Category Archives: May

Change the world

World was filled with corruption
Genesis 6:5 NLT
The lord observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.

Sin had covered the world so much that God decided to wipe out every thing and cleanse the world. He decided to start all over again.

One man who was different

Genesis 6:9 NLT
This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.

Noah was found righteous among a world full of evil people. He cared to keep a constant fellowship with God though it was not the common thing to do. But his faithfulness was rewarded at last. He was the catalyst for a renewed world.

Noah did what God had commanded

Genesis 6:22 NLT
So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

He raised no questions or comments, but simply obeyed God though it was ridiculous in the eyes of the society. He and his family thus became the agents of change and renewal.

One righteous person who is available to God can bring about total change in the world.

Advertisements

Godly Wisdom Versus Human Intelligence

When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.    (1Cor.2:13-15)

Worldly wisdom can not fathom God’s Wisdom

Much of the Christian ministry today is being done according to worldly wisdom. They follow worldly principles rather than Biblical principles. They adopt secular strategies than following the Spirit’s instructions. Christian workers want to appear on par with the CEOs and Executives of multinational corporations in their lifestyle but forget the fact that they are called to be different. They are called to suffer for the sake of their Savior. They are sent out like sheep among wolves. Instead, they take cover under ‘prosperity theology’, quoting Bible verses out of context, drawing heavily from the Old Testament. God’s wisdom is available to those who have surrendered themselves to His Lordship, because of the indwelling presence of the Spirit of God.

Being an example of a servant who has absolute dependance on God’s power, Paul makes this clear in his writings (2Cor.1:12). Wisdom of God is foolishness to the intelligentsia (1Cor.3:19). The worldly wise do not realize that it is God who wired their brains and their intelligent conclusions about Him is utter foolishness in his sight. The greatest irony of human history is that man the finite creature, claiming to know everything, is trying to make the infinite Creator a non entity. Man does not even comprehend what is happening to him in the now and here but is trying to discover what happened in the past and draw conclusions about the future. This is true with all those who have not discovered and yielded to the amazing grace of God.

Worldly wisdom can not fulfill God’s purposes

But for men and women called to be His representatives here in this temporal world God grants the wisdom to carry out His mission. They don’t mind the ridicule and the humiliation they receive from the world because their eyes are fixed on their eternal home. Only when they begin to consider themselves worthy of honor and respect from the world, they will have to prove the same to the world. That is when they will begin to employ worldly wisdom to accomplish a heavenly mission. Then, they will begin to copy secular strategies and methods that are foolishness in the sight of God. God has His way of doing His work and He does not allow anyone to teach Him what they think is a better way. God wants His people to follow His strategies and methods in His service. Our work for God has to stand His ‘fire test’ on the day of reckoning (1Cor.3:12-15).

In spite of having credentials that placed him on par with, if not above, many of the contemporary scholars, Paul did not consider himself to be wise enough to handle the God-given mission (1Cor.2:1-5).

Where Do You Belong?

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. (Rom.5:18-19)

In God’s account, there are only two places where people of the world would belong-In Adam or in Christ. The Bible calls Adam “the first man” and Jesus “the second man” (1Cor.15:45). Jesus is also referred to as the “last Adam” (1Cor.15:47). All those who are born into this world are born in Adam. But all those who have placed their trust in Jesus are born again in Jesus. This is the billion dollar choice each one has to make.

In First Adam

This doesn’t require anything from your part. This is the default position in which mankind is. More than that by our deeds we declare that we are in Adam. We disobey God and rebel against Him. We go after our own desires and refuse to repent. The Bible says “there is no one who seeks God” (Rom.3:11; Ps.14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20)

In Last Adam

This is by the grace of God. However, one needs to acknowledge his sinfulness and depravity and humbly come to God trusting in His provision through Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will quicken that person the moment he/she thus responds to the call of God. This last Adam is God’s provision for man’s sin. He is the only way because no one else qualifies for this propitiatory role (Jn.1:29,36; 14:6; 1Cor.15:45-47). The Bible affirms that those who are in Adam will all die, but those who are in Christ will live eternally (1Cor.15:22). God has done everything in order to bring us to Himself and has left the choice to us. A ‘billion dollar’ choice indeed!

Where is your position today? The option is still open and its free!

Peace-Maker

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life. (Rom.5:1-11)

People the world over are seeking peace. Rebels are fighting and Governments are negotiating for peace. Even the terrorists claim that they are in the struggle for global peace. Unfortunately, none of these people know peace. But in the midst of all these turmoil there is a group that enjoy the real peace because they have discovered the source of peace.

Peace with God

The Bible reveals that a sinner, whether he agrees or not, is an enemy of God. Jesus came as God’s initiative to reconcile the sinner with God. Through faith in Jesus one can make peace with God. He is the “Prince of peace”, the real peace-maker. There can be no real peace in the world unless this Prince of peace reigns in the hearts and lives of people. Without individually making peace with God and finding peace within one’s own self there can never be peace among people. Religions, philosophies and governments are at a loss here.

Peace With People

Jesus alone can reconcile a sinful man with God. By faith in Christ Jesus I can experience this peace. No one else can give this peace or take it away from me. All those who have experienced this peace are given the mission of promoting this real peace. We are called to be peace agents in a strife-torn world.

As we are drawing near to the return of the Lord for His church, we see more and more unrest. There are wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes and natural disasters at never before frequency, and increasing hatred among people groups. Religion is against religion and nation against nation, as foretold by the Bible. Immediately after the rapture of the Church, the Antichrist will appear as the trouble shooter, offering a false peace and deceiving those left behind.

Uniqueness of the Christian Faith

Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (Rom.5:1-5)

Christian faith is unique in its offering of a specific means to get right with the Almighty God, who is absolutely holy and perfect. We cannot expect such an awesome God to be pleased with our worship unless He has made us acceptable to Himself. Our utmost stringent observance of rituals, prayers, fasts, pilgrimages and almsgiving cannot qualify us to be accepted in God’s presence.

It establishes Peace with God through Reconciliation

The Bible reveals that God initiated the act of reconciliation between Himself and mankind while we were still rebellious. We never initiated it, we never could. It has to originate from unconditional love which God alone possess. In fact the Bible reminds us that God is love. God initiated reconciliation and invites us to be in right relationship with Him, as Father and children. Since God has shown us the example we need to initiate reconciliation with one another. The Holy Spirit extends His help by filling our hearts with the unconditional love of God. Without having ‘peace with God’ it is impossible to have lasting peace ‘with one another’. Thus peace with God and with fellow beings does not just remain a theory in Christian faith.

It emanates unfailing Hope through Suffering

This is one of the so called ‘paradoxes’ of the Christian faith in the eyes of the world. The Bible states that it is by dying that you live, it is by giving that you receive, and it is by choosing to be humiliated that you will be exalted. There can be no crown without the cross and no glory without the groaning. Suffering develops endurance, endurance builds Godly character, and character brings unwavering hope! Suffering is the way God perfects His people and prepares them for sharing in His eternal glory.

God’s (unconditional) LOVE brings (indestructible) PEACE which in turn produces (unending) JOY. This is what we need, the world needs!

Crux of the Matter

Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping—believing that he would become the father of many nations. For God had said to him, “That’s how many descendants you will have!” And Abraham’s faith did not weaken, even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead—and so was Sarah’s womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. (Rom.4:13-25)

What is the kernel of Christianity? How is anybody put right with God?

Religions advise you to follow traditions, rituals, a set of rules, or practice certain disciplines. However, it is clear as the day light that no one can earn acceptance in God’s presence by doing these.

Faith

God’s justice does not allow any filtering to see what percentage of holiness you have achieved. The Bible makes it clear that no one can earn salvation by his/her merit. It is not a reward one can earn or a salary one can work for. The only wage we can earn is death. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom.6:23). Being made right with God is purely a gift from God. Anyone can receive it by faith. And no one can have it without faith.

What is this “faith” according to the Christian Scriptures?

Human beings in general operate on faith. We believe in the air that we breathe, the water that we drink, the food we eat and the vehicles we travel by. We trust our banks and other institutions. We have faith in the doctors and the medicines they prescribe. It would be impossible to live without this basic element in human relationships. Faith is always revealed in our action. I would not go to somebody who offers me a gift unless I have faith in that person. This is at the human level. But when it comes to the God of the Bible, the Bible says:

Gift

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law. (Rom.3:23-28)

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” (Eph.2:8-9)

Faith or Rules?

The Scriptures say, “God accepted Abraham because Abraham had faith in him.” Money paid to workers isn’t a gift. It is something they earn by working. 5But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him. (Rom.4:1-12)

Religions of the world teach that you need to follow a set of rules to be acceptable to God. This is a sinful man’s futile attempt to reach the Holy God. No religion can assure you of the forgiveness of your sins. Neither can any one of them guarantee you eternal life. But Jesus offers you these and a host of other blessings. Knowing this, will you still go for religion or want to trust Jesus?

Rules Insufficient

Those who claim the legacy of Abraham argue that Abraham was accepted by God because He observed the rules like circumcision. They try on their own merit to earn God’s favor and get to heaven. They also try to look for others who can recommend their case before God. However, these rules and recommendations are of no avail.

Faith Sufficient

God accepts people only because of their faith in Him and His Word. Abraham acted in obedience because he believed God. Obedience should result from faith. Obedience can not bring faith, neither can it make anyone acceptable to God. The Bible says, faith is the key. From beginning to end it is faith and nothing else. Once you have believed, then God begins His work of transformation in you. Then you will want to obey and follow God’s instructions. This obedience of faith will be pleasing to God.

Ideal Leader

In the Bible we come across a variety of leaders. Called by God for leading God’s people and fulfilling specific tasks, almost all of them were ordinary folks. They wouldn’t stand a chance if God had gone by their Curriculum Vitae. All of them had their flaws and failures. But God’s grace over shadowed them all. The only common factor was perhaps the humility they exhibited in accepting their inadequacy. We read very little about a man named Ezra. His was not a story of valor or adventure, but down to earth obedience and absolute integrity.

After these things, during the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra son of Seraiah, the son of Azariah, the son of Hilkiah, the son of Aaron the chief priest- this Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the LORD, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him. (Ezra.7:1-6)

Ezra the Man of God

Ezra was a priest, a descendant of Aaron the high priest. He devoted his life for the study, practice and teaching of the Word of God. He had God’s blessings and, through it, the favor of authorities. In all this he acknowledged the grace of God.

Ezra the Leader of God’s people

Ezra’s commitment to God and His Word was known to all. His leadership qualities were also evident. He knew God has a specific role for him to play and that he has an entry point as well as an exit point. After all it is God’s business, so, in spite of him the work of God should go on. He knew he can never do it alone. Thus he aligns himself with God’s long term plans. He had no ulterior motives or personal agenda to fulfill.

He prays

Ezra does the necessary homework before he embarks on his assignment. He enlists 38 Levites and 220 capable, committed workers. Then he calls for fasting and prayer. He realized the difficulties and challenges. He acknowledged his helplessness in humility. He expressed his absolute trust in the God of Israel. He prayed for God’s protection up on the team as they were carrying a lot of wealth (about 25 tons of silver, silver articles weighing about 3 3/4 tons , about 3 3/4 tons of gold, golden bowls weighing about 19 pounds) .

He prepares

Ezra’s leadership quality is evidenced in his detailed organization. He trusted his team members and delegated responsibilities to them. He left nothing to chance as he was handling God’s resources. He instructed his team about what to do. He weighed, verified and accounted all the wealth before handing them over. He reminded his associates that they as well as the resources are “sacred” to the Lord, that no one should dare touch anything. He also instructed them to weigh everything and tally it before handing over to the Temple staff. Thus, integrity was strictly maintained throughout the project.

He Credits God

When the job was done, Ezra remembered to give the credit to the God of Israel. He did not make any claims or bask in glory for whatever God had enabled him to do. He thanked God for the protection.

Praise be to the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put it into the king’s heart to bring honor to the house of the LORD in Jerusalem in this way and who has extended his good favor to me before the king and his advisers and all the king’s powerful officials. Because the hand of the LORD my God was on me, I took courage and gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me. ( Ezra 7:27-28 )