Oct 19, 2017

Demanding Great Sacrifices - Trial of Faith Series

Gen 22:1-2  Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, "Abraham!" ​"Here I am," he replied. Then God said, "Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about."
Abraham is called the Father of the Faithful because he had a faith that was a living faith and a tested faith. Our faith is proven by the relation with God and the obedience we have. There is a false faith and there is a true faith. True faith is not one that merely demands the benefits from God, it is one of submission & love which yields to God's demands. True faith gives our entire being to the Lord - our full obedience, our possessions, our emotions, our time and even (in this case), our own son. One of the great trials of faith is when God places great demands on us. As we meditate on Abraham's faith, let's pray that the word of God imparts this same faith to us. (Rom 10:17)

The greatest demand
Your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love .. Gen 22:2
Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father God (James 1:17) and so it was with Isaac. A miracle baby who came to this blessed family after a long wait, yea, even many years after their bodies had become unable to produce a heir. In Gen 21:6, we learn that Isaac was named laughter, because he indeed became their joy. Over a period of time, God saw that it was time to test Abraham with regarding Isaac, because God cares about what holds our affection. We need to inspect our own hearts to see if there is anything in our lives which we hold more precious than God (Even nearly so!). It may be our family, children, job, even ministry. If so, it's time to mentally place it on His altar.
And when God demands Abraham's sacrifice, He specifies 3 times - Your son, your only son, whom you love! It may be easy for us to give our money or something which we don't hold so dear. But when it comes to the delight of our heart, are we willing to place it on the altar of God? Remember, it is He who gave us all these things in the first place.

The faith that goes at a command
Go to the region of Moriah - Gen 22:2
Obedience to God is shown in small and subtle ways. There is a lukewarm way to obey Him and there is a zealous way! There is a difference between merely obeying His commandments and delighting to obey His commandments (Psa 40:8). While the task before him was unpleasant, yet, look at the zeal of this man of God. He wakes up early next morning and got up and saddled his donkey. He took 2 servants and Isaac and he himself cut the wood for laying Isaac. Such a precious task cannot be entrusted to mere servants. The disciple of Jesus is one who pays the price of Discipleship. There is something costly about Abraham's offering. It's not a half-hearted sacrifice - it is loving God with all your heart, and your soul and your strength. Can you imagine the pride and joy that wells up in our Lord's heart when He sees His dear child joyfully zealously fulfilling his demands ?
In all this, Abraham doesn't pause to consult with his wife. There is no place for human emotions while performing God's will. Because of her tender and genuine love for Isaac, Sarah is not going to aid Abraham in this sacrifice. If anything, her desperate love for her son will be a hindrance to the sacrifice. Like Paul says: I conferred not with flesh and blood. (Gal 1:16-17). This is why James says: faith without works is dead. (James 2:17). Abraham's actions were proof that he had faith. He climbs the mountain, builds the altar and lays the wood in order and binds the son to the altar.

The Word of Faith
We will worship and then we will come back to you - Gen 22:6
As Abraham climbs the peak of Moriah, he leaves his servants behind. These are times that you must gird up the loins of the mind and leave many things behind (the donkeys and the servants) to go and worship the Lord. Here is a key - Abraham perceived this sacrifice as worship to the Lord. He viewed it as reverential - giving God what he demands and what is due to Him.
Look at the words of faith that come forth from this patriarch. 'We will worship and then we'll come back to you.' At this point, I believe Abraham remembered the covenant that God gave him. (Gen 17:19 - where he promises the covenant between God and the descendants of Abraham and in Gen 17:21, He names Isaac as the partaker of the covenant blessing.) So long as that covenant is there, Abraham realized that even if he had to kill Isaac, The Lord is able and faithful to restore Isaac (Heb 11:17-19) because the Lord doesn't alter the word that has proceeded from his mouth! And faith in his heart overflowed and became the word of faith in his mouth- We will come back!
And when Isaac asks him about the sacrifice animal, Abraham says: the Lord will provide. Oh for a faith that doesn't crumble even at the highest pressure of testing, or in the last hour!!

The obedience of Faith
While focusing on the faith of Abraham, It would be sad if we missed out to observe the submission and obedience of the young man Isaac. One who could easily overpower the old father - Yet, he chose to be fully submissive. He chose death to himself. He chose the will of his father. In this, I see a clear pattern. One who was submissive to God sets forth a blessed example which his generations would want to imitate.

Secret of faith - fear of God
Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son - Gen 22:12
The climax of the story is the proven faith - a hand that is lifted upon the sacrifice, a heart that is ready to do His will. And at the moment comes the Word of God to stop! And the Lord gives a certificate to Abraham. Now I know you fear God because you didn't withhold the son from me. What is the Lord's testimony regarding us ? We talk the talk. But may the Lord give us a faith to walk the talk.

Jehovah Jireh
So Abraham called that place Jehovah Jireh. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided" Gen 22:14
On that day on Mount moriah, there was a ram that was caught in the thicket and it was provided by God as a substitute for Isaac. The whole episode was a test for Abraham's faith. There was no use for humanity if Isaac is sacrificed. God's provision was given to bring Isaac back from death. Yet, this serves as a powerful foreshadow of the redemption plan of God for mankind. (Instead of Abraham, consider God the Father. Instead of Isaac, consider Jesus) Travel a few centuries down and see God sending His son Jesus to the earth - as the Lamb of God who take away the sin of the world. He Himself had given Jesus - His son, His only son, whom He loved. John 3:16 reminds us of this truth. Rev 13:8 says: Jesus was the lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. The only difference was, Jesus had to die to bear our sin and to bear the punishment for our sin. Isa 53 says: the chastisement for our peace was upon him. and by His stripes, we are healed. For all the above stages of Abraham's life, there is a corresponding parallel from Jesus' life. Indeed on the mount Calvary, the Lord provided a fountain of life for us for our cleansing. and because of the love of our God and obedience of our Lord Jesus, we are redeemed from death to eternal life.

Sep 28, 2017

Handling Success - Trial of Faith Series

2 Ki 18:7a  And the LORD was with him [Hezekiah]; he was successful in whatever he undertook.

In the last message we looked at Peter's life to learn God's plan for us in the face of our failures. Today, let's look at the next trial of our faith. Success.

In some candid discussions with many true men of God, I have come to the conclusion that Success is a more difficult trial of faith than failure. The danger of going through failure is that you may fall prey to unbelief and become bitter towards God. It may happen to a few people, but the common response for failure is that it drives us back towards God. What is the usual result of success ? The normal believer tends to become proud, his heart is lifted up and he forgets the God who gave him the success in the first place. It takes a very tender heart to maintain that humility before God and give Him the glory for any success which He has granted us. Let's look at the example from the life of King Hezekiah.

The Lord was with him
The name Hezekiah means "Yahweh is my Strength". True to his name, the Lord did mighty things through this wonderful king. If you read from 2 Kings 18:3-8, we note the following things about his blessed reign.
1.      2 Ki 18:3 - He did right in the eyes of the Lord (as David)
2.      2 Ki 18:4 - he eradicated idolatry in all known forms, even destroying the bronze serpent which had existed as an idol for nearly 1000 years!
3.      2Ki 18:5 - He trusted the Lord and the word of God declares him to be a king unlike any other before or after him.
4.      2 Ki 18:6 - He held fast to the Lord and didn't cease to follow Him. He kept the commandments of the Lord
5.      2 Ki 18:7 - The Lord was with Him and therefore, he was successful in all his endeavors.
6.      2 Ki 18:8 - He didn't bow down before the Syrian kings and defeated philistines across their borders.

A man whom the Lord honors and protects!
Truly, he was one of the best kings to grace the throne of Israel. There is a touching account of the King of Syria threatening to annihilate Israel. 2 Chr 32:1 (read from v1 to v19) Hezekiah prayed to the Lord (2 Chr 32:20) and the Lord sent an angel which consumed 185,000 soldiers of Syria (2Chr 32:21). I especially loved the Word of God which says 2 Chr 32:22 So the LORD saved Hezekiah and the people of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib king of Assyria and from the hand of all others. He took care of them on every side.
If we have any doubt concerning this, the Lord says: it is He who delivered the nation. Not the might of armies or the wisdom of a king. But the end result of this deliverance was that the fame of Hezekiah spread far and wide and many came to him with precious gifts and he was highly regarded by all nations. (2 Chr 32:23)

The beginning of the end - Pride
Alas, the result of such fame was a falling away. 2 Chr 32:25 says: But Hezekiah's heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD's wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.
The result of that wrath was an illness which came to the King and he was near death. he prayed to the Lord and the lord answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. (Read 2 Ki 20:1-11) And he repented of the pride in his heart (2 Chr 32:26) and the Lord's wrath didn't appear to them in that generation. But the result of this prayer was an increase of his life by 15 years. That led him to commit even more mistakes in his later years and he also fathered Manasseh. (If you read 2 Chr 33:1-11, you can see the amount of evil that this young king heaped on himself and israel) While Hezekiah accomplished much in the secular realm in the added years(2 Chr 32:27-30), we see the steady decline of his spiritual life as the end comes.

The end - God leaves him to test his heart
2 Chr 32:31 But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.
When God leaves us to test us, he expects us to rely on what He has taught us in the past. He expects us to use the wisdom and unction that He deposited in us prior to the test. It is for us to understand the contents of our heart more clearly. 2 Ki 20:13 says - he exposed every little bit of his kingdom to the envoys of the enemy as a result of his pride and that mistake was instrumental in the nation being carried away to Babylon at a later point in time.

What is our lesson from this ?
Do I write all this to diss a godly king ? Am I magnifying his mistakes ? Am I trying to erase the good he has done by focusing on his mistakes ? Not at all! I believe all scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for our instruction, correction and reproof. It is good for us to take valuable lessons from all these scriptures because we are near the end times. (1 Cor 10:11). Where Hezekiah pleased God, let us desire to imitate his life. Where he fell short of the glory of God, let us take it as a precious example to guard against. Remember, if a spiritual giant like he could fall, so could we! Am I against success ? Not at all! I desire success and I believe it is the plan of God for all his disciples to enjoy success. That's why the precious promises are given to the victors (7 letters of revelation + Rev 21:7). But in our successes that we enjoy, do not forget to attribute glory and honor and praise and thanksgiving to the One who made it possible for us. As Jesus said - Without me, you can do nothing! My prayer is that however well we have begun our spiritual race, God give us the grace to fight the good fight, finish our race and keep the faith and to appropriate the eternal rewards kept for us(2 Tim 4:7)

Further reading : Chr 28:9 & Deut 8:2

Sep 10, 2017

Failures and God's plan for us - Trial of Faith Series

Failures & God's plan for us
There's something in all of us that intuitively resists failure. Yet, all of us have been touched by failure at some point of our lives. We may have recovered from those failures, but even now, there is that shame that is associated with the failure. When we look back, we may think "God! Surely we knew better than that!". Today, I would like to meditate on failure as a great trial of our faith. We may have failed in our jobs, academics, in our family life, in our Christian walk, in our ministry. Let's ask the Lord for a faith and a relation with the Lord that's strong even in our times of failure.

Luke 22:31-32 "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers." 

Peter was a strong apostle. Even before he was raised in the apostolic ranks, we see a strength of personality in him. A natural leader, an impulsive man, one who wouldn't hesitate to leave the boats and follow the Lord, one who would easily jump out of the boat to swim to the Lord or to leave the comfort of the boat to walk on water. The owner of a large heart - one who desired to do much for the Lord. We see him as a natural choice. Yet, the spiritual world operates on principles which are contrary to nature. In his very strength lay a weakness, which if allowed to continue, would bring down his ministry and life as a crack in the foundation can bring down the house that it's founded upon. Pls note: Peter was strong - but his confidence was in himself and not in God. The high degree of revelation that he received from God elevated his spirit and the calling as a leader further cemented the pedestal on which he had placed himself. The immense potential of Peter as a threat to his kingdom & the impetuous statements he made about his infallibility attracted satan's desire to sift Peter as wheat. But remember, God's on the throne! Can we start seeing satan as a mere instrument in God's hands to produce the transformation in us - to reveal our weaknesses, to cut us to shape, to remove our rough edges?

The greatest hindrance to Peter being used as a disciple and apostle is not satan. It is Peter himself. He is totally self confident but his confidence is not in God. He is rather proud of himself and thinks he'll never ever betray the Lord. Mat 26:33 - though all leave you, I will not be offended with you. (in other words, Lord, you don't know what you are talking about - I am made of better stuff than all the others!) 

The Lord sees pride as a greater danger than any other sin. God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Unless Peter learns to rely on Jesus and Him alone, he will never be able to qualify for the apostolic task that Jesus had for him. His current spiritual state meant that he had to be sifted before the Lord could use him. Sifting meant that the grain and chaff in Peter's life is to be separated. Sifting meant that the false foundations which he may have laid for his life (natural strength & ability) will be demolished before the true foundation (Christ) is laid. Sifting meant severe trials that he will go through. Yes, it even meant failure - to the point that Peter will deny the Lord before a little servant girl. How the mighty fall!

This is not just about Peter. It's about every child of God who has been given a promise by the Lord. In the above verses, the Lord says: I have prayed for you. Our High-priest (the Lord Jesus) is not one who is untouched by our weaknesses. He is not bothered about your failures. You may fail - But your faith shouldn't fail. Today, we can stand and say that we have been buffeted by forces and people stronger than us. And to our grief, we've failed far too many times. Yet, we are here by God's grace, thanks to His intercession for us. (therein lies the difference between the apostasy of Judas and the restoration of Peter)

A failed (and restored) Peter is a tender-hearted Peter. No more confidence in self. Humbled and yielded as a vessel in the Lord's hands. He is no more desirous of being No.1. But is thankful that his name is in the book of life. He doesn't compete with his brethren. He is able to stand with them on the day of Pentecost and preach the Good News. As the Lord prayed for him, once he was converted he was able to strengthen his brethren. It is such a person who is able to pen the verse 1 Pet 5:10 to the edification of the weak brethren who may be in a season of trials.  
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast

Dear friend, if you have failed, you are in good company. We are in the hands of a potter who makes us into a beautiful vessel even despite our failures and shortcomings. But our faith - let it not fail!

Sep 5, 2017

Chastisement and Discipline - Trial of Faith Series

Heb 12:5-6 And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, ​and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, ​and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Many of the trials of our life are because we have committed mistakes. The Lord prefers that we endure His punishment and disciplinary action than to suffer the judgment and be separated from Him for all eternity. Punishment  Judgment. In an earlier thought, we meditated on the Lord who tries the righteous (Jer 20:12). The same God chooses to discipline us with his chastisement because that is a mark of our Sonship!  I may observe many children in my neighborhood committing mistakes and sins. And I do not go about beating them for their sins. But if my own son does a mistake, I wouldn't think much about rebuking him and maybe even beating him, because I'd much rather that he accepts my punishment and be provoked to righteousness. The punishment that we endure as a child doesn't spoil our relation with the Father. In fact, our relation with Him is stronger after that.

The word says: Do not lose heart when He rebukes you. Job 5:17 says: Blessed is the man whom the Lord corrects. So don't despise His chastening. Rev 3:19 reminds us: that He is indeed interested in correction and repentance (Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.) Prov 3:11-12 reminds us the same fact, but also adds this truth - For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son [in whom] he delighteth.      If the Lord delights in you, he will correct you! He is not done with you yet. He knows that your heart is still soft and tender and will yield to His correction. Heb 12:9 says: If you endured your father's punishment (and yet respected them for it), How much more should we submit to the Lord who holds our spirits and live unto eternity?!

One of the reasons why you lose heart is when you look around. You may observe many, even people who seemingly know the Lord, who seem to do their own evil plans and yet, they are not touched by God. They don't seem to be rebuked by Him or punished. Heb 12:8 soberly reminds us that it's only the True Sons who are chosen for discipline. The illegitimate children are not disciplined. They are left to reap the consequences of their evil.

For the ultimate good !
Heb 12:10-11 Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Dearly beloved, take courage and strengthen yourself (Heb 12:12). The reason why we maybe in a season of heaviness is because of His loving chastisement and punishment. It is going to produce a holy Fear in us which will provoke us to greater holiness and righteousness. Indeed, all things work together to the good of those who love God and those who are called unto His purpose to work in us the image of the Lord Jesus Christ himself.

Aug 18, 2017

Refining process - Trial of Faith Series

Trial of Faith - Refining process
Isa 48:10 Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried and chosen you in the furnace of affliction
One of the difficult processes of the various trials of faith involve a deep cleansing of the heart of the saint of God. The Psa 17:3 reminds us that there indeed is a God who visits us to test us and to prove us! And His tests involve a refining process.

1 Peter 1:7 says - The trial of our faith is like the purification of precious gold. The refining of gold involves extreme heat which separates the pure gold from the base metals which are united into the matrix of the gold ore. (Jer 9:7says:  I will melt them and try them! Isa 1:25 says he will purge away the dross and take away the tin)  God sees in us the ability to hold the divine substance (nature of God). This is why He created us in His image and likeness. From the day that he saved us through faith in Jesus Christ, He is at work cleansing our heart from all filthiness of flesh. The refining process is designed to separate the base from the holy. That's why Job knew despite his many trials that once he is tested, he shall come forth as pure gold (Job 23:10)

Zec 13:9 reminds us that he will refine us like silver and test us like gold - before he calls us His people and His children. Mal 3:3 says: God shall purify the levites (a picture of the new testament royal priesthood) before His coming (so that the day of His coming will be hope & joy for us and not judgment). Many of our life circumstances are tailor-made to complete the good work that he has started in us.

Indeed most of the saints of God came to know Jesus personally as they went through difficult trials of refining in their life. Isa 48:10 says: behold I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction. Dear friend, take heart. the Lord knows what he is doing. 1 Pet 4:12 is our strong hope in trials - don't be surprised at the trial that you are going through. It's not something strange and unique for you. All saints of God go through it. You will not be tested beyond your ability and along with every trial, he will make a way of escape. If you hold onto Jesus, he will see you through the trial and you will emerge better finer and stronger (and more Christ-like) through it all. God bless!

Aug 3, 2017

When God Delays - Trial of Faith series

Ps 13:1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

As we are on the topic of the trials of faith, one of the foremost tests for a disciple of Jesus is the trial of waiting. Or what we could call "Divine Delays". If you find yourself waiting, if you think the Lord has passed you by, if you find that the Lord has delayed beyond your expectation, take courage. You are in good company. All the saints of God have gone through this process. Abraham, Moses, David, even in the new testament the saints of God have waited fearfully for a lord who seemed delayed. But remember, the eyes of the Lord are always on those who wait on Him and whose hearts are perfect towards him. A quick search in the Old testament on the words "How Long" yields a rich set of verses of the heart cry of the dear ones who waited for the Lord Ps 6:3Ps 13:1Ps 35:17Ps 79:5Ps 80:4Ps 89:46Ps 90:13Ps 94:3Hab 1:2Zech 1:12

Does God need our advice ?
In the above Psalm, David (one who was after God's own heart - to whom the Lord revealed the greatest truths in that dispensation) goes through a period where he fears that the Lord has forgotten him and where He has seemingly hidden His face from David. In Psalm 40:17, the saint of God cries out that he is poor & needy and to not tarry, but to come to his help fast. You can't speed God up! Isa 40:13-14  says: What man has taught God or been His counselor ? We may yet face even physical anguish as we wait for the lord! (Psa 69:3) Indeed the promise of God says: Psa 25:3 - those who wait on the lord shall not be ashamed. In some of the earlier posts, I've written on this topic. I believe this is one of the most common, Yet most difficult tests of a christian disciple. Read these 2 posts for some thoughts on the same.

A Family that Jesus loved
John 11:5-6  - Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days
Is the Lord cruel to wait when His dear friend is sick unto death? The Lord's love is not an assurance that His loved ones shall not suffer or go through dark nights. But His love is indeed an assurance that He will be with us in those troubles. He will not leave us nor forsake us. While you are waiting, you may think the Lord could have done better (John 11:21). But as Jesus told the grieving family in John 11:40, only Believe and you will see the Glory Of God. The more He is making you wait, the more is the glory that will be manifest.

Be patient
James 5:7 - During the times of delays and waiting, sow the precious seeds patiently. And as a farmer rejoices not at sowing but when the fruit comes, you shall also rejoice surely. Heb 10:36 reminds us that we need to patiently wait and do the will of God before we reap His promises. The light momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory. As Job says: (Job 23:10) He knows the way I take. when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold!

We faint not!
2 Cor 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Cor 4:1 - since we have received this ministry by God's mercy, we do not lose heart.
Having these promises, dear friend, don't lose heart. Hold on to the Lord.
David cries in his despair three times - that his soul was downcast. He addresses his soul's disturbance and decides " I will yet praise HIM". Psa 42:5Psa 42:11Psa 43:5 Praise Him, while you are yet to see Him move and surely at the right time, He will move heavens in your favor.

God Bless!

PS: In the days ahead, I hope to write on topics of the various trials of faith - like delays, choices we make, divine silence, suffering, difficult way, making great demands, illogical counsels from God etc. The first post of this series is here. http://believerblogs.blogspot.in/2017/08/trial-of-your-faith.html

Aug 1, 2017

Trial of your Faith

Job 7:17-18 What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention, that you examine him every morning and test him every moment?

One of the most unpleasant parts of our Christian journey is the tremendous amounts of tests and trials that we have to endure. In the above word, there is a cry of a man who endured a tremendous testing, probably at a degree more than what we would ever experience or understand. The ways of God mandate that a believer should betested and tried. Faith that is untried and untested cannot be rewarded or recognized. Also, in the process of testing, the believer is made aware of his own weaknesses and, by the grace of God, he can work out his weaknesses to ensure success in the later trials of his life. The Lord also mandates that a believer should pass the tests that he has failed - so we are also aware that the circumstances that tested us to failure may appear again, and if we are diligent in the tests, we will succeed in them surely.

This experience is what makes the apostles write so soberly about the testing of mankind. 1 Pet 1:6-7 comfort us in our various tests.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Read this earlier post where I noted a few thoughts on the same. http://believerblogs.blogspot.in/2017/05/gods-power-in-our-trials.html

The Lord sees our hearts which are in heaviness through 'manifold' temptations. During this weary period, the Lord reminds us to hold on strong, for in His sight, this trial is very precious and this is real Gold in His sight. The Church of Laodiceans are exhorted to buy the 'tested' faith of Gold from the Lord (Rev 3:18) for this makes a Christian 'Rich' spiritually. This is why James writes the cryptic statement to rejoice in trials. James 1:2-3.

Remember dear saint of God - the promises of God are here to comfort us and to stand by us in our journey of Faith. 1 Peter 4:10 talks of the 'manifold' grace of God (Gk: ποικίλος). The very same word is used to describe the'manifold' trials that we face in 1 Pet 1:6. The literal meaning of the word is 'Many colors or hues'. This means that for every color of temptation or trial that we face, God offers to us the very same color of grace that is needed to overcome that trial. How great is our God! 1 cor 10:13 remind us that we will NOT be tested beyond our ability and along with every test, he will make a way of escape!

If you are in a season of continuous testing or trial or temptation, dear saint of God, the Lord has not passed you by! He is constantly monitoring your test and your response to it. He will NOT allow the test to be more than what you can bear. He will give you the right measure and flavor of grace to overcome. In fact, He has faith IN YOU that you will overcome. You will emerge from the faith finer and more precious than before. The success of this trial means an eternal reward for you. Take courage ! God bless.

PS: In the days ahead, I hope to write on topics of the various trials of faith - like delays, choices we make, divine silence, suffering, difficult way, making great demands, illogical counsels from God etc.

Jun 30, 2017

Meditation of my Heart

Ps 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Dear friends, at the outset, let's just humbly echo the prayer of this dear saint of God - Oh Lord, Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight.

Meditation is what we think - what we dwell upon in our hearts. Meditation helps us to be in contact with the spirit world.  We are created with capability to allow our minds to communicate with the Lord God creator as well as evil forces. (As a side note, herein is the danger of 'other' forms of meditation like yogic, buddhist, etc - where you bare your mind in meditation and open your mind to intrusion from evil forces. See the testimony of a former new-ager mystic who understood this and turned to Christ http://www.simonarich.com/about-simona-rich/).

Our mind is very precious to God - He desires a deep fellowship with the human race which He has created in His image & likeness. One can't fellowship with a lower creation (for example, however much a person likes his pet dog, the dog will remain a dog and man will remain a man and the dog can never understand the mind of the higher being.) Contrast this with what Paul says in 1 Cor 2:16 For who has known the mind of the Lord ? that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. A born again person has the ability to understand things of God & to have His mind in a sense. And I thank God for Him opening this way to deep fellowship with Him, Yea, even to the extent that we are now His sons! (John 1:12)

We are the temple of the Living God - and our mind is the sacred place, so it's so essential to keep it Holy & Blameless. The most valuable real-estate in the world is your mind. (The lord estimates a human soul to be more valuable than the full value of the created earth!).

The world system (i.e. TV, news, advertisement, media, internet, facebook, email, youtube, etc) are vying for finding a place in your mind and selling it's goods and ideas to your mind. Once it finds a place in our mind, we will tend to incubate it and meditate it till it influences our thoughts, values and actions.

At this juncture, the prayer of this Godly man in Psalm 19:14 comes to our mind. If ever we've needed it more than ever before, it is NOW. Dear child of God, make it a point to study the thoughts of your mind to see what is occupying your mind for most of the time. List them - are these thoughts of evil origin, worldly origin, fleshly origin, thoughts of harm or thoughts of the holy spirit. Let not satan and his world system occupy the precious space in the temple of the living God.

Meditation is dwelling on the thoughts
You are what you think.  Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he thinketh in his heart so is he.” . (If you see the portion in Ezekiel 8:8-12, it is a picture of the Lord seeing into the recesses of people’s heart.)  Proverbs 24:9 reads, “The thought of foolishness is sin...”  In Matthew 5:28, Jesus said that whoever looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Beloved, A holy inner life is the only thing that pleases God. 1 Samuel 16:7 (The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart) Praise the Lord for His great power, love and grace to transform our meditations.  Ephesians 4:22-24 (4:22) You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (4:23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (4:24) and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Dear Child of God, may we be gripped by this holy desire to have a mind that's renewed that meditates on the things of God always.

Jun 15, 2017

Salvation to the Uttermost

(Heb 7:25Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Often in our lives, after we experience the joy of salvation, we may get complacent about the grace that the Lord offers us and imagine that we have completed the race. This is so far from the truth! The race is ahead of us - this is why Paul says he is straining towards the mark of the high calling in Phil 3:13-14 and only in the epistle that he writes just prior to his death does he say that he has finished the race that was set before him (2 Tim 4:7). Here's an illustration for the stages of Salvation that Jesus offers us.
Stage 1Stage 2Stage 3
SavedBeing SavedShall be saved
PastPresent continuousFuture
Spirit renewedMind being renewedBody shall be renewed
Unable to not sin
(before the new birth)
Able to not sinUnable to sin
Given power to be sons of GodBeing led by the Spirit as mature sonsSons of God revealed in glory

Look again at the verse Heb 7:25 - He is able to save to the uttermost - those that come unto God by Him.

1) Jesus is able to save us to the uttermost - The ability of God is a great relief for us. When paul cries out the cry of despair (Rom 7:24-25) - Who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?!, he immediately is inspired by the Holy Spirit to thank God through Jesus Christ - for that is the key to victory! Jesus is able to save us! Jude 1:24says: Jesus is able to keep you from falling and He shall present you blameless before the presence of the glory of God with much joy! What a loving God ! His joy at presenting us on that day will be much greater than any joy we've seen.

2) Jesus is able to save us to the uttermost - Beloved, the hope for us is that the Lord is able to save us to the uttermost. As I have heard some of the servants of God say - The Lord is able to save the "Guttermost" to the "Uttermost". However dark and sinful and ugly your past was, the Lord is able to bring to completion the salvation plan for our lives and He is able to complete the good work that He has begun in us. (Phil 1:6). In other words, he is able to transform the chiefest sinner before the throne of heaven into a Glorified person who shall live and reign with the Lord Jesus forever enjoying the eternal rewards and a close fellowship with the Lord Himself - IF - he comes to God through Jesus! 1 Samuel 2:8 - In the inspired words of a Godly mother - Hannah, "He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, [and] lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set [them] among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory"

3) Those who come to God through Jesus - The fullness of salvation is available only to the people who come to God through Jesus Christ. Many people try to come to God on the basis of their works, some on the basis of false human doctrines and philosophies, some through other people and so-called 'gods' and so-called 'saints'. 1 Tim 2:5 reminds us that there is one God and there is one mediator between Man & God - Jesus Christ! In John 14:6 Jesus says: I AM the way the truth & the life - No man comes to the father but by Me. Meaning, Jesus is the only way. He is the only truth and He is the only source of Life. The work of intercession that Jesus does for us is the basis of our standing righteous before God.

Why should we seek another way to save our souls when the Lord says: He is all-sufficient to save us to the uttermost ?!