The eyes of the Lord are always upon us

Hagar (Agar) e Ismael, uma questão de justiça e de graça - Notícias de  Israel - Cafetorah

1.Hagar: Genesis 16:13, 13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Abraham and Sarah were a childless couple. When they did not have kids, Sarah in the hope of having a child asked Abraham to take one of her servants. The child then borne from her, Sarah would take as her own. Abraham agreed to her plan. He slept with Hagar, the Egyptian slave Sarah had given him, and she conceived. The joy was short lived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress, Sarah. Then Sarah mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her into the desert. There the angel of the Lord appeared to her and asked her, Genesis 16:8,  And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” She replied that she was fleeing from the ill treatment meted out by Sarah. Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.”

Hagar had no status or position. She was only a slave yet the most compassionate Lord saw her broken heart. The Lord sent His angel to her to help heal her pain. Genesis 16: 10-12,10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”

11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
    and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
    toward all his brothers.”

2.Jacob: Jacob fled for his life after cheating his own father and brother, to his maternal uncle, Laban’s place. Jacob was dearly loved by his mother. She helped him in tricking her own elder son, Esau. Even here, he fled the country under his mother’s instructions for safety. He is alone now, disheartened and lonely. He was amidst the mental storm of the memories of his home and family, and the anxiety for his future. Genesis 28:11, 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 

Genesis 28:12-15, 18, 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. 19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.

3.Israelites: The Pharaoh was afraid of the increasing number of the Israelites in Egypt. So he started to ill treat them and torture them. He made them his slaves. Exodus 3:7-8,10, The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.  So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites,….10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” The Lord performed numerous miracles. He rescued them from the hands of the Egyptians and looked after them. After the death of Moses, the Lord chose Joshua as the next leader and led them to the promised land, Canaan.

4.Daniel: The young boy decided that he will not defile himself by eating or drinking what was offered by the king. Daniel asked for help from the guard whom the chief official had appointed. The guard was scared of the king. Daniel pleaded with him,  Daniel 1:12, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. The Lord was with Daniel. After ten days in comparison with other boys Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. The Lord again saved Daniel and his friends from the pit of fire and from the lions. He is a Lord who always sees us.

5. Apostle Peter: Acts 12, Peter’s Miraculous Escape From Prison

Apostle Peter was imprisoned by King Herod for talking about Jesus, and spreading His words. He was arrested and put into prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. The night before Herod was to bring Peter to trial, he was sleeping between two soldiers, bound in chains. An angel of the Lord appeared before him and asked him to get up. Immediately his chains feel off. The angel then asked him to clothe himself and follow him. Acts 12: 9-10, Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him. Peter thought he was seeing a vision, but when the angel disappeared it dawned on him that it was all real. He was saved by the Lord through the angel.

Dear children of God, be it a desert, a servant, a slave, a boy or an apostle, the Lord always sees us. This is not the witness of just one person. There are uncountable examples in the Bible. Even today there are several around the world who experience and witness the glory and presence of God.

Psalms 33:18, 18 But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
    on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,

Psalms 139: 8-10, If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalms 139:13-18, 13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Dear sister and brother, may each example given above and words of God, fill us with hope and help us live in contentment. Place your hope and trust in the Creator. He will never abandon you.

Isaiah 49: “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.

Do not trivialize the word of God

In the Old Testament we have several times read that when the sins of the world increased, there is intervention from the Lord. It is not necessary that the sins and actions that man considers as trivial are trivial before the Lord as well. The Lord is holy, there is nothing unholy in Him. In the New Testament, Jesus, the Son of God, repeats these happenings before everyone. He then reiterates that His coming also would be like this-without any forewarning. He told us to look around ourselves, observe and be vigilant about the changes. During the time of Noah, the great floods destroyed the whole world. Before the floods, Noah too prophesied the word of God before everyone. We see that everyone mocked and ridiculed his words. What about today???

1.Noah and family: Genesis 6:13, 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. Without any questions or doubt, Noah and his family followed every instruction that was given by the Lord. Noah wanting to save other must definitely have shared the word of God with others too. It is regretful that they were so seeped into the sin that they did not pay heed and ridiculed him. In the great floods, the whole earth was destroyed, except for the Family of Noah and the animals and birds inside the Ark. The Bible teaches us that the Lord blessed those with abundance who follow His instructions with obedience.

2.Lot and his family: The sins of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah had increased manifold. Two angels were sent to Sodom-Gomorrah by the Lord. They came to Lot, son of Abraham’s brother. Genesis 19:12-14, 12 The two men said to Lot, “Do you have anyone else here—sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, 13 because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it.” 14 So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking. They paid no heed to the words of God and had to suffer the consequences.

Genesis 19:24, 24 Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the Lord out of the heavens. They considered the words of warning as rather trivial and paid no attention. Hence, they too were burned down with the rest of the people of Sodom-Gomorrah. The Lord had said to them that while none of them should turn back. Genesis 19:26, 26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.

3.King Hezekiah: King Hezekiah after the complete purification of the temple decided to celebrate the Passover festival. 2 Chronicles 30:10, 10 The couriers went from town to town in Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun, but people scorned and ridiculed them. The people did not purify themselves as the Lord had instructed and also said by King Hezekiah, and celebrated the Passover. The King who had desired to please the Lord by doing what is right in the eyes of the Lord prayed for them. 2 Chronicles 30:18-20, 18 Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the Lord, who is good, pardon everyone 19 who sets their heart on seeking God—the Lord, the God of their ancestors—even if they are not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” 20 And the Lord heard Hezekiah and healed the people. Let us all also pray for the healing of the world.

4.Jonah: The city of Nineveh was drowning in sin. The Lord chose Jonah and sent him to prophecy the destruction of the city if they did not repent. What did Jonah do? Instead of going to Nineveh he went to Tarshish. Tired and exhausted, Jonah slept peacefully below the deck of the ship. Our Father wanting to protect His children from sin, made the winds blow wildly across the sea and there was a violent storm. Jonah 1:6, The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.” The same question is put before each one us by the Father in heaven. Accepting his mistakes, Jonah asks the captain to throw him into the sea. The raging sea became calm. Jonah 1:17, 17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah cried out to the Father in heaven, Jonah 2:1-10,

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:

“In my distress I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
    and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
    into the very heart of the seas,
    and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
    swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
    from your sight;
yet I will look again
    toward your holy temple.’

But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
    will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
    I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Jonah reached the city of Nineveh and gave the Lord’s warning. From the King to the common man, everyone was afraid and had a change of heart. They repented from their sins. Jonah 3:6-10, When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

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.

The word of God clearly teaches us that the Lord takes sin very seriously. The result of sin is death of the spirit/soul. Today, repentance and sins are meaningless words for everyone as they live life on their own terms sinking in worldly pleasures. Certain group of people think that the second coming of Jesus and the final judgement are all old school thinking, rudimentary and baseless.

We easily say that the sins of the world were not as severe as they are in today’s time. We have read and seen those who have followed the word of God and those who have ignored them. Today, the children of God are testing His patience. Unlike Noah, they have fled from the sight of the Lord and living on their terms and desires. The end result will be like those who ignored, either under water or in the belly of the fish.

Jesus has said that during Noah’s time people lived according to his/her desire. Everything was destroyed in the flood that came unexpectedly. Dear children of God, the earth and sky may disappear but the word of God will not disappear.

Dear Children of God, pause and think. Like the sons in law of Lot, like Lot’s wife, we can either take the words as trivial and ignore them. Or like Nineveh and Noah be rescued and blessed. Think. Just think if these things were to happen without any warning, where does each of us stand?? The Lord selected Noah and Lot from among several families on Earth. Will He do the same for each of us or will we be destroyed? If you desire to be rescued, pay attention to the word of God and obey them will complete submission. Let us all rescue ourselves and the world.

1 Samuel 12:23-24, 23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.

The one who sold great things

Genesis 25:32, 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

Exodus 13:1-2,The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”

The firstborn child had many privileges. They were entitled to twice the share than rest of the children. In royal families, the eldest son was anointed as king. 2 Chronicles 21:3, Their father had given them many gifts of silver and gold and articles of value, as well as fortified cities in Judah, but he had given the kingdom to Jehoram because he was his firstborn son. Among the two sons of Isaac, Esau was the firstborn. The blessed privilege of being the firstborn was seen as trivial by Esau.

Like this, one day, Esau returned back home, famished after hunting. Jacob was cooking some red stew, and Esau asked some stew to eat. Jacob asked him for his birthright in exchange for the stew. Esau did not think twice and swore his birthright to Jacob.

Hebrews 12:16, 16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Esau gave up his most valuable birthright for the momentary satisfaction of hunger. Philippians 3:19, 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. It is regretful to say that this is the desire of the body which made Esau weak.

Judas was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus. The word of God teaches us that Judas was the one who looked after the money, he had the money bag with him. We can believe that in the early times with Jesus, he must have loved and adored the Lord. Judas was also among those whom He had selected to be His apostles. Even though he spent his time with the Son of God, Judas was weak and gave in to temptation of power and money.

It can be said that the hunger for money rose its head within Judas from time to time. For eg: John 12: 4-6, But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “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. Hence it is no surprise that he betrayed the Lord for mere thirty pieces of silver. Exodus 21:32, 32 If the bull gores a male or female slave, the owner must pay thirty shekels of silver to the master of the slave, and the bull is to be stoned to death. This was how trivial Judas valued the life of the Son of God.

Judas had expected the worldly happiness of earth instead of heavenly happiness from Jesus. Instead he had Jesus telling them about the coming days leading to His crucifixion and death. Judas saw all his calculations and plans failing. Judas must have been capable in handling money, which was why Jesus had given the money bag to him to handle. This weakness or flaw was used as advantage by Satan. It is true that even today we have many Judas around us. The end of Judas should be a lesson for each one of us. He had spent more than three and a half years with the Saviour who had come to rescue the sinners. under the grip of Satan, Judas selected suicide rather than reaching out for forgiveness at the feet of the Lord at the time of crucifixion.

Dear children of God, we too would have situations where we would be caught like Esau or Judas. Think before you the final decision. Since somethings once lost can never be retrieved.

Philippians 4:12-13, 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

1 John 2:15-17, 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

Love is greater than Wealth

Mathews 26:13, 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

While Lord Jesus was in Bethany, he was invited to the house of Simon, a leper. It is not possible that Simon had leprosy at that time, otherwise a huge crowd would not have gathered around his house to see Jesus. There a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. Let us see and observe some characteristics of this woman.

1.Love greater than wealth: In this passage it has been particularly specified that the woman poured an expensive perfume on Jesus. The woman loved and adored Jesus from the bottom of her heart. The money she spent on the perfume did not seem much to her before Jesus. Even though for some people gathered there it seemed too lavish and a waste of money. For Mary it didn’t seem so. 1 Corinthians 13:13, 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

At the moment Mary poured the perfume some people discouraged her from wasting her money like this. Among these were some disciples of Jesus too. An ordinary woman is seen pouring an expensive perfume on Jesus from her money. Judas, one of Jesus’ disciples, after this incident went straight to the Chief priests and agreed to betray Jesus. He asks them what will you give me for betraying Him? No one had approached Judas for this task. He himself had walked to betray Jesus. Let us now compare the two. Why did Mary anoint Jesus with Alabaster?? What emotions/feelings made her do it?? Why did Judas betray Jesus?? What emotions/feelings made him do such a heinous act?? Think.

2.Jesus’ reaction: Jesus was observing all that was happening. He asked. Matthew 26:10, 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

1 Chronicles 11:17-19, 17 David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 18 So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out to the Lord. 19 “God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it.

Knowing that Jesus was at the house, a huge crowd had gathered. John 12:9, Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. Mary was not at all afraid of having entered the house and anointing Jesus with her adoration. She was not bothered by any criticism. The house and its surrounding was filled with the fragrance of her love with which she showered Jesus. John 12: 7-8, “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”

3. What she did will be remembered throughout the world: Mark: 14:9, Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” This proclamation by Lord Jesus is very important. We self proclaim that we love Jesus. There are several people who hesitate to proclaim their love openly. The fear behind this hesitation is what will people think/say about me. We often forget that even the smallest of our act done for the Lord in full dedication has high value before Him. Mary received the highest appreciation she could have received from Jesus. She is mentioned in all three Gospels.

Judas, who was by then under the grip of Satan said, John 12: 4-6, But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “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.

4. Her name will be mentioned whenever the word of God is preached: We do not read anywhere in the Bible about Jesus proclaiming this, Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her. What else can an ordinary woman ask for in return?? What she did will be a witness for the world said Lord Jesus. Today, people do acts not in the name of Jesus. Instead as a show off to show before people, they perform in the name of the Lord. Today children of God are more likely asking from God rather than giving in the name of the Lord.

Matthew 25:40, 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

We have often heard and read a lot about Mary Magdalene, Martha & Mary, Samaritan woman. But not much is written about this ordinary woman.

It is rather regretful that not much is written about this ordinary woman who anointed Jesus with Alabaster. Who we are is not of importance. What is important is what we do for the Lord and the feelings behind them. the act done by this woman was appreciated by Jesus, he said, She has done a beautiful thing to me. What about us???

The Lord’s plans for us is to always prosper us

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.

Each man on earth desires to have only good things happen to us. For that to happen each one of us tries to do our best. The Bible teaches us that the Lord only desires good things and prosperity for us. You must be thinking, if that is so then why do we have bad things happen to us??? Judges 6:13, 13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

Hebrews 12:5-11, And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
    and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

There are two ways before us.

  1. To go away and live a life like we wish like the prodigal son
  2. To live obediently with family, amidst corrections, troubles and tears, yet live in hope.

The word of God provides us with some examples.

1.Joseph: Joseph was the eleventh child of Jacob. He was a shepherd. He was hated by his own brothers, thrown into a dry well, and then sold away for twenty pieces of silver as slave. He was put into prison for an act he did not commit. The young man, Joseph did not lose hope in times of all these trials. He submitted himself completely to the Lord and lived in faith. The Lord’s plan was not to keep him in the prison. He was led out of the prison to the pharaoh’s palace. How?? The pharaoh saw a dream one night, No one was able to interpret the dream correctly. Joseph interpreted the dream correctly and told the pharaoh what was to happen in the coming future. The pharaoh understood that the Lord’s spirit was with Joseph. He appointed him as his commander, second to him in position. There was a severe famine everywhere in the world. Genesis 41:56-57, 56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, Joseph opened all the storehouses and sold grain to the Egyptians, for the famine was severe throughout Egypt. 57 And all the world came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe everywhere. Here we see that Joseph came to the rescue of his family.

2.David: David was a shepherd boy. Goliath, the giant had been challenging King Saul to war. Saul and his army were frightened of Goliath. David was victorious over him with only a stone and a sling. The Lord’s plan was for David to kill Goliath. In this way, David reached the palace of King Saul. After the death of Saul, David ruled the kingdom of Israel for a long time. Lord’s plan was not to limit David as a shepherd, rather to have him appointed as king.

3. Ruth: Naomi had two sons. Both of them died. Among the two daughter in laws, the elder one returned back to her family. The younger one was not ready to abandon her mother in law. To have a means of living for the two of them, Ruth went to glean along with other harvesters in the fields of Boaz (a relative on her husband’s side, a man of standing from the clan of Elimelek). Boaz praised Ruth as a good woman. Following every instruction that Naomi gave her, Ruth became Boaz’s wife. They were the grand parents of David. Our Saviour, Lord Jesus was born in this lineage. The Lord’s plan was not for Ruth to live the life of a widow with her parents.

4.Esther: The girl named, Esther was an orphan. She was raised by her close relative, Mordecai. Many young girls were brought to King Xerxes’ palace to be appointed as queen in place of Queen Vashti. Mordecai helped Esther reach the palace. The king selected Esther as his next queen.

Haman, the enemy of Jews, was laying a plan to execute the Jews. Upon knowing the plans of Haman, Mordecai advised Esther how to help the Jews. Esther 4:13-14… “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Esther gained the King’s trust, and became the reason behind the rescue of the Jews and execution of Haman. The Lord’s plan was not to let Esther live the life of an orphan. He made her the queen of King Xerxes, and saved the lives of the Jews.

At that time, there weren’t just one Joseph, David, Ruth or Esther on earth. There were many young men and women of their age. They were different than the rest of the men and women their age. The Lord does not look upon us with human eyes that sees only the physical appearance. Our Lord sees our heart and soul. Obedience, humbleness and unwavering faith in the Lord amidst trials and tribulations was their unique quality. This quality led them to be selected for the Lord’s plan.

The other two people through whom the Lord’s plan was done are, Joseph and Mary in the NT. They were selected to be parents of our Saviour, Jesus, Why????? Angel Gabriel appeared before virgin Mary and said Luke 1:30-33 “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Luke 1: 38,38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

This humbleness was the reason why Mother Mary was selected for this divine plan. She is the model of humbleness. Joseph was a righteous man. He followed the Lord’s plan without any questions.

the Lord’s plan was to send Jonah to Nineveh, because 1,20,000 population of that land were drowning in sin. The compassionate Lord desired a change of heart of the people. Jonah fled to Tarshish. In the middle of his journey, he was thrown into the sea where he was swallowed by a whale. This is what we also do. then we find ourselves in the middle of the sea of tribulations. Whose fault is it??? Ours??? The Lord??? In Psalm 139:13, King David says, 13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

Jeremiah 18:4, But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Dear children of God, like clay in the hands of the potter. Let us also submit ourselves to the Lord to carve and shape each one of us according to His plans for us. Let us abandon the way of Jonah and follow the path to blessings.


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Promises of God and our Reactions

Genesis 15:5, He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

In the Bible, in both Old Testament and the New Testament we read a lot about the promises of God. The word of God presents our Heavenly Father as the Lord of Promises. He is the Lord who fulfills every promise He makes. Eg: He promised Abraham that his offspring will be as numerous as the stars in the sky( Abraham). I will be with you wherever you go(Joshua). I will not let your children wander(David).

New Testament: I will always be with you; I will never abandon you; I will be with you till the end of time; etc. We do not receive the heavenly blessings according to our needs and time, neither is their fulfillment. Like the father on earth who knows and understands our every need, the Father in heaven knows better what we need and when. What we need is the patience to pray and wait for it to be fulfilled. We become disheartened when we do not receive them according to our time. We give up praying altogether.

Our forefather Abraham is an excellent example. He was childless. He received a vision from the Lord. What needs to be noticed here is that the blessing was received when he was advanced in age. Father Abraham celebrated the blessings received the Lord. He named his son and had him circumcised. the Bible teaches that he did the Lord’s will. Genesis 21:3-5, 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 also celebrate the birth of our child, baptism, First communion, marriage, House warming, etc with lot of spirit and delight. At these moments we need to pause and see if we are forgetting the Lord amidst our celebrations. Is it possible to do away with celebrations that do not include the one who gave us these moments to celebrate in the first place???? If not, then you will see our Lord who looks upon us with tearful eyes for having forgotten Him in our lives.

Genesis 21:6, Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” Here we read that Sarah was filled with happiness and names her son Isaac, meaning he will laugh. When the Lord fill our lives with happiness it is natural to celebrate. Genesis 18:12, 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?” There is huge difference between the laugh she had earlier and the one she has now. Earlier she was barren and discriminated in society. Now she is blessed and a way to show God’s glory. In the first laugh she laughed since she felt it was impossible to conceive in old age. The second laugh was the laugh of the impossible being true. Sarah did not forget the Lord amidst her celebrations. The first words she utters need to be noticed, “God has brought me laughter…” When the Lord blessed Sarah with a child, she gave all glory and adoration to the Lord. This is what we too should follow by example, the ways of our forefathers.

Acts 16:31, 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” This promise was given to one particular person. The person who received the promise took the person who gave them the promise of the Lord into his house and prepared food for them. The whole household was blessed and received salvation.

Dear children of God, let us compare. How do we receive and react after receiving the promises/blessings from the Lord? Like our forefathers, Abraham and Sarah, or like the jailer in the book of Acts?? Do we receive with joy those whom we should receive and send away those who shouldn’t??? Isn’t this a seed for thought??? When we receive any promise/blessing from the Lord, shouldn’t we praise, glorify and adore Him?? Hence, now when you sit and pray, or otherwise, when we receive blessings from the Lord above, pause and think.

Walking in the wrong direction can lead one to problems

2Ki 5:8-14] Go, Wash Yourself Seven Times In The Jordan

Stewardship Bulletin Reflection for the Week of Oct. 10, 2010 - Catholic  Stewardship Consultants, Inc.

2 Kings 5, In this chapter we read about Naman, who was a commander in the army of King Aram. Even though he was brave and valiant, Naman had leprosy. During one of his raids, Aram had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. The young girl said to her mistress, ” If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” Hearing this, Naman sought permission from King Aram to go and see the prophet. King Aram sent a letter to the king of Israel that read, “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.” Let us pause and think about a few matters:

1.Walking in the wrong direction leads to problems: The young girl had said that if the master went to see the prophet, he would cure Naman of his leprosy. Naman went to Israel with the letter from King Aram. After reading the letter the king of Israel tore his robes. The reason:  “Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!” Walking in the wrong direction leads one to problems. Naman was disheartened when he saw the king of Israel tore his robes after reading the letter.

When prophet Elisha heard that the king had torn his robes, he came to with the lamp of hope. He sent him this message: “Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.”  Naman had two diseases, one physical and the other in his mind.

2.One cannot receive the Lord’s blessings through wealth: The list of things that Naman brought with him to Israel as gifts is astounding. Have a look: ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. Yahweh, the Lord of the prophet, rejected all these material gifts.

Exodus 23:8, “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the innocent.

3. Get down from the throne of Pride: Naman was the commander of the neighboring country. Hence, he expected a grand welcome for himself from the prophet also. When he did not receive the welcome he expected he became furious. Elisha did not meet him at the door to receive and cure him. Instead Elisha sent a messenger to him with his words.

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. 12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naman was under the grips of pride of his position and stature. He wanted to be healed but without any efforts from his side, as a miracle. He is corrected by his servants who say to him, 13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

The three wise men followed the star looking for baby Jesus but were way led and reached the palace of Herod. That night many children were killed just because of one question from them, Where is the child who will be the King of Jews? The wise men were to reach Bethlehem but reached Jerusalem.

Even today there is no change to the flitting nature of the human mind. Be it for getting a work done or for a vision, we always happen to chose those in high position and not humble people. The result, we invite numerous problems into our lives. Even today for getting something done the two most used ways are bribe and recommendation. It is difficult to get things done otherwise.

Another character that we need to see is Gehazi. Elisha rejected all the material gifts that Naman offered. But Gehazi, his servant went after Naman and using his master’s name says to Naman, ‘Two young men from the company of the prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.’” There is nothing which is hidden before the prophet of the Lord. Elisha cursed Gehazi that the leprosy of Naman may come upon him and his family, and so it was.

But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.

Dear children of God, today there are a lot of Naman and Gehazi around us. Be vigilant when these two begin to lift up their heads within you. Let this passage be a lesson for each one of us.

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Satan, the thief

Once an environmentalist while walking through a dense forest heard the pitiful cry of a mother bird under a thick foliage of trees. What he saw when he went near was heart wrenching. The bird had build a nest in a fully grown thick tree. One by one her eggs had been swallowed by a cobra. Her pitiful cries were from the pain and desperation of having to see her last egg also being eaten. Seeing this, the environmentalist shook his head in dismay and said to the mother bird, ” There is no use of crying dear mother bird. You built your nest on a very low branch for the enemy to easily reach you. You should have built your nest on a higher branch in safety.”

Colossians 3:1-2,Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Dear children of God, just pause for a moment and think. Is our nest and our children safe from the clutches of the enemy. Matthew 13:24-30, 24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

the Lord explains the parable in this way, Matthew 13:37-43

37 He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.

40 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

What all are the weeds within a man?

1.Desire of the eye: Joshua 7: 11…They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. The Lord abandoned Israel due to their act of greed. The act of greed was done by Achan. Why did he do such a dreadful act when the Lord instructed against it? Why did he violate the covenant?

Joshua 7: 21,20 Achan replied, “It is true! I have sinned against the Lord, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath.” We can clearly see the desire of the eye blinding Achan to the Lord’s wishes. He saw and coveted. The result of his desire was horrific. He and his family were stoned to death and killed.

Joshua 7: 25-26, Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the Lord turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.

2.Jealousy and Anger: Cain and Abel offered sacrifices to the Lord. Genesis 4:4-5,  In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Instead of questioning his offerings, as to what was missing from my side? Cain became jealous of his own brother. He took him to the fields and killed him.

Proverbs 15:29, 29 The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Proverbs 28:9,If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.

3. Desire of worldly materials: Hebrews 13:5, Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

Naboth had a vineyard close to the palace of King Ahab of Samaria. Ahab asked Naboth to exchange his vineyard for a vegetable garden. 1 Kings 21: 2,  Ahab said to Naboth, “Let me have your vineyard to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever it is worth.”

Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, got the vineyard through devious ways and had two scoundrels give false witness against Naboth that he had cursed both God and king. So Naboth was taken outside the city and stoned to death. Jezebel and Ahab too got punishment for their evil act.

1 Timothy 6:6-10, But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

4. Desire for power: Absalom, the son of King David was greedy for power. 2 Samuel 15, In this chapter we read how Absalom tried to overthrow his father and become powerful than him.

In the course of time, Absalom provided himself with a chariot and horses and with fifty men to run ahead of him. He would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, “What town are you from?” He would answer, “Your servant is from one of the tribes of Israel.” Then Absalom would say to him, “Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of the king to hear you.” And Absalom would add, “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that they receive justice.”

Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the people of Israel.

David was loved by all so a messenger came to him and told all that was happening. 2 Samuel 15:13-14,

13 A messenger came and told David, “The hearts of the people of Israel are with Absalom.”

14 Then David said to all his officials who were with him in Jerusalem, “Come! We must flee, or none of us will escape from Absalom. We must leave immediately, or he will move quickly to overtake us and bring ruin on us and put the city to the sword.”

In pain and hurt David says to Abishai, 2 Samuel 16:11, My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me.

5. Desire of flesh: 2 Samuel 13, In this chapter we read how David’s son Amnon desired his own sister Tamar. The desire led him to use evil way to have her. After raping her, he detested her and sent her away. Tamar’s brother, Absalom killed Amnon when he got the opportunity to avenge his sister’s dignity. The desire of the flesh causes so much destruction. Deuteronomy 2228-29, 28 If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, 29 he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives. But we see that Amnon does not follow the Law of Moses and leaves Tamar. Due to this, 2 Samuel 13:20, And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman.

What we read above are only some of the weeds that Satan uses to enter the heart of ordinary man. Those who read the word of God and follow them do not fall into the traps and temptations that Satan lays for them. 1 John 3:8, The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. 

1 John 2: 15-17, 15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

2 Peter 2:19,19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”

Dear children of God wake up. First he tempted crawling his way. Today he numerous ways to tempt us created by us. If we are not alert and vigilant against his various faces and forms, we will not be able to defend ourselves.

1 Peter 5: 8-9, Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith,

Dear children of God, our enemy is very cunning. We do not realize when he enters our lives and takes away the blessings and graces given by God. Our fight is not with man. The Bible teaches us how to prepare ourselves.

Ephesians 6:10-18,

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 

Let the word of God draw deep roots within our heart and soul. Let us all defeat with the power of the word of God. Our best armor are His words. So be alert, the enemy is always beside us. Walk carefully. 1 Peter 4:3-7,

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do—living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They are surprised that you do not join them in their reckless, wild living, and they heap abuse on you. But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.

The Lord blesses those who obey Him

When did disobedience first take place? Right after Creation. Adam and Eve had full liberty and freedom in the garden of Eden. They were allowed to eat fruit from any tree except the Tree of Knowledge that stood in the middle of the garden. Satan worked his cunning way and created doubt against the Father in the mind of Eve. What seemed like a trivial act became a grave act of disobedience which separated them from the Lord. It is natural to fill up something which is empty. Here we can see that the place of the Lord was taken over by Satan. He is trying to do so even today in each heart and in each home.

Let us have a look at some people who were blessed because of their steadfast heart and obedience.

1.Noah: Genesis 6: 9, This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God.

Genesis 6:13-14, 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood;…

The Lord has given clear instructions to Noah about how to construct the ark, the materials to be used, the size, number of rooms, etc. Something that would have brushed off by others as joke was taken seriously by Noah. He gave due importance to the instructions of Lord. In those days, in the absence of modern technologically advanced tools or electricity, Noah built the ark together with his family. No one questioned the instructions by the Lord. they built it in accordance to what the Lord wanted.

The next set of instructions to Noah and his family was to gather two pairs of every animal and bird and bring them to the ark. They followed this also and did as told. It rained for continuously for 40 days and 40 nights. The earth was covered with water everywhere. Only Noah and his family along with the animals and birds in the ark survived. Genesis 9:1-3,Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.

Noah and his family were blessed in the same way as our first parents, Adam and Eve.

2.Abraham: It was prosperous time for our forefather, Abraham. He was flourishing in trade during that time. Unexpectedly, one day Abraham received a call from the Lord

Genesis: 12: 1-4,The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him.

Abraham did not have a child till he was old. He was blessed with a son in his advanced age at 100. The Lord asked Abraham to sacrifice his young son as an offering. Genesis 22:2, Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Abraham was ready to follow even this order. When Abraham took out his knife to kill Isaac, the Lord called out and asked him not kill his son. Genesis 22:12-13, 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.

Abraham even today is known as the father of believers. Is there a greater blessing to anyone who has been born? We call upon not just the name of Abraham, but of his two descendants also. We call upon the Lord of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. For one to receive such a blessing you should be ready to follow the Lord’s instructions without any doubt and questions.

3.Moses: It was the time of slavery for the children of Israel. Moses was leading a peaceful life as a shepherd to flock of sheep, living with his father in law and wife. The Lord came to him as a vision and said to him that I have chosen you to deliver my children from slavery under Egyptian into the land of Canaan. Moses replied by telling about his shortcomings and tried to step away from the duty handed to him. The Lord promised him, Exodus 3:12,12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain. The pharaoh was a very powerful ruler. the Lord performed several miracles(10 plagues) through Moses and rescued the people of Israel from slavery. We received the Ten Commandments through Moses which is ever revered and obeyed for generations.

The children of Israel disobeyed the Lord who performed several miracles for them and also gave them food to eat. As a result they were severely punished. Moses is respected and given importance among the forefathers by believers across the world. The reason is that despite being aware of his shortcomings and flaws, he obeyed and followed every instruction that the Lord gave.

In the New Testament also we read about numerous people being blessed when they obey the Lord.

These may trivial and small to you. Yet small acts of obedience became the way to greatness and blessings. Luke 6:46-49, 46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. 48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Dear children of God, let us also like our forefathers obey the Father Almighty. Let us also receive His grace and blessings for our obedience. Let us all try and live by their example. May the Word of God strengthen and guide us all. Amen

The house that welcomes Jesus will see His Glory

Miracles - Cana

John 2: 7-8, Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

The first miracle was performed by Jesus in a very ordinary home. With respect to that house it was momentous time of celebration. There was a wedding held at the house and Jesus was invited to the wedding along with His disciples and mother. The Bible teaches us that wedding should be respectful, Hebrew 13:4, Marriage should be honored by all

It is a matter of pride and honor for the people where wedding is held that the guests are fully satisfied with the preparation and arrangements. At the wedding at Cana the wine ran out. It is probable that human nature would have come to the front and as always someone would have criticized the shortcoming. There is no need to talk much about the condition of the man of the house. Mother Mary dealt with the situation wisely. Till that time Jesus had not revealed His glory. Mother Mary went to Jesus and explained the situation at hand to Him. Jesus spoke to the servants in secret and said to them to fill the jars with water to the brim. He blessed the water and asked them to serve it to the guests.

In an ordinary house the presence of Jesus became a moment of glory and magnificence. There is no discrimination before Jesus of rich or poor, white or black, sinner or righteous. He will definitely come and reside in the house that welcomes Him with open and pure heart which is ready to receive Him. Just take a moment here and think, in today’s wedding preparation what is given top priority/importance???? Who is invited to the wedding??? Or Lord or the enemy??? It is not enough to just invite Him to the wedding, we need to follow Him fully. Jesus instructed the servants to fill the jars with water. The servants did not question His instruction or ask Him anything. They followed Him without any questions or doubt. He then asked them to fill the jars with ordinary water from the well. They did this also and then served the water turned into wine to the guests without any questions. John 2:11, 11 What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Mathew 9:18-19, 18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

Mathew 9:24-26, 24 he said, “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. 25 After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. 26 News of this spread through all that region.

The daughter of a synagogue leader died. The father came before Jesus and in faith said to Him, that my daughter has died but you come and put your hand on her and she will live. Jesus went with Him to his house. When He reached the house He asked the people lamenting the death of the girl to go away, the girl is not dead but asleep. The bystanders there all made fun of Jesus. Jesus went inside the house and took the hand of the little girl. The little girl got up. This news spread all over the region.

The synagogue leader had full faith that Jesus could bring his daughter back to life. His faith became his salvation. Jesus raised the girl back from dead. The leader was unaffected by the mocking of the people who stood there. the glory of God was displayed in this house too.

Dear children of God, your house must also be an ordinary house. There must be people within your own house who might be mocking your faith. Those who do not let this affect their faith and dedication will definitely see the glory of the Lord once you invite Him into your house with open arms and hearts. May each child of God be able to do so. Amen.