Monthly Archives: December 2013

Ashes – Repentance

In Biblical times, when someone had realized that they had committed a sin, they would show their repentance by sitting on a heap of ashes. Yes, ashes represent repentance for sin.

Dear friend, are these your ashes today? Are you repenting for certain sins that you have committed and not sure whether our Lord Jesus Christ will accept you again?

Peter. One of the closest disciples of our LORD. Followed our Lord readily. Even walked on water based on the little faith he had. Partaker in every single miracle that Jesus did. One of the witnesses to our LORD’s glorious transfiguration.

Yet, Jesus told him, “Before the cock crows twice, you shall deny Me three times.” – Mark 14:30. Though Peter vehemently opposed any such denial would happen, we see that by the early morning next day, not only Peter denied our LORD, Mark says that Peter swore and cursed our LORD. (Mark 14:71) And that too because he was afraid of a maid servant.

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There are so many sins that we can commit today. The modern world has opened us many new ways in which we can commit a sin. But of all the sins that we can commit, the one that hurts our LORD the most is when we deny that we don’t know Him.

Probably we may say that we would never ever deny knowing our LORD. But, let us not haste in declaring that. Am I sure I am not denying our LORD by my inactions? I may not expressly say that I do not know Him… but whenever I remain silent when I have to declare my Savior, I am actually denying Him in my life.

When it is Christmas season, it is okay to talk about Santa, but I don’t want to offend others, so let us not talk about Christ – I am denying Him. When I cut out references to Jesus Christ on a song, Silent Night, that talks beautifully about His birth, I am denying Him. When people are ready to cut out Christian references from everything a CHRISTIAN says so that it does not offend others, and I remain a silent spectator, I deny Him. Now, how many of us can tell that we have not denied Him at all?

But, it does not matter… dear friend, come to Jesus. Come to Jesus with your ashes. When we have committed a sin, when we realize what we have done, our nature is to run away from the LORD. But the Bible says something about Peter. When he denied our LORD, it says,

“The LORD turned and looked on Peter… and Peter went out and wept bitterly.” – Luke 22:61-62.

Peter wept bitterly, realizing what he had done. First and foremost, true repentance should bring bitter tears from within us. But after all that, Peter went and stayed with other disciples. I don’t know if he had told others what he had done, probably he did not say a word… but he stayed with the disciples.

Dear friend, when you realize that you had committed a sin, the devil will ask you to stay away from the LORD and His disciples. Satan will ask you to stay away from the church, from other believers… The devil will say, “But they won’t understand you, they will judge you, they will condemn you. Jesus will not accept you again. Run away. No one will have to know this.” Don’t listen to the devil’s words, dear friend. Come to Jesus, with your ashes, with the tears of your repentance. Jesus will never cast out anyone who comes to Him.

And when you come to Him, with your sins, your tears and your ashes, the LORD is willing to change those ashes into a crown of beauty for you. The LORD will make a point so that you know you are forgiven, that you are loved and that His plans for you have not been forsaken. Yes, dear friend, that is why when the angel commanded Mary Magdalene and Mary, mother of James and Salome, to tell the disciples about the resurrection of our LORD, two words were added additionally:

“Go tell His disciples and Peter…” – Mark 16:7

Come to Jesus today. Your ashes will become crown of beauty. Your repentance and mourning shall become dances of joy. For the LORD has a special message just for you, my dear friend. Let us come to Jesus with our ashes, let us receive beauty instead. Amen.

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Luke 2:6-7“While they were there, the time came for the Baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

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Fruitless Faucets

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When Lawrence of Arabia was in Paris after World War I with some of his Arab friends, he showed them the sights of the city: the Arch of Triumph, the Louvre, Napoleon’s tomb, the Champs Elysees, but none of these things impressed them.

Bur the thing that really interested them the most was the faucet in the bathtub of the hotel room. They spent much time in turning it on and off. They found it amazing that one could turn a handle and get all the water he wanted.

Later, when they were ready to leave Paris and return to the East, Lawrence found them in the bathroom with wrenches trying to disconnect the faucet. “You see,” they said, “it is very dry in Arabia. What we need are faucets. If we have them, we will have all the water we want.”

Lawrence had to explain that the effectiveness of the faucets did not lie in themselves but in the immense reservoirs of water to which they were attached, and he had to point out that behind this lay the rain and snowfalls of the Alps.

What a tremendous application to our Christian lives. Like the faucet by itself, so as individual Christians by ourselves, without Christ we are useless (John15:5), “…apart from Me, you can do nothing.”

The lives of many Christians are as dry as the Arabian desert. They have their faucets, but there is no connection to the Living Water. May we trust God by faith so that our lives may be abundantly fruitful. Don’t be a fruitless faucet.

Luke 2:1, 4-5“[The Birth of Jesus] In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”

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The Bible – God’s Eternal Word

Luke 21.33

Julian the Apostate, a Roman emperor who lived A.D. 331-36, decided that he would disprove the Bible and discredit Christianity. The particular passage he chose to disprove was Luke 21:24 :

“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” – Luke 21:24.

He began by encouraging the Jews to rebuild the Eternal-Wordtemple. According to Gibbon in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, they went to work eagerly, using even silver shovels in their extravagance, and carrying the dirt in purple veils. But while they were working, they were interrupted by an earthquake and by balls of fire coming from the ground. They had to abandon the project.

Almost 600 years before Christ, Ezekiel prophesized that the Eastern Gate of Jerusalem would be shut and that it would remain shut until “the prince” would come (Eze. 44:3). Many Bible students understand “the prince” to be the Messiah.

The gate, subsequently called the Golden Gate, was closed up by Sultan Suleiman in A.D. 1543. In Kaiser Wilhelm’s plan to capture Jerusalem, he hoped to enter by this gate, but his hope was dashed. The gate remains closed.

Voltaire boasted that the Bible would be a dead book in 100 years. When the hundred years had passed, Voltaire was dead and his house had become headquarters for the Geneva Bible Society. Ingersoll made a similar boast. He said that he would have the Bible in the morgue in 15 years. It was he, not the Bible, who went to the morgue. The Bible outlives all its critics.

You would think that men would wake up to the fact that the Bible is God’s eternal Word and that it will never pass away. But then, as Jonathan Swift said, “There’s none so blind as they that won’t see.”

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Luke 1:76-78“And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven”

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YHWH Jireh

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From childhood, I grew up in abject poverty. Till I was 22 years old, I would not even have 5 rupees (it would amount to roughly a dollar) as my monthly allowance. It was during that period, the LORD met me and I had accepted that I was a sinner and that I had needed Jesus Christ as my Savior.

I had just got baptism and I was in my last year of college. Exam times and it was very cold. I had this habit before an exam – I would not sleep all night and study for the exam. Finish the exam, come back and sleep all afternoon. It was a ritual I had for many years.

So, my classmates would come to my room and on my desk, there would be a long sheet of paper. They would write their name, their room number and the time they wanted to wake up. And at the time, I would wake them up.

But, that morning, I was very tired and had a severe headache. By 3:30 AM, I was feeling very tired. But I could not go to sleep, as some of my classmates were depending on me to wake them up, so that they could study for the exam. So, I prayed and started to read the Bible.

By 5 AM, I was exhausted and I checked how much money I had at hand to buy some tea or a cup of coffee. I did not even have pennies. So, I prayed and asked the LORD to provide me some tea or coffee. Around 5:30 AM, one of my friends came and knocked at the door and asked me, “Patrick, do you want to go for some tea?” I was so happy that the LORD answered my prayer. I gave a small thanksgiving prayer to God and walked out with him.

Jehovah Jireh

From the hostel to the tea shop outside the campus, it was a long walk. As we were walking, suddenly that friend asked me, “Patrick, so, how much money you have with you?” I smiled and told him, very happily I should say, “I have nothing. But I wanted some tea, so I prayed to the LORD and you came as the answer.”

My friend stood in the tracks, shocked. Apparently he did not have any money with him, but he really wanted to have some tea. So, he thought, if he asked me for some tea, I would say “yes” if I had the money; otherwise, I would have turned him down, saying I have no money. LOGIC!!! Logic at 5:30 in the morning!!! LOL.

So, there we were, a couple of college kids, on a cold morning, at 5:45 AM, with no money, but wanted some tea. I was more confused than he was, because I knew that the LORD had answered my prayer.

I am writing this part, not to boast about my faith, but to boast about the faithfulness of our LORD.

So, I told my friend, “Let us go ahead. I have prayed and the LORD has answered. The LORD will provide. His name is Jehovah Jireh – the LORD Who provides” and started walking towards the tea shop. My friend followed me, after few steps, asked again, “Patrick, seriously, how much money you have?” When I replied in negative, he still did not believe me. He thought I was pulling a fast one on him.

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As we reached the college campus, we could see the tea shop across the road. All we had to do was cross the road and we would be at the shop. My friend asked me one last time, “Patrick, stop messing with me. Tell me how much you really have. We cannot go and have tea with no money in our hand. Especially it is just 5:45, the guy has opened his shop and we would be his first customers. He would kill us if we have tea and then say, we have no cash on us.”

As he was talking with me, a bus stopped before us on the other side. We were waiting for the bus to leave and I told my friend that I really did not have any money on me, but the LORD did answer my prayer and He, indeed, is Jehovah Jireh, the LORD Who provides. As I was saying this, the bus left after a passenger got down at the stop.

As we were crossing the road, I heard a familiar voice shouting at us. The passenger was one of our classmates and he was coming back from his hometown. He had gone there to attend his brother’s engagement party and he asked us what were we doing so early in the morning. I told him we were going for some tea and, he told, “Okay, it is my treat as my brother got engaged. Come on, let us celebrate.” So, the LORD provided.

But it did not stop there. When we started to come back to the hostel, one of my classmates who I woke up sometime back, was going to have some tea. He wanted to show his gratitude to me and took us back for another tea. Then another friend came and another.

When we came out, it was 5:45 AM. By the time this procession stopped, it was 7:30 AM. We had so many teas, some coffees and some more snacks. Finally, my friend said, “Patrick, I guess the LORD did hear and answer your prayer. But He has provided enough for this morning. Please ask Him to stop His provisions for this morning.”

Jehovah Jireh.
The LORD Who provides.

As I am writing this, I am sad to say that probably I don’t have that childlike faith now. Please pray for me that I have that childlike faith again in my life.

But, I am also glad… though I may not have that childlike faith, my God is still Jehovah Jireh – the LORD Who provides and His faithfulness never changes. Praise be to the LORD our God, to Jehovah Jireh, to the LORD Who provides. Amen.

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Luke 1:68-70““Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a Horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David (as He said through His holy prophets of long ago),”

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Faith and works

An old boatman painted the word “faith” on one oar of his boat and “works” on the other. He was asked his reason for this.

In answer, he slipped the oar with “faith” into the water and rowed. The boat, of course, made a very tight circle. Returning to the dock, the boatman then said, “Now, let’s try ‘works’ without ‘faith’ and see what happens.” The oar marked “works” was put in place and the boatman began rowing with just the “works” oar. Again the boat went into a tight circle but in the opposite direction.

When the boatman again returned to the wharf, he interpreted his experiment in these strong and convincing words, “You see, to make a passage across the lake, one needs both oars working simultaneously in order to keep the boat in a straight and narrow way. If one does not have the use of both oars, he makes no progress either across the lake nor as a Christian.”

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Luke 1:68-70““Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come to His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a Horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David (as He said through His holy prophets of long ago),”

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Ashes – Humiliation

Everyone fails in their life. Everyone makes mistakes. But there are some failures that are so humiliating; some mistakes are so blatantly stupid before others. More than our failures, more than our mistakes, it is the humiliation that hurts the most.

There was a famine in Israel and it lasted for a while. There was a man named Elimelech who lived in Bethlehem. He realized that this famine was going to last a while, so he moved across Jordan, to the land of Moab along with his wife, Naomi and his two sons. And it looked a pretty good move. The famine did last for 10 years and the country of Moab did not suffer much from the famine. And for those 10 years, I am sure many people around Bethlehem thought that Elimelech and his family did the right thing and they were very wise. (Ruth chapter 1)

I am sure, some of the decisions we have made in our life, really looked so right at that moment. Sometimes, people will look at us and even congratulate us for being so practical and judicious.

Then Elimelech died. Now, let us look at Naomi. Her husband died and now, as a matriarch, she could have returned to Bethlehem and no one would have blamed her for moving to Moab in the first place. Yet, she remained in Moab and she let her two sons get married to Moabites. Why? Because, she didn’t want to go back to her country as someone who made a wise decision, but had to return as a widow.

It happens to all of us. There will be times when we realize that the path we have taken is not right in the eyes of the LORD. Instead of being prosperous, we have suffered certain setbacks. But, if we abandon that path, we will look really stupid in the eyes of others and more importantly, we will look like cowards. So, we keep marching ahead. Are these your ashes today?

Then her two sons also died. Now, Naomi, who had become a widow, had two young widows to take care. Even then, she did not return to Bethlehem. She still remained in Moab. I understand why Naomi did that. She left the country when it was suffering from a severe famine. She left with her husband and two young adult sons.

Dear friend, are you in such a position? You started out with a bang and everyone is so sure that you would be victorious and prosperous. Instead, you have lost everything, including those things that mattered so much to you. Including those things that would have helped you to succeed. Are these your ashes today? 

Now, everyone in Bethlehem would be thinking that Naomi and her family did the wise thing. They would be thinking that her family would be prosperous in Moab. Probably they did not care about Naomi and her family. But Naomi would have thought that was how people in Bethlehem were thinking about her. So, she did not want to go back to Bethlehem.

Dear friend, often it is the opinions of others that stop us from turning back to the LORD. Probably people really don’t care about us, but in our hearts, we have an idea what others would be thinking about us. So, even when we know that we have to change tracks, we hold on for some more time because of how others would react to our present condition. Are these your ashes today?

Finally a news comes to Naomi. The LORD had visited His people and they had been blessed. Now, Naomi realized that it was futile to hold on any longer. She immediately left for Bethlehem.

Dear friend, imagine this. When the entire country was in famine, Naomi could have returned and no one would have taunted her, because their conditions were also the same. But, now, when everyone else was blessed, Naomi was returning home, as a widow, along with her daughter-in-law, another widow, after losing everything that was dear to her. It would have been the most humiliating thing for Naomi to do.

At times, we have to face our humiliations. We do certain mistakes and we suffer because of that. All our hopes were dashed and all our efforts had been fruitless. Now to that, we have to suffer humiliations. It is the worst thing that can happen to us when we are down.

But Naomi realized that she had to face her humiliations. She also accepted that these humiliations were from the LORD Himself (Ruth 1:21). And when she came back to Bethlehem, she was humiliated further. Ruth 1:19 says that all the women in the town started talking, “Can this be Naomi?” Imagine that.

Dear friend, I know it is easier to accept failures, but much difficult to accept the humiliation from others. But, when we are under such trying situations, let us accept that it is because of our LORD’s will. Let us go back to our Bethlehem, where our Savior was born, who is willing to change these humiliations, these ashes into beauty.

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When Naomi came to Bethlehem, to our LORD with her humiliations, with her ashes, the LORD did bless her. And when the LORD blessed her, the same women who had increased her humiliation, came back and they praised the LORD for the blessings given to her. (Ruth 4:14)

Dear friend, come to the LORD today with your humiliations, with your ashes. And when the LORD changes the ashes into beauty, everyone who has humiliated you will come to you. They will be joyous for the blessings that the LORD has given you. They will praise the LORD because of what He has done for you. So, are you ready to exchange your ashes for beauty? Come to Bethlehem. Come to Jesus.

And may the LORD reward for what you have done, and a full reward be given to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, under Whose wings you have come for refuge. (Ruth 2:12)

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Luke 1:46-47, 49“[Mary’s Song] And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is His name.”

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Seek God daily

From 2000+ Bible Illustrations…

Ben Jochai was teaching a group of students about the miracle of the manna when Israel was on the way from Egypt to the Promised Land.

One of the students asked, “Why didn’t the Lord God furnish enough manna for Israel at one time to last the entire year?”

The teacher said, “I will answer you with a parable. Once there was a rich man who had a son to whom he promised an annual allowance. Every year on the same day, he would give his son the entire amount. After a while, it happened that the only time the father saw his son was on the day of the year when he was to receive his allowance. So the father changed his plan and only gave the son enough for the day. Then the next day the son would return for the allowance for the day. From then on, the father saw his son every day.”

This is the way God dealt with Israel. It is the way God deals with us.

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Luke 1:46-47, 49“[Mary’s Song] And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is His name.”

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Ashes – No value

Imagine you have a document of something very valuable for your company or your country or to someone who is dear to you. And there are certain evil elements who would love to get their hands on that document. One day, they come closer to you and you are left with no choice, but burn that document. Now all is left with you is just ashes. And, it is of no value to you or to anyone.

Christians face such a dilemma in their life. We are given precious promises by our LORD – regarding our life in this earth, life after death, for a peaceful life, for a happy life, a victorious future and so on. We hold on to those promises, we confess them every day. And the evil spirits target us.

We face trials, failures and tribulations… but we are still holding strongly to the promises of the LORD, being very sure that the LORD will deliver us. But the devil keeps telling us that the LORD will not come through; that we will lose everything if we keep our trust on Him. Still, we are sure that the Lord our God will surely fulfill His promises to us. Then that day finally dawns, we are so sure that this is the day… and then… the egg breaks.

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Now we are confused. What happened to the LORD who had delivered us always before this time? Why did the LORD forsake us? Did the LORD forget His promises? Or did the Immutable LORD change after all? Or is He angry at us for something? Even if we have done something wrong, is God so heartless that He would do such a thing as leave us to be ashamed before our enemy?

Right now, all those promises about our life, our future, everything has turned into ashes. Of no value at all. Even when someone tells you to trust in God, you are wondering… but of course, all these times, I trusted the LORD, didn’t I? Suddenly all those encouraging words of other Christians or the Bible verses, they seem to have no value to you. Just ashes.

Dear friend, since those ashes are of no value to you anyway, why don’t you do something – why don’t you bring those no-value ashes to Jesus Christ, in Whom all the promises are “yes” and “amen”? No strings attached. Just bring it to Him. Because Jesus Christ, Who is Same yesterday, today and forever, is willing to change those ashes into beauty for you – a crown of beauty for you.

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Let me tell a story about this old man. Abraham. He received the promise of God that he would have a son. When he received the promise, he was 75 years old. 75 years old means he was already old when he received the promise. But at least, his body was active and same with his wife’s womb.

So, he left everything, his family, his home and everything else to a new country that he would inherit and through his son, a new race of people would occupy that new country. So, with faith, he kept walking around the country. Time kept flying. 24 years. His body was dead and so was his wife’s womb.

Physiologically, they had no chance of having a child. So, as far as they were concerned, the promises of God had become ashes.

Dear friend, there are times in our life, God delays. Not just for few minutes or few days… sometimes weeks, months and even years. The devil will tell you that it is because the LORD has forsaken you. No, no, never… unless you are willingly living a very very sinful life. Otherwise, God will never forsake you. Because He forsake His only Son on the Cross for you. So, that is impossible. Devil will say, Oh, God has changed His Word. No, no, one of the attributes of the LORD our God is He does not change.

There are two reasons why the LORD is delaying. One: the timing is still not perfect in His view. Second: your faith has found favor in His eyes and He is perfecting your faith.

So, what do you do now? You know what Abraham did? He started to give glory to God and became stronger in his faith. And the Bible says, in due time, Sarah became pregnant. Dear friend, it does not matter what your circumstances, it does not matter how impossible the situation becomes, in due time, the Word of the LORD will be fulfilled in your life. Just bring your ashes to the LORD, give glory to Him and you will see your ashes blossoming into your crown of beauty.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. – Hebrews 10:23

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Luke 1:46-47, 49“[Mary’s Song] And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is His name.”

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Ashes – Uselessness

When I grew up, the one constant thing I heard from my mom was how useless I was. To be honest, even after all these years, there would be days where wonder if there is any usefulness in my existence. Thank God, we are not in touch anymore, otherwise I would be hearing tales about how useless my blogs are just like my very own existence.

Being totally useless to anyone on this world? Is this your ashes today? Let me tell you a story that touched my heart and changed my outlook towards the world.

During the times of King Solomon, the Temple of the LORD was being built. It was built using large stones, and it is estimated that almost each of the stones were like 2 tons heavy. But King Solomon was clear about one thing: No sound of hammer or chisel or any iron tool should be heard in the vicinity of the temple. So, all the stones were finished completely in the quarry, were marked to where in the temple construction those stones should go and then shipped. When the finished stones arrived at the temple constructions site, they would look at the mark and place the stone accordingly in that position.

When they started the construction, they realized that there was this weird looking stone that did not have any marks. So, they were confused where to place it. They tried putting that stone in the foundation, but it didn’t fit. They tried placing the stone in the inner chambers, but it didn’t fit there too. They tried placing the stone on the outer walls of the Temple, but no luck there either.

Finally they realized that the shape of that particular stone would not let them place it in any of the place. So, they assumed that the stone was sent to them by mistake and threw the stone out.

Dear friend, is this what you are undergoing? When your family members make a plan, they leave you out because “you won’t fit”? Are you being avoided where you are working or studying because “you don’t belong”? Are people ignoring you when they are making plans for a party? Do people think that it is a mistake that you are there with them in everything they do? Take heart, my friend. The LORD has a greater plan for you.

When people passed by the stone that was thrown out, they made so much fun of it. They would point at it and show it to others as an example that even when others mistakenly include you, if you don’t belong, you will be thrown out eventually. It became a joke among the builders there. When someone didn’t belong, he was compared to that stone and made fun of.

When people think you are useless, sooner or later, they will start making fun of you. People will be compared to you; parents will use you to warn their young kids. I don’t know about you, but my own mother would tell other young kids not to become like me. Every kid in this world was better than me, everyone has a chance in this world, but not me. It is probably one of the most hurting comments you could endure. Are you being treated in the same way, dear friend? Again, cheer up, the LORD has a great plan for you.

Soon, people forgot about that rejected stone. Plants and moss started to cover it. Birds used that stone as a resting place between their flights. Soon, no one remembered that stone – that useless stone.

Just like David was forgotten by his family, sooner or later, people will tend to forget us. At least, David was the last of the seven sons of his father. I am the only son of my mother. I like chocolate cakes. So, for one Christmas morning, I bought a 2 kg chocolate cake, left it at home and went out to buy some groceries. When I came back 30 minutes later, I asked my mom whether we should cut the cake now. She was too embarrassed to answer me. Apparently she cut the cake with her boy friend and three of our neighbors (and, except my mom, none of them were Christians) and they had eaten all the cake. And my mom totally forgot about me. Yes, my own mother forgot her only son on Christmas and I was out for only 30 minutes. Amazing how when people consider you are useless, how fast they forget you.

Years went by. 7 years had gone. No one remembered the stone now. It was completely covered by plants and moss, and no one gave a second thought about it. Finally the Temple was complete and the king came for a final inspection.

He looked at the completed Temple and told the High Priest and the others who were in charge of the construction of the Temple, that he was pleased with it. So, he asked them to finish the construction by placing the capstone on the Temple and fix the date for the dedication of the Temple. Then the king left.

The priests asked the builders to place the capstone on the Temple. That was when the builders realized that the quarry had not sent the capstone to them. So, they sent a message to the quarry asking for the capstone ASAP. The quarry sent them a surprised message, saying that the capstone had been sent already. The builders sent a message back saying that they never received the capstone. The quarry sent back another message telling that the capstone was one of the first stones they completed and sent to the temple.

The builders were confused completely. They could not recollect any stones that had the markings for a capstone. The people from quarry laughed when they heard this. They told the builders, “But, of course, there would be no markings on the capstone. It is unique in shape and one look at it, you will realize that this has to be the capstone as it is the most important stone of all the stones. How could you miss it?”

It was then one of the builders remembered that rejected stone. Then they went and looked at that stone, covered with plants and moss. They cleaned the stone and realized that it was the capstone. After polishing it, they placed it on the Temple. When Solomon came for dedication, he was astonished how that capstone had magnified the look of the Temple and praised the builders for choosing such a marvelous capstone for the Temple. The builders were too embarrassed to admit to the king that they had rejected that capstone.

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Yes, dear friend, you may have been rejected, forgotten and ignored. But the LORD has a plan for you and one day, those who rejected you will come searching for you, they will need you, and you will become the shining star of their joy. All you need to do is, bring those ashes of uselessness to our LORD today. This very moment, the LORD will bless you and give you beauty instead of your ashes. Amen.

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Luke 1:26-28“[The Birth of Jesus Foretold] In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.””

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Ashes – Hopelessness

In Jewish tradition, they believe that after someone dies, his soul hovers over his body for three days. After that, the soul leaves the body and goes back to God, its Creator. So, Jews thought that for 72 hours, there is hope that a dead person can come back to life, but after that, there is no hope left for that person.

When we reach that stage of hopelessness, where there is no way for you to have any hope at all, it is difficult for us to believe that our LORD Jesus Christ loves us anymore. Yet, the Bible tells a different story.

When Jesus arrived, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. – John 11:17 (ISV)


We need to note two things here.

  1. This is not someone about whom the LORD did not care. When the sisters of Lazarus sent a message to Jesus, they were very emphatic about one thing: “Lord, the one You love is sick.” – John 11:3. Dear friend, you have been praying for so long and now the situation has become so hopeless, you are wondering whether the LORD loves you or not. No, dear friend, our LORD loves you. Even when your prayers are not answered, the LORD loves you. Even when all hopes are lost, the LORD loves you.
  2. Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. We don’t know when he died and how long after that, he was laid in the tomb. But it had been four days since he was there. Which means, according to the Jewish tradition, there was no chance for him to come to life again. Dear friend, probably people around you are telling that there is no hope left anymore. Tradition and the knowledge of this world are telling you that everything is gone.


Is this your ashes today? Hopelessness.

  • The deadlines are way past. The days for redemption is well over. You needed that money a week before, now it is too late and even now, there seems to be no way.
  • Probably you needed the understanding of your spouse few days before. Now, it is too late to reconcile the relation. It is over for good now.
  • If you had got that job at that time, it would have been just perfect. But, not only you did not get the job, your situation has gone from bad to worse. Now, even if you get that job, it would be impossible for you to get back on your feet.

But, wait a minute, my friend. Bring these ashes, all your hopelessness to our LORD. Bring every single thing where your hopes were dashed to our LORD. It does not matter how trivial it seems to be, bring it to Jesus. For the One who is visiting you now has the power to turn your ashes into beauty. And, remember these four things.

  • Jesus wept. – John 11:35. Dear friend, you don’t serve a stone-hearted dictator. We are worshipping Jesus Christ, God who feels your pains, who shares your burdens. And when you have lost all your hopes, when grave yard alone seems to be your destination, Jesus is not laughing there in Heaven. Jesus weeps for your condition, dear friend. Are you feeling so lonely that you are thinking that there is no one for you? Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of all human kind, is there for you and He is weeping at your condition, dear friend. Tears are flowing from His gracious eyes, seeing how much you have to suffer.
  • Martha, the sister of Lazarus, told Jesus: “There must be a stench by now.” – John 11:39. At this hopeless situation, when you decide to pray, there will be your family members and your well-wishers who will be saying that it is too late now. They are not saying that because they hate you. For them, it is just reality. Even if God wants to show grace to you, isn’t it too late for that? Isn’t the situation beyond salvage now? Because they look at the material world, not at the Creator who created all these; they look at the laws of this Physical world, not at the One who created everything by His Word. So, don’t let their words dissuadjesus_lazaruse you from coming to Jesus.
  • “Come out!” commands the voice of the LORD. – John 11:43. Dear friend, out of your hopelessness, out of the ashes that surround you, the Voice of the LORD commands, “Come out”. The Voice of the LORD is powerful; the Voice of the LORD is full of majesty. (Psalms 29:4) And that Voice is commanding now, dear friend, to come out of this hopelessness, out of this desperate situation. When the LORD commands, even the depths of the valley of death will open its mouth and will give you back into the land of living. Yes, dear friend, death is not your end. From this hopeless situation, the LORD is commanding you to come out. It does not matter whether the devil has a strong hold on you, he has to obey our Lord and Master now. Even if your hands and legs are bound by grave clothes, nothing can stop you now.
  • Finally, remember this, my friend. All these days, you were expecting a miracle to save your face. You were hoping that God would do something so that you can go around and tell others that you serve a Living God. But, everything went against you. Now, as the LORD has commanded you out of these hopeless, dear friend, you don’t have to go around telling people, people will come to you, to see you, and the best part, there will be throngs believing in Jesus Christ because of you. The Bible says, ‘because on account of Lazarus, many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.’ – John 12:11. Yes, dear friend, you will become a living testimony for the grace, power and majesty of our LORD.

All you need to do is just one thing. Bring these ashes, your hopelessness to our LORD and He will give beauty for your ashes.

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Matthew 2:4-6“When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’””

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