meaning. The Gospel is about being in a relationship with God through Christ Jesus. The Gospel is about loving God and your neighbor. And you are not going to be able to live the Gospel right if you exclude genuine repentance from your sins. You cannot earn your salvation but people can surely give it up by their faithlessness to God and this faithlessness is visible even by their actions.
Let’s read the following verses from the Holy Scripture:
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved. For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 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. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire. (2 Peter 2:17-22)
It is vanity of vanities to come to unto the throne of grace only to turn and head back to your pit of immorality. It’s vain to preach the Gospel to others and then not follow what it teaches. O lovers of God, be faithful unto the very end. Let Christ be your hope. Let the Gospel be ever in your heart and mind.
Let your walking and talking never deviate from God’s will. May all your work be holy and acceptable in the eyes of God. This is possible by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now it may have chanced that you could have sinned after coming to Christ. Do not fear as our Lord is the patient with us. He bears up with our faults. That being said, knowing that he is merciful do not hesitate to repent of your sin. The world might say ‘O look a person who claims to believe in Christ and yet sins’ but you can make the world’s logic look stupid if and if you truly repent. Your aim here is not to take revenge against the world. The world is full of sin and when they condemn you, O lover of God, they will simply generate more judgement for themselves by the Lord Jesus himself. Instead, your aim should be to value your relationship with God by honoring Jesus’ death and resurrection for your salvation. Respond to his love by being truly repentant of every sin and living for Christ alone.
Christ be with you!
Let read Psalm 67 which is a call to all people to praise God. Here we go:
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 2 that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for thou dost judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! 6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us. 7 God has blessed us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!
When reading the above Psalm you must have seen the word ‘Selah’ and then wondered what does that mean. It’s not an English word so it’s hardly used when talking in general. It’s a Hebrew word which in the context of the Psalm means to pause and praise. There are things in life which we must not skim over and let it go. These are things to be valued and cherished. Though there are many ways to do appreciate things, one of the ways is to pause for a moment and think of it.
In the same way when you think of the things of God like his grace, blessings and saving power you just don’t do a blink and a miss on it. You take time to relish the Lord’s goodness towards us. So that is why you must pause and praise God for his revelation of love for us.
People love their blessings from God and want to be blessed even more. Who wouldn’t want their families to be prosperous in all aspects of life? However, that’s not where it ends. One of the reasons God blesses us is that the people of the earth are made aware of his saving power. Let’s therefore, not ask to be blessed only to keep it within our loved ones but also so that God’s gracious nature is manifested through us to a world of people who live in despair.
The Lord is the God of justice. Many a times people try to take revenge, sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don’t. Yet true justice eludes them. There are the oppressed poor who have no one to speak for them. Very few care about their existence. It’s true that, we live in a fallen world and evil things do happen. The Lord God, time and again raises up men and women who strive for justice and peace for the poor and oppressed, even though not all of them know Jesus as their savior. These agents of justice have their season on earth and then pass away into eternity. The work of justice still goes on even as more people are called by God to help others. Besides, the Lord God himself executes judgement against the powers of darkness and those who love it, so that there is justice done. May the people of the world realize this truth and turn their hearts towards the Lord.
Our Lord God is not limited to judgement alone. He is the God of true and lasting blessing. He blesses his people on earth. He rewards their good deeds in this life and in the next. Even our ability to good works ultimately comes from the Lord. No doubt a person must be willing for it, and surely he or she shall be rewarded, yet we must realize that it’s mostly God’s grace in the midst of it all.
By our own works and merits we do not deserve his grace. It’s only by faith in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, can we approach his throne of grace in times of need (see Hebrews 4:16). God’s loves those who love Christ. But he has a heart for sinners too. He also cares for the lost sheep who are still in the darkness. No wonder though they are not seated in heavenly places like us who believe in Jesus, he still let’s it rain on them too (see Matthew 5:43-45).
The harvest of the earth though has human effort and wisdom applied but it is the Lord God who protects it from dangers when we are least aware. He is the one who prevents the workers of the Evil One from doing their vile deeds against you. It is the Lord who blesses the farmer with good health, so that there is an abundant harvest. No wonder in this light of the revelation of his grace and love towards us, we must praise and thank God for his mercy and for his blessings towards us. Give thanks to Christ Jesus for the salvation that you have received from him.
A few scriptures to reflect on:
- I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. (Ecclesiastes 3:17)
- Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:17)
- For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:4)
- Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor. (Proverbs 31:8-10)
- Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)
- Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.(James 1:17-18)
- And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor 9:8)
- Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 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. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
When telling people about their need to repent sometimes some of them act like pompous Bible scholars. They will churn out their favorite verses to justify themselves. Here’s what they will normally use the following verses and that too out of context:
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37)
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:1-5)
So their logic is that nobody is to judge them and they can continue in their sinful lifestyle as long as they please. Any other Christian who tells them to please not speak vulgar jokes, to avoid drugs etc is given the ‘Judge not’ bible verse to counter the need to repent. Such is either their shamelessness or ignorance that they totally chose to forget the same Lord Jesus who spoke about ‘Judge not’ also said in Matthew 4:17 that “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
However, these same ‘Judge not’ Christians will pay up the their fines for going over the speed limit with no questions asked. No questions at all. They are the same people who will never dare use the ‘Judge not’ verse in front of a Judge when they are convicted for drug peddling etc. Why so? Because they know well that their ‘Judge not’ joker card won’t work against those who are trained to interpret the law (civil) and not aligned to any religion at least when carrying out their duties in dispensing justice.
Another crafty ploy used by the ‘Judge not’ Christians is that the person telling them to leave a specific sin himself/herself is a sinner. So going by that logic they imply that if the person telling them not to steal a million even stole a wee penny then it’s perfectly fine for them to steal as much as they want and they won’t be at risk by the law of the land nor even punished in hell. Such is their profound wisdom in misusing the Holy Scriptures. These people must realize that there is an abundance of scriptures verse that also tell us to repent. May they learn the need for actual repentance before it’s too late!
Here are a few Bible verses that show us the need to repent:
- Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8)
- Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out (Acts 3:19)
- Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (Psalm 34:14)
- Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. (Revelation 3:3)
The Bible encourages us to be teachable unto to things of God. A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke. (Proverbs 13:1). Do you listen to God our father’s instructions as given in the Bible? Perhaps a reminder of the meaning of the word ‘teachable’ would be beneficial.Teach·able: 1 a : capable of being taught b : apt and willing to learn 2 : favorable to teaching (reference: Merriam-webster dictionary)
Let me first give you an example of what it means to be unteachable. Here we go with a conversation about a guy Adam inviting to his friend Jacob to a teaching on prophecy:
Adam: “Jacob, there’s a teaching on prophecy about the end times by so and so preachers in church next weekend. They are teaching about how to avoid the various deceptions and also they’re giving a warning of bloodshed during the great tribulation.”
Jacob: “Adam, please don’t talk negative things. I don’t want to know evil.”
Adam: “No it’s not. I just want you to benefit from what is mentioned in the Bible. That’s all I want my friend.”
Jacob: “I hate bloodshed and deception. I don’t want anything to do with it”
Adam: “This teaching doesn’t teach you sin by lying or killing. Now to kindly explain; it could help you keep your faith by…”
Jacob: “Hey wait! I always keep my faith. Are you accusing me of losing my faith?”
Adam: “No please. That’s not what I meant…”
Jacob: “Get away from me. Why did you talk about deception and bloodshed?”
Adam: “With all due respect I want to tell you the importance of such teachings but you are not letting me finish what I want to say.”
Adam: “Ok then, leave it. If you don’t want to hear me then I can’t expect you to listen to that preacher either.”
Jacob: “You are judging me.”
Adam: “Excuse me, you were first to judge when you said that I’m talking negative.”
Jacob: “Just stop talking negative!”
Adam: “Fine, keep to your ignorance and good luck with that!”
Now I don’t want to focus on how polite Adam should have been. Nowadays there is too much emphasis on being polite rather than being right. There’s a place for empathy but you should realize some people are too engrossed in themselves. So, I’m talking about how Jacob deliberately was avoiding going to the teaching on prophecy. He was only bothered about himself and kept interrupting whenever an explanation was offered. That is a fine example of being unteachable.
Don’t get me wrong but the scope of this post is not limited to only learning prophecy. I stand for all the topics and teachings of the Bible which we are to learn.
There are some people in the church who are quite cosy in their ignorance of the word of God. They are aware of certain Bible verses and they do try to understand these verses. However due to their own reasons, they avoid getting taught on every Bible topic.
For them peace, love and miracles are the only things to hear. Now try teaching them about repentance, avoiding false prophets, exposing pedophiles etc and they will first get uneasy and later angry. Most will try to exit the place where such topics are spoken but some will be so outraged that they will be very vocal in their dissent. They may say, ‘You have said this but as per my experience we shouldn’t be talking about it’ or may say ‘I don’t know about this topic and I don’t want to know’.
So you ask them where in the Bible it says we shouldn’t get this topics taught and they get cornered. As they don’t read the Bible that well, they will not know even if there was a Bible verse prohibiting so and so teaching. Such is the depth of their ‘experience’. There are verses in the Bible that in fact tell us what things not to learn. Here’s one of them; But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20 ESV). I will also mention another one; But I also have a message for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them–depths of Satan, actually). I will ask nothing more of you (Revelation 2:24 NLT).
For such people their experiences are greater teachers than anyone else. They will try to avoid any teaching that is not sugar-coated or doesn’t fit their religious theology. Obsession with sugar-coated teachings reminds me of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder though the former is more about deliberate choices rather than the latter’s medical leanings.
To make this clear let’s go through another example; you see a bridge on the verge of collapsing any second and everyone is avoiding that bridge. Now a person is trying to cross it. You say, ‘Hey, the bridge is about to collapse any moment so don’t cross it’. And that person replies ‘Why should I listen? You didn’t say ‘please’ nor ‘kindly’. How dare you address me as ‘Hey’?’ You realize that empathy will help in such a case and so you then say, ‘Excuse me but since I don’t know your name I used the word ‘Hey’ and as it’s a matter of life and death I had decided to cut down on the pleasantries. So now will you kindly please avoid this bridge as its way to dangerous’. Then the person replies saying ‘O good. I shall surely not cross this bridge. Thanks for telling me in a way I am accustomed to understand.’ This may seem absurd in the world but in Church there are some Christians who behave just the same as the person trying to cross the dangerous bridge. Give them all warnings with related verses but they won’t even consider unless it’s in terms of their liking.
You see how people are more concerned about the sugar-coating rather than the actual topic of the words spoken. Such people are prone to deception unless they start checking facts before politeness. Because these people have an obsession that until and unless the words are not sugared to their liking they won’t even consider. The Evil One knows this too well. He therefore will make the temptation to sin look very pleasant as per that persons notions of politeness who only partly depends on God’s word to know what is true from false. As long as his inducement to sin seems pleasant to the eye (or mind) the gullible person will consume the product with great relish.
Not just the Devil, even selfish marketing people use the same trick of fake empathy. They speak lies so kindly and politely even if they don’t mean it. And thus sell products like insurance, weird oils, weight loss powders etc to people who don’t even need them. (Food for thought)
It’s time to start being teachable in the truest sense. It’s not about accepting any teaching for the sake of accepting. Rather we learn things because they are right in the eyes of God and help us and our brothers and sisters in Christ to admonish them of dangers, also to love, respect and bless one another for the glory of God.
Here a few Bible verses about being teachable:
- And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:18-20)
- And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore listen to the words of the Lord. (1 Samuel 15:1)
- Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning. (Proverbs 9:9)
- Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored. (Proverbs 13:18)
- And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)