Be faithful even during trials

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Face challenges in the name of the Lord

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An old man and An old woman

In the gospel of Luke chapter 2, we can read about two old people, an old man and an old woman. Simeon, the old man and Anna, the old woman. Have you ever paused to think what makes them special that they have their names in the Bible??

1.They were waiting for the Messiah/Savior: Simeon and Anna were waiting for the coming of the Savior of Israel. In the law of Moses it is written that the firstborn of every family should be dedicated to the church of God, 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.” During that era, there were many old people in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. Yet only Simeon and Anna were blessed with the knowledge and vision of the coming of Savior. It is obvious that the two must have met some pleasant and unpleasant experiences in life. Anna was widowed at a young age and had lived with her husband for 7 years only. Luke 2:25,25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. We can read that Simeon was a righteous and God fearing man and being blessed with the Holy Spirit he had the blessing to see the Savior. Blessed are those who like Simeon and Anna await the coming of Jesus.

2.Vision and hope about the coming generation: This generation requires the most number of prayers and tears. It is a time when the Satan is most active and always lurking around to catch a prey. It is the responsibility of the elders today to shape and mould the generation of today according to the vision and hope. We need to think about how much we are shaping this generation in preparation of the coming of Christ. The words of Simeon need to be applied whole heartedly. Luke 2:30-32,

For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.

Every elder should take the responsibility of this vision and pass this on this generation.

3. They lived in relationship with God: The Bible speaks about Anna as a prophet. She lived her whole life in the temple of God, praying and fasting. Luke 2:37,…She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Simeon and Anna must have been afflicted with the problems of old age like any other of their age. They could have been weak in eyesight, bent and weak, slow and weak in hearing too. Yet none of these issues weakened or dampened their faith or mind. The moment Simeon took baby Jesus in his hands and praised God, Anna too came next to him and praised the Lord.

4. They were led by the Holy Spirit: Luke 2:25-26, He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. There must have been many other people who had come to the temple of God when Joseph and Mother Mary came to Jerusalem to present Jesus in the temple. Yet Simeon was able to distinctly recognize Baby Jesus from other children. People who are blessed with the Holy Spirit not only have the physical eyes but also have a vision. Luke 2:38, 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Simeon had prophesied Luke 2:35, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” He had hinted towards the crucifixion of Christ. When a person is led by the Holy Spirit, he/she ceases to be ordinary and become extraordinary people. It is not a small occurrence to simply look at a baby and prophesize that the child is Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Childhood, adulthood and old age are stages on one’s life. Everyone should learn to accept it. Be it today’s adults or old people, the vision about children and grandchildren is about excellent education, a high paying reputed job, and a support system for their old age. A family which has elderly people like Simeon and Anna who are devoted to the Lord are a blessing. They teach us that is possible to receive grace and blessing through prayers and adoration even at old age. Having completed all their responsibilities, old people instead of sinking in depression and anxiety should strengthen their faith. In this way they would receive renewed strength and spirit. It is important to have a vision and hope about the second coming of the Lord in our old age. This hope helps us prepare us for the same. Anna could not contain the joy she experienced on seeing Jesus, Luke 2:38,38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. This a blessed old age. This is possible for each one of us.

The Lord is with Us

Judges 6:12,12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

In the book of Genesis we read that the Lord was with Joseph. Genesis 39:21, 21 the Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. The Lord is not only with Joseph but with each one of us. All the believers are alike in one thing. We all believe that if the Lord is with us then no illness, financial loss or failures would not come to us. The Bible tells us that even though Jesus was in the boat, it rocked to and fro in the turbulent sea. The wine was finished in Cana and Jesus was there. The Bible teaches us that the Lord was with Joseph. Yet we all know the suffering and troubles he had to face. His brothers sold him out of an act of hatred. He was thrown into a prison. In the end though he was the savior for his family in times of famine. In all the above mentioned incidents from the NT we understand that Jesus was always there as the solution.

David was a young boy. Prophet Samuel anointed him as the king. Yet we all know how many tribulations David had to face before he actually became the king. But in the end we see that David shone among all the kings as the king of Israel.

When God heard the pleading and cries of the Israelites He sent Moses to deliver them and bring them to Canaan. They wandered in the desert for many years. When they came out of Egypt they had the sea before them and the Egyptian army behind them. Moses and Joshua were scared.

Gideon laments that if God is with us would this happen to us. In the midst of troubles even we falter and ask that if God is with us how can bad things happen to us??

In the above paragraphs we have read about people who faced problems in this world. The Israelites faced a lot of problems in reaching Canaan. Jesus has promised us the Heavenly Canaan. To reach there we are not fighting against the human pharaoh. Ephesians 6:12, 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.

2 Corinthians 2:11, 11 in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

Apostle Paul tells us the tools needed to protect us from the enemy. Ephesians 6:13-18,13 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.

Romans 2:12,12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.

Romans 12:2,Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Ephesians 5:27,27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

In today’s current scenario, how many of us adorn themselves with the armor as mentioned by Apostle Paul??? Man keeps changing his mask to suit his needs. The signs of the end of time is there which tells us its near. We need to change ourselves accordingly.

The Lord Jesus has said several times, Those who have ears may hear. Everyone has ear but how many have hearing. Ask this question and answer it yourself.

In the Bible we can read that the Lord is always worried and cares those who follow His statutes rather than those who follow their own will and do not believe in Him. The reason that if He does not reprimand them or instruct them, we His children may falter and fall prey to the enemy.

Revelation 3:19,19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.

Hebrews 12:5-8, 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.

Faith as strong as a Rock

Matthew 8:8,The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 

The Faith of the Centurion

Even though the Centurion had more than a hundred servants under him, he went to Jesus himself to plead for his servant. The servants were ready on his beck and call to do his bidding. We are all aware of the incident when friends of a paralyzed man removed the top of a roof and him lowered before Jesus so that the man could be healed. The Centurion’s faith is noticeable and is also the reason he is mentioned in the Bible, For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” The Centurion was well aware that Jesus is the Son of God and that he himself was a sinner.

The Centurion being aware of his sinner state said to Jesus that he is not worthy to receive Him in his house and a mere word from Jesus is enough to heal the servant. Jesus was amazed on hearing and seeing the faith. 10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. Jesus had healed many people. But this reaction from Jesus was never seen before, this amazement. Hence. Jesus says that no one in Israel has such great faith.

The words that Jesus says later is also important, 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Revelation 22:11-12, 11 Let the one who does wrong continue to do wrong; let the vile person continue to be vile; let the one who does right continue to do right; and let the holy person continue to be holy.12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.

The time is near for all those who are sinking in the pits of worldly desires without repenting from their sins and not believing in Jesus Christ. Think what would be their end????? I am not aiming at change of religion rather a change of heart and mind.

In the end, Jesus says to him, 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment. Dear children of God, we too pray and plead before the Lord. But if your prayers are still unanswered, think is it because you lack the faith like that of the Centurion???? Let us also try and be humble and steadfast in faith like him. For this may we all reach out for the Holy Spirit and receive Him.

AMEN.

Sins and their Consequences

Today’s generation does not pay much attention to sins or the consequences. Any act that surfaces from the lust of the body lays seed to sin. Our Holy Lord gave a lot of importance and emphasis on sin. In the Old testament we have read that animals and birds were given as sacrifice and offering for the atonement of one’s sins. Here we can truly understand the depth and gravity of sin as the Heavenly Father gave His only begotten son as sacrifice for our sins on the cross.

1.Sin ruins the peace of mind: Adam and Eve were unaware about good or evil. They did not know the difference between chaos and peace of mind. It was only when they violated the instructions of the Heavenly Father that they came to know what it feels to lose peace and tranquility. They were sent out from the Garden of Eden. They did not know about hard work. After being sent out from the Garden they toiled hard to be alive. Once equivalent to an innocent infant, after sin they realized they were naked. To hide their nakedness they sew leaves together. They were afraid of the Lord.

2. Sin creates fear in us: Man defiles himself through sin and this leads to fear of both man and God. As usual, when the Father reached the Garden of Eden in the evening, He called out to Adam. For the first time Adam and Eve were scared of the Lord. Genesis 3:10, 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Having sinned they tried to place the blame on each other. Adam placed the blame on Eve and Eve placed the blame on the cunning serpent. Instead of asking forgiveness from the Father, they blamed Him for their own folly. Genesis 3:12, 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Pause here for a moment and think how do you react to your own mistakes.

3. Sin destroys the relationship with the Lord: God created man in His own image. Ecclesiastes 7:29,29 This only have I found:
    God created mankind upright,
    but they have gone in search of many schemes.”

Man who lived without the knowledge of sin, good or evil was thrown out of Eden due to sin. This continues till date. They were sent out of Eden and God cursed them, Genesis 3:17-19, “Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.”

4.Sin destroys freedom: Adam and Eve had full freedom in the Garden of Eden. They sinned out of their desire to stand next to God and not lesser than God. This desire still burns in man today. The reason being that the one who deceived Eve is still lurking among us and leads us astray. 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.”

Romans 7:19-20,19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

This human weaknesses is used by Devil to the optimum against us. It is important for each one of us to realize his wicked ways and not fall prey to his devious ways.

5. We lose the grace of God: Our Lord is holy. It is impossible for pure and impure things to stay together. The Holy Spirit that guides the goodness in each one us is forced to stand out because of our own sins. Romans 3:23, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

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? Notice it says that the Holy Spirit in is in our midst, We need to be pure and away from sin for it to enter.

6. Sin destroys everlasting life: Romans 6:22-23,22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ezekiel 18:19, Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live.

The death that is spoken here is not of the body but the soul. Those who sin cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. A sinner is like a bird that gets caught in the trap of a hunter. But, the kingdom of Heaven is within reach of the children of God. For that our efforts, good deeds do not work. What is needed is to believe in Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation and to renounce sin. One needs to repent from his/her sins whole heartedly. 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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

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

Romans 10:9,If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Romans 2:4-9, 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.” To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil:

Romans 5:12, 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—

Salvation or deliverance is desired by everyone but we need to work towards it. Romans 24:5-6,

The earth is defiled by its people;
    they have disobeyed the laws,
violated the statutes
    and broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse consumes the earth;
    its people must bear their guilt.
Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up,
    and very few are left.

Isaiah 1:18-19, 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.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
    you will eat the good things of the land;

Dear children of God, there is still hope for us. Ezekiel 18:23, 23 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? Think. Sin is among us. But the loving Father opened a way to salvation through His loving Son, Lord Jesus Christ. Choose your way wisely.

Be faithful to the Living Lord

Solomon, son of David was a firm believer in Yahweh and God-fearing. Mark 12:30, 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Solomon was a firm follower of this statute of God. He was a firm believer and did all that was pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. During his childhood and in his young age, he walked only on the path of the Lord. 1 Kings 3:3: Solomon showed his love for the Lord by walking according to the instructions given him by his father David, except that he offered sacrifices and burned incense on the high places.

When Solomon was only 20 years old, David anointed him as king. 1 Kings 3:5,9, 11- 12: At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.”

So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

11 So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 

Solomon was the one who had the blessing to built the much acclaimed Church of Jerusalem. Blessed in every area of life, Solomon went astray from the Lord’s path in his old age. He married women of different tribes which displeased the Lord. His many wives diverted his mind towards other gods and idols. Deuteronomy 8:1, 19-20,Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land the Lord promised on oath to your ancestors.

19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed. 20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.

The Lord’s wrath came upon Solomon when he failed to pay heed to the Lord’s warning who appeared to him twice. 1 Kings 11:9, 31-32: The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.

31 Then he said to Jeroboam, “Take ten pieces for yourself, for this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘See, I am going to tear the kingdom out of Solomon’s hand and give you ten tribes. 32 But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe.

Solomon wrote the following books, Proverbs, Songs of Songs and Ecclesiastes. Though he was wise and discerning he failed to pay heed to the words of the Lord. Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me. We have read in the Bible that Moses spoke with the Lord as one does with friends. Exodus 33:11, 11 The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. The Bible teaches us that the Lord always guides the people whom He loves and those who love Him. If we forsake Him, He too gives up on us. This is evident from the example of king Solomon.

The earth is teeming with all kinds of life forms. The Lord created only man in His own image. He gave man a soul that never dies. He gave man the power to discern what is right and what is wrong. Only man can give praise and glory to the Lord. If we disobey our parents on earth we get punished. What our Heavenly Father did for each one of us is not possible by parents on earth. He gave His beloved Son as sacrifice to purify us from our sins. We have two ways before us:

One, we can live a life of luxury and follow our heart’s desires, paying no heed to the Lord. Proverbs 29:18,Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

Two, we can follow all statues of the Lord and receive His grace and blessings. For those who do not believe in God there is a friend who waits for them in the dark. He is shrewd, cunning and a big manipulator. He first comes as a friend and then becomes the biggest enemy. It is upto us who do we choose in our lives. Revelation 12:12, 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
    and you who dwell in them!
But woe to the earth and the sea,
    because the devil has gone down to you!
He is filled with fury,
    because he knows that his time is short.”

Dear children of God, the signs of the Second coming are visible. The enemy knows his time is short. So beware which way you go, whom you choose to follow, whose hands you hold on to and who it is you fear. Watch that you too do not face the situation like Solomon. The Lord says, Proverbs 28:9, If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
    even their prayers are detestable.

You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.

Mathew 25:21, 21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

The context of this verse is that a master before going on a journey hands over bags of gold to his servants for safe keeping. He gave each servant different amount of gold to be kept safe. It is rightful to ask why the master didn’t give equal gold to each servant to keep safe?? If he had given five bags of gold to the one whom he gave one bag, the servant would have dug a hole and hidden all five bags. The master knew his servants well. Hence, he gave each servant according to his capability and intellect. Since the bags of gold were given by the master, they were answerable to him.

The master had given the bags of gold with lots of expectation. He expected the servants to be hardworking and efficient; responsible and trustworthy too. He expected his servants to be intelligent enough to recognize their shortcomings in understanding a situation, and humble enough to seek help from those who are knowledgeable. This is what Solomon also advises. Proverbs 8:23, 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
It is usually seen that when wealth multiplies, man often forgets himself and indulges in luxuries of life.

Proverbs 22:1, A good name is more desirable than great riches;
    to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Here we see that the one with five bags of gold earned five more and the one with two bags earned two more bags of gold. But the one who had one bag hid it in a hole in the ground. The master was pleased with the first servant when he gives him ten bags instead of five bags and says, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ He was displeased with the servant who had hid the bag of gold and said to him,  ‘You wicked, lazy servant!. He then punishes the servant. Proverbs 10:45, 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.

Let me share a short story with you. There was once a young clerk who worked in a bank. The manager of the bank decided to test the integrity of his employee and shared this with the cashier. Next day, the cashier approached the clerk and asked him for help. The cashier said to him, ‘Please help me count today’s collection since there are several notes of smaller denominations today’. There were many currency notes of small denominations with the cashier. The young clerk looked at the cashier, took the money and sat down to count. He then placed the currency notes into separate denominations like 5, 10, 20, 50. After counting, he bound the notes of same denomination together and handed them all to the cashier. The cashier reported this to the manager and provided an excellent report on the character of the young clerk. Pleased with the report, the manager promoted the clerk to a higher position with a raise in salary.

God has created each one of us with unique capabilities and potential. Let us not be like the servant who hid the gold in the ground. This parable was shared by Jesus hence it is of utmost importance. The Lord instructs us to be like the servant with five bags of gold who was hardworking and multiplies the wealth. The bags of gold symbolizes talent, potential and capabilities. Jesus has led by example and showed us the way. He was capable of creating wine from thin air but he used the resources available and created wine from water in the vessels present. Let us all work hard that we are not lost for words before the Lord and are not punished like the third servant.

A Word Of Caution To Parents

In the past few years we have observed that Pastor, Evangelists and speaker have been vocal about the end of time. They have been laying emphasis on watching out for the signs that end is near. There has been lot of talks about the unlimited use of mobile phones and internet by the youth today. The consequences of the use are also known to each one of us. Mostly these things get limited to sermons, discussions and talks only.

It is an undeniable fact today that the duties and responsibilities of parents today has increased. The workload of working mothers has doubled over the years. Mothers are unable to spend quality time with their kids like mothers used to before. In the mad rush to balance work and home, it is the kids who are getting neglected. Today there are more nuclear families than joint families. This has led to the children miss out on the care, affection, help and teaching of their grandparents. These are essential for the upbringing of a child. To cover their loneliness and isolation the children take resort to mobile phones as friends. If husbands and wives work together these implications can be reduced and also put an end to.

I have read somewhere that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. This is a famous quote by William Ross Wallace. In today’s time it is rendering to see that even with strongest desire many mothers cannot rock the cradle of their children because of other obligations. The result is that Satan now rocks the cradle of the world. We can see around us that even children of God fearing parents fall astray. Apostle Paul talks about Timothy as, 2 Timothy 1:5, I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. Can anyone say the same about our children also today??? Think.

Proverbs 17:1,Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
    than a house full of feasting, with strife.

Today the family life has undergone immense changes. Relationships have developed selfishness and consumer attitude towards each other. This is due to the myth of being self sufficient in everything. This has led to intolerance of differences in all relationships, be it husband-wife, parents-children and so on. Families no longer are ready to compromise and live together in happiness and sorrows. Togetherness is limited to happy times only. Most people find themselves alone in times of strife. The results again are suffered by the children. the children who grow up in such an environment are unable to give respect to marriage and are not able develop lasting relationships. There was a time when children used to listen and pay attention to the advice, teachings and instructions of their fathers. Years back there was unity, love, affection and warmth in families. In Bible there is one family about which is written in Jeremiah 35:14-15,14 ‘Jehonadab son of Rekab ordered his descendants not to drink wine and this command has been kept. To this day they do not drink wine, because they obey their forefather’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again, yet you have not obeyed me. 15 Again and again I sent all my servants the prophets to you. They said, “Each of you must turn from your wicked ways and reform your actions; do not follow other gods to serve them. Then you will live in the land I have given to you and your ancestors.” But you have not paid attention or listened to me.

Proverbs 13:1, A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,
    but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.

The real problem today is that parents have become mere instructors or teachers. They are always lecturing or sermonizing on leading their life. Whereas the parents do not lead them with their own examples. Parents are not role models anymore. Is is important that parents pause and ask themselves how is our married life?? Is it out rhythm and harmony??? It is easy to play the blame game and place the responsibility on the other person. In the rush of trying to provide all luxuries for the children we often forget to be good role models for them. Here one can remember prophet Eli. Parents ordinary or holy people, if do not raise their children with instructions and leading them by examples then they will go astray. You will one day have to stand before the Father and give an account for yourself. 1 Samuel 3:11-14, 11 And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle. 12 At that time I will carry out against Eli everything I spoke against his family—from beginning to end. 13 For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. 14 Therefore I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.’”

The time for self introspection has long gone. It is now time for action. Dear parents instead of standing with parents who cry out looking at their children. Its is time to act and pray for your children so that they walk on the path of light. Pray for the coming generations and act now.

Proverbs 22:6, Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Why should God have the first place in our lives?

The Lord is not just the Creator of man. He is also our Redeemer. How??

1.The Lord is our Creator: Every one is aware of how creation came to be. It does not need much explanation. The word of God teaches us that from nothing He created the creation that we see today. He looked upon what He had created was happy with it. He then created man in His own image and and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. He gave man authority over everything He had created. He then created a woman as helper to man. He had forbid them from one thing which was the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Genesis 2:16-17,16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Our first parents violated the instructions. The sly serpent(Satan) deceived Eve through the temptation of the eye and of power. Even after committing the mistake they did not seek repent or ask for forgiveness. Eve put the blame on the serpent and Adam put the blame on God’s appointed helper, Eve. In short, they indirectly were placing the fault on the Lord Himself.

Lord had created man in His image with the same glory and radiance. Due to their sin they lost this. Romans 3:23, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,.. Our merciful Lord did not abandon Adam and Eve in that condition. He made plan to deliver man.

2.The Lord is our Redeemer: We have often heard that when someone is abducted, he/she is released in exchange of ransom or a person the abductor asks for. It is not possible to redeem a sinner by a sinner. Only a Holy person can redeem a sinner. Who then is Holy?? The Son of God.

The Lord decided to sacrifice His only Son to redeem us from our sins. Romans 3:24, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Jesus redeemed all those who believed in Him through His sacrifice on the cross. 1 Peter 1:18-19, 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

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

Since He has bought us for a price, He has authority over us.

In our daily lives we give importance to several things. All those are things that can be destroyed. When we stand in comparison its surprising to see that we are highly blessed than those who are much more capable than us. Eg: Long life, healthy body, luxuries in life, etc. We are blessed with these not because we are deserving but due to the grace and compassion of God. Think where is the position of Lord in our lives ? Where is He in our life, the one who cares for us each second of our life and delivered us from our sins??

Should we give priority to God in our lives. Think. Even though we are sinners He loves us all. We are in debt to Him in two ways: in His love for us He made us His children. John 3:16, 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Secondly, He redeemed us from our sins. We do not think about these two debts. We should always remember this. The Lord who is ever patient, merciful and compassionate delivered us from sins. Ask your conscience, where should God be in your life? Think and then carefully decide. Do not delay, tomorrow is not in our hands.

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

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