Be alert and pray, and watch out for the enemy’s trap

Mathew 26:41, 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Mathew 4, Luke 4 , In both these chapter we read Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. The Son of God fasted for forty days. In Luke 3 we read that Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came down upon Him like a dove and was in Him. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

After the Heavenly Father proclaimed that this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased, the Devil tested Jesus in the wilderness. The devil was silent for the thirty years that Jesus was silent. the devil does not pay attention to a person till the time the person lives entrapped in the dreams and desires of the material world. The devil becomes active and we come under his scanner when we come closer to God and the Father call us as His Son/daughter.

In the OT the first question that was asked was by the serpent to Eve, Genesis 3:1,Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” This question was just the beginning. Today he asks numerous questions to each one of us. Eve doubted the creator, Heavenly Father, and believed the enemy, the devil. She fell into the snares of the crafty devil. A small disobedience in the form of a fruit became the curse for whole humankind. Some sins seem trivial to us. Dear children of God, one drop of poison is enough to send a person to the land of dead. Be it a drop or a full bottle, poison does its work. Our enemy tested the Lord also.

First test: There is no need to delve into details about the experience in the wilderness. The devil tested Jesus through tempting hunger. After fasting for 40 days, Jesus was very hungry. Not letting go of the golden opportunity, devil came to test Jesus in His hunger. Luke 4:3, The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” The Lord need only say a word that the heavenly food would have been sent down from heaven. Our Heavenly Father is the one who fed His children with manna in the wilderness. He sent food to Elijah through a crow. Even though Jesus is the Son of God, He fasted for 40 long days and nights like a normal human. He was tired and exhausted out of hunger. The Lord defeated him by words of God Himself, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’ Today a lot of people fall into this trap. After breaking a fast, most people pollute themselves by eating whatever comes in sight. If we become ready to sacrifice a little for redemption of our souls, then we can achieve salvation for our souls. Our soul is eternal. Body needs food, in the same way the soul needs the word of God. Let us all make it our mantra for living.

Second Test: Luke 4:5-6, The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.” When the devil saw that Jesus was falling for the trap of hunger, he tries to tempt Him through the riches of the world. Here too, Jesus defeats him by the word of God, Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only. Just think if we were in place of Jesus, what would have we done??? After looking around and seeing that no one is around, would you have worshipped him??? And if you find someone looking would you have tempted them too to join is worshipping the devil?? Or, instead of falling into the traps of a hunter would you be careful and alert and rescue yourself like a bird??

Third test:The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Dear children of God, the devil knows the Bible better than all of us. He presented a challenge before the Savior. If he won he could have made Jesus retrace His steps from His duty on earth. By having Jesus do the wonder he was trying to do away the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus for the sins of the world. The devil knew it very well that salvation for the world was possible only by the sacrifice of the blood of the Lord. It was an unbearable thought for him that the children whom he had distanced/separated from the Father would once again be close to Him. The answer to his temptation was, 12 Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” The sword of the word of God helped Jesus defeat the devil in his plans. He left Jesus.

Dear children of God, just think if the devil had the guts to tempt the Son of God, would he spare us feeble humans??? He is around us always, hence be alert and careful. He presents before us the pleasures of this material world to tempt us. Man has many forms of hunger. Once those are satisfied, then man seeks power & authority. After achieving that, man is ready to even test the Lord Himself. There are many around the world today who having fallen into the quicksand of sins, find it difficult to come out. In this there is discrimination of the weak or mighty, rich or poor, etc.

Romans 6:12-13, 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness.

James 4:7-8, Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 1:13-18, 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.

Psalm 91:11, For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways;

Believe in this promise always and move ahead. He did not promise that He will be with us if we go astray.

1 Corinthians 10:12, 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

The thief on the right

When we speak about the Lord’s crucifixion, there is one thing that is discussed the most, the thief on the right. Our Lord does not let go or abandon any sinner. He does not count our innumerable iniquities against us. He embraces everyone who truly repents and returns to Him.

1.He self evaluated himself: The thief on the right accepted that he was a sinner. 1 John 1:8-9, If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Like the Pharisees , we do like to self justify rather than accept out mistakes and sins. The thief fully believed that the Lord Jesus was capable of rescuing and giving him redemption from his sins. At the same time Judas Iscariot had the golden opportunity to be near Jesus and know Him personally. Instead of heaven he went to hell. The devil had ensnared him in his chains till his last breath. He did not select the path of redemption. Before suicide had he fallen at the feet of the Lord and sought forgiveness for his sins he would have received salvation and escaped the gruesome end. The thief on the right made use of the first and last opportunity while on the cross to seek forgiveness for his sins.

2.He believed that there is punishment for sins: Since early childhood, parents and teachers teach children that if they did a mistake there will be consequences/punishment. The consequence/punishment for sins is grave before the Lord. One loses his/her soul, as result of sins. The thief on the right understood this well. One person dies in his sin and receives its punishment. The other person sought forgiveness and received salvation. One person tried to self justify, whereas the other tried to correct him. He says to the Lord from the bottom of his heart,

Luke 23:40-43,  But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The grace that the thief received from the Lord is something that each one of us desires for ourselves. Romans 8:1 ,Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,…This verse becomes the truth here. It is an even bigger sin than sinning to mock and ridicule the Son of God. Romans 7:15-16,15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. It is the truth that there is punishment for sin. The punishment for sin was taken up by the Lord on the cross.

3. He called upon the Lord and pleaded before Him: Romans 10:13,13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” The thief on the cross showed us the practical way to do this. The way to his redemption was not because he was eligible or that he did good deeds. It was only because of the grace and compassion of the Lord. Blind Barthimaeus, shouted out to the Lord for His healing. All those who shouted for His help have never been returned empty-handed. Never will be, is the truth. Be it a sinner, diseased person, anyone who reaches the Holy presence will never be disappointed.

4.The Lord is never in a hurry: The Lord is ever vigilant to our prayers. Dear children of God, the truth is we are always in a rush and do not have time to sit down and pray. Our Lord is never in a hurry that would give a deaf ear to our pleadings. He is the one who understood the hunger of thousands and gave them food for their hunger. He is the one who felt broken seeing the tears of the widow at Nain. He is the one who cried along with Martha and Mary. He is the one who knew beforehand the need of the woman who touched the end of His cloak. He is not stone hearted to ignore the tears and pains of His children. He is the one who suffered for our sins. Romans 3:25, 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—

1 John 2:2,He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

5. Our Lord does not ignore any sinner : The woman from Samaria was a sinner, but through Christ she became a witness for everyone. Jesus did not condemn the sinful woman as a sinner. He forgave her sins and said to her that her sins are forgiven, and not to sin again. Romans 5:8,But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Through the parable of the prodigal son He taught us about the love of our Father in Heaven. We also learnt that if one truly repents from his/her sins they will receive salvation. Micah 7:18-19, 18 Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

6.He believed in the resurrection and second coming of Christ: Every week in the church we proclaim :

O Lord, we remember your death, burial and resurrection, your ascension into heaven and your presence now with God the Father in glory and in power. We await your coming again to judge the world in righteousness and truth.

This the foundation of Christian faith, hope and trust.

The Lord does not abandon any sinner at any time. He does not condemn us even when others condemn us. He will call us down when we sit upon sycamore tree for just one look. He comes to us when we sit disheartened near a lake. While travelling he waits for us on the path to lead us to salvation. He respects those who respect Him when invited to a banquet. There is no sinner who is low before the Lord Jesus. There is no sin before Him that cannot be redeemed. The heaven rejoices in the repentance of one sinner rather than 100 holy people. In other words, the Lord rejoices in repentance of every sinner. Like the sinner let us also make use of the opportunity. This is the time for redemption. Let us all proclaim with our hearts, Son of God we can receive salvation only though you. Son of David, I am a sinner, have mercy on me. All are my transgressions, my transgressions.

KUASA DARAH YESUS – THE BLOOD OF JESUS – Berjaga-jaga di akhir jaman

Jesus suffered for our transgressions

Another Passion week and Good Friday has arrived. World over, Christians have been observing fast and maintaining a life that befits this time. They have brought changes to their lifestyle and made minor/major changes depending on each person’s capability to bring life to order. On Easter everyone engages in revelry and gluttony. People eat to their hearts full. Another group of people engages in liquor and other beverages. The next day everyone returns to their former lifestyle. Everything is automated around this of the year.

The Bible teaches us that 700 years before the birth of Jesus, this was written about His suffering: Isaiah 53:4-6, Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
    each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.

This was made true 2021 years ago.

Jesus prayed in Gethsemane like this, Luke 22:42, 44: 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 

44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

1 Peter 2:24-25, 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

Revelation 5:6, Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, … This is how apostle John had the vision about Jesus. In the New Testament this is the Jesus we are introduced to, the lamb that took away the sins of the world. This salvation is not restricted to Christians only. He came to earth, bore the cross and sufferings for the transgressions of everyone, each child of God. There is no discrimination on the basis of color, caste or religion. This is true that all those who proclaim Him as their savior from their hearts and mouth will receive salvation.

1 Corinthians 15:19, 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

Dear children of God, each one of us should question ourselves, is the word of God only meant for priests, pastors and evangelists to sermonize??? Or should it open our hearts and eyes and and make it a part of our lives by making each word an instruction to lead a pure life. There is no one who does not desire the heaven and redemption from sins. But is desire enough to get redemption?? The answer is no.

Luke 13:1-5, Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Here we can see that Jesus repeatedly says that there no redemption unless we repent from our sins.

Jude 1:9, But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

If this was the situation with Moses’ body, just think what will become of us. Death always follows us like a shadow. Repentance is possible only when we are alive. No one can imagine the pain and suffering, our Savior had to endured for forgiveness for our transgressions. He did for us to receive the kingdom of heaven. So just think if you and I repent would He not embrace us all to His heart.

Another Good Friday is near. Dear children of god will this pass by as another ritual or just another Friday???

Galatians 3:13, 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

Jesus will come again to gather those who await Him, both dead and alive.

Revelation 20:15, 15 Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 22:10-13, 10 Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.”

12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

All the priests and pastors repeatedly keep saying keep a watch on the changes of time around us. Each second that passes by is precious. Those who think it is trivial, I feel sorry form them.

Isaiah 55:6-7, Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.

Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he who blots out
    your transgressions, for my own sake,
    and remembers your sins no more.

Jesus was crucified along with two thieves on His either sides. Both were sentenced to same kind of crucifixion. One enjoyed mocking Jesus, the other repented for his sins. He received salvation. Luke 23: 42-43, 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

May no one have the experience of the other thief who lost his chance at redemption.

Micah 7:18-19, 18 Who is a God like you,
    who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

This is your Mother, This is your Son

Just imagine the crucifixion of Lord Jesus. There was a huge crowd to witness it. Many high officials ands priests were there to see His crucifixion. In His three and half years of preaching the Good News, Jesus performed several miracles. He raised many from the dead, cured/healed many of their ailments. He touched and healed the lepers whom no one in the society dared to touch. Need to say more??? He gave redemption from sins to may sinners. At the foot of the cross, there stood only five people. Four women, including Mother Mary and His most loved disciple, John.

There are seven conversations that Jesus spoke while on the cross. Three statements to the Father in Heaven. One to the thief on the cross. Rest to those who stood near His cross. The death on the cross is not something that happens immediately. While suffering on the cross Jesus draws our attention not to His suffering, rather towards Father in heaven, the thief on the cross and those who stood around Him. Here we can our Savior who silences His own pain and draws focus to the one above us, below us and those around us.

Pause a moment and just imagine the sight when the Lord looked down from the cross. Mother stood before Him with her battered heart. Two pairs of eyes met each other. A son’s heart bled in pain for His mother, and a mother’s tender heart bled in pain for her son. Jesus saw His favorite disciple, John standing next to His mother. When He saw them He said, John 19:26-27,

26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

Can you imagine the pain, the thoughts, unsaid words and emotions that Mother Mary must have experienced when they placed the lifeless bleeding body of her son Jesus on her lap??? No one can. She must remembered/recalled the words of angel Gabriel, Luke 1: 30-33,  30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” She must have recalled the painful and stabbing words of Simeon, Luke 2:35,…  And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” She must have walked down the memory lane from the moment she took baby Jesus into her arms till her son lay lifeless on her lap.

Our Lord had selected 12 apostles. One of them betrayed Him. One denied/ rejected Him three times. Where were the rest nine apostles??Only the most loved of His apostles stood beneath His cross and followed Him. Hence, he received the blessing of taking care of Mother Mary. Lord Jesus knew very well that the one who loved him so much would love His mother also. Everyone only wanted a Jesus who performed miracles and wonders. Those who proclaimed that we will not leave or forsake you ever, left Him in time of danger.

Jesus was anxious about Mother Mary even at the time of His death. At the wedding at Cana, when mother came to Him for help saying that the wine is over, He said that Hs time has not yet come. Yet later we see that He turns water into wine. He performed his first miracle to fulfill His mother’s wish. Mother Mary had full faith in Jesus, her son. She asked the servants at the wedding to do whatever Jesus says to them. It is to be noticed that the hopes of mother Mary did not go wrong.

It is recorded in the Bible that Jesus first appeared before Mary Magdalene after He rose from the dead. It is impossible to believe that Jesus would give priority to someone other than His mother when He rose again. It is true that no one asked mother about it. Jesus did not really need a womb to be born. Son of the Most High could have descended on earth just like that. Mother Mary was the only virgin deemed fit among women to give birth to Jesus. In the absence of father Joseph, mother Mary was looked after by John. What happened to mother Mary after the death of Jesus. Did she die? If yes, how?? Was she taken up to heaven?? The Bible speaks very little about the mother who gave birth to the Savior of the world. Its a sad truth.

The Lord Loves Us Always

The act of sin is as old as man himself. The Bible teaches us that our Heavenly Father created man in His own image. When He saw that man was all alone He didn’t like it. So He created woman as a companion for man. The Father created the Garden of Eden where man lived without any hard work since the garden was full of trees laden with fruits. They were forbidden to eat the fruit of only one tree which stood in the middle of the garden. He told that if you eat the fruit you will die. He didn’t say they would be punished.

1.The violation of the Lord’s instructions: The Lord had created man with full freedom, filled with only innocence and goodness. In the Lord’s plan there was no place for Hell. The choir of angels then and now, keep singing praises, about the King of angels

Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: Isaiah 6: 2-3

Lucifer and a group of angels instead of praising the Lord, wanted to rise higher than Him. His wings were cut and he was thrust into Hell. The first question on earth was from the Devil. He had asked Eve, He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”(Genesis 3:1-3)

Eve answered, The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”…He way laid Eve into believing that they would not die after eating the fruit rather they would be equivalent to God. She believed the Devil more than the Lord and hence ate the fruit. She gave some to Adam also. they opened the way to Hell having violated the Lord’s instructions.

Man sinned and lost the presence and grace of the Lord. Romans 3:23, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,… Sin had laid claim man and enslaved him. Even after sinning the blessings that the Lord gave our forefathers stayed true. Man has power over all the creation even today. Man was flourishing and is flourishing even today on earth. With that sin too is flourishing.

2.Life for life: The sin that the first parents committed was a grave one before the Heavenly Father. It is the same even today. For this the law that the Lord instated was ‘Life for Life’. Exodus 21:23, 23 But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life

Leviticus 17:11, 11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life.

For a soul to be saved it was mandatory to shed blood. For the forgiveness of sins many offerings were given to the Lord (Leviticus 4,5,6) For the offering it was instructed that one should bring a ox, sheep, ram or dove without defect. The priest would kill the animal on the altar and sprinkle the blood on the altar. Yet it was not enough for the forgiveness of sin because sin was a grave cause. Is there anyone on earth who is free from sins?? Ecclesiastes 7:20, 20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous,
no one who does what is right and never sins.
There is no one who is Holy except the Lord. The blood of one man cannot redeem the sins of another. Hence the redeemer of sins is the Lord Himself.

3. Only the Lord is Holy: How can man be redeemed?? There was only one way before the Lord. The one without any mortal sin was born as man among us on earth. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and not the union of a man and woman. It is the biggest miracle the world has ever seen. Jesus, His son was the replacement that Heavenly Father chose to redeem us from our sins. Just as a father would plead before wicked/cruel men for his child and say spare my child but kill me ,the Heavenly Father sent the Son in place of our sins.

1 Peter 1:18-19, 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Philippians 2:6-9,

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,

Jesus was crucified on the cross. He rose again on the third day. He appeared to the disciples and apostles and strengthened them.

Mathew 20:28, 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

John 3:16, 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

The Lord loved and still loves the world. What about us?? We do not pay attention or give due importance to the suffering of Christ on the cross and the gravity of our sins that caused it. Isn’t it right? No act of charity or sacrifice can redeem us. It is only the grace of God that can save us. True repentance of our sins from the bottom of our hearts only can lead us the transformation. When we carefully examine the Ten Commandments, each one of us can clearly see how many commandments we violate on a daily basis. Those who repent from sins gain redemption.

1 John 1:8-9, If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Luke 16:19… Jesus tells a story. It is not a parable since every time He shares one He clearly mentions so. A rich man lived a luxurious life. Lazarus, a poor beggar covered with sores was in extreme pain and spent his days at the gates of the rich man. Both men died. The rich man was sent to hell while Lazarus went to Heaven. Here Jesus taught us what happens when we die. It is essential that we believe every word of the Lord. Heaven and Hell are not figments of imagination rather a reality after death. Those who accept this and bring their life to order are blessed. Those who do not believe are doomed.

Praise the Lord, Do not insult the Lord

1.David praises the Lord: 2 Samuel 6:2, He and all his men went to Baalah in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. The ark of the covenant was being carried on a new cart. When they came to the threshing floor of Nakon, Uzzah( son of Abinadab) reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled.The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God. Seeing this David was afraid of carrying the ark to the City of David. He took it to the house of Obed-Edom the Gittite. The ark remained in the house for three months. The Lord blessed him and his entire household.

2 Samuel 6:13-15, 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. David danced with all his might before the covenant. His wife, Michal despised this act of his. The reply to her displeasure was, 21 David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. 22 I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” The Lord was with David always.

2.Luke 17:11-19, Jesus Heals Ten Men With Leprosy

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Jesus says to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Seeing him come back Jesus says,

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

3. Michal: Michal, was the youngest daughter of the King of Israel, Saul. Being a princess she was full of herself and was full of pride. Later she became the wife of King David. She despised David in her heart when she saw him dancing before the the ark of the covenant. 20 When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!”(2 Samuel 6) The chapter in this way, 23 And Michal daughter of Saul had no children to the day of her death.

Dear children of God, the Lord loved David a lot. In the Old Testament, and also in many Psalm written by David, he has praised the Lord and all that He has done. He praises the wonderous works of the Lord. Psalm 143:5,

I remember the days of long ago;
    I meditate on all your works
    and consider what your hands have done.

Psalms 23:1, The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Psalm 139:9-10, If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalm 103:13,13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

The Lord blesses each one of us everyday with countless blessings. Every day many people die around the world. People fall sick. Yet the Lord protects us from all. Numerous people become homeless but he blesses us with a roof over our heads. There are many homes where children die due to hunger/lack of food. What about you and me??? Why do we need more???There are many among us who wish to just breathe normally. The talent in one person will not be the talent in another person. We often disregard/ignore the blessings of the Lord thinking it is our right or our own hard work.

When the leper came back to thank Jesus after being healed, Jesus inquires where are the other nine. In the Old Testament we have read about several offerings made to the Lord and Him accepting them. Here the lesson given to us is that the Lord expects gratitude and to give Him honor and glory and praise in all we do.

Dear children of God, the angels praise the Lord from dawn to dusk. Isaiah 6:2-4,

Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

We are all His creation, His children. Let us also join the angels in singing His praises. Is there a Lord like ours??? Think. The Lord deserves all our thanks, praises and glory. Do not let a Michal take seed inside you. If you cannot praise the Lord, do not insult/mock Him either.

Everything we see is His mighty creation.

What caused Michal to despise David and what were the consequences? –  Brooklyn Floyd's JSU Blog

John The Baptist, who prepares the way for Jesus

Luke 1:11-18,11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The gospel of Mark begins with words of prophecy by Isaiah. John appeared preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He baptized people in the river Jordan. John said, I baptize you with water, but he (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord Jesus. John was put into prison. Jesus appeared on the scene soon after that.

Jesus performed many acts as was His work on earth and then returned back to be seated at the right hand of the Father. Prophets had prophesied before the coming of Jesus. Among the prophets the most important is prophet Isaiah. The Lord Jesus has spoken Himself about His second coming. His second coming is confirmed and will happen. The day or time is not known to anyone. Mathew 24:35-36, 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Mark 13:33, 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

There is an end to every creation. There is an end to this world as well. In Genesis 6:13, we read, 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. The result of the anger was the end of the world through the Great Flood. We should also take a moment to ponder and think what will be the end of this world???

Romans 3:10-13,  As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11     there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”

Just look around yourself. The changes in the forces of nature and the widespread increase of evil and its net is a clear indication that the second coming of the Lord is near. If that happens, then what?? It is time to think dear brothers and sisters.

Dear children of God, the Lord gave us Hope before He wen to the Father. Confession/Penance is the way to forgiveness of sins. For eg: the prodigal son, the thief on the cross who received deliverance, the lost lamb, etc. Be alert. See the changes in nature around you and take them as warning for His second coming. Its time to prepare ourselves for Him. With His second coming, there will be coming together of man and God.

1 Thessalonians 4:14,17-18,14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.  18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Saul who became apostle Paul used to persecute believers of Jesus before he found faith in Him. He was then ready to even give up his life for Jesus. He is the best example to see the transformation that happens when a person accepts Jesus in his/her life as their Savior.

Apostle Paul has said in, 2 Timothy 4:7, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. May each child of God be able to proclaim this. Yes we can. Say and ask this openly from the Lord Jesus. He will come and transform you.

The Lord gave sight to the Blind

Mark 10:51-52,51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” 52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

When Jesus approached Jericho with his disciples, a huge crowd followed Him. He healed a blind man there and gave him sight. Here it is to be noticed that the name of the person healed is given and also that of his father. It is an exception from the many nameless people Jesus healed, only he is named, Bartimaeus.

1.Sitting by the roadside: Be it by the side of the roadside or some place else, a beggar is always insulted and ill treated by the society. They are treated as low as animals. People who rush them away are also not few. It is not possible that by the roadside Bartimaeus was alone begging. Yet he was the only one who was healed. Even though he was physically blind, his inner eye or the eye of the soul was open. He sensed the approach of the Son of God, Jesus by the shouts of the crowd. Instead of waiting for another opportunity to come his way he shouted as loud as he could to grab Jesus’ attention. Whenever someone has shouted, pleaded and compelled/ insisted for healing, he/she has been healed by the grace of the Lord. Our forefather Jacob too compelled the angel of the Lord to bless him or else he would not let the angel go. It was there that Jacob was blessed and named Israel.

2.Son Of David: Even though Bartimaeus was blind, he called upon Jesus as Son of David. Mark 10:48, 48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Even though physically blind, he was hopeful about the day when Son of David, our Lord Jesus will rule as King on the throne one day. He proclaimed the same when he called upon the Lord.

3. He shouted: The Bible says that all those sought the grace and mercy of the Lord have shouted and prayed to the Lord. He hears them and has given them healing. For eg: the children of Israel, Hagar and Ishmael, Samson, etc. These are people who made the impossible happen. Even though Bartimaeus was blind he did not seek the help from others, neither was he dependent on anyone.

Psalm 118:8-9, It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.

We can always see that there is a crowd following wherever Jesus goes. Yet there is a crowd who always walk in front of Him. Some of them rebuked Bartimaeus and asked him to keep quiet. These people who walk in front are barrier to the grace that reaches ordinary man. These are self certified God men who feel that just because they have walked in front and behind Jesus for a while they know Him too well. To reach and stand before the presence of the Lord one does not require any special qualifications.

4.Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”: The shout and pleading of Bartimaeus was such that it stopped Jesus in His tracks and made Him turn towards him. The Lord said, “Call him”. The ones who rebuked him must have been the ones who brought him to Jesus. First they acted smart and later became fools. These people should understand that Jesus is not someone’s personal property. All those who have faith in Him and shout to Him will definitely receive grace.

5. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him: The reply to this was, The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Rabbi means teacher in Hebrew. It did not take much time for his faith to lead him from Son of God/David to Rabbi. When Bartimaeus heard Jesus call him, he threw aside his cloak and rushed towards Jesus. Here we can learn a valuable lesson that when the Lord calls, we would have to give up certain cloaks we wear. We need to put down things that pull us backwards towards out former life.

It is not enough to just have faith, one should also proclaim it from the lips and pray out aloud. Bartimaeus followed Jesus is what we read in the Bible. The message we receive here that we should not sit down after receiving His grace rather we should follow Jesus. Many people must have seen the blind man. He became a witness to the Lord, following Jesus. All those who saw him believed in the Grace of the Lord.

AMEN

Be faithful even during trials

Jeremiah 29:11, 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Young Joseph was the most loved among the children by Jacob. Due to this reason, his other ten brothers harbored hatred in their heart against him. When Joseph came to the place where they led their flock for pasture to enquire about their welfare, they threw him into an empty well. When they saw Egyptian merchants going that way they sold him for 20 silver coins. Joseph being sold as slave reached the house of Potiphar in Egypt. Potiphar’s wife was attracted to the youth and vigor of Joseph and tried to seduce him. But Joseph refused to accept her advances. So she had him put in prison on the false grounds that he had tried to molest her.

Two servants of the Pharaoh were also in prison. One night the two servants had a dream. The dream seen by the chief baker was not pleasant, whereas the dream seen by the chief cupbearer was good. Joseph was able to explain their dreams well. When he had told them the meaning of their dreams he said to the cup bearer, Genesis 40:14, 14 But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.

For two long years Joseph spent his day and night in the prison not knowing what would become of him and his future. The Pharaoh saw a dream which meant that the land was to face a huge famine in the coming years. Genesis 40:8, In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him. At that moment the cupbearer remembered Joseph and how he had correctly interpreted his dream. He told the Pharaoh about Joseph and how he had interpreted the dream. Joseph was brought out of the prison. It was not the Lord’s plan to let Joseph die in the prison. Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh’s dream with the Lord’s blessing.

Genesis 40: 25-32, 25 Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26 The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27 The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

28 “It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29 Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30 but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31 The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32 The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

The Pharaoh was pleased with Joseph’s interpretation and made him the in charge of all the land of Egypt. The land was ravished by the famine. The grains that was stocked in the storehouses in Egypt began to be sold. Jacob, Joseph’s father too heard about this. He then sent Joseph’s elder brothers to buy grain from the storehouses in Egypt. Joseph immediately recognized his brothers but they did not recognize him. Instead they knelt down before him. Genesis 42:6, So when Joseph’s brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. Joseph says to his brothers in Genesis 45:5, And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 

Be it the PM or President of a nation, chief minister or leader, rich or poor, it is all the Lord’s plan. It was not Joseph’s doing that he reached Egypt, the Lord had brought him there. Joseph was hated by his brothers. He was put in an empty well and later sold as slave. He had no friends or relatives. He was all alone in the prison without any fault. Those who should have thought about him did not remember him. When Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him he says to her, Genesis 39, 8-10, But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 

When Joseph reached the house of Potiphar he was a young boy, but he did not sin or fall into temptations. He selected the prison instead of sinning and gaining worldly pleasures. The result was that he was blessed by the Lord for his steadfast faith. The Lord brought him up out of the prison and made him the whole in charge.

Let me share a story. In the early days, birds did not fly. They used to crawl or slither. Seeing their pitiable condition, the ever compassionate Lord made something sprout out from their two sides according to their size and weight. The birds were scared. they pleaded with God to take them away. But the Lord commanded, ‘Bear it’. Suddenly, when the birds started to flap their sides, they rose into the air. What at first seemed fearful weights, were actually gift of wings to lift them up and help them rise high into the sky. They soon realized this.

This is just a mere story but the lesson it gives is valuable. The huge ships on the seas and oceans can cross large waves and storms. The Lord does not give us anything that we cannot handle. If He gives us trials and tribulations it to test us and purify us and makes us shine like gold.

Face challenges in the name of the Lord

1.Moses: The number of Israelites increased a lot. Egypt was filled with them. The pharaoh became scared seeing their number. The pharaoh ordered the housewives to kill Hebrew boys and let girls live. Exodus 1:15-16, 15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.” But the housewives feared the Lord and let them live. Exodus1:17,  17 The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. It was during this time that Moses was born. The Lord has a plan for Moses. He rescued Moses and brought him to the palace where the king’s daughter brought him up as her own.

The Pharaoh began to torture and ill treat the Israelites. Moses used to stammer while speaking. Lord appeared before Moses and said to him ‘I have heard the cries of my people, Israelites and have selected you to deliver them from the hands of the Egyptians.’ Moses began counting his shortcomings to escape from the task. Exodus 7:1, Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. The Lord worked many wonderous things through Moses and brought put Israelites from Egyptian slavery and bondage.

The Israelites who believed that all their problems were over had to cross the Red Sea. The army of Pharaoh were behind them. Moses too was scared seeing them. Exodus 14:13-16, 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 

Moses who considered himself a stutter and weak, brought the people of Israelites out of Egyptian bondage in the name of the Lord. He delivered them from the hands of the Pharaoh having challenged him and delivered them.

2.David: God’s people, the Israelites were being constantly humiliated and mocked by a Philistine giant and fighter, Goliath. The king of Israel, Saul and his army combined were afraid of Goliath. Saul was ready to give his daughter in marriage and half his kingdom to anyone who killed Goliath. David was a young boy and shepherd. His elder three brothers were also part of Saul’s army. David’s father, Jericho sent him with some food for his elder brothers and also to enquire about their welfare to the place where the army had camped.

David having arrived at the army camp looked around and enquired about what was happening there. He decided that he would kill the one who insulted the Lord. His elder three brothers and Saul tried to dissuade him from this task. Yet they were not able to change his decision. 1 Samuel 17:40,  40 Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. David approached Goliath who humiliated him for his puny size before him. But David answered Exodus 17:45-46, 45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. How did he slay the giant?

Exodus 17:49-51, 49 Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.

50 So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.

51 David ran and stood over him. He took hold of the Philistine’s sword and drew it from the sheath. After he killed him, he cut off his head with the sword.

Moses who had his shortcomings challenged the mighty Pharaoh. He delivered the Israelites from his hands and brought them to the promised land of Canaan. Without any prior knowledge pf army/warfare and without any weapons the young boy David slayed the giant Goliath in the name of the Lord. He killed the giant within seconds before King Saul and his army in the Lord’s name.

Dear children of God, just like them, the Lord has plans for each one of us. Moses and David were victorious because of their trust and faith in the Lord. The people whom the Lord selects are led by Him always. Exodus 3:12, 12 And God said, “I will be with you.

Jeremiah 32:27, 27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?