Two criminals on the Cross

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Luke 23:32-33, 32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left.

The gospel of Luke clearly mentions that Jesus was crucified along with two criminals. Jesus prays for those who persecute Him, praying,’ Father please forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’ The soldiers cast lots for the clothes of Jesus. A huge crowd gathered to watch the crucifixion. The people, rulers and soldiers, all mocked Him. Luke: 23: 35,They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”

38 There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the Jews.

The criminal on the left hurled insults on Jesus just like the others and made fun of Him. On the other hand, the criminal on the right was observing Jesus who was calm since the time the soldiers had stripped Him of His clothes and nailed Him for crucifixion. He was touched by the words others hurled at Jesus: Messiah, The one who saved others. He had noticed the calm and tranquility on the face of Jesus befitting a King, even when He was in the midst of immense pain from the nails, whippings and the crucifixion.

The criminal on the right said, 40 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.” Though a criminal, there was still fear of God in him. He made the other criminal realize that they were being punished justly for their evil deeds, whereas Jesus had nothing wrong. Jesus was innocent. The criminal on the right believed and accepted all that he had heard and was hearing. He believed in his heart all that he saw before him with Jesus on the cross. With the full faith in his heart, the criminal accepted Jesus as the Son of God and Deliverer of sins. 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 salvation which the criminal on the right received is the most spoken about in sermons and also in prayers. Dear children of God, when you sit down for prayer remember that the Lord paid the price for our souls through His persecution and crucifixion. Remember His agony and pain at the cross. Let us pray that the Lord may forgive us our sins just as He forgave the criminal on the cross who repented for his sins from his heart. The word of God teaches us that those who believe that Christ came down from heaven for the deliverance of our sins and bore all the pains for our sins would receive salvation.

Romans 3:23,23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 6:23, 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is to be clearly understood that death here means the death of the soul which is serious. Ephesians 2:8, For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Hebrews 6:4-8,It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.

There were two criminals who were crucified with Jesus, yet only received salvation and forgiveness for his sins. Jesus has said be alert for my coming.

Dear children of God, true repentance comes form the heart and leads to forgiveness of sins is what the Bible teaches us through various incidents. Hebrews 6:19,19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,

Pray without giving up

Pray and never give up. Luke 18:1-8. Parable Jesus told of the widow and  the unjust judge. | Pray quotes, Spiritual prayers, Pray

Luke 18:1-8,Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Once a young man hearing a sermon repented and began his walk towards salvation. The boy began to pray daily on his knees for his wayward and drunkard father. Our Lord who answers every prayer heard the boy’s prayer too.

One day the father called the boy and asked him, ‘Son the trousers you are wearing is not too old. How come they are torn and tattered near the knees?’ The boy became nervous and scared that the father may hit him, and replied in a weak voice, ‘Father, please forgive me. I have been praying daily on my knees for you to return from your drunken ways towards salvation. That is why they are torn near the knees.’ The words of his son were like a stab into his heart. The father repented from his ways.

Here I would like to ponder over the Bible passage given above: Luke 18:7-8,And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. 

In today’s time of technological advancement where everything is available at the touch of a button. Man does not like to wait for things. The Lord teaches us to pray without giving up in pursuit. Sleep and exhaustion while sitting to pray is not just something which the common man experiences. The disciples too experienced it when they were with Jesus. When Jesus took His disciples with Him to pray with Him while He was in pain, they went to sleep. Colossians 4:2, Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

How did Bartimaeus gain sight? Even though everyone around him asked to keep quiet he shouted his lungs out calling upon Jesus to heal him. Jesus heard him and gave him sight. John 15:7, If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. Faith is like a vessel with holes which when immersed in another vessel filled with water gets filled with water.

Sometimes our prayers are unanswered because they are only from the lips and not from the heart. Another reason is that we don’t pray in faith that our prayers will be answered. Mark 11:24, 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

In John 1:12, 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God… Each child has the right to persist their father for their needs. Our Father in heaven too wants us to do that. He wants us to pray to Him persistently.

Each prayer is a battle against the enemy. He tries to distract us in our prayer and pollute our prayer through worldly thoughts. When you sit down to pray, you should pray from your heart and soul. The Father of believers, Abraham was blessed with a son in his advanced age. High priest Zechariah too was blessed with John the Baptist in his old age. One should not forget that they were both righteous in the eyes of the Lord.

How did Peter escape from the prison? Acts 12:5, So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him. When Peter was put into prison, the church united in prayer for him. In the same way when we pray for other He listens to our prayers. The Son of God not only talked about the power of prayer but He also led by example. Who needs prayer more, Jesus or us??? The Bible teaches us to pray with faith. James 1:6, But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. Jesus continued the relationship with Father in heaven through prayer.

1 Peter 3: 12, 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
    and his ears are attentive to their prayer,

Do not let the light within you be darkness

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Once a man who signaled the junction where a road and railway track met went to sleep while on duty. At night he woke up suddenly when he heard a train approaching. The sight he saw was heart wrenching. Just as the train was approaching closer, a jeep full of people was coming closer too by the road. He did his level best to inform about the approaching train and held the signal lantern high up in the sky. All the people who were in the jeep died. Some people on the train too suffered severe injuries. The man was arrested and brought up before a judge for negligence at job. The lawyer from opposite side questioned the man and asked did you raise the signal lantern to alert the people on the jeep? The man answered yes in response, yet inside his heart he said yes I raised the signal lantern but only I know that I had forgotten to lit the lantern due to sleep. If I tell the truth I will be sentenced. The lantern which should have been lit whole night was not lit and he was sleeping while on duty. Luke 11:35, See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness.

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says in 11:33-36,33 “No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. 35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. 36 Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

It is to be noticed that Jesus says that the light we lit should be visible to those who come in. The life of a candle is so less. Yet the light from a candle can brighten up a whole room. It also helps us light several other candles and lanterns.

Lord Jesus has said that the eyes are the lamp of the body. Hence if the eyes are the unhealthy then they bring darkness within the body. In James 3:2We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. We read here that anyone who has his/her tongue in control has the body in control. Thus if the eyes and tongue are in check, then the body will be healthy always.

While walking what we pay attention to is what stays with us. It is not the sights from outside that pollute the mind. It the polluted thoughts in our mind that seek alike visuals. How careful are we in keeping our mind and body pure and in keeping the light within us from dying??? If you happen to see something that pollutes the eyes and mind and you are someone who does not like that, you will automatically distract yourself from such things. In the same way, those who like such polluted visuals and thoughts will keep coming back to them. It will stay in their mind forever. The Devil makes use of this golden opportunity. Butterflies keep hovering around seeking flowers for nectar. The moths and bugs destroy the flowers. If you want to improve your sight it will not help to get rid of your spectacles, you need to keep your heart/mind clean and pure. The best way to do that is to read the Word of God.

David’s son Amnon had a beautiful daughter Tamar(2 Samuel 13:2-14). They were born of two different mothers. Amnon was attracted by the beauty of Tamar. In his lust he disgraced and violated her. In his ardor, Amnon saw his own half sister as mere woman and not his blood relation. He forgot the relation between them. The desire of the eyes turned into the desire of the body. Amnon hence due to his act is known as a molester, name tarnished.

The example of Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples teaches us that the light within us can die anytime. Luke 22:3, Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. Even he spent most of his time with the Son of God, he opened a window for the Devil to enter him. Judas did not succeed in receiving some light from Jesus, the light of the world. The desire for wealth and power blinded him. James 1:21-22, 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

If the oil within a lamp finishes we pour more oil into it. If a bulb is fused we replace it with a new one. Let keep the light within us burning bright by introspecting our heart, mind and soul from time to time. May the Holy Spirit strengthen each child of God in this journey. Amen.

Psalms 51:10,10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Lack of faith is a hurdle to blessings

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Mark 9:14, In this passage we read that the disciples were unable to drive out demon from a boy who was possessed. Jesus rebukes them saying that they were unable to do so due to their lack of belief. Mark 4:19,19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?

Let me share a story with you. There was a man named Mathew in a town. He wanted to start a fishing business. He had invited several people for the opening of his shop. People gave many feedback for the board outside his shop. He kept changing them according to the feedback received. The onlookers mocked him when Mathew kept changing the signboard every other day. They then came to him and said that you don’t seem to stick to one signboard, and asked him to just use one signboard that said “Fish available here”. A group of firm believers asked him to have firm faith for our Lord is one who can fill the net in one go. they asked him to have faith and begin his business. Mathew did as they said. His business flourished. James 1:6-8, But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

In Mark 9:14 onwards we read about a father who brought his demon possessed son who had also lost his speech to Jesus’ disciples. He pleaded with them to heal his son. It is rather sad that he lacked patience to wait for Jesus and went straight to his disciples. But they were unable to cure the child. This gave birth to the seed of doubt in the father. The father says to Jesus that your disciples failed to heal my son. If you can do anything then have pity on us and heal my son. Jesus replies, Mark 9:23,23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

In John 11:40, 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” Jesus said these words to Martha when he reached after Lazarus’ death and raised him from the dead.

Jesus ordered the spirit inside the boy to leave the boy immediately. The spirit left the child.

In this passage from the Bible we can see two groups of people who are always in two mind. The first is the father of the demon possessed child. Just because the disciples were unable to heal the child he doubted that would Jesus be able to heal too!! But soon he wanted to correct himself. The man replies to Jesus, 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

The second group are the disciples of Jesus. When Jesus was alone with His disciples, they asked Him why they were unable to heal the boy. Jesus replies, 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.

Hebrews 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Mathew 13:58,58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Jesus did not perform any miracles in His own hometown because they lacked faith in Him. It is normal to falter in one’s faith. Jesus’ disciples too faltered in their faith even though they were with Jesus always.

Mark 4:35 onwards we read about Jesus calming the storm. When Jesus calms the storm He is angry with His disciples and says to them, 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Mathew 8:26, 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

When Peter saw Jesus walking on water, he too desired to do the same. Till the time he had his eyes set on Jesus he kept walking confidently. The moment his look faltered and he saw the sea, he started to drown. Mathew 14:31, 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” This is what we too face in our daily lives. Like Peter, the disciples and the father we do not have our eyes set on the Lord. Instead our eyes rover all over the world and hence we too are sinking.

In the book of Genesis we can see a believing man. Father Noah was instructed by the Lord to build an ark since He was going to destroy the world with a flood. He was asked to gather animals and birds of all kinds into the ark. Normally a boat or ship is built near a river bank or near a sea shore. Noah built the ark at the very spot where he received the instructions from the Lord. Noah had not seen the Lord, he only heard His voice. His form faith in the Lord saved him and his family(total eight people), whereas the whole world was destroyed. The earth was filled once again from his lineage. But at the time of building the ark he and his family must have been ridiculed by the people. The experience of Noah gives us an important lesson. Our faith can pave way to a chest of blessings for our childrem.

Dear children of God, when our faith is weak or dead. It is difficult to receive grace and blessing from the Lord. We receive blessings on the basis of how firm is our faith in the Lord. We set a life distinct from others through life with firm and unshakeable faith which speaks that I have blind faith in my Lord and I trust in Him always. Let us pray to the Lord to bless us with a steadfast heart and faith, so that Doubt/Devil do not rob us of our faith.

Amen.

Sin: Reason for God’s Wrath

God's Wrath - What Does It Mean?

Exodus 15:26, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases…for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Can sin be the reason for God’s wrath? Yes, the word of God tell us too. Adam and Eve sinned and brought upon the whole mankind the anger of God. Cain sinned and angered God. The whole of mankind sinned thereby angering God and bringing upon the Great Flood. The righteous Noah and his family were the only ones saved. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah sinned and only Lot and his daughters were saved.

Deuteronomy 5:10, 10 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Deuteronomy 4:7, What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord our God is near us whenever we pray to him?

The word of God teaches us that when we come closer to God, He also comes closer to us and cares and protects us always. 2020 is over and we now stand in 2021. Last year was filled with fear, sorrows and hardships. Haven’t such hardships come before?? Yes, they have. Today’s generations lacks many of the good habits that our forefathers had. Every morning and evening they used to praise and adore the Lord with full submission. Man has advanced in all respects. That is also necessary. With the advancements injustice and sins have also increased. This is what has angered the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:17,17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” This is what the man of today thinks. The Lord has been pushed out of personal and family life. Guilt, conscience or knowledge of sins is long lost in mankind.

Not just man today but even our forefathers have never faced a situation like this where the place of worship has stayed closed for so long. Just think to yourself, what is the reason behind this? Can’t we see a visible change in man?

Amos 4:6,“I gave you empty stomachs in every city
    and lack of bread in every town,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

We as humans do everything in our capacity to fulfill all needs of our children. We insist that our children respect and obey us. We also punish our children for their disobedience. So, we who are mere dust, yet protected and cared for by the Lord, should we obey our Father in heaven??? Is it wrong on His part to desire purity in our personal and family lives??? He delivered us from our sins through the sacrifice of His own beloved son for us.

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.

Even though God shows His wrath, He loves us immensely. He decided to destroy the city of Nineveh, but sent Jonah for bringing a change of heart and brought them back to Him. This is what has been lost from His children-fasting, prayer and repentance.

There is a question keeps arising in my mind: Is the second coming of the Lord near?? What do the signs of the time tell us?? The Lord Jesus before His crucifixion gave clear instructions about His second coming.

Mathew 24:7,12,44: Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,

44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

An evangelist in his sermon once said, The Lord became man, but when will man become man/human?? Meaning, God gave man intelligence and logic. Yet man is not using it well.

Moses was the only blessed one who not only heard the voice of the Lord but also saw the back of the Lord.

Exodus 33:23, 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

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 what happened for Moses, just think what would happen for us?? We love both the Lord and the world. The serpent is most active is current times. Revelation 12:1212 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
    and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
    because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
    because he knows that his time is short.”

Revelation 2:21, 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.

Dear children of God its time to pay attention to the warning and pay heed to them. We need to make changes to our lifestyle according to the word of God. Isn’t it time yet??? The new year has just started, let us make changes in lives now. Let us forsake/remove what we need to and make determined decisions where we need to.

Mathew 24:44, 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

Joshua 1:8, Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Joshua 3:5, Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.”

Righteous Joseph

Consecration to St. Joseph III: St. Joseph's Staff! - ATX Catholic

The Bible does not provide us with much information about the foster father of Jesus, Joseph. the gospels of Mathew and Luke though do speak about the genealogy of Joseph. He was from the lineage of David is what we understand. Let us now observe two nature characteristics of Joseph that sets him apart.

1.The ideal husband: Mary was taken to the temple and dedicated to the Lord by the god fearing couple Joachim and Anne at the age of three. According to the customs in those times she was betrothed at the age of twelve by the priest in the temple. Different chronicles cite that many suitable youth were called to the temple at that time. Each young man had to take a staff in his hand. The priest then took these staffs from the young men and went inside to pray to the Lord. He then returned the staff to the respective men. It was a miracle that lily flowers bloomed on top of Joseph’s staff. Seeing this miracle as a sign from God, the priest chose Joseph as husband for Mary.

The marriage between Mary and Joseph was decided. Before their marriage was solemnized Mary was filled with Holy Spirit and was with Jesus. Hearing this news, Joseph was highly perturbed and sad and pain. He was in confusion about the turn of events. It is obvious that as a couple betrothed he must have had dreams about his married life. He must have made several plans too. The unexpected turn of events brought Joseph into a fix as to abandon Mary or to accept her. If he rejects publicly then according to law of Moses she would be stoned to death at her father’s house.

Good and righteous Joseph decided to take the blame upon himself. The Bible says that Joseph decides to abandon quietly. Mathew 1:19, 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. We can only guess that he must have thought of leaving the place discreetly to protect Mary’s honor. In the absence of Joseph, Mary would be seen as a victim and treated with sympathy and tenderness by the people. Her parents would take care of her in their home, this must have been the thought in Joseph’s mind. What would an ordinary young man do in such a situation, just think??And in current scenario what would have happened have you paused to think??? Would a young man today accept a pregnancy that is not his??

Joseph receives a vision from the Heavenly Father telling him that she will conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit and he need not be afraid. Mathew 1:20, 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Priest Zechariah had asked for a sign from the angel of God. Mary being a virgin puts forward her doubt as to how could she conceive. Joseph was not aware of the Holy Spirit. It is through Jesus that the world knows the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit-the Trinity. Joseph did not express any doubt and accepted the vision by the angel and did what he was told. He accepted Mary as his wife. But being a righteous man Mathew 1:25, 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. He was the ideal husband and the Bible calls him a righteous man.

2. The one who followed the law of the Lord: Joseph followed the law of the Lord with full dedication and submission. The Savior was born in Bethlehem. After the three wise men and shepherds had visited Baby Jesus. Joseph had another vision from the Lord, Mathew 2:13-14, 13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,.. That night itself Joseph took Mary and Baby Jesus to Egypt. Then the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph twice again when he was in Egypt and then again when he was in Israel. Following the orders without any doubt he left for Galilee in Nazareth, with Mary and Jesus. Mathew 2:19-23.

The Bible does not tell us much about father Joseph. But what we can gather from different chronicles about him is that he was a righteous man, ideal man, one who was faithful to the Law. We can believe that it was these qualities that set him apart from the men of his time and he was ordained the task of looking after and nurturing our savior Lord Jesus Christ. It is obvious that the one who raises the Son of God would have exceptional qualities himself.

Dear children of God, let us ask ourselves that if God were to look upon us what qualities would He find in us. the Bible tells us that Heavenly Father selects several people for His plans. Let us ask ourselves, are we worthy and capable enough to carry out His plans??? 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. When a child is born, be it a boy or girl, the Lord has plans for him/her. But as humans we have become selfish and have become intertwined in the snares of material possession and make our children also run only towards fulfilling these goals. Many a times the result of the run is big failure. Dear children of God let us submit our desires before the Lord and pray to Him that may His will be done and not ours. No one is capable of saying yes to what God says No and no to what God says Yes. The decisions we take out of the stubborn human nature does not become successful. Hence pause, think if you follow like Joseph or go astray???

Jesus was born among the humble/meek

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Matthew 11:29, I am gentle and humble in heart, said Jesus. Jesus not only said this but proved it also by being born in a humble manger. Jesus was in Bethlehem. Bethlehem means , “House of Bread“. The Living Bread was born in Bethlehem.

1.Jesus was born among the meek: Isaiah 49:16, See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. The Bible teaches us Father created us in His own image and has our names written in the palms of His hand. Yet angel Gabriel did not say, Hail be to you, Mary. Mary was the daughter of Joachim and Anne. Gabriel says to her in Luke 1, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” He goes on to say, “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. Being a virgin the only thought that came across Mary was , 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

To this, 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

The humble Mary answered, 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Rejoicing in the blessing she received Mary sings to the Lord praising, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. This humility was the reason why the angel of the Lord comes to her and says that you are favored by the Lord.

2.The Holy Spirit moves from one person to another: Elizabeth’s condition was highly pitiful. Those times were not transport friendly, Mary hurried to the side of Elizabeth. At that time Elizabeth was pregnant and for five months had remained in seclusion. Mary greeted her cousin Elizabeth and 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. What a wonderful greeting was this??? What an experience??? Mary sang filled with gladness in her heart in Luke 1:46-55,“My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Till the end of time, the world will proclaim her holy and call and adore her as the Mother of God.

3.The downtrodden of the society got the chance to see Jesus: The angel of the Lord did not appear before the Kings or High Priests. Instead the angel appeared first before the downtrodden or lowest strata of society, the shepherds. It was before them the host of angels sand the Good News. The only thing that the shepherds owned were their flock. They were wanderers and did not have any permanent place to live. They moved from place to place in search of new and greener pastures.

Let us imagine the happening. A cold wintry night, the humble shepherd folks are gathered around the burning fire to ward off the cold winds. Suddenly a light flashed before them equivalent to 1000 stars together. From that light there appeared and angel of the Lord. They must have been terrified and amazed at the sight. In their ignorance they must have thought it is some kind of unknown prey that has come to attack their sheep. Immediately there came upon them a melodious voice that soothed away their fears. Luke 2: 10-14, 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

That divine vision left them after sharing the Good News.

Luke 2:15, 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” As soon they heard the Good News they left for Bethlehem to see baby Jesus.

2 Corinthians 5:7, For we live by faith, not by sight.

4. The hard hearted inn keeper: Even today we say that the Saviour did not get a place to be born. The inn keeper did not make use of the blessed opportunity that came his way. The inn keeper denied the chance to be the protector of the parents of the Saviour of the world. He was filled with pride at his position and his heart was hardened. Hebrews 13:2, Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Dear children of God father Abraham received the blessing of Isaac from the angel of the Lord when he showed hospitality. Galatians 3:9, So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Let me share with you a world known play. Children once were performing the Nativity play. The child playing the role of the inn keeper after denying entrance to Mary and Joseph broke down into bitter tears and cried out loud, ‘I will give you place to stay at my home. The Savior, baby Jesus will be born in my house.’ Everyone present broke into silent tears seeing the child’s innocence and love for Jesus.

This Christmas may we too keep inside us some of the innocence and love of that child within ourselves also.

The God who loves man

Power of the Blood of Jesus Christ – Bethel Articles

1 John 1:7, …the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

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.

Each one of us loves someone; parents, wife, husband, children. The list goes on. But the Bible says about God’s love as Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Like 2000 years ago, wouldn’t it be enough to offer sacrifice/offering to the Lord like our forefathers?? Why did the Holy one become the lamb of sacrifice??? The reason is that none of the offerings were pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. 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.

The Lord saw that the offering of bulls, goats or lambs were not enough to atone for the sins of man. Yet there is no one born on earth who has not sinned. Romans 3:23, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,.

Ecclesiastes 7:20, 20 Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Hence, the blood of a man cannot atone for the sin of another. To wash away the sins of a sinner the blood of the holy one is required.

Ephesians 1:4-7, For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace

The Holy Bible teaches us that it is only the Lord who is called upon as the holy one, Isaiah 6:3, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

The Son of God was born without mortal sin, conceived by the Holy Spirit through a virgin, named Mary. Matthew 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.” The predecessor to Jesus, John the Baptist says this about Jesus, John 1:29, …“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”.

1 John 1:7, … the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

We have heard often about kidnapping and abduction for ransom. Rich industrialist, famous people are abducted in exchange of release of criminals or for money. For us, in exchange of deliverance from sins, Heavenly Father gave up His only Son. 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.”

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. 

1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Timothy 2:6, who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

In this way, Heavenly Father gave up His only Son for our salvation? What love is this?? 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.

John 3:36, 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

God, our Father loves us all. But what can we do for Him?? Acts 16:31, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” This is not something that should be word say, but accept it in your heart that for us He suffered on the cross. Take it into your heart and try not to wipe it away or tarnish it with your sins.

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. Believe this from your heart and repent from your sins. There is no expense from our side since it is the love, compassion and mercy of the Lord. It not because of our own actions but grace of God. Repent and repeat it from your heart: Wash away my iniquities with your holy blood and make me clean. Let us try to lead a life away from sin. May this be our offering to the Lord for the love and mercy He showed us.

Are you giving the Saviour the glory He deserves?

Pin by Cherie Stiles on YHVH,,The Savior of the World! | Jesus pictures,  Bible pictures, Christian art

Every year when December approaches there is a joy in everyone’s heart that cannot be explained. Once again we can celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the world. John 15:13, 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. The world saw eternal love through Jesus Christ. Why did Jesus leave heaven and come down to earth? To bear my sins. To deliver me from sins. To deliver and give salvation to not just me but to all those who believes in Him. In Genesis, Eve gave more importance to the words of Satan rather than Father in heaven. Through her, the enemy got the chance to control man. But Father could not forsake His children even then. That day Father in Heaven developed the plan to deliver man from the deep pit of sin. Genesis 3:15, 15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

Jesus says in John 5:30, 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

Philippians 2:6-8,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!

The one who came to save us was mercilessly persecuted and crucified by the sinners. Yet He delivered us from our sins through His death and resurrection. When the time comes for Christmas it is impossible not to remember the suffering of the Lord on the cross along with His birth.

Heavenly Father loved you and me more than His only Son. Today though Christmas has been reduced to a commercialized celebration. It is meaningless now. The Son of God is the God of righteousness. We experience the sun in several ways. In the same way we can experience the Lord. For some He is the rising sun. Yet for some He is like the scorching afternoon sun(sinners). For some He is like the beautiful evening sun. Yet He is the Hope for everyone since He is there like the sun which will rise again next day.

Earlier, family used to get together to decorate the house, set up the Christmas tree, put up the Christmas crib and hang up the star. There was a feeling of spirituality and connection with the divine one. Today even there we can see commerce and business attitude of people. Everything is on automation mode. Use and throw mentality has taken root here also. Think haven’t our relationships too reached this stage?

When we celebrate the birthday of the Saviour, we come to a compromise with the enemy who deceived Eve and Cain. We arrange the stage/platform for him to act upon. Jesus then happens to stand outside our doors. Christmas is celebrated in a way that shouldn’t be and in places it shouldn’t be celebrated. Today think those who sing ‘Glory to God in highest’ , actually give glory to whom? The Son of God taught us to love one another and set an example for us in Calvary. There were only two brother in the beginning. The elder one asks Heavenly Father, ‘Am I brother’s keeper?’ (Genesis 4:9). Today he has sown the same seed in all homes. The painful truth is that we ourselves gave him the opportunity to sow the seed inside our homes.

Satan did not take Jesus inside the temple, instead he took Him to the top of the temple. Matthew 4:3,  The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God…Satan tries to instill not only doubt in the Son of God but also to lead Him astray from the duty given to Him. He tries to achieve his task easily through a miraculous wonder. Dear children of God, Good News is not a miracle. It is the reflection of God’s love for you and me. Dear children of God beware the one who tried to tempt the Son of God, we do not know in what form/shape he will come before us. Today the children of the world hear and accept the good news of the world. Children of God listen to the Good News from Heaven. Mary, an ordinary young girl heard and believed the words of the angel of God and is now glorified and worshipped as the Mother of the Saviour. The shepherd who had nothing upon them like a new born child, heard the good news about the birth of Jesus. They went and saw Him and showed the way through their songs of praise. The three wise men saw the sign(star), discussed among themselves but did not sit down. They followed the star and reached the manger and saw Jesus. Today think on this Christmas whose face is it that we show to the world?

Jesus was born in a manger.2 Corinthians 8:9,For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. Jesus bore the cross, was crucified and taught us the lesson of tolerance. He then instructed us to carry our own cross with joy. The bread of life lives among us as the bread. John 8:12, 12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Matthew 5:14, 14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

This Christmas think that we the light of the world show whose face to the world: the Light of the world or the Enemy??? It should not be the prince of Darkness. Christmas is incomplete without thinking about the defeat of the enemy on the cross along with the humble birth of Jesus.

Merry Christmas to you, brothers and sisters.

The Savior of the world in a manger

Luke 2:1,In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth at the time of census. Joseph belonged to the house and line of David hence had to come to Bethlehem to register himself and Mary. At that time Mary was pregnant conceived by the Holy Spirit. When they reached Bethlehem the time for the baby to be born drew near. Since everyone had reached to register for the census, they could not find a place to stay. Luke 2:7,and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. No one knew the birth of the Savior at that time.

John 1:18,No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known. Yet that night angels appeared to shepherds tending their flock and shared this good news with them. Luke 2:10-12,10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Isaiah 9:6, For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

That night a heavenly star appeared in the sky and guided three wise men to the manger where the Savior was born. Both the shepherds and the wise men kneeled in adoration and reverence before the baby Jesus. Why was this extraordinary baby born??

1.God’s love: Each child born on earth has a father that he/she can point to. For Jesus, His home and father were in heaven. He took flesh to show how much the Father in heaven loved His children. 1 John 4:10, 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

John 1:12, 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God..

2. Peace: Humans have this foolish thought that by their brains and skills they can acquire peace for themselves. But it is not true. The night Jesus was born, the shepherds received a message from heaven, Luke 2:14, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Peace is found inside the heart, it cannot be satisfied by the forces of the outside world. The rich do not have peace of mind. Those who have too much wealth and possession are also not at peace. Even if one has the best of education and job, one does not have peace of mind. Peace is not a product that one can buy with money from a mall or shop. The Bible teaches us that those who receive Jesus into their lives have peace in heart and mind. Today millions advocate openly and proclaim that having received Jesus as their Savior they have felt a calm and tranquil that they never experienced before. 1 Timothy 6:6-10,But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

John 16:33, 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The root cause of discontent is sin. First parents were unaware of peace or disturbing thoughts since they were innocent like infants, born in God’s image. Eve did not even think that her one action of eating the forbidden fruit would have such dire consequences. That was the beginning of sin in the world and also of chaos. It continues till date. God has given each one of free will as to how we want to lead our lives. What do you want peace or chaos??? Think wisely and choose.

Colossians 1: 19-20, 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

3. Hope:1 Timothy 1:15, 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. Jesus gave hope for us sinners who have been doomed to the pit of eternal death due to our mortal sins. He gave us the right to be called Children of God after we were separated from the Father. 1 John 3:1,See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. The aim for Jesus’ birth was to deliver us from our sins with His crucifixion. Ephesians 1:7-8, In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,..

With the sacrifice of His only Son for us, He gave us the hope that he will provide us with everything. Romans 8:3232 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Heartfelt repentance leads to forgiveness of sins is what the Bible teaches us. 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.

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.

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.

This is the purpose for the birth of infant Jesus: what we have read in above given Bible verses. In this none of our actions are fruitful.

Titus 3: 4-8, But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

On every Christmas, a thought comes to everyone’s mind: what will I get this year? Have you ever given a thought that this year I would give up this thought for the one who came on earth for me and gave up Himself on the cross??? This Christmas, the eyes and ears of the infant is upon each one us. He is asking each one of us how many you would remember my sacrifice, my pain and trials and follow me taking my cross upon yourselves??? Ask yourself. In His name let us all take a step forward this Christmas.