The Heaven rejoices for the one who repents

Luke 15:7, I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

We can observe three things here:

1.The Lord is calling you: Adam went into hiding after he disobeyed the Lord’s commands. The Lord came looking for him and called him out . In Genesis 3:9, But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”. Today also man is doing the same thing, we disobey Him and then go into hiding. Otherwise, we end up placing blame on each other like Adam and Eve. Instead of placing blame on each other like Adan and Eve, we should not try to justify ourselves before the Lord because He knows us better than we know ourselves. Rather like obedient children we should ask for forgiveness from the Lord and reach out to His presence. While reading the Bible or listening to Bible sermons, if you feel the prick of a guilty conscience or experience the wounds inflicted on the Lord, then rejoice that the Holy Spirit is working its powers within you. Immediately look up to the crucified Lord and run to His feet. Look He is holding out His arms open to you to embrace you into Himself.

Luke 19:1, This is the story of Zaccheus, the tax collector. He was filled with the extreme desire to see Jesus. He was labelled as a sinner by the society, but our Lord Jesus Christ called him by his name and stayed with him at his house. In Luke 19: 10, we read that the Lord says, 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

We can say here, The Good Shepherd is calling me out by my name, He is coming looking for me. When He comes looking for you, what are the obstacles in becoming one with Him??? Think and try to remove them out of your way.

2. The Lord is waiting for us: The birth of Jesus was at a time when there was no contact between Jews and Samaritans. But we read in the Bible that the Saviour waited for a Samaritan woman near the well. Even though Jesus was a Jew(high caste), He asked for water from the Samaritan woman who were at that time at the border of the society. The Lord knew everything about the woman’s life and described the same to her. He revealed Himself before her, John 4:26, 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” Within minutes there was a transformation in the woman. She dropped the vessel she had brought to collect water and rushed to the village to share her experience about the Saviour. 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” Through her many people in the village and the town of Samaria witnessed and believe in the Lord. The disciples later ask Jesus to eat something, to which He replies, 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” If the food He is speaking about is not us the sinners then who?????

If our own mothers come to know the depth of our sins even she too will detest to look upon us. Yet our Lord is so loving that He waits for us and leads us on the right path. God is love. He is our father and mother. When we walk from one transgression to another, He is in pain.

Psalms 78:1, My people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. These words are said by our Lord looking down from Heaven on each of us.

3. The one who accepts us: In the Old Testament and the New Testament, we read about a God who is pained by the destruction of His creation, man. Exodus 32:4, He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods,Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” The Israelites designed a golden calf for themselves. The Lord became furious, yet He forgave them. The people of Nineveh were rescued by their repentance. In the New Testament the sinful woman, the tax collector Zaccheus, and the thief at the cross had a change of heart.

The Lord narrated the parable of the Prodigal son, the Lost Sheep and the Ten coins and the like to explain how the Lord accepts those who repent from their mistakes/sins , how He seeks them and leads them to transform. We also read about Peter who withdraw or was weakened in faith while he was with Jesus. He even disowned Jesus thrice in His presence. Yet one look from the Lord broke him down. Luke 22: 61-62 ,  61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Dear children of God, don’t forget those eyes are looking on us as well. What is stopping you??? Don’t those eyes reach your soul???? Return to His presence like Peter. Save yourself from the fire of hell like Judas.

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

1 John 3:1, 3 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.

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.

Psalms 103:10, 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.

Read these verses, reflect on them. May they lead you back to the Lord and His presence. Dear Children of God, why do you still delay to meet His embrace???????

Do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl??

2018-09-09, “The Parable of the Lamp on a Stand” | Oak Grove Mennonite  Church

Matthew 5:15-16, 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. We can read this parable in all three Gospels of the Bible. The Lord says that we do not light a lamp/candle and put it under a bowl, rather put it on a stand so that its light shines bright. A bowl was a part of measuring utensil in olden days. A liquid was measured using a bowl. It is impossible to measure light using such a bowl. By the parable the Lord is saying that we should not put our talents underneath a bowl/cover but let it shine forth. A candle is enough to drive away darkness from inside a room. A candle or a lamp burns till the candle wick or oil is there. Whereas if kept under a bowl it will die out quickly.

For a candle to burn, or any other thing to burn it needs a source to help it catch fire. To light a candle we need a matchstick, for a light bulb we need a switch. Similarly, for anything to burn and give light it needs a source. 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.” The glow/ radiance within us comes from the light of Jesus. The one which is lighted can help lighten other things/people. A piece of coal when placed near burning embers of coal catches fire easily. If you feel the radiance inside you dying, rush to the Saviour’s presence and lighten yourself once again.

We all lament these days about how the dark powers are covering/taking over the world. We forget that we too are part of the world we speak of. Is it enough to lament and weep about the circumstances??? Our Heavenly Father created us in His form like candles in the world to spread light in this dark world. Let us ask ourselves a question: What is our condition now??

We should try to lighten other lives without letting our light dying out. Luke 4:27,27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” In 2 Kings 5, we read about Naaman who was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy. Then and now people with leprosy are ostracized in society. An Israelite slave girl (name not disclosed) who worked under his wife said to her that if Naaman went to a prophet in Samaria, he would cure his leprosy. Hearing this, Naaman went to prophet Elisha. He said to Naaman, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.” Naaman follows the instructions and is healed. The young slave girl spread the light and glory of the Lord into Naaman’s life. She did not let the radiance within her to die. Psalms 119:105, 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Jesus chose twelve disciples, whereas He transformed only before three of them (Mount of Olives). The disciples were many but only twelve apostles. In the parable of the paralyzed man there is no mention of the names of the four men who lowered him down to be healed by Jesus. Similarly, there is no name of the people who brought the dumb and mute to be healed. We do not know the name of the boy who gave the five loaves and fish to feed thousands. Who are we is not important, it is our acts that make us important. For eg: In an office of ten people, there are two people who work honestly and with dedication. The rest eight would definitely be influenced by the two after some time. It is easy to let the light die out by being in the company of the eight people. If the oil is about to run out when the lamp is burning we can continue it to burn by pouring more oil. If a bulb is fused we can replace it with anew one. If you feel your light dying out, reach to the presence of the Lord and recharge yourself.

Like the candle placed on a stand, those who live in Jesus spread the light in the world. 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.”

Proverbs 20:27, 27 The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one’s inmost being.

May the candle/lamp never die out and spread light to the world till the end of time.

Jesus said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never  walk in darkness, but will have the ligh… | Light of the world, Light of  life, Jesus quotes

The Unknown Co-traveler

Road-to-Emmaus

Let me share a story with you by Chakunni Achan. During war times, a chaplain who was appointed with an army asked a gravely injured solider ,” Shall I read out some Bible verses to you.”

Writhing in unbearable pain the young soldier said the chaplain, ” My throat is dry. Can you give me some water to drink.” The chaplain ran and quickly brought some water for the soldier to drink. Biting back his scream of pain the soldier looked up at the chaplain with begging eyes and said,” If only I could raise my head up on something I would feel much better.” The chaplain rushed inside the army tent and brought out a blanket and folded it into a makeshift pillow.He rested the soldier’s head slowly on to it. The soldier was shivering in pain and cold. Seeing his pitiable condition, the chaplain removed his clothes and covered the soldier with them.

At this act of kindness, the half dead soldier said to the chaplain who shone like a beacon of love, ” Please read to me passages that are like your act of love and kindness. I would love to hear them.” The chaplain read to him the parable of The Good Samaritan. The Good Samaritan in our lives is our Lord Jesus Christ.

After the crucifixion of Christ, the women prepared perfumes and spices to embalm His body. They went to the tomb with them. What they saw there was beyond their imagination and unbelievable. The rock at the mouth of the tomb had been moved and the body of Jesus was missing. There were two angels who said to the women that Christ has risen. The women ran to share this Good News with the disciples. The disciples did not believe them and felt it was impossible.

We can observe three things here.

1.The unknown co traveler: Luke 24:15, 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;… Two disciples were going to a village called Emmaus. One of them was named Cleopas. While they were travelling another person joined them coincidentally. The two disciples were disturbed and nervous about what had happened and were discussing these matters. The stranger without showing any prior knowledge about their discussion asked them about their talk. They told them what they were discussing and said that we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. Luke 24: 19-21,19 “What things?” he asked.“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.

They further added that they were amazed by the account shared by the women that two angels at the tomb had said that Christ is risen. Dear children of God, our Savior, always desires to walk with us and hold our hands whenever we are troubled and disturbed. The best we can see about this is from the example of Jacob.

2. The stranger who opens our inner eyes: We read in the Bibles it was seven miles from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Luke 24:28-29, 28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. They rested together and sat down for dinner with Him, He took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him. This is renewing the Last Supper the disciples had with our Lord Jesus Christ. If we keep requesting Jesus to stay with us in our homes, He is most willing to accept our invite. Our homes should be a platform of blessings and sharing this is what this Bible verse teaches us.

3. The one who strengthens those who are weak in faith: The disciples on recognizing that the stranger with them was their teacher, they were renewed in faith and strength. The belief that had been weakened was strengthened and they immediately returned to Jerusalem. On returning back they found Simon recounting his meeting with Jesus. They too shared their experience with the other 11 disciples. These disciples had seen the empty tomb and also heard the women. But their faith was not strong to believe in the risen Christ. Yet when they experienced and saw Jesus has risen with their own eyes they were strengthened in faith and belief to preach the word of God without fear.

Dear Children of God, is the Lord still a stranger for you??? If you say yes, then I pray to the Lord that He may open the eyes of your soul for Him. Salvation is away from you if you do not believe and affirm in the risen Christ. God is pure love. The world has seen and experienced the depth of His love for us 2000 years ago on the cross. Can anyone forget that love and sacrifice?? Be it BC or AD, the truth remains forever among us. The world today is in need of a Savior who loves them and delivers them from their sins. Believe and affirm in Christ and walk on the path to salvation and deliverance. If you are a true believer then pray with the bottom of your heart to help you grow in spirit and faith.

AMEN.

Supper at Emmaus by Carl Heinrich Bloch | Jesus christ, Christ, Gospel of  luke
Supper at Emmaus by Carl Heinrich Bloch | Jesus Christ, Christ, Gospel of Luke

Respect Others

Romans 12:10, 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

Respect/Honor each other, meaning to honor someone more than yourself. Today it is not an easy task. Children nowadays think to respect their parents is below themselves. The first lesson to this begins at each and every home. Wife who respects her husband, Husband who accepts and respects the individuality of wives, children who see their parents respect and honor their grandparents naturally develop love and respect for their elders. People who criticize or talk ill of their siblings in front of their children often forget that if their children do the same they cannot stop them since lesson is learnt at home. If aged parents are not able to serve a purpose in their children’s life, the children consider them as burden. They lose respect and children have change in behavior towards them. Many parents who have children are now being pushed into isolation and loneliness in Old Age Homes. What should we expect from the generation that sees this? What we give is what we get.

Genesis 1:27, 27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them male and female he created them. But today man is like God in form only. Whereas the behavior and nature is that of the Devil himself. God is love itself. Today, the godly nature like love, compassion, empathy, mercy, patience and tolerance are all missing. We have forgotten to observe basic manners on the phone also, let alone when face to face with each other. After making a call to someone most often without asking to excuse ourselves we ignore the person we were talking, or we do not pay attention to the person talking to.

Man’s standard of living has increased manifold in all aspects. And with that the values of life and morals have started to depreciate. Don;t we hurt our own family members with caustic replies and bitter words. 1 John 3:10, 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.11 For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous. Love and respect are the two sides of the same coin. Those who love each other would naturally also respect and honor the individuality and personality of the other person. We are all aware of a brother in the Bible who deceived his own elder brother with some broth in exchange of rights of the elder son. Then goes on to cheat the father also by getting dressed as the eldest one and receive blessings that were rightfully his. Jacob. His partner in crime was his own mother, how pitiful. When parents fail to establish a balance between siblings, it creates a rift among them and develops jealousy and vengeance. The best example of this is Joseph. Jacob faced the result of his wicked act. He had to abandon everything and go away from his family to protect himself. He fell in love with the younger sister but was deceived and married off to the elder sister. We very often forget that the Lord is righteous. Joseph was sold away by his brothers for only 20 silver coins. Years later the elder brothers came before Joseph begging for grains to survive. They were sent by their own father. Joseph did not bear a grudge and forgave them and helped them whole heartedly.

Dear children of God, be it our own siblings or people around us when we love and respect others it only increases our honor and not lower it. In our own homes, be it younger or older siblings we should always be mindful and respect their individuality which in turn would reflect in society as well. Before we condemn or insult anyone we should always think and place ourselves in their shoes to be able to evaluate and experience the pain it causes. Humility was the nature of our Lord Jesus Christ and Mother Mary. We should reflect upon ourselves when we say that we are transformed in Him. Is our nature in tune with His??? Are we really transformed in Him??? Think. Let us pray to the Lord and the Mother to bless us with the virtue of humility.

AMEN

Whatever you do, do it in the name of the Lord

praying, god, christianity, belief, prayer, pray, adult, bench, church,  man, people | Pikist

1.Do it in the name of Jesus: Colossians 3:17,17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In Luke 10:17,17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Here too we see the Lord’s name being glorified.

Similarly in Acts 3:1-7, 3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.

The apostles were not rich traders or merchants.They were wanderers and carried no money. Their wealth was Jesus Christ and their love for Him. Acts 9:32-35, 32 As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. 34 “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. 35 All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

Also, in Acts 16:18, 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

Here to we see that Paul drove out demons in the name of Christ. The apostles drove out demons and healed many people in the name of Christ. This should be the role model/ideal for the children of God. If we want/desire that our actions bear good output or that we excel in what we do, we should do it in the name of the Lord. We should learn this and also make it a habit.

Mark 9:41, 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

At times we help many people, welcome them at home. If done in the name of the Lord, we glorify the name of the Lord.

2.Rely on the Lord and do it: John 14:13,13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

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.In these verses Jesus says whatever you ask in the Father’s name will be given to you.

Also in Matthew 18:19-20,19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Jesus that whatever you ask in the name of the Father, and believe it to be done, you shall receive it. Matthew 21:22,22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” The Heavenly Father sent His only Son on earth so that through the Son we can come near Him. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. We should gather and pray in the name of Jesus. Jesus acts a mediator for us sinners to the Father each moment.

3.Glorify the name of the Lord: Jesus healed ten men who had leprosy, Luke 17: 15-19,15 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.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.” Jesus asked the one who thanked and glorified God about the others who were not there.

1 Corinthians 10:31,31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. These verses teach us that our words and actions should be such that we glorify God at all times. Each day we receive numerous blessings from the Lord. We, the children of God, being caught up in the maze of this worldly desire do not spare time to spend in the presence of the Lord. When we say the Lord’s prayer, we end it in Matthew 6:13, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. We should refrain from self boasting and selfishness in the name of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 4:7, For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? We have often heard people say, if there is still life inside me I will do it. I will come back again. No one can stop me. This should change because we are not aware what will happen the next moment. If the Lord permits and helps, we should begin our our words with them. Those glorify God receive its rewards, those who self boast receive its rewards. James 4:13-14 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Let this verse be a lesson for us. The good deeds we do if done only for applause the rewards will be received here itself. Whereas if a good deed is done in the name of the Lord the rewards will be given by the Father Himself. The decision is in our hands, think and act on this.

God Believer and Fear

File:Philippe de Champaigne - Le sacrifice d'Isaac.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Every human has fear in them. Man has reasoning and intelligence more than other beings, hence fear is more in them. Fear is one of the reasons that man thinks negatively. In some Satan makes use as a weapon to make them surrender to him. Some fear the graveyard, some fear hearing the rustling of leaves, and so on. Man seems to fear the slightest of things at times. Fear is needed, but too much fear is invitation to trouble. Man fears death the most. But a believer does not fear death. They think how to defend themselves against fear of death.

1.Obedience: The first fear we read about in the Bible is in our first parents Adam and Eve. Why??? With disobedience they realized the nakedness of sin, Genesis 3:10, 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

In Genesis 21:1-5, Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. We read that Abraham was blessed with a baby boy, Isaac, when he was 100 years old. It is obvious that having been blessed with child in such an advanced age he loved the child dearly. Yahweh commanded him to sacrifice his only son on Mount Moriah. Abraham made all preparations without any hesitation. But we further read in Genesis 22: 11-13,11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”“Here I am,” he replied.12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. May everyone have this fear, fear of God.

Adam was in fear due to his disobedience and the result was punishment. He was banished from the garden of Eden. On the other hand Abraham too had fear of God, but that fear led to being blessed. God punished Adam in Genesis 3:17-19, 17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’“Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”

On the other hand, God blessed Abraham in Genesis 22: 15-18, 15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

Here we see that the fear caused by disobedience led to punishment and the fear of God led to blessing. So think which fear you possess???

2.Faith: When the faith in God decreases, hope in God also decreases. The result is fear makes home inside us. A child fears darkness. But in the presence of his/her parents the child does not fear anything. The child has full faith that parents would always protect him/her. This builds faith and confidence in a child. When Peter saw Jesus walking on the water he expressed his desire to walk on water too. Jesus asked to come forward. Peter started walking. The moment he took his eyes off Jesus his steps faltered and went to the surrounding waters he became afraid. In Matthew 14:31, 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” Jesus says he has little faith.

In 1 Samuel 17:11, 11 On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified. In the chapter we read that Goliath challenged Israelites to war. Hearing this their king Saul and Israelites all were afraid. But David, a young boy with no prior experience in warfare and no weapons went to face the giant. He went ahead with faith in his heart, 1 Samuel 17:46, 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 David make such an impossible feat happen??? With his unwavering faith in God and His strength.

Now let us ourselves decide, whose faith do we have: Peter or David???

3.Holy Spirit: Luke 24:49, 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” The disciples were obedient to the words of Jesus and waited patiently for Holy Spirit to work the power. Acts 2: 3-4, They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. The disciples who had been fisherman were now blessed with skill of language to communicate with people in different languages. The disciples who were earlier like innocent lambs got the roaring strength of a lion by the power of the Holy Spirit. They spread the Good News of God in different directions. The Jews gathered against them like a mad crowd. They wanted to persecute them and kill them. The disciples were tortured and imprisoned. Yet the disciples shone brightly like the stars in the sky. Their acts and strength were beyond human comprehension. The apostles hit back like turbulent winds, and burnt brightly with the fire of the Holy Spirit. The seas or desert were of no concern to them. After the crucifixion of Christ they were hiding behind closed doors. Where did they get this strength to face all tribulations???

Dear children of God, let us pray that we become like father Abraham filled with obedience and faith, and like the disciples filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. We children should not fear the world but fear the Lord. Let us develop this in ourselves.

AMEN.

File:Alessandro Allori - St Peter Walking on the Water - WGA00184.jpg -  Wikimedia Commons

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Does everything end with our death???

Luke 16: 19-31, 19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ 27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent. 31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Not many of us believe that everything does not ends with our death. What happens to us after death?? In the Bible we can see that Jesus makes use of parables to make His teachings be easily understood by ordinary people. To teach us to be kind to others He made use of the parable of The Good Samaritan:Luke 10:27-37.

Here what we focus on is Luke 16: 19 onward where we read about a rich man and Lazarus. The rich man lived a luxurious life and dressed in fine linen. He lived a life full of pleasure. His name is not revealed here. At his gate lay a beggar named Lazarus whose body was full of sores. Lazarus desired to eat even what fell down from the rich man’s table, how pitiful. His sores were licked by dogs which shows he had no proper clothes to cover himself. Both of them died. We do not read about the burial of Lazarus. Yet burial of rich man can be read. Lazarus was taken to Abraham’s side by the angels. The rich man was taken down into Hades into the hands of the evil angels.

The rich man’s burial must have been a grand affair since his social standing was such. A lot of wealthy and known people must have attended it. He must have been embalmed with spices and perfumed oils. The rich man had experienced all the joys this world could offer. Whereas who was bothered if Lazarus lives or dies.He was equal to nothing,

In today’s world, death ceremonies are no longer solemn and have become a grand show as in weddings and festivities. Here too is display of wealth. Earlier, a house where death took place was silent and filled with prayers and hymns. Hence the term, silent like a graveyard.

What Jesus says forward is something we too should think about. Luke 16:23 onward we see that the rich man looked up from hell and saw Lazarus near Abraham’s side. He pleaded 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ 25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 

This hints that our life does not end in death, it is only a continuation after death. Ephesians 2:10, 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. The rich man need have looked after Lazarus.He could have instructed one of his many servants to help,feed him and treat his sores.He could have clothes him in one of his many used clothes which he no longer wore. His selfishness made him tightfisted and one who ignores the needs of others. My wealth is for my family and coming generations only is what the rich man thought. Today’s generation is no better. I,Me,Myself. It is sad.

Let us hear a story. Mark 9:41, 41 Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

Three believers died and reached the gate of Heaven. The angel that stood guard at the gate asked the first believer, “Who are you?”. He replied,” I was an evangelist on earth. I spread the word of God to many and hence brought many to faith.” “Good”, said the angel, “You may enter”. The angel repeated the same question with the second believer. He answered, “I am a prophet and with my words I have helped many transform themselves in Christ.” The angel said to him,” Good, you too may enter.” the same question was asked to the third believer also. He stood in fear before the angel and with a shameful heart said,” I am sinner. I have nothing special to talk about myself. If I have done anything to others it was only to glorify my Lord. I do not remember any acts in particular. Have mercy on me.” The Lord was listening to him intently and asked the angel to open the gates completely for him and let him enter with trumpets resounding. Lord said,” No one enters heaven empty handed like you did. Everyone carries a smelly baggage of their good deeds as recommendation to enter heaven.”

Dear children of God, think who are you from among the three believers. Where would you be if you get completely immersed in the worldly pleasures and serve no good to family, relatives and society??? With the rich man or with Lazarus??? Those who get the place of Lazarus are blessed.

The grapevine that bears fruit

John 15:5, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Grapevine depicts the tribe of Jews. But in some instances it shows Israelites as well. Isaiah 5:7, The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in.

Psalms 80:8, You transplanted a vine from Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.

In the OT we can read about as the wickedness of Israelites as well. The Jews believed themselves to be the superior most tribe and the ones selected by God. But the Lord Jesus made it clear later that they were believing a myth that they were selected people of God only because they were born as Jews. Hence, the way to heaven was always open for them. Instead Jesus teaches that unless they bore fruit like a grapevine they cannot enter heaven. The way to heaven was only through Jesus and that we need to be in His presence always.

When we read about the Heavenly Father as the gardener, perfect grapevine is Jesus, whom Father planted and nurtured in this world for us. To be able to bear more fruit and be more fruitful, the grapevine is cut and grafted. By this the Lord wants to teach us that the sufferings ans troubles that come our way are Lord’s way to cut and graft us to be perfect.

We should be the fruitful branches of the grapevine called Jesus. But due to our wickedness and sins, most often we bear no fruit or if we do, it is sour and tasteless. Such branches need to be completely cut off or else they will destroy the vine. Ezekiel 15:2, “Son of man, how is the wood of a vine different from that of a branch from any of the trees in the forest? This speaks as to what is the difference between a wood of vine and any wood from forest. We should stand apart as fruitful vines and not just any tree in the forest.

Just because are born as Christ believer does not entitle us to deliverance and salvation. Our Father in heaven expects us to bear fruits for Him. Do not brush it under the carpet thinking that the Father instructed these to Jews only. It applies to us His children as well.

We all desire to excel in our fields. But we should try to excel in our fields while building the gifts of spirit such as love, joy, contentment, patience, mercy, compassion, empathy, loyalty, sensitivity and control of our inner soul. A parasite root nurtures grows by drawing out nutrition from the host plant, which kills the plant. The host plant does not bear fruit when surrounded by the parasite root. Our condition is the same. We too are surrounded by the parasite of sins, temptations and worldly desires. Hence we fail to bear fruit. Unless the parasite is removed we cannot be fruitful. the only way for this is to seek God. John 17:21, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. If the branches of the vine grow away from the vine it bears only one bunch of grapes. When the gardener graft it again it bears more bunches of grapes.

Dear Children of God, in the garden of the Heavenly Father, let us stay together to the Vine called Jesus and bear good fruit.

Jesus is the Greatest of all

ASCENSION INTO HEAVEN

The gospel of John begins with the verse John 1:1-3, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

John 1:13-14,13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. The one without form took life in flesh and was born through a virgin mother.

Moses asks God what name should he call Him, Exodus 3:13-14, 13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” Disciples were scared when they saw Jesus walking on water and thought it was a ghost. So Jesus calls out, Matthew 14:27, 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” He who has no name but is called by several names. Let us see references from the Bible:

1. Yahweh: Genesis 3:9, and Genesis 28:13

2.Jesus: Matthew 1:21,Luke 1:31

3. Alpha, Omega:Revelation 1:8

4. Emmanuel: Matthew 1:23,

5.Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace:Isaiah 9:6

6.The Good Shepherd: John 10:11

7.King of Israel: John 1:49

8. King of Jews: Matthew 2:2

9.Messiah: John 1:41, John 4:25, Luke 2:11

10. Son of God: Matthew 8:29

11. Son of Man:Matthew 16:28

12. Son of the Most High: Luke 1:32

13. Saviour: Luke 2:11

14. Lamb of God: John 1:29

15. Light of the World: John 8:12

Just like the above there are several more names by which He is called. There are around 100 names in the Bible by which He is called. He is the greatest of all or He is one of us??? John 8:23-30, reads as, 23 But he continued, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” 25 “Who are you?” they asked. “Just what I have been telling you from the beginning,” Jesus replied. 26 “I have much to say in judgment of you. But he who sent me is trustworthy, and what I have heard from him I tell the world.” 27 They did not understand that he was telling them about his Father. 28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up  the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. 29 The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.” 30 Even as he spoke, many believed in him.

There has been prophecy about the birth and death of Jesus in the Bible and same stands true later by what happened. Let us see Bible references:

1. Son of woman: 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.”

Galatians 4:4,But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

2. Born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Luke 2:4-5, So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

3.Born of a virgin: Isaiah 7:14, 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.

Luke 1:26-27, 26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 

4.Triumphal entry: Zechariah 9:9,Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
    Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
    righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
    on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Mark 11:7-9, When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

5. Betrayed by loved one: Psalms 41:9, Even my close friend,
    someone I trusted,
one who shared my bread,
    has turned against me.

Luke 22:47-48, 47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, 48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

6. Sold for thirty pieces of silver: Zechariah 11:12-13,12 I told them, “If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.” So they paid me thirty pieces of silver.13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord.

Matthew 26:15, 15 and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver.

7. Crucified with thieves: Isaiah 53:12, 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Mark 15:27-28, 27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. 

8. Buried with the rich: Isaiah 53:9, He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Matthew 27:57-60, 57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. 59 Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.

9. Resurrection: Psalms 16:10, 10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

Mark 16:6-7, “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

10. Ascension to Heaven: Psalms 68:18, 18 When you ascended on high….

Mark 16:19,19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God.

In this way the birth, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven of Jesus was prophesied and made the truth 2000 years ago. We do not experience His physical presence on earth among us. So the world believes that everything ended with His death on the cross. The sun rises at dawn and sets at dusk, and will not rise again, this is how some people believe about Christ too. Psalms 102:27, 27 But you remain the same,
and your years will never end.

No other faith teaches or believes that their God will come back again, and neither do they have hope. But Jesus promised He will come again and He does not break His promise.

The Lord taught us how to pray. He taught us by example, He prayed before every major decision in His life. John 14:13, 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Revelation 3:20, 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Jesus is knocking at our door, waiting for us to let Him inside our homes.

Matthew 28:18, 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Dear brothers and sisters, remember that He has authority over each one of us. Now you only decide, He is the greatest of all or one of us??????

Why do you look for the living among the dead?

Scripture Passage Luke 24:5-6, In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:

The foundation/base of christian faith is resurrection of Christ and empty tomb. John 11:25, 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;… In the last verses of Luke chapter 23, we read that the women prepared perfumes to embalm the body of Jesus, Luke 23:56, 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. These women were: Luke 24:10, 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. When the disciples who had pledged not to leave Jesus’s side were hiding behind locked doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders. These women were preparing to go to the tomb all alone. But the three women were not able to embalm the body of Christ with perfumes and spices. They had reached the tomb with the satisfaction that they would be able to do the least for Him, even if after His death. They had to overcome many obstacles in the way. Like roman soldiers who stood guard at the tomb, a huge boulder at the mouth of the tomb which was difficult to move by most people. It was impossible for them to try and move it away from the mouth of the tomb. But the love of Christ was such that it drove them towards to tomb filled with passion for Christ.

What they saw at the tomb was beyond their expectation. The rock was not there at the mouth of the tomb. It was rolled away. The tomb was empty. Not knowing what had happened, they got confused and felt broken hearted. Just then two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. Luke 24:5-7, In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words. We can believe that the angels were sent by the Heavenly Father to share the Good News of resurrection to all those who come seeking Him at the tomb. The women rushed to share the Good News with the disciples.

Sometimes, we too like these women seek our Saviour among the dead and are lamenting for Him. We forget His message of joy and victory which He declared with His resurrection and that He will come back again. Jesus is not resting in the tomb.He is living. He is living among us. We should not be people without hope. 1 Thessalonians 4: 13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 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. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 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.

In the gospel of John we read this in another manner. John 20:1,20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. To go to the tomb of her Lord who gave her new life and transformed her, Mary was not hindered or felt afraid of the dark or the roman soldiers. When she reached the tomb, she saw it was empty. She thought that someone had stolen His body. So she informed the disciples who too reached the tomb and saw the empty tomb. The disciples went back to their room. But she stood there crying in pain. John 20:11-16, 11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

She then goes on to inform the Good News to disciples,

John 20: 17-18,17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Even though the others had returned back on seeing the empty tomb, Mary Magdalene stayed back not knowing where to ask about the Lord. The love and adoration she had for her Lord did not let her go away from there. What we lack is this. We seek him with devotion, but when we do not hear from Him, we too like disciples go away from Him. Mary stood there crying, all alone. She received the reward for this, she bore first witness to the resurrected Christ and got to share the Good News with others. Even today the Lord appears in some form or the other who seek Him and call Him with full faith and devotion. Those who recognize Him are blessed.