Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Being a Co-worker with God

How amazing to know that God wants us to be His co-workers?

It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap. Joshua 3:13

Ever wondered why? If at all God had said one word ‘let the waters be cut off,’ immediately the sea and waters would have listened to His majestic voice and stood still as a wall.

That’s how God created everything. When God said ‘Let there be light,’ there was light. When God said let there be living creatures, they immediately came into existence. But wasn’t all these before man came into existence?

Once God created man in His own image, God wanted man to be His co-worker – work along with Him in everything He does.

God loves us so much that He longs for our participation when He works. It is not that God cannot do anything without man, but He does not will to do.

What an awesome God who loves to work hand in hand with clay jars like you and me!od wanted the priests to place their feet on the waters, so that a miracle could happen. Andwhen the priests took the first step in faith, God performed one of the amazing miracles in all history. The Jordan waters parted into two and the Israelites walked over the dry land.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

His Love Knows No Bounds



What is love? Often our ideas of love gravitate towards the love of parents, siblings or spouses. All of these are representative of the selfish love of humans.
To understand what love truly is, only God can epitomise and define.
The greatest experience I've had in my life is the awakening of my knowledge that I have a father who adopted me to be his very own child.

For thousands of years in the history, even God's people didn't understand that He wanted to be their Father. So the Lord had to burst onto the human scene in Jesus and reveal his deep desire that He loved to be our Father. The God who set the stars in the sky knows us so well as to know even the number of the hairs on our heads!  He is a Father who provides for our needs and cares about our every concern. Even the most vulnerable beings can reach out to God, call him ‘Daddy’ and be welcomed into His arms of love and comfort.

Never forget, each one of us is dearly loved by our Heavenly Father!

Monday, 24 September 2012

BLESSINGS THROUGH OBEDIENCE


At one point in time, all of us would have wondered why did God create the tree of knowledge in the center of the garden and forbid Adam and Eve from eating of its frits when he was sure they would break the rule? 

The fact that God knew Adam and Eve would eat of the forbidden fruit is His foreknowledge and not pre-determination.

If we would not accept this fact, we can keep questioning everything. Why did God create Cain and Abel when he knew Abel would be killed? Why did God create the whole of mankind if he knew all of them except Noah’s family would be destroyed in flood?

If God would wilfully avoid any circumstance/incident that would lead us to sin, where is our act of obedience do God? The term obedience loses its significance.

But as you skim through the pages of the Bible, you would read of the blessings of God through the simple yet difficult act of obedience.

Abraham obeyed God and received great blessings. In fact, his obedience was accounted to him as righteousness. Noah created the ark in simple obedience to God’s word. He endured the mocking and scornful words of those around him.  But at the end he received the blessing he had patiently waited for in complete obedience. While whole of the human race was destroyed, God protected and saved Noah and his family.

A small act of obedience carries with it a great sum of blessings!

Our God cannot tolerate disobedience in any form. Some people are involved in partial obedience to please God. No! God does not consider partial obedience. For God, that is as good as disobedience. Remember Saul’s partial obedience brought a great punishment on him. He killed everything as God commanded but spared the best of the animals and the king of Amalek. In fact, he even had reasons to justify his action. But what was God’s response?

1 Sam 15:22,23
‘Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord. Behold to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed that the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.’

God demands complete devotion and complete obedience. 

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Practical Thoughts from 2 Timothy


In his second letter to Timothy, Paul gives practical life applications in order to be a good Christian and a good leader. As I was going through, I made note of several points, useful for our day to day life.
Here are they:

1. Your faith impacts your children’s faith
Timothy’s faith is supposed to be impacted by the faith that dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and then his mother Eunice. Your children constantly note the practical demonstration of your faith in your day to day affairs. If you express faith in little things and small problems, your children learn to do the same.

2. Stir up the gift of God given to you
Each of us has some gift received from God. But our gifts are still wrapped and covered with dust. First we must recognize what gift we have. Only if you unwrap the wrapper, you would know what gift is inside. This is done with prayer and God’s wisdom. And then we are to use our gifts for the glory of God.

3. Commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others (2:2)
This is one important aspect necessary for leadership. Timothy though young exhibited strong leadership potentials. Look at his spiritual responsibilities. He was a pastor of a local church at Ephesus. He performs ministry in at least five New Testament churches: Thessalonica (I Thes 3:2,6);  Corinth (I Cor 4:17; 16:10; II Cor 1:19); Philippi (Phil 2:19-23);    Berea (Acts 17:14);  Ephesus (I Tim 1:3).

An important aspect of ministry is being able to commit what we have learnt and experienced to faithful men who will be able to teach others. Committing one’s ministry in unfaithful hands will result in downfall. At the same time, committing to men who are faithful but do not have the capability to pass on to others will also be futile for the expansion of ministry.

4.  Endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ
A good soldier will not go back in the face of hardships. He will be courageous enough to fight the battle and please his master. As a good soldier of Christ, you must endure hardship with courage and faith. Your aim must be to please your Master.

5. Compete according to the rules
An athlete can win the race only if he or she competes according to the rules. If they are found to disregard the rules, they are not awarded even though they may come first in the race. In the same way, we must follow the rules – rules of God in the Bible for our life so that we will be eligible to receive the reward.

6. Cleanse yourselves from dishonourable things
Only if you cleanse yourself from dishonourable things, can God use you as a vessel of honor sanctified and useful for the Master for every good work.

7. Avoid disputes
Disputes arise in families, among friends and relatives. But as children of God, Paul advises us to avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, because they are sure to produce strife. Isn’t it true that we can avoid so much of trouble just by avoiding disputes?

8.  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.
Often, this is neglected by believers thinking this is a job of an evangelist. Not so! This is a common mission for all. In Great Commission of Jesus Christ, He says, “Go and preach the gospel to all nation, baptizing them....” This was a ministry entrusted to all. Again in 2 Tim 4:5, Paul says, ‘Do the work of an evangelist.’

Conclusion
If we are careful to do all these things, then we can join Paul and say ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race. I have kept the faith’


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Knowing God’s Will


What is God’s will for me? What should I do in order to be in accordance with God’s will? How can I be certain I am not moving against the will of God for me?
These are the questions that we often hear in the Christian circles. But you need not complicate a simple truth. When Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica, he gives a powerful truth that we must all know.
‘Rejoice always,’
‘Pray without ceasing,’
‘In everything give thanks‘
And then he continues ‘for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ [1 Thess 5:18]

1. Rejoice always
Normally, our joy depends on our situation. And it’s human nature. As human beings, we tend to be joyous when something good happens to us. Marriage, birthdays, promotions, functions, recognition, etc. make us happy. We rejoice in God to a great extent. But my question to you is do we rejoice the same way when circumstances do not favour us. It is practically difficult. When I have lost a job, when I can’t afford to pay my child’s school fees, when unpleasant events happen in my family, I definitely cannot rejoice. May be I can sit for hours and cry at Lord’s feet, but definitely not rejoice. But Paul says we must ‘Rejoice always.’ Even in Philippians 4:4, we read the same thing. ‘Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!’

2. Pray without ceasing
To have a consistent walk with the Lord, that is a regular prayer life, is not easy. There are times we have a good relationship with God, but there are times when our spiritual life is dry. We might not opt that, but situations push us that far. Busy schedules and hectic life – and the thing we often choose to miss out is our prayer time. But that is not God’s will for us. Paul warns the church believers in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing.

3. In everything give thanks
Do we? Since our childhood, our parents teach us to give thanks when something is given to us. Someone offers a chocolate, we are asked to thank that person. Does any parent teach his or her child to give thanks when someone takes a piece of chocolate or cake from his hand? No! That would be for us a wrong use of the word ‘thank you’. Thereby we tend to follow the same principle with God. But Bible teaches us something different. We are asked to give thanks in everything. When we receive something, we must give thanks. When we lose something, we must give thanks. That’s what Job did. He gave praise to God in his abundance and he also gave praise to God in distress – when he lost everything, including his ten children.
And rightly summed up by Paul, ‘for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’

Now that we know God’s will for our lives, shall we pledge to rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks to God in everything?


Sunday, 27 May 2012


A GOOD SOLDIER OF CHRIST JESUS

Bible says in 2 Timothy 2,3 - Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
In Scripture, we find several references to the Christian as being a soldier in warfare. We are constantly in a battlefield.

To be Good Soldiers, we need three important things:


1. Courage
A good soldier will be courageous. He who is coward cannot be a soldier. A soldier needs to be strong and bold. If you are a soldier for Christ, you need to be strong in spirit and bold in heart.
As a soldier problems are expected. A soldier does not sit by the green lawns but stands in the battlefield. He must be courageous to face his enemies. As Christians, we are also constantly in a battlefield. There is a spiritual warfare taking place.


For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Eph 6:12-13


An unbeliever also faces problems and as believers we also face problems. But our reaction must not be similar to theirs. For we know ‘Our Redeemer liveth’ and our Bible teaches us ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ’ Phil 4:6

Faith in our Saviour must make us strong and bold in difficult circumstances too. If a soldier loses his courage, he can no longer fight. We must boldly face our problems believing that God is in control of my life. Nothing happens without his will. Bible says, ‘Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.’ – Luke 12:7


Look at the example in the book of Judges. If you read about the life of Gideon – Gideon was one of the 12 judges in the book of Judges. God chose him to fight against the Midianites. 32000 people gathered. These people are too many. Judges 7: 3 says ‘Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart at once...’ God does not want fearful people to fight the battle. He wants bold people. Immediately 22000 people departed and only 10000 remained.
When Joshua took over the ministry from the hands of Moses, God’s words to him were ‘Be strong and courageous,Joshua 1:6


2. Preparation
A soldier must be prepared at all times. If he sits lazily without preparation for the battle, the enemy will attack suddenly and the country will be destroyed. He should always be ready.
As good soldiers for Christ, you must be always ready to face your enemy the devil. You cannot be lazy. You cannot waste your time. You must prepare for the battle daily by reading the Bible, by praying in the fullness of spirit and by trusting God’s direction and instruction for battling the enemy. If you remain unprepared, the devil will attack you anytime.


Judges 7:5-8
What was God’s purpose in separating those who lapped putting their hand to their mouth from the rest of people who get down on their knees to drink water. Those who lapped with their mouth were ready to fight anytime than those who leisurely got into the river to drink water. Thus these 300 people who lapped were selected. God wants people who remain prepared at all times.


How can you be prepared?
Paul tells us this secret. How many books did Paul write?
Out of these books, 4 books were written when Paul was in jail. These are called prison epistles. They include Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon.
When in prison Paul was continuously watching soldiers. So he wrote to Christians in those very terms. Ephesians 6:13 -18.


·         belt of truth buckled around your waist
·         breastplate of righteousness
·         your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
·         the shield of faith
·         helmet of salvation
·         the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

V 18: Unless you have them, you are not putting on the dress needed to fight in the battle.


3. Faithfulness
Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Cor 4:2
A soldier must be faithful to his master and to his country. When we first accepted Christ, we owed to serve Christ alone and follow him sincerely all throughout our life. We must be faithful to
1.      Our calling in Christ.
2.      To obey Christ at all times
3.      To your relationship to Christ

Conclusion
If we be bold, prepared and faithful, we will be good soldiers of Christ. Then like Paul said in 2 Tim 4:7, we too can boldly say ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the word’
The good thing is that the battle is not ours, but the Lord's. We are called upon to be God's agents on this earth to go forward with gospel claiming victory through Christ. We have been given our 'marching orders' by the Captain of the host. Mt. 28:19-20

Jesus said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ We are challenged to go forward for the cause of Christ and be good soldiers for Him.


- Sunitha Justin

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Today You Will be With Me in Paradise (Luke 23:43)


When Jesus uttered these second words on cross of Calvary, he was hanged along with robbers. Mathew uses the term ‘robber’ while Mark and Luke use the word ‘Criminal.’ According to the Greek Word that Luke used, they were professional criminals, men who killed not for need but fun & profit.

Beyond that, we know little about them we do not know their names, their hometowns or the specific crime they committed. It may appear that these two men are exactly alike. They were both criminals who were sentenced to die at the same time, same place and same day. Both are now dying, covered with blood & wounds. But they differed in how they viewed the man in the middle, Jesus Christ.

One man wanted escape and not forgiveness. Other man wanted forgiveness, not escape. One robber said to Jesus, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. (v 42). No man would be in a more desperate situation. He was dying in agony for the punishment given to him was just. The man is close to death and at the last moment, he makes one final appeal, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’

When the man saw Jesus, Jesus did not appear like a king although he really was. This thief did not have the advantages the other disciples had. He never saw Jesus helping in the catch of fish by the sea shore, he never saw Jesus heal the sick or raise the dead, he knew nothing of his parables or his miracles. He knew little of his virgin birth, OT prophecies about him or even the forthcoming resurrection.

He was on the cross with Jesus. All that he would have probably seen is Jesus being beaten, mocked, forsook by all. But still he had a powerful revelation that Jesus was able to take him to heaven. He made a modest prayer knowing he does not deserve what he is asking for but he had faith in Christ.

Jesus replied to him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me paradise.’ By his promise, Jesus assured 3 things.
1. Jesus gave him the promise of immediate salvation by using the word ‘today’.
2. Jesus assured the thief of his personal presence when he said ‘you will be with me.’
3. Jesus offered him the most wonderful gift – the gift of paradise.

Jesus promised to the thief who had lived in crime that he will be permitted entry into heaven. Truly, the thief received much more than what he asked for. Noon, he’s hanging on cross. Sundown, he’s in paradise
It is never too late to turn to Christ. Those of us who are praying for the salvation of our loved ones must never say, “he/she will never come to Jesus.“ Don’t give up your prayers.

By this second utterance on the cross Jesus made salvation so easy for the dying thief. The thief was never baptized, never took Lords supper, never went to church, he had no good works in him. He was forgiven even before he lived a single righteous day. God Jesus is good & gracious. He was a man not fit to live on earth, but was made fit to live in heaven.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Sorrow – Puts You to Sleep or Awakens You to Pray?


Luke 22:45 - When He rose up from prayer and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow.

Many a times, troublesome and painful events take place in our lives that makes us sorrowful. The disciples were confronted with a similar situation. Their Master Jesus would soon be taken away from them. Jesus already shared about God’s will for His future to his disciples during the Lord‘s supper. This made them sorrowful – sorrowful for plenty of reasons:

1. They had left everything – their houses and probably their family members too – to follow Jesus.
2. They were so intimate with Jesus for the last three and a half years.
3. They were filled with dismay as to how others would treat them or react to them after Jesus’ death.

True, disciples had plenty of reasons to be troubled. But at the same time, Jesus too was sorrowful. Although Jesus was certain that it was the Father’s will ad the very purpose He was sent to earth, the thought of crucifixion was hard to bear. This was evident from Jesus’ words to His Father in Luke 22:42, Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me…

During this time of sorrow, how did Jesus react and how did the disciples react?

Luke 22:41 says, ‘Jesus knelt down and prayer.’ On the contrary, Luke 22:45 records the disciples were sleeping from sorrow.

What do we do when we are troubled or sorrowful? Are we found praying like Jesus or sleeping like disciples?