The Lord who hears the cries of pleading mothers

File:Navez Agar et Ismaël.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
HAGAR AND ISHMAEL

When we talk about our Lord, we can easily say, one who is full of mercy and love. He loves us even more than our own mother. The Bible teaches us that our Lord is full of love, mercy and compassion.He is one who hears our cries and answers them. Let us see some examples.

1.EVE:The first mother we know was Eve. The first tears ever shed also have to Eve’s. Her older son Cain killed the younger son Abel. She must cried out of broken heart. She is one who knows and has experienced the anger of Heavenly Father. She must have cried heart wrenchingly since she very well knew that the punishment for murder would be severe. Our Lord did not sentence Cain to death. Not only that, He said that if anyone lay his hand on Cain, he will be punished seven times over. Genesis 4:15,15 But the Lord said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him. 

2.HAGAR: Sarah sent out her servant, Hagar and her son into the desert not wanting to share inheritance of her son with them. She wandered with her son in the desert of Beersheba. The water that she carried soon got finished. She lay her son under one of the bushes, unable to see the death of her own child and cried out to the Lord. Her tears did not go in vain. Genesis 21:15-19, 15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob. 17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.

3.MOSES’ MOTHER: The Egyptian Pharaoh gave order to midwives to kill all the sons born to Hebrew women. How painful can you imagine? Moses’s mother hid him for three months. Exodus 2:3, But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. To place a three month old child into a river, can you imagine the pain and tears that mother must have experienced. The Lord who sees everything saw the mother and child too. Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river for a swim. The servant girls saw the basket floating in the river and brought the basket to the princess. Exodus 21:5-6, Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. She took him in to the palace where he grew up safely.

4.Canaanite woman : Matthew 15:22, 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Seeing her faith and tears, our ever merciful Lord healed her daughter of the demons.

5. Widow’s son: Luke 7:11-13, 11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Here we do not read that the mother asked Jesus to bring back her son. Rather the all knowing Lord, knew she was a widow and the son was her only hope. Jesus was filled with compassion on seeing the tears and so he raised the son back from dead and handed over to the mother.

Our Lord does not only feel compassion when he sees mothers, but He is pained when He sees the pain of those who love Him, especially sisters. John 11:33-35, 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. Seeing the tears of the sisters, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

There are some different type of mothers also than those mentioned above. If not mine then you too won’t have it. Mothers who have swallowed motherhood whole. 1 Kings 3:16-28, 16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 17 One of them said, “Pardon me, my lord. This woman and I live in the same house, and I had a baby while she was there with me. 18 The third day after my child was born, this woman also had a baby. We were alone; there was no one in the house but the two of us.

19 “During the night this woman’s son died because she lay on him. 20 So she got up in the middle of the night and took my son from my side while I your servant was asleep. She put him by her breast and put her dead son by my breast. 21 The next morning, I got up to nurse my son—and he was dead! But when I looked at him closely in the morning light, I saw that it wasn’t the son I had borne.”

22 The other woman said, “No! The living one is my son; the dead one is yours.” But the first one insisted, “No! The dead one is yours; the living one is mine.” And so they argued before the king.

23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’”

24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.”

26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!”But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!”

27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”

This incident in the Bible raises the question: What happened to motherhood? Let us ask ourselves a question: Do we shed tears for our children?? We read in the Bible that Lazarus’ sister fell on the feet of Jesus and cried, John 11:32, When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Are our tears powerful enough to move our Lord??? Mothers and sisters let us pray for our future generation with tearful prayers from the heart. May our children be the beacon of light to this generation going astray.

In Luke 23:28, 28 Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children, we read Jesus telling mothers to cry for their children. In AD 70, the Jews got scattered after His crucifixion. The Lord knew what was to come and hence warned the mothers before hand. In truth, we need mothers today to cry for the generation today. Mothers and sisters, let us cry for our children in prayer. Let us remember this generation and pray for them with tears. May our prayers be as powerful as that of Hannah, 1 Samuel 1:12-14, 12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.” May our prayers also be like her, drunk in faith and full of pain.

AMEN.

File:Frauenberg 030.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
SOLOMON AND THE TWO MOTHERS

My Favorite Book

Bible, the only book written after receiving inspiration from the Holy Spirit. This book introduces us to the Lord as the one who calls us by our names, whose eyes keep searching for us, the one who cries with us and wipes our tears and the Lord who loves His children so much that He sacrificed His beloved Son for the children of the world. The one who has promised with His resurrection that He will be back to collect us all to heaven, etc.

Every reader in the world has one book that he/she holds as favorite among others. They give various reasons for the same. The Bible holds the record for the most widely published, read, sermonized and taught in the world. What is the reason??? Is it because it is a Holy Book?? If so, there are so many other Holy Books??? My faith is that the Holy Bible is about the Living God, who was born, crucified and resurrected for the children of God. And He is still mediating to the Heavenly Father on our behalf. The Bible teaches that after death we have eternal life. And for this how we should discipline our lives is also taught in the Bible. What is the place of this Holy Book today??? Think my dear brothers and sisters.

This world pushes us to think and act with negativity and gloom whereas the Bible teaches us to think and act with positivism and hope. 2 Peter 1:20-21, 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. How much this book affects the lives of those who read this can be understood from Hebrews 4:12-13, 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

1.The verses that touched my life: The Lord gives courage and hope to those who fear Him. Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

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.

Isaiah 49:15-16, 15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

Isaiah 54:10, 10 Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 1:18 18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
    says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
    they shall be like wool.

2.The one who heals: We have instances in the OT & NT that He has healed even the incurable diseases of those who believed in Him.

Exodus 15:26, 26 He said, “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 I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.”

Wisdom 16:12-14, 12 No medicine or ointment cured them. They were restored to health by your word, O Lord, the word which heals all humanity. 13 You have power over life and death; you can bring a person to the brink of death and back again. 14 A wicked person may kill someone, but cannot bring the dead person back to life or rescue a soul imprisoned in the world of the dead.

The only book which speaks of healing by just a touch of His cloth, Matthew 9:20-22, 20 A woman who had suffered from severe bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If only I touch his cloak, I will get well.” 22 Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, “Courage, my daughter! Your faith has made you well.” At that very moment the woman became well.

In the NT, we read about the healing of those born blind, deaf, mute, leprosy, demon possessed, paralyzed, bleeding and raised from the dead.

He taught us love and how to overcome hate with love. There is no end to His love.

3. A Lord who cares for those who trust/depend in Him: The word trust/depend can be better understood when we look on a child who trusts and is dependent on his/her mother.He/she does not trust his/her capabilities and hence fully trust his mother. Eg: Hagar in the desert, childless Hannah, Naomi and Ruth, Daniel in the furnace & lion’s cage, David and Goliath, Joseph at Potiphar’s palace. etc. These are instances of this world.

Through the parables of the prodigal son, the lost lamb, He taught us us that if one sinner repents, his/her sins are forgiven and forgotten.

Jeremiah 31:34, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”  

Jeremiah 33:8, “I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me.”

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

Isaiah 44:22, “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”  

4. God’s love: The Bible speaks most of the Lord’s love for us, His children.

Romans 8:32, 32 Certainly not God, who did not even keep back his own Son, but offered him for us all! He gave us his Son—will he not also freely give us all things?

1 Corinthians 6:19, 19 Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God;

These verses teach us, that we sinners are all children of God.

5. Jesus will return: The Bible speaks of His return in,

Acts 1: 9-11, After saying this, he was taken up to heaven as they watched him, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They still had their eyes fixed on the sky as he went away, when two men dressed in white suddenly stood beside them 11 and said, “Galileans, why are you standing there looking up at the sky? This Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way that you saw him go to heaven.”

1 John 1:1, 1 We write to you about the Word of life, which has existed from the very beginning. We have heard it, and we have seen it with our eyes; yes, we have seen it, and our hands have touched it.

May you be led on the right path to enlightenment and deliverance.

God repented creating humans

Jonah speaking to people of Nineveh

Genesis 6:6, The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. Here we see that God repents having created man. seeing the wickedness of His creation. This was before the Great Flood, when Yahweh seeing the wickedness of men on earth, thought to Himself. Isaiah 1:2-4,

Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
    For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
    but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its master,
    the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
    my people do not understand.”

Woe to the sinful nation,
    a people whose guilt is great,
a brood of evildoers,
    children given to corruption!
They have forsaken the Lord;
    they have spurned the Holy One of Israel
    and turned their backs on him.

It is easy to push this aside saying that this is about a time gone by. Pause and think about the lifestyle of today’s modern day man. What would be God’s monologue on seeing us now??? In the OT, we can read about two cities. One was destroyed, Sodom Gomorrah, and the second was saved after the people repented with a true heart, Nineveh. Only one family was saved in Sodom Gomorrah. Genesis 19:16, 16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them. But Lot’s wife forgetting the instructions of God, looked back at the city thinking about the wealth she was leaving behind. And was turned into a pillar of salt, Genesis 19:26, 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

The people of Nineveh lived a life seeped in sin. Our heavenly Father who desires us to be saved rather than our destruction, sent Jonah to speak to the people. Prophet Jonah prophesied that the city of Nineveh would be destroyed in next 40 days. The people of Nineveh feared God, they repented from their ways. The people from children to old including animals fasted and prayed for forgiveness. They left their sinful ways and this led to deliverance of 1,20,000 people. Jonah 3: 10, 10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

We have seen the experience in the OT. Today when God looks down upon His children from Heaven, what must He be thinking??? If given a chance maybe my children would have a change of heart. Or would earth again be like Sodom Gomorrah. Luke 13:3, I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

Isaiah 31:6, Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against.

2 Chronicles 7:13-14, 13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

When we look around ourselves, we see three types of people.

1. Atheist ;2. Those who ask where is God ; 3. Firm believers who always trust God

One question to the people belonging to the first two groups. We all believe that the sun would rise at dawn and set at dusk. No one says that sun does not exist just because it is not visible at night. Modern man needs proof for everything. They need proof of the existence of the mighty one who created the firmament and the sun, moon and stars. There are times that the sun is hidden even at noon by the grey clouds and dust storms. In the same way,the grey clouds and dust from our sins hide us from the Heavenly Father.

Those who firmly believe in the Lord, can feel the presence of God in some or the other. For those who deny His presence, Romans 2: 2-6,

Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14,13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

Having entered the 21st century, we are not blind or deaf. What do the signs around us tell us??? Isn’t it time to think??? Aren’t we seeing things which our Lord told us about in the Bible. Wake up children of God. It is high time we stop testing His patience. Jeremiah 4:14, 14 Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?

Joel 2:13, 13 Rend your heart
    and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God,
    for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
    and he relents from sending calamity.

Like the above given Bible verse, let us also with a true repentant heart ask for forgiveness. We should not procrastinate about this as tomorrow is not in our hands.

Open your home to the Lord, He will glorify your home

Luke 10:38, 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. The gospel of Luke does not mention about illness or death of Lazarus. In John 11:5, Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. We read Jesus loved them deeply.

When Lazarus fell ill, Jesus was not in Bethany, John 10:40, 40 Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing in the early days. When Lazarus fell severely ill, the two sisters having full faith in the healing powers of Jesus sent a message to Him about the illness, John 11:3, So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.” They believed that hearing the news Jesus would come immediately and heal their brother. Yet what happened was just the opposite, Jesus did not come. He did not come in days to follow. We would think that how could Jesus not go even after being fully aware of the pain and suffering of the sisters. The plans of the Creator are beyond the grasp of human mind, Romans 8:28,28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Lazarus died. The sisters did not inform Jesus about his death maybe out of hurt that Jesus did not arrive on hearing about the illness. Nothing is hidden before the Lord. No creation of His is hidden from His sight. Hebrews 4:13, 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

John 11:14-15,14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Jesus knew that Lazarus had died even though He was not informed. He says to His disciples because He knew what had happened and what will happen. When Jesus reached Bethany, it had been four days since Lazarus had been buried in a cave. Martha rushed to meet Jesus when she heard He had arrived. She says to Him in John 11:21-22, 21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Dear children of God, this is what we lack- unwavering faith and trust in the Lord.

Can human mind comprehend and understand the Lord’s plans?? The Lord’s plan was not to heal Lazarus from his illness. Rather to raise the dead to living. John 11:4, When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” In such situation what is the common reaction of children of God?? They lose hope and their faith becomes weak.

Jesus reached the tomb and with a heavy heart asked the rock at the mouth of the tomb to be removed. This is the first ever we read that Jesus wept for someone. The rock would have moved if Jesus had said to the rock to move. Here we should understand that for the grace and mercy of the Lord to reach our hearts and souls we need to move the rock of sins from above our heads. The men assembled there did what Jesus had asked and removed the stone without any questions. John 11:41-44, 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” Lazarus came out. In this way we can see that Jesus’ prophecy about the illness not to end in death but to to be a sign the show the Glory of our Heavenly Father.

This house in Bethany was selected to showcase the Glory of God to the world. There are many world famous families. But Martha and Mary are the only two who have been spoken of in the Bible. Children of God should remember that Jesus is always besides the families as helper and refuge when they accept Him within their hearts and follow His words in true spirit.

This is the only incident in the Bible where Jesus brings back a dead to life after being buried and the body been kept for four days(Decomposed). The sister did not inform Jesus about the death of Lazarus. Jesus came to them on His own as He had selected this family to show the Glory of Heavenly Father to the disciples and the world . In the same way brothers and sisters, believe that He will enter your home if you call upon Him with open and believing heart like Martha.

Should we fear Death????

Death is inevitable to all those who are born on earth. It is not in the hands of man at what age or what type of death he/she will have. There is only one way that man can be born on earth, but death can happen in several ways. Natural death, death through accident, death from illness, murder, suicide,etc. When Heavenly Father created the first humans on earth, He placed them in the heavenly garden of Eden. We do not read anywhere that when Man was created his age for death was decided. Adam and Eve showed disobedience and hence were punished. Genesis 3:19,

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.”

The man who lived the longest on earth is the righteous grandfather of Noah, Methuselah. He lived for 969 years on earth. There are very few who reach beyond the age of 80 years, and if they do it is with added burdens of age. The word of God teaches us that death is victory, Philippians 1: 23, 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;… Rishi Valmiki has quoted about death, Death is born with you; stays with you and returns with you at your end. till we live, death stays with us as an undeniable fact of life. 2 Corinthians 5:1, For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.

Ecclesiastes 12:7, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Death does not discriminate or differentiate on the basis of gender, age or financial standing in society. God gave man day to toil hard and night to rest. He gave us death as an eternal restful sleep from this material world.

Dear children of God. This is the law of nature. One person is born and he/she will die. Do not accept death with defeat or as a loss. If it is me today, tomorrow it will be you. This is the law of nature.

Ecclesiastes 1:4, Generations come and generations go,but the earth remains forever.

Ecclesiastes 1: 11, 11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

We like it or not the cycle of birth and death will continue till eternity. Pain and suffering, illness and sadness, insults and old age, etc, do not have place in heaven. Those who face death should have that hope in them. Those who do not have hope fear death. The idea of death among humans is one of pain. Like I said above, death does not come in same manner to everyone. People live in the fear of death even without knowing what it feels to be dead. Its fear without experience. Has anyone who is dead explained how it feels to be dead?? The Living God is our Hope and we are going to meet Him.

John 14:1-4, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”

AMEN

Are we another Judas?

Judas Iscariot was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. He was the only one from Judea, while others were from Galilee is what we understand from reading the Bible. Just like the other eleven disciples Jesus chose Judas too to spread the Good News among people. The early life of Judas with Jesus was good we can believe. Seeing that he had more potential than others must have made Jesus to make him the keeper of the money. How could Judas stoop down to such a low level even after living and traveling with Jesus, experiencing His grace and love and having understood that He is the Savior who has come to save the world??? Why did Judas become disloyal to the master??? We can see three things here:

1.Greed for wealth: We can see this as one of the reasons that made Judas betray the trust of Jesus. Must have been so. He dealt with the Roman government. They were ready to pay/give him anything he wanted to trap Jesus. Judas agreed to the price of a slave, mere 30 pieces of silver. 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. So we can agree that it was greed for wealth because, John 12: 5-6, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. Here we can see that he was angry when the sinful lady washed Jesus’ feet with perfumed oil. He only saw money being wasted and not her love and repentance. Whatever be the reason it can be clearly understood that Stan had made home inside him. John 6:70-71, 70 Then Jesus replied, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” 71 (He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.)

2.Fear and selfishness: It is mentioned that Judas was Caiaphas’ nephew. If this is true then he had all means to know the inside news and plots of the Roman government. He was afraid that being one of Jesus’ disciples he too would be prosecuted like Jesus. To make himself safe and secure he tried to please the authorities. Being fully aware that Jesus was Son of God, Judas believed that Jesus would become the king of Jews. Hence he would be appointed the duty of handling finance was what he believed.

3. His belief in Jesus’ powers: Judas had witnessed many miracles and healing during his stay with Jesus.So he believed that Jesus could never be captured or prosecuted by anyone. But when he saw that his judgement was wrong, Jesus had not come as king of Jews to rule but to save the world with His sacrifice. When Judas understood his mistake, Matthew 27:3, When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. Judas had become blinded by the wealth of this material world. He had understood late that Jesus had taken birth not to become a king in this world. Jesus had repeatedly tried to make His disciples see this truth.

Luke 9:21-23, 21 Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. 22 And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”23 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

Judas was very aware of the patient and forgiving nature of Jesus, yet he did not come to His feet to ask for repentance. Matthew 27:5, So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

Acts 1:18-19, 18 (With the payment he received for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

At the Passover feast, hours before Judas was to betray Jesus to the Romans, He ate with him and even washed Judas’ feet. Even at that moment he felt no remorse or guilt for what he was about to do. Judas was one of the people whom we could have respected, but look at his downfall, how shameful.

Till now we have been calling Judas as a betrayer. But think, isn’t there a Judas within each one of us?? In our daily lives, like Judas, in our personal life, family life and professional life, we act and behave to please. Aren’t we also pretenders??? PAUSE. Think. Introspect. 2000 years ago the Romans nailed Jesus in the hands and feet. But aren’t we daily with our wrong thoughts, words and deeds nail Him daily??? Don’t we crucify Him daily??? Instead of being weak and falling prey to Satan like Judas, let us fall to Jesus’ feet and seek His refuge. He will hold close to Him with his hands that were nailed for us.

Heavenly father called out Adam by his name when he fell prey to the trap of Devil.Today He is calling out our names. No matter what clothes we make for ourselves they are not enough. Seek His refuge in whichever condition you are. Today ask Him, How do you love me Lord??? And He will respond to you with open arms that were nailed for you, and say THIS MUCH. Run to Him and escape from becoming another Judas.

To obey is better than sacrifice,and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

Georg Pencz (German, Wroclaw ca. 1500–1550 Leipzig) The Parable of the Father and His Two Sons in the Vineyard, from The Story of Christ, 1534–35 German, Engraving; Sheet: 1 9/16 × 2 5/16 in. (3.9 × 5.9 cm) The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917 (17.3.1283) http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/432116

Scripture passage: Matthew 21: 28-31, 28 “What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’

29 “‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.

30 “Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go.

31 “Which of the two did what his father wanted?”

“The first,” they answered.

Even though Jesus narrated this parable to the Jews, this applies to our families also.

1.Pride : With lot of expectation had the father approached his elder son, but he replied back with a NO like a slap across his face. He did not show respect to his father neither did he obey what he asked him to do. It was the money and the wealth that made the pride in him talk back to his father. He was not able to control himself even in front of his father. Saul had become arrogant, self centered and selfish because of the different luxuries in his life, his wealth and fame. This became the reason of his down fall also. 1 Samuel 15:11, 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.”

Isn’t this the situation in our families today?? The answer is, Yes. Parents today are hesitant in using phrases like,” It isn’t possible”, ” No we don’t need this”. We are ready to fulfill their demands in every way possible. It is a good thing. But along with it, children should be made aware of financial problems, habit of hard work and also instruct them about the way the Lord has led us. If not, then we should be prepared to face the same backlash like the elder son gave the father. In today’s modern world, the luxuries of life have increased a lot. Along with it the generation today has lost the habit of hard work.

2. Laziness and lack of clarity: Both the sons were lazy. They were enjoying themselves in the luxuries that the father had created with his hard work. In Matthew 21:28 we can see that the father asks the son to work TODAY. It means that prior to this he never asked them to work in the vineyard. The father had not taught his sons to take on responsibilities. That too was a reason for their laziness. King David too while lazing around instead of being at the battlefield saw Bathsheba having a bath. The result of that sight was falling into sin. We have often heard this phrase “An empty mind is Devil’s workshop”.

Both the sons behaved irresponsibly and without respect towards their father. The elder son regretted his words and later went to the vineyard to work. Jesus compares the same with those desiring to enter the kingdom of heaven. Unless you repent you will not enter. Matthew 21:31-32 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

3. Hard work of father: This parable dates back to 2000 years ago one should remember. To own a vineyard was not an easy task. It requires lot of hard work and toiling in the soil. The sons were not used to this. The father must have approached the sons due to his failing health or old age or seeing that they are now old enough to take on the responsibility of the vineyard. The sons were not responsible towards the vineyard even though it was theirs also. In today’s families, how many of our children help parents in family matters and responsibilities??? Parents and children reading this should ask this question to themselves.

Let us look at the generation today. They are more knowledgeable and educated than their parents. The use of gadgets and technology is more than is needed. Today’s generation are getting hooked into Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat which ultimately leads to them having to hide their face at times, why????? They look for ways to earn money by hook or by crook. How many parents have succeeded in raising children who grow in self realization and character development instead of getting trapped into the magical material world. How many parents today can say with confidence that I am proud in the way my children are able to balance both professional life and family life??? This parable is not to scrutinize the faults and follies of father and son, rather to look for something to learn something from them.

Before the great flood, Lord had asked Noah to build an ark. Before the advent of technology his sons helped Noah built the ark in 14 days without questioning their father. And the Lord blessed Noah and his family to flourish over the earth. Let us also try to bring up a generation that respects & obeys the elders and has the habit of hard work. May the Lord help all the parents in this.

Proverbs 10:4-5,

Lazy hands make for poverty,
    but diligent hands bring wealth.

He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
    but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.

AMEN

Open your Hearts to receive Lord

Acts 16:13-15, 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

There are three things that can be seen about Lydia.

1.She was a believer: Paul says that Lydia was a believer. But why does he say so?? There were other women also along with Lydia. He must experienced something different about Lydia in the way she spoke and conducted herself. There is devotion to God only if there is faith in God. Ezra 8:22,…“The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.”

Proverbs 31:30, 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

This proves right when it comes to Lydia, there were other women with her but only her name is praised. We say leaves are green, flowers are red, blue or pink in colour. That flower has better fragrance than this one. This is how we describe colours and fragrance or qualities. There are many colours in a person, they are devotion, faith, dedication and transformation. Proverbs 14:26, 26 Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress,and for their children it will be a refuge.

Isaiah 33:6, He will be the sure foundation for your times,
    a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge;
    the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure
.

2.The Lord opened her heart: Paul spoke to the women gathered there near the river. the Lord opened only Lydia’s heart. She desired to hear what Paul had to say and she accepted it all into her soul. The all seeing Lord, saw her hear and fulfilled her hear desire. Lydia persuaded them to come to her home.

3.She received them in her home in the name of the Lord: Lydia was a good host. She was not just a home maker but she was also a dealer in purple cloth. In today’s world, we have limited ourselves to me and my family. 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.

1 Timothy 2:9-10, I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Jesus had said to His disciples Luke 10:5-9, “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 

There is very little written about Lydia in the Bible. But what is written is applicable to women even today. Lydia is an ideal example of how a lady of the house can lead the way towards developing and strengthening faith in the Lord. She was alone when she listened to the preaching of Paul. But she led in faith such that her whole household was baptized. How many women today pay attention to the developing and building a relationship with the Lord?? How many help their children to grow in the words of God?? In today’s scenario it is important to self introspect our households. We have so many facilities at home that were not there earlier. How much do these really help/assist in our homes??? Let us not be like Job’s wife. Job 2:9-10,

His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”

10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

May our hearts and soul also transform and open up to hear and accept the words of God like Lydia.

AMEN.

Word of God

Let us see three things to observe.

1.Read the Word of God: We should read the word of God repeatedly. We are always curious to know what happens next or what is the ending when we read a novel or a storybook. In the same way, when we read the word of God we should have have the same curiosity and interest to understand the depth and meaning of the word of God. There are a number of people who hear and read the word of God. May those who read the word of God, pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance. Do not read the word of god like you read a novel or story.

There is no full stop when it comes to reading the newspapers, watching news and discussing world and political matters. But when it comes to the word of God, we often do not have anything to share or discuss. We do not try to resolve our doubts also. The word of God is our Heavenly Father’s letter to us filled with instructions, advises and guide maps in leading a pure life. But we His children do not read them with sincerity and dedication. We can spend hours before the social media, internet and mobiles. Our generation today is heading towards a big danger. Who is responsible?? Since childhood we are not teaching our children to read the word of God daily. Hebrews 4:12, 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. For this to work, just like a farmer works and toils in his field we should also make effort to read the word of God . Here work means to pray to the Lord.

2.Move: The heart and soul of those who read the word of God should move or in other words should transform. Each individual mind/heart should be shaken. Think about it, ponder over it. Introspect yourself. A word to those who get highly emotional reading a book or watching a movie. The word of God is filled with the Heavenly grace which is available to one and all. The word of God does not entertain you like a storybook. We never know through which verse/word the Lord Almighty will work for us and through us when we repeatedly read His words. Isaiah 1:18, 18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

Isaiah 49:15-16, 15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
    and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
    I will not forget you!
16 See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
    your walls are ever before me.

Jeremiah 29: 11-14, 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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord,

Throw a stone into a calm lake, there will be ripples in the water for quite some time. The waves will keep hitting the banks. For a few minutes there will be constant movement. A lifeless stone, when thrown into tasteless and odor less water can create movement and waves. Then why is it that the living word of God not able to create movement in our hearts which are beating with life and blood??

1 Corinthians 3:16, 16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

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

The word of God helps us in identifying and knowing about ourselves. We know/identify our parents and siblings since childhood How?Why? Because we see them. Through the word of God we see and know our Heavenly Lord, His son and our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

3. The Lord should live with us: How is this possible you may ask. Romans 8:9, You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

1 John 4:13, 13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.

The word of God purifies and cleanses us in all ways. Throw a basket into a muddy pit. Then dip into clean water several times. It will become clean once again. We too get cleansed in the same way when we immerse ourselves repeatedly in the word of God. But our immersion should not be like the elephants, where after dipping in water it covers itself in mud again. We should not step into dirt/worldly thoughts after cleansing of our hearts.

Our situation is like a pot with holes in it. When we pour water while holding it, the water filters out. But when the same pot is dipped in water, the same water gets inside the pot through the holes. Water fill inside the pot when it stays longer immersed if water. Similarly, let us immerse ourselves in the life giving word of God.

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 28: A boy holds his nose while visiting the ‘corpse flower’ (amorphophallus titanum) at the New York Botanical Garden, June 28, 2018 in The Bronx borough of New York City. The rare and odorous flower began blooming Tuesday evening and is now in full bloom. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A flower that gives bad odor??? Hard to believe!!! Corpse flower leaves a foul smell a long distance. Similarly there are books and magazines that stink. But those who are immersed in the word of God spread fragrance around them. Their thoughts, words and deeds all make it evident.

Dear Children of God, Think, what is it you want for yourself: Word of God or Corpse Flower???

Let us create a name for ourselves:Babel

Scripture Passage: Genesis 11:1-9,

The Tower of Babel

11 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

God created the heaven and the earth and everything in it. He then created man in His own image. God desires that they may flourish and have many children(generations). The women were very beautiful and the men married any women they chose. The earth was filled with sin and wickedness. Genesis 6: 5-6 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. Lord became sad looking at earth and decided to destroy all of the earth. But there was a righteous man, Noah who was blessed by the grace of God. Yahweh asked Noah to build an ark and collect two pairs of all types of animals and birds and bring them to the ark. He asked Noah to get inside with his family. Just when all the animals and birds along with Noah and his family were safely inside the ark, it started to rain heavily. It rained continuously for 40 days and 40 nights. No one escaped the great flood. The wickedness in the world today is much more than it was at Noah’s time. Even today Lord is sad and heartbroken looking upon us, His children.

After the great flood, God blessed Noah and his family and said they will flourish over the earth. Noah’s sons had many clans which spread over the earth. Due to which they had one language and one speech. They moved eastward and settled at a place called Shinar. They decided that to avoid getting scattered across the earth, they would build a city and a tower that would reach the heavens. Genesis 11: 4, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Lord said to flourish over the earth but they decided to settle at one place and create a name for themselves. The Lord came down to earth to see the city and the tower they were building. Seeing that humans had become full of themselves and considered themselves powerful enough to do anything by themselves, God scattered them over the earth with different languages. Leaving the city and the tower, they spread across the earth. The name was called Babel because God had confused their language. Genesis 11:8-9, So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Today time has changed. Today the brain of man and inventions are a matter of wonder. Today if we see the race between nations and people to create for themselves, one would think they have lost all their senses. Man has now started challenging death in the face to make a name, applause and enter name in Guinness Book.

Ecclesiastes 1:11, 11 No one remembers the former generations,
    and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
    by those who follow them.

The name one creates battling death is soon forgotten by people when someone else does it better. The first person gets lost in oblivion.

When a person is born, God has a plan for him/her. But man in his selfishness, relying only on his/her capability, build buildings and cities, and are content. But the children of God were not created to be children of the world, rather children who follow and read the word of God. Like this our Heavenly Father desires to live with Him till the end of time. There will come a day when we will have to leave behind all this name and fame, what will you do then?? 2 Corinthians 5:10,10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. The word of God does not lie. What good will this name and fame be if we are not able to enter our names in the Book of Life with God????

Think children of God… Revelation 21:27, 27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelation 22:4, They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

This should be the aim and desire of all children of God. In today, all homes, societies, we can see the experience of Babel. The condition is such that what one person is saying is not understood by the other. Our families and parishes are no different to this experience. Let the above given verses be applied in practical by all children of God, I pray.