Monthly Archives: June 2013

Love and zeal

We can all follow our LORD with zeal. Probably our hearts are burning to do the will of God. One such character in the Bible was Peter. If there is anyone in the Bible who followed the LORD with zeal, it has to be Peter. Jumping into sea.Walking on the water. Then sinking into it. Cutting the ear of a Roman soldier. Talking without realizing what he was talking about. Oh, Peter is so much like us.

But the LORD wants something more than zeal from us. For zeal will fizz out soon. To be a Christian, to follow Christ, bearing our cross needs something more than zeal. Something that has more endurance than just enthusiasm. The LORD wants love, true love.

Zeal, enthusiasm and all other qualities that we think that a good disciple should have will breed arrogance and pride. We can compare our zeal with that of others. That’s what Peter does when the LORD says that all of them would desert Him when things get rough.

Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”
– Mark 14:29 (NIV)

That was quite a declaration. But, the next one was more distinct.

But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with You, I will never disown You.” – Mark 14:31 (NIV)

Especially because in the verse between these two declarations, the Lord Jesus Christ says that very night, Peter was going to disown the LORD before the rooster crows. That is the problem with being zealous. To prove our zeal, at times we are ready to reject the very words of our Master Himself.

That’s why the LORD needs someone who loves Him. Zeal harbors arrogance. With zeal comes in pride. And zeal fizzes out with time. But the LORD needs a humble heart. A heart clothed in humility. A heart that does not lose its fervor with time. A heart that loves Him.

But the great thing about our LORD is, He understands us better than everyone else, including us. The LORD knows that beneath all that zeal for Him, there lies a heart that love Him unconditionally. So, the Lord allows few troubles in our life which removes our zeal with all the arrogance and the pride. And when we stand before the LORD with all the veneer of pride removed, we can say truly

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Romans 12:3“[Humble Service in the Body of Christ] For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”

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Love and forgiveness

Once when I was living a life of sin, I was walking alone in the night, listening to a song which was about the love of God. I looked up, towards the heaven and asked the LORD, “But, LORD, how could You love me, for I am such a sinner?” And the LORD replied, “Because no one else could love you now.” That was the turning point in my life. It was a struggle, but the LORD gave me grace to come out of the sinful life I was living.

Yes, there was a time in my life, no one could have loved me. I was such a mess. Even I could not live with myself. Every single day was a struggle. But, then the love of our Lord Jesus Christ opened my eyes. Even then, it was not easy. Old habits. Guilty conscience. It was not easy. But then, the LORD showed me the way out.

“Her sins, many as they are, are forgiven – because she has loved much.” – Luke 7:47 (AMP)

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Whenever people ask me why I love the LORD so much, all I can tell them is that God has forgiven me so much, how can I not love Him? Let us love the LORD, for He has forgiven all our sins. Let us love Him more and more, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

1 Peter 4 vs.8

2 Peter 3:9“The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

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Oswald Chambers

Many years back, a friend of mine gave me a devotional called “My Utmost For His Highest” by someone named Oswald Chambers. To be honest, OswaldChambersI had never heard of this Christian. But, I had not heard of Charles Spurgeon then and so many other Christians. And, I was raised a Catholic and since I suffered a lot because of the teachings of men, I was quite skeptical. But the friend who gave me the devotional said, “Patrick, be careful when you read this. It will be harsh most of the times and it will hurt you a lot, but it is true to the Word of God.” I thought my friend was just exaggerating. But then I read this devotional.

If I say that I was hurt by some of his thoughts would be an understatement. It was more like a devastation. Almost every single preconceived idea I had about being a true Christian, being sanctified, etc., were destroyed completely. But the more I meditated on, the more revelation the Spirit of the LORD gave me. Even after nearly 10 years, it is hard for me to digest few of the things. Though I know Oswald Chambers is correct in what he is saying, it is sort of difficult to accept, for a life of mediocrity is much easier than a life based on true Christian values.

For example, I am posting the meditation for today verbatim. I hope I am not breaking any copyright laws. I am just posting this devotion for our edification and also to point out how true Christian life is so much different from the life we live. All I hope and pray is that one day, I become that Christian – just like Christ. Amen.

My Utmost For His Highest by Oswald Chambers

June 27

The Overshadowing of God’s Personal Deliverance
Jeremiah  1:8 (Jer_1:8)

God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally — “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jer_39:18). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress. Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.

The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard — we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (Pro_3:5-6).

Matthew 16:25“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.”

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A Grateful Friend

A gentleman had found a shelter for a ragged, homeless boy and was walking down the street with him. He was stopped by another gentleman who, after a short conversation, said, “You are surely not walking through the streets with that dirty boy?”

“Why not?” said the gentleman. “He is my friend.”

Overhearing the first remark the lad was slinking away, but the answer made him the life-long, devoted follower of his new-found friend.

God calls us His friends. Can we ever express enough gratitude and honor to Him?

Matthew 16:25“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.”

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Love and boasting

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True love does not boast. And the LORD wants us to love Him truly, with all our heart, all our soul and all our strength. The problem with us is we confuse the LORD’s love for us with the love we must have for the LORD. And in that misunderstanding, we not only hurt the LORD, we also hurt ourselves.

In the Gospel according to Apostle John, we see a beautiful example of this. There were multitudes who came to Jesus and received His blessings. They were cured of their sickness, evil spirits were cast out and they received spiritual nourishment from the our Lord. In the midst of all these, Jesus Christ received a message.

“Lord, the one whom You love is sick.” – John 11:3 (LITV)

Though this looks like a beautiful message by people who really loved our LORD, when we look through the light of the Scriptures, we see something. Here, the sisters of Lazarus gave emphasis to the fact that Jesus loved Lazarus. There was nothing about how much they love Jesus.

Often, this is one of the problems today with us. We know that the LORD loves us. We are sure that all His promises to us will be fulfilled because He loves. When we endure suffering, the question rises: if God loves me, then why do I have to suffer? So, in everything, whether in our expectations, in our successes and in our sufferings, our focus is on only one thing: that the LORD loves us. And we forget to notice something that is blurred in the background – we forget how much our LORD is yearning for our love. How much do we really love Him?

Also note that, the message said only one thing. That Lazarus was sick. It did not tell Jesus what to do. Once again, it looks like a statement of faith, that the LORD knows better. But later, Martha tells something that shows what she really thought Jesus Christ would do on hearing their message.

“If You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
– John 11:21 (NIV)

Yes, Martha thought that Jesus Christ, who she declared as the Son of God (John 11:27), would leave everything aside as soon as He received the message and would come and heal her brother. And, there was her boasting. In that small message, her boasting was encapsulated. The LORD loves our family. We will not ask Him anything, we will just tell Him what the problem is, He will do it immediately for us. Don’t we all have the same attitude at times?

The question here is how much do we love the LORD? Do we love Him so much, we know that no matter what the situation is now, it will be always for our good? Do we love Jesus so much, we have an unshakeable faith, that instead of asking Him to come to us, we will ask Him, as the centurion said, “Lord, only say the word.”?

True love will be humble, it will have enormous faith, that asks the LORD for just to say the word. But the love that is shallow will boast and instead of faith, it will try to show off. What do we have today? The LORD God, Creator of everything, El Shaddai – the God Almighty is waiting eagerly for our true love.

No matter what our current situation is, let us love our LORD whole heartedly. And if we need deliverance, let us ask Him with faith:

Only say the Word

Leviticus 19:18““‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I AM the LORD.”

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Carpenter of Nazareth

Socrates taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40 and Jesus for only 3 1/2 years. Yet the influence of Christ’s ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined years of teaching from these greatest of philosophers.

Jesus painted no pictures, yet some of the finest artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him.

Jesus wrote no poetry, but Dante, Milton and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by Him.

Jesus composed no music; still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the music they composed in His praise.

Every sphere of human greatness has been enriched by this humble Carpenter of Nazareth.

Leviticus 19:18““‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I AM the LORD.”

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Love and faith

Faith and love

Faith and love go together. If we truly love our LORD, then we will have unshakeable faith in Him.

Look at any political leader who gets stuck in a scandal. Everyone who believed in him, who voted for him, would be really upset. They would change their minds about this leader. But there will be always some people who know that leader personally. No matter what happens around them, no matter how the political wind turns against their leader, they would support him whole heartedly. Their only explanation: “I know him personally and he is not this kind of person everyone is saying he is.”

An intimate knowledge of a person gives us tremendous faith in that person. And, the one thing that the LORD craves from us is LOVE. The LORD is waiting for us to have an intimate relationship with Him. The LORD wants to be our Friend. He wants us to share our innermost secrets. Yeah, He already knows that, but He wants to hear it from us, His friends. The LORD wants to be our Father. He wants us to tell Him our fears. Again, He knows that we are scared of few things in our life. He knows that we are worried about our future. But, He just wants us to open up and confide in Him. And, He wants us to know Him. Not from a distant. Not from our parents. Not from our church. The LORD wants us to know Him, from Him. That intimate knowledge, not tainted by views of humans, will help us in our understanding of His love for us. The LORD wants us to know Him in a personal level.

For all his righteousness, Job did not have a first hand knowledge of the LORD. Job himself declares that.

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Yes, just like us, Job also knew about the LORD from others. His understanding of God was what he heard from the experiences of others. We may really believe in our God, we may really have zeal for Him, but the real question is: is our belief, our faith and our zeal for our LORD is because of our love, because we know Him personally or it is from what we have heard about God?

A day came when Job experienced the LORD personally. That day changed his life forever. All his sorrows turned into joy. Today, my dear friend, whatever your sorrow is, experience our LORD personally, as a Friend, as a Father, love Him, let your faith grow because of that love, and all your sorrows will turn into joy.

God wants us to love Him, know Him personally, so that our faith is our own faith. Because, it is by HIS OWN faith, the righteous shall live. (Hab. 2:4) So, let us wear the breastplate of faith and love (1 Thess. 5:8) and let us please our LORD more and more. Amen.

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Jeremiah 23:24“Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the LORD. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the LORD.”

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Love and pride

When we have pride, there is one thing that we do: we will exalt ourselves above God. (Isa. 14:13) But if we love our God truly, then pride will not have any place in our heart. Because the Bible clearly teaches us in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that

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Yes, love is not proud. When we have pride, we tend to justify ourselves. In all his righteousness, Job had that one problem. His love for the LORD was not perfect. So, when things went awfully wrong for him, Job tried to justify himself and in trying to do that, he went a little far.

Job thought he was more righteous than God. – Job 32:2 (GW)

There are times when we have problems on every side. Every thing that we do become a colossal failure. Every venture we undertake results in severe losses. In everyone’s eyes, our failures and losses are results of divine justice. People find fault in everything we have done. And during these times, it is really difficult not to justify ourselves. But, the important question is, how much we love our Lord? Because love is not proud. True love will not try to justify itself.

But what would you do if someone you truly love is accused of something? If you truly love them, you would jump into their defense. And if we are assured of someone’s true love for us, we would expect the same from them too. That’s the point in all these accusations. Your heart may be torn because of all these accusations and insinuations. But be still in the love of God. And surely, the LORD will defend your cause. Our God is righteous. Our Savior Jesus Christ will reward you surely. But do not try to justify yourself. True love has no pride. So, let us love our LORD truly and in that love, let us leave all the justification to Him who justifies us through the Atoning Sacrifice of His Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Sunshine

2 Thessalonians 3:3“But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”

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Love and fear

We may try to be righteous before the eyes of our God. We may do all the right things. But there is one thing that the LORD wants most from us than all other things that we can do: the LORD Almighty, the Most Sovereign God, the Creator of everything yearns for our love. And that is the only thing that counts.

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Job was a righteous man before the eyes of the LORD. He feared God more than any thing. But he lacked one thing. His love for God was not perfect. We can see that in one verse in the Book of Job:

“What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.” – Job 3:25 (NIV)

Job was afraid constantly that somewhere some sin might catch up with him or his family, that the LORD would punish him severely for that. With all due respect for Job and his suffering, the one thing the LORD wanted from Job was love. Perfect love. Because perfect love drives out fear.

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That is the one thing that the LORD yearns from us. Love. Perfect love. Love that comes from the knowledge of our gracious God. When we love God truly, we shall fear nothing. Are we ready to love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our strength?

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Isaiah 40:31“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

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The Just God

A certain man misappropriated a sum of money, never believing that his good Christian friend would take steps to have him punished for embezzlement. Now that he is in jail he knows he depended too much on the kindness and mercy of this Christian, instead of reckoning with his justice.

There is great danger in misunderstanding God’s essential character. He is a God of justice as well as of love. He will inflict punishment where punishment is due. There is mercy available through Jesus Christ, but that mercy becomes effective only to those who appropriate it, who accept it.

Psalm 91:1“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

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