Repent from your ways when you know you have sinned

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There are many definitions tot the word sin. The first sin arose from disobedience. The word of God in the Bible says that sin is caused by the desire of the flesh also. Those who cannot control their urges, fall into the snares of sin. James 1:15 Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin.., E.g. King David saw Bathsheba while she was having a bath. It did not stop there. He looked at her again and again, with the full knowledge that she was someone’s wife. He satisfies his lust with her and eventually kills her husband. (2 Samuel 11: 1-27)

The Bible leads to redemption, repentance and forgiveness of sinners. Isaiah 1: 18-19 says, 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;

There are some who unknowingly fall into sin. We can describe them in two ways:

  1. A person bitten by a snake : When a person is bitten by a poisonous snake, we first tightly bind the area above the bite to prevent the poison from spreading. Next, the poison is sucked out by creating an incision or cut at the bite marks. Similarly, when we realize our wrongdoings, we should retrace our steps and repent. Those who have been bitten by snakes are told not to walk, run, or sleep because it increases blood circulation and can cause the poison to spread. If the person happens to sleep, he/she might never wake up. During sleep we are unconscious. Those who unconsciously commit sin should repent the moment they realize their folly.

To prevent snake bites, we should stay away from thick bushes, dark holes, and damp swamps. If this is possible then why don’t we stay away from the dangerous pits of sins and temptations? Snakes shed their skin from time to time. It seems easy to onlookers but it is a painful and torturous process. Yet every snake does it. God has blessed us with brain and wisdom. Thus we should introspect ourselves from time to time. When we realize we are sinning we should retrace our steps and repent. ( Colossians 3: 5-10, Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. We are renewed as a new creation and a new miracle. We read in Genesis that among all beasts and birds, it is only the snake that is considered as cunning. It sheds its skin from time to time but does not return to its old skin. Then why is it that man keeps repeating his/her sins?? How pitiful!! Galatians 6:8, Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

2) Getting on a wrong bus: Just like a person who gets on a wrong bus, immediately gets off the bus. Similarly, when a person commits sin, he/she gets warning from the conscience(conductor of our lives) to repent and move back. It asks us to seek advice or counsel from elders and parents or to seek help from the Bible. It will lead to the right path.

When we stand at a bus stop, there are so many buses on the road. Do we climb into anyone or we step into the bus that will take us to our destination? In the same way, think each day; do we do what is right and control our urges or do we indulge in our urges into whatever it wants. Blood can be purified through dialysis. But when the soul is polluted, how do we purify it?? Our body is like a soap bubble that can go to dust any moment and yet we take so much care of it. But do we care for our souls which does not die? There are five ways to protect our souls: Prayer, private conversation with God, Worship, Fasting, Confession & Communion, and last but not the least Acts of charity. Matthew 12: 43-45, 43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

The decision is ours to make. Which path to take to :Our Lord or Satan?? The Saviour who waits with open hands to welcome or Satan to thrust us into the fire of hell. Galatians 5: 16-24,

16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery;  20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

AMEN.

What is True Love??

We understand the true value and meaning of love in our lives by the unconditional love we get from our parents, since our birth. True love is what exists between a mother and child. Even when a newborn is unable to recognize faces, he/she recognizes their mother by her touch and smell. With years passing, growth and changes take place. But what really is happening nowadays???

Love is no longer heartfelt, its superficial and fake. What has happened to the innocent love of brothers and sisters?? Sibling rivalry is more common than love. It is a common talk to have a boyfriend/ girlfriend, even as young as grade fourth student. Do they even know the meaning??Where did the seed of thought come from? How did this happen? Laws of attraction you may say. Familiar terms, well it is the law of nature for attraction between opposite sex. Just think what would happen if a plant blossoms flowers before leaves???Its high time we think. 1 John 3: 18 teaches us, 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. Thus as Christians and children of God we should not drown in the material world and forget what the Lord taught about love.

Youth: Among the youth today, love has acquired all together new meanings. Merely good looks or a sexy body frame?? What is the reason?? The ideas conveyed through the media also support this thinking and cultivates this further in them. Adultery, rape, lust, premarital sex, etc, are thoughts and scenes that pollutes the mind, but are commonly seen around us in movies, serials, videos and newspapers. The Bible very clearly teaches us as to how we can keep ourselves clean, Mark 7: 20-23, 20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,  22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” So be mindful of your thoughts and heart. What you practice is what grows inside you. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,  not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God. We are all made in His image, let us not tarnish and defile His image in out immoral and lustful actions.

We Christians are not better off either. We learn and preach about the unconditional love of our Lord who gave His son for us because he loves us so much. Then how do we forget this great love and hurt our loved ones?? How do people who profess deep love for each other, kill each other over trivial matters?? Scar the face with acid??? How are they ready to kill blood relations??? 1 John 2:9-10, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.” We also read, 1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

James 4: 1-3 , What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

The reasons for such vile thoughts and feelings are;the inability the accept/admit defeat, selfishness/self centered which translates into if not mine, then one else will get too, lust and love, since lust only sees the body and thus has no qualms in destroying it. 1 John 2:16, 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.

Sow hose fault is it then? Where did we go wrong? Parents? Teachers? Society? Everyone has a role to play in it.

Let’s now look at marriage nowadays. In today’s time what is the top priority when searching for a life partner? Good looks? Beauty?Bank balance? Marriage is not based on looks and assets to display as trophy husband/wife. Hence, when the beauty or bank balance fades, the relationship starts to crumble. Spouses then turn to others for pleasure and companionship. When the finances dry up due to high standard of living or loss of job, it leads to problems in family life. Is this true love? In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, our Lord teaches us , Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. It is lost on today’s world where money power has more influence than a pure loving heart. It is in harder times that spouses should hold on dearly to each other ans submit themselves before the Lord. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone ?12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Unrealistic expectations from each other is another cause. One tends to forget that nobody is perfect and that there are limitations in everyone. Just as life has it highs and lows, married life has good and bad times. Then why do families turn bitter? It is because people look only at self, and are nit willing to make compromises and sacrifices with understanding. 1 John 4:7-8, Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Are our children today looking at us as ideal examples?? Are we forgetting to teach them a righteous and good life in the rush to earn big bucks? Are we forgetting t strengthen the foundation of family life and love?? Just as we run when we spot a serpent, are we preparing our children to avoid bad company and temptations?? Along with good food and clothes, are we forgetting to teach the importance of a steadfast heart and good character?

The essence of true love was showed by the Lord on the cross. But we very easily forget it and it gets pushed into dark corners, and desires feed on our greed, killing the pure emotion of love. 1 John 4:9-11, This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Seek God

Scripture Passage: Psalms 14:2, The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

Since the creation of the world, Lord God has been seeking us. (Genesis 3:9-10, But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” 10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” Even today we are doing the same. After committing a sin, we run and hide our face from Him. God knows that man is vulnerable. Having committed a sin, He waits for us to repent and return to Him. He had instructed Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden about the tree of Knowledge. But they flouted His instructions and brought upon the curse on the whole of mankind. Through Moses, God gave the Ten Commandments. Ask yourself how many commandments do you keep in your daily life??

In Luke 19: 1-9, we read the story of Zaccheus. In the story Zaccheus, we are all aware that he was a short man. He was desirous of seeing Jesus, so he climbed a sycamore fig tree. It was not Zaccheus who climbed down on seeing Jesus. Rather when Jesus reached the tree He called up to Zaccheus by his name and asked him to come down. And said I will stay at house. He was the chief tax collector. But Jesus said to him Luke 19:9, Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. Another wonder took place there. When Jesus stays with Zaccheus there is a transformation .Luke 19:8, But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

In John 4: 5 we read, So he came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. Jesus did not own a donkey or any another means of transportation. He walked from one land to another. Tired and worn out from the journey. Jesus seeks the Samaritan at Sychar, a town in Samaria. Jesus sat down by the well of Jacob. There was no relation between Jesus and the Samaritans. For e.g. Matthew 10: 5, These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. So we can guess that the Samaritan woman would have paid no attention to Christ. Jesus calls her and asks for water to drink. The woman answers, John 4: 9, The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?. Jesus answered, 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” He reveals Himself to the Samaritan woman. The Lord who makes associations, does not make any difference between Jews, Gentiles or Samaritans. The first revelation of Good News of Christ is through her. John 4: 27-29, 27 Just then his disciples returned and were surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, “What do you want?” or “Why are you talking with her?” 28 Then, leaving her water jar, the woman went back to the town and said to the people, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” . It is through her that the first mission is carried out. John 4: 30-34, 30 They came out of the town and made their way toward him. 31 Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” 32 But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” 33 Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. For the first time a crowd gathers upon hearing a woman’s word. She spread the news through the town on her own account and created believers,John 4: 39-42, 39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for our sins. And we?? We did all we could to make Him suffer and crucified Him on the cross. Do you remember this love and seek Him????

Jealousy: Cancer of Life

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Since time immemorial there has been no cure for jealousy or baldness. Though not 100% but science has found a remedy for baldness. But jealousy??? Are we able to rejoice and celebrate in the progress and success of others?? Are we happy in the success of our brothers and sisters?? Do we pray for their success??? Or do we experience the green devil of jealousy??? Ask yourselves…

The first incident of jealousy is found in the first born itself in the Bible. It’s present even today in the form of Cain (Genesis 4: 3-9, 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….Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.”While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” .“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Martha and Mary: Mary sat in the Lord’s presence and listened to His words. Martha on the other hand was engaged in the kitchen. So she complains to Jesus about Mary’s indifference. Another example of jealousy. Martha was not asked for anything, yet she chose to be engaged in kitchen chores, and Mary chose to listen to the Lord.( Luke 10: 41-42, 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Sarah and Hagar: Abraham’s wife, Sarah out of jealousy that Ishmael, the son of her servant Hagar would share in her husband’s property, sends them away into wandering.(Genesis 21: 10, 10 and she said to Abraham, “Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.”

Laban’s sons: Jacob had toiled in the field of Laban as well as looked after his livestock form years. The little that Laban had, grew under Jacob because the Lord was pleased with him. This however did not go well with Laban’s sons. They felt jealous and insecure of Jacob’s success. Genesis 31: 1, 31 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were saying, “Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.”

Be it family life, community life or life of ascetic, jealousy is the root to the problems. No matter how heavenly the life you lead, once infected by the cancer of jealousy it will be destroyed for sure.

The siblings of jealousy are irritation, envy and sadness. Jealousy is opposite to Love. Cancer destroys the cells of life. Similarly, jealousy gradually destroys the cells of love like a cancer. E.g. A famous writer Perunathachan killed own son out of jealousy of his success. This is such a cheap feeling.

What is it’s cure/ remedy??

  1. Learn to pray for others sincerely and with open hands.
  2. Accept humility into your life like Jesus.
  3. We must accept the fact that the Lord gives what they deserve.
  4. Learn to rejoice and celebrate in the success of others.
  5. Learn to be yourself. Adam and Eve tried to be like God and ended up losing Eden. Do not try to be God.
  6. Everyone has their own talents and potential and each with a use and purpose of their own . E.g. Doctor, engineer, teachers, etc. If there were only doctors how will the world function?? Thus accept everyone.
  7. Learn to accept that Lord has a definite plan for everyone’s life. (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.)

Examples:

Genesis 37:27,27 Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed. Joseph was the youngest son of Jacob. He was the loved one of Jacob. His father made a beautiful cloak for him. This became a cause of jealousy and envy among his brothers, and it only increased. They sold him for 20 pieces of silver to the Ishmaelites. Potiphar, captain of Pharaoh guard bought him as his servant. Pharaoh made him the caretaker of everything since he saw God was with him. When Egypt was gripped with famine, Joseph saved everyone. Here we witness the plan of God. As a small boy, Lord had already made plans for him through dreams and visions.

Crucifixion of Christ: Christ committed Himself to be born as Son of man and to be crucified at the cross. His miracles and signs found Him many followers and believers. Due to envy and jealousy, the High priests accused Him of blasphemy and had Him killed. Mark 15: 9-10, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him.

Think: If the High priests too had joined Christ and not crucified Him out of envy, how would we be saved?? Because of Christ’s crucifixion and suffering, the world was saved. This too is Lord’s plan. He gave his beloved Son to save the world.

Christian Life

Living an ordinary life does not count for a fulfilling Christian life. Along with an ordinary life one should have a mission as well. One can be a missionary by undertaking individual missions. If you are able to bring even one person to Christ, you will definitely reap its reward. When you find someone in trouble, lend them a helping hand, it’s the duty of a Christian. Psalms 41: 1, Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;  the Lord delivers them in times of trouble. Also, 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.’

Christian living should be strengthened everyday. For this, morning prayer is the most important. Satan is always on the lookout to find ways to ensnare us. Do we just recite ” Lead us not to temptation, but deliver us from all evil” or do we believe in it also. In James 1: 14, we read, 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Jesus says to protect yourself from evil temptations, one must pray from the heart.

It is very important for a christian to have a group to pray with together. It is with this purpose, to pray together that we assemble together as community to worship. Christ died and rose again for us. We also believe that one day we too would live again through Christ. We should proclaim this through our mouths and hearts, and make others believe and trust also. Think: Where would you be after resurrection??

Christian life is not easy path of roses. Hardships are several in christian life because though we are living in this world we are not to be worldly. E.g. Seafood. Even though fish lives in the sea, salt needs to be added to it before and while cooking. Strange that a fish lives in saltwater sea and ocean but does not have salt in it. Similarly, lets take the example of a boat. It floats on water and does not sink. But when it fills inside with water, it sinks to the depths. A boat carrying people floats on water and travels against the current of the water. The control of the boat is in the hands of the boatmen. In the same way, a christian is part of this world yet he/she in not part of the rat race or worldly desires when they have accepted Jesus within themselves. They let Jesus oar the boat of their life. John 6: 48-51, 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

In a world full of evil and temptations, have we placed the control of our lives in the hands of Jesus?? Jesus ensures that our lives reach the shore and does not sink in between, pulled down by temptations. Would you place the control of your life into the hands of the Lord??? Let us pray to the Saviour for help and guidance.

Types of Human Nature

No matter what nature we possess, we all are God’s Creation.

In general, there are typically four types of human nature that we come across in our daily lives.

Aggressive These people are always cheerful and smiling. They are optimistic and have too much self confidence that at times they come across as arrogant and full of themselves. They are also known as ‘People Person’. They like being the center of attraction or in other words Man of the Match. They undertake responsibilities without any thoughts or prior thinking. Thus they are unable to finish the task by the deadline. They possess a dominating nature and do not allow the others to progress or grow. For e.g. We can see such a person in Peter, in the Bible. He is seen as an aggressive and over confident person. He boasts of his support to Jesus. When Jesus is about to be captured he cuts off the ear of the soldier. This is an example of his aggression. He confessed his love and support to Jesus time and again. Yet when Jesus was taken away he refused that he was a disciple of Jesus, not once but thrice. In Matthew 14: 28 , we see another incident of his over confidence. 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”. In this passage Jesus walks on water. Peter immediately asks to be called upon to walk on water and we eventually see he is nearly drowned if not for timely intervention from the Lord.

Sensitive. These people get hurt and irritated very easily. And at the same they get happy easily. They are very sincere and dedicated to every task given. These people are commanding in nature. Their biggest limitation is that when they are extremely happy or joyful they make huge promises and commit to task beyond their reach. They are at times also called ‘Killer joy’. Romans 12: 16-18 , 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Depressed. These people prefer to stay depressed always. They are ruled by pessimistic thoughts. Even more doing a task they consider themselves as failures. They lack self-confidence. They stay away from undertaking responsibility due to lack of self esteem. Proverbs 12 : 25 says, 25 Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Similarly, Matthew 11: 28-30 reads, 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Lazy, stingy & easy going. These people lack decision making power. They never take anything seriously. Their biggest weakness is that they are slow to action. They never do the right thing at the right time. Proverbs 6: 6-7, reads, Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler,

But think: whatever be the nature, we are all the children and creation of God. They are all just patterns of nature or designs of nature. When we find faults with a painting or sculpture, we are actually finding fault with the painter or sculptor. How can we ordinary mortals find faults with the creation of God?? When the Almighty Father accepts and loves us in the way we are then how come we humans are not able to do so with others???

Let’s pray that the Lord helps us to love and accept each other just the way we are. Amen.

The Prodigal Son (Part 2)

We all know the parable of the prodigal son. After reading it we all have felt sorry for the elder who had been dutiful and loyal to the father. But on second reading some things struck me and I could see things between the lines. Everyone sees the elder son as the ideal son. But for me he is far from ideal. Here’s why:

He was at the field (Luke 15:25) At the time of celebration of return of the prodigal son, the elder son was in the field, away from the father. He was so distanced that the father could not tell of the return and celebration for the younger son. He was unaware of it. (2 Timothy 3:5) having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

He shut himself out (Luke 15: 28) The elder son did not enter the house and kept himself out. When he did not receive what he desired and wanted, the elder son kept away. Here we see the glimpse of jealousy and greed. He too had desires like the younger son which he keeps hidden. They are not hidden though when he expresses displeasure on the celebration for the return of his younger brother.

The father gave a banquet for the return of the prodigal son. Among the Jews it was considered disrespectful to get up in between a banquet. But here we see the father get up to call his elder son. Our Father in heaven too does for us, but how do we react. The elder son refuses to be part of the celebration despite the father pleading with him. We too at times do not pay heed to the voice of our Father in our ego.

The elder son is being self righteous (Luke 15: 29-30) . The elder son says to his father that I have served you as a servant. You never considered me. He tries to highlight his position saying he has been obedient always (Jeremiah 2: 35, you say, ‘I am innocent;he is not angry with me. But I will pass judgment on you because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’

The hidden side of the elder son is revealed in Luke 15: 30. No where has it been mentioned that the younger son spent money on prostitutes, It is only said that he squandered the wealth on wild living, which could be drugs, drinks, gambling and not necessarily women. But the elder son accuses his own brother of the same. How did he know what his brother did? So somewhere deep inside him also there is dark territory which he does not show.

In Luke 15: 31-32, we can see that the elder brother is spiritually blind. You may ask how?? The younger son who was spiritually blind earlier went on the wrong path, suffered and repented. He sought forgiveness and mended his ways before the father. Instead of rejoicing in the return, the elder son seems to be burning in the fire of jealousy, greed and avarice. His soul becomes dead and he becomes spiritually blind when he fails to see and understand the father’s love. The father does not discriminate between his children. 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” But he fails to see this and hence falls into the hands of devil.

Brothers and sisters, pause to think. Where do we stand today? Are we self righteous in our egos? Does greed and jealousy blind our love towards our family?? Do we prioritize self before others? Are we like the elder son wearing a facade of righteousness while sinking deep into sin?? Or are we like younger son,who realizes hos folly and without shame admits his transgressions and seeks forgiveness?? Think today.

The Prodigal Son(Part 1)

Scripture Passage: 15: 11-32

In Luke 15 we read that the Lord is pleased in the change of heart of even one sinner more than the ninety nine men. Then the Lord explains the same through a parable -what exactly is Fatherly Love. We can see our Heavenly Father in the father and ourselves in the sons. We all know how the parable goes.

What we can learn from the parable is that the Father awaits the return of His children to Him.

Jesus tells us that the father sees his son even from afar. His heart melts and he rushes to meet hi son. He order his servants to put a robe on him and a ring on his fingers. The day his son left he had been awaiting his return. Even before he reaches home, the father rushes to meet him. The father does not wait for his sorry or apologies, neither he waits for the son to ask for forgiveness nor inquires about what he has done. Tired, weary and in dirty clothes, the father accepts his son back.

In Isaiah 1 : 2-3 we read Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
    For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
    but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its master,
    the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
    my people do not understand.”

We see our Heavenly Father lamenting for His children who have gone astray. Just like them let us also return to the presence of our Father.

Let me share a story with you that explains God’s love even further. Once a famous painter had the burning desire to paint the prodigal son. He went in search for the perfect model for his painting. He went on searching for days at a stretch but to no avail. Then one day, his eyes fell upon a beggar on a street. He was dirty and in tattered clothes, and looked like he had not eaten in many days. The painter approached the beggar and gave him some money. He asked the beggar to come to his studio and model for his picture. The next morning, the beggar came to his studio. But the painter was was heart broken on seeing him because the beggar had used the money he gave to buy new clothes, food , shave and clean clothes. He was no longer the example of the prodigal son and the painting was never made.

When we return to our Father we do not need any special preparation or dress up. We must reach His presence as we are , with a fully repentant heart. Our ever compassionate Lord, is full of mercy. He sees our heart and soul and forgives us our sins. Psalms 7: 9, Bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure— you, the righteous God who probes minds and hearts.

Disobedience is a Sin

Scripture Passage: Joshua 7: 12

After the death of Moses , the responsibility of leading the Israelites fell upon Joshua. The city of Jericho built huge walls around its city to keep the Israelites out. We read in Joshua 6, that God delivered the city to them. But for the city to be captured, they were asked to do some things and Joshua followed the instructions. Thus they managed to capture the city. Just as the Lord gave instructions to the Israelites, He gives us instructions as well. Instructions about should be done and should not be done. Yet we fail to follow them. We see in Rahab, the prostitute that a good work earns God’s reward.(Joshua 6: 17) 17 The city and all that is in it are to be devoted[a] to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. Even a prostitute did what was right and thus was spared with whole family (Joshua 6: 22-23) , 22 Joshua said to the two men who had spied out the land, “Go into the prostitute’s house and bring her out and all who belong to her, in accordance with your oath to her.” 23 So the young men who had done the spying went in and brought out Rahab, her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all who belonged to her. They brought out her entire family and put them in a place outside the camp of Israel.

When Joshua overtook Jericho, he was instructed not to take anything from the city (Joshua 6: 18-19), 18 But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. 19 All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury.” But Achan stole gold and silver from Jericho and hid them in his tent.

(Joshua 7:1) But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. In each of us, there is an Achan. Do we then encourage him to disobey?? If yes, then its time to throw him out. One man’s disobedience leads to the doom of a whole family and here we see the whole community. So think well before you act. Due to Achan’s act, God let the Israelites be defeated by the Amorites at Ai. They were unable to take over the small region of Ai. Joshua and the elders fell face down on the ground and pleaded for forgiveness from the Lord (Joshua 7: 6-13 )Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell face down to the ground before the ark of the Lord, remaining there till evening. The elders of Israel did the same, and sprinkled dust on their heads…11 Israel has sinned; they have violated my covenant, which I commanded them to keep. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have lied, they have put them with their own possessions. 12 That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies;…You cannot stand against your enemies until you remove them.

God speaks to each of us daily. See if we have anything that displeases God (Proverbs 28: 9)If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. This is not to scare you off, rather to discipline you and to help you lead the right path. Just as our parents guide us from wrong similarly, the words of Solomon guide us from doing wrong.

Joshua 7: 16 , we read that Joshua brought forward each tribe to find out who had sinned and stolen things despite instructions from God. Achan instead of confessing his sins, did not utter a word. Similarly, don’t we also waste out time and opportunity to repent before the Lord?? But we forget that God is looking (Hebrews 4:13) 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Achan is finally caught (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….

24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold bar, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, “Why have you brought this trouble on us? The Lord will bring trouble on you today.”

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.” Achan and his family is stoned to death and the area burnt in fire. Israelites are rescued from destruction. Joshua’s prayers are answered and are guided how to take over Ai.

Those who seek God’s counsel and follow His instructions always lead the right path. (Proverbs 28: 13)Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. This is proved by the fate of Achan. This should be a lesson to all children who disobey and ignore the word of God and instead chose to live on own terms and desires.

Let us say a small prayer: Lord, my Father, I am a sinner. Please forgive me. I do not understand your interventions in my life. Give me wisdom to seek your counsel and lead a fruitful life. AMEN.

When one door closes, The Lord opens another

If the ever loving and compassionate Lord takes away something from us we must believe that it’s for something better. Let’s see the story written in one of the books of John Muller about God’s love. One day, a man went to a toy shop with his daughter. The little girl looked around the shop in delight. Her eyes fell upon a beautiful doll and she insisted to her father to have it. The father picked up the doll, but when he saw that it was a little dirty he kept it back. Then he picked up another doll kept inside the shop and gave it to his daughter. The little girl was delighted to see the doll which was more beautiful than the other.  God does the same with us. If he takes away from us it is to give us better.

The name Elijah brings to us the readings of a prophet who was empowered by the Lord. He was also an ordinary like you and me, and fell weak before trails. He wanted to die when he was faced with hunger and danger.

(1 Kings 19:4) reads, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

But there too the Lord protected him was provided him with food. The food not only satisfied his hunger but also gave him the strength to travel for forty days and forty nights.

Hearing the words of God, prophet Elijah  hid himself in Kerith Ravine. A raven used to bring him bread and meat both in the morning and in the evening, and he drank water from the brook. Ravens are scavengers, birds that are known to snatch away food from people and animals. Our Lord, the Creator, ordered the raven to bring food to Elijah and it did so. Elijah lived with ease by the food brought by the raven and the water from the brook (1 Kings 17: 6): The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

Sometime later the brook dried up as there was a severe drought. We can understand the harsh conditions the people were living from this. There was no rain in the land for three years. There was no cultivation, no farming,  no food or water. What happened to prophet Elijah????? He was looked after by the Lord still.

Our situation is the same. We turn a blind eye to the homeless, the hungry and those who lack even the basic amenities in life. We do think that we will ever face this situation.

When the brook dried up, Elijah was worried and anxious as to what will happen to him. Believe that when the Lord closes one door, He will open another door. Living in a house is so much safer than living in a ravine next to a brook. The Lord asked Elijah to go to Zarephath. He had instructed a widow to look after him (1 Kings 17: 9): “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” The Lord’s plan was not meant to restrict Elijah’s life to a deserted ravine devoid of any human contact. The Lord’s plan included to save the life of a widow and son who had decided to end their life after being defeated by life’s hardships. (1 Kings 17: 7-24)

The Lord in (1 Kings 18:32-46) we read that the Lord walked  besides Elijah and stood before him when he came face to face with idol worshipping prophets of Baal. His mission didn’t end there. He later anointed Jehu, son of Nimshi as king over Israel,(1 Kings 19:16) and Elisha as his own successor as prophet.

The brook at Kerith Ravine dried up so that the mission plans of Elijah may expand.

Children of God, when our brooks dry up do not despair or be anxious, rather have faith and believe in the plan of God for us. (Isaiah 30:21) we read 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” He walks besides us in all directions. Believe in His words and walk forward in faith and submission. Walk on and on…..