Monthly Archives: March 2016
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I was just 8 or 9 years old when I first read this verse. Except, I have no idea where and when. Certainly not from the Bible, as I was forbidden from reading the Old Testament during that time. Anyway, I was not into reading the Bible at that age. It must have been written on the walls of some church, I don’t remember. But this verse hung on to me. It was the first verse that spoke to me, except like the little Samuel, I had no idea that it was the Holy Spirit who kept reminding of the voice.
Years went by, and somewhere along the line, the realization came that my heart indeed was a heart of stone. When I came to the Lord, He reminded me of this verse. From then on, whenever I realize my heart being hardened, immediately I seek the Lord with this promise. And, there are changes in me, which sort of amazes me. For these changes are not just possible with me, but then nothing is impossible with God, right?
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my Strength and my Redeemer.
For many years, I had a severe problem. My mouth would be all praising the LORD, but deep in my heart, I would be fuming over someone, cursing them with the vilest of languages. And, some great person had told me, in my growing years as a Christian, that it does not matter what you feel in your heart; just praise the LORD. That’s what God wants from you. So, I kept cursing my enemies in my heart, while my mouth kept praising the Lord. What an awesome hypocrite I was!
Then the LORD pointed out it to me that both the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart have to be acceptable in His sight. And, it was not easy. Not at all easy. For I had so much bitterness in my heart. I had forgotten all the wrongs I had committed, but remembered every single wrong any one had committed against me. So, I asked the Lord to remove the bitterness of my heart, and what do you know, God asked me to praise and worship more. I thought He misunderstood my prayers. Yes, I really thought that the Lord misunderstood my prayers. (Hmmm, how amazing His love is, if He is not fed up with me after all these.) So, I prayed again and I got the same answer. Recently a friend of mine pointed out that one ounce of obedience is more than one pound of prayer. So, I finally gave in and started praising the Lord, and it was difficult not to curse someone while I was praising as it had become a habit for me. But the LORD helped me and the more I praised with my mouth and with my heart, the more He made me realize the bitterness of my heart. And, one night, the LORD pulled all the bitterness out of my heart.
Now, by His grace, and by His deliverance, though I struggle at times, the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart are in sync with each other and I mean what I say – whether when I talk to others or when I praise the LORD. Yes, He is my Strength and He is my Redeemer.
Set me as a seal upon Your heart, as a seal upon Your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it.
My natural instinct is to be zealous; as a result, I was, and I don’t know if I am still, quite intransigent in my views or approaches and caused so much hurt to those who are close to me. But I never understood why – I am showing my zeal for the Lord. So, why are these people not being able to understand it? Shouldn’t they be proud of my zeal?
Then the LORD showed me that the zeal must be out of love – love for Him and love for others. While it took sometime for me to accept that zeal, per se, is not what the LORD wanted from me, I still could not accept that love and zeal can go together.
And this is a verse that the Lord gave me long back and as a teenager, this was a sincere prayer I made. And to this day, the LORD has set me as a seal upon His heart and His arm. Though many waters roared against me, and I was under the waters sometimes, they could not quench His love. Then I remembered the number of times I had left His side and how He pulled me back. While I had suffered a lot during those times, it was because of my mistakes; not because the LORD, in His zeal, punished me. I was disciplined every single time, but even then, when I raised my voice and cried unto Him, He showed His love for me and got me closer and closer to Him. And in that gentle love, I saw His zeal for me. And He made me realize that this is what He expects from me. I only pray that I can show the same loving zeal to others, like God showed unto this poor creature.
As I was reading few Christian articles, I read this by John Henry, in his “My Daily Meditation” and I just wanted to share it with God’s children. Here it is:
BARABBAS rather than Christ! The destroyer of life rather than the Giver of life! This was the choice of the people; and it is a choice which has often stained and defiled my own life.
When I choose revenge rather than forgiveness, I am preferring Barabbas to Christ. For revenge is a murderer, while forgiveness is a healer and saviour of men. But how often I have sent the sweet healer to the cross, and welcomed the murderer within my gate!
When I choose carnal passion before holiness, I am preferring Barabbas to Christ. For is there any murderer so destructive as carnality? And holiness stands waiting, ready to make me beautiful with the wondrous garments of grace. But I spurn the angel, and open my door to the beast.
The devil is always soliciting my service, and the devil “is a murderer from the beginning.” Have I never preferred him, and sent my Lord to be “crucified afresh,” and “put Him to an open shame”?
Again let me pray—for all my unholy and unwholesome choices, for all my preference of the murderer, forgive me, good Lord!
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.
I really have no words to describe this promise. Not because it is self-explanatory, but it was a promise that the LORD gave me many, many years back, when I had not even received a worldly blessing from Him, and I did not even know that we could receive worldly blessings from the Lord. Then when the blessings came, I proudly declared that even if these blessings go away from the LORD, I would not be disappointed and would remain joyful. How vain were my words!
However, I was not joyless immediately. It was not the loss, it was the duration that took its toll. As time passed by, it was intense tribulation, from questioning God on His promise to the very core of my own faith… then the LORD made me realize that the real test was not about His promise which never changes. The real test is whether I love Him truly or not. With a humbled heart, I came to Him, saying, “LORD, You know everything and You know that I love You.”
Even today, I have not received this promise as yet, but I know God is faithful and Jesus Christ is the Same yesterday, today and forever. And all the promises of God are “Amen” and “Yes” in Christ Jesus.
Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
As a young kid, I was always fascinated with historical fiction. Kings, invading armies, forts, loyal armies, scheming minions, horses, chariots, sword fights, bow and arrows, emperors, conquerors. All these fascinated me.
So when I read this verse in its shortened form, “We are more than conquerors through Jesus”, I was captivated. During those times, I was reading my Bible in Tamil, my native language and it does not translate few things well. In it, it was written that through Jesus, we can achieve complete victory. And I did not know these two verses were same, as I am still not good in remembering the chapter and verses.
Then few troubles came in my life, I became a little more matured (I think so) and the LORD moved me to delve deep in to His Word, then I realized this verse has two other parts: that I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved me. Guess I missed the “He Who loved us” part completely. I was thinking that it was about me being more than a conqueror. Obviously it is not so.
The second part that I had missed was: In all these things… all the troubles and turmoil that Paul lists before. I had completely missed that point. So, when things went wrong, I was not able to cope up. And the LORD taught me a beautiful lesson with this verse. Now, when someone tells a beautiful verse from the Bible, I do three things. I read that verse in its entirety, I read the verse in its context and I always check various translations, including the originals to make sure I am reading only what the LORD meant it to be.
And, to be honest, life has been a tough one for me, for quite few years. I have been always happy as even 95% of my church members don’t know the struggle of faith I have. But once when a friend of mine asked me, “Are you happy? I mean, are you really happy?”, I was surprised that I had to pause for few seconds before answering. I realized that the troubles had taken their toll, yet in all these things, I am more than a conqueror through Him Who loved me.
I will cry to God most high, to God who does all things for me.
This is one of the Biblical verses that make everyone happy. While it has been a favourite verse of mine, when the LORD gave me this verse personally, during one of the toughest times in my life, when I realized there is nothing I could do on my own, as I was resigned to whatever was happening, this promise meant a world to me. It meant a new, refreshed and vigorous life back into my dried bones. And, I cry to God Most High, to God Who does all things for me.
I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.
This is a promise that the LORD gave me very recently, when I was struggling with few things in my life. God just commanded me to sing, because He is dealing bountifully with me. It made my spirit surge and ever since, this verse is running deep in my heart. Yes, I will sing to the LORD, for He has dealt bountifully with me. Amen.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may exalt you up in due time.
When I first read this verse, it was too easy for me to follow this. But it took the intervention of the Holy Spirit to make me realize that what I considered as humility is a disguised version of my pride, and that I didn’t even have the slightest clue of how mighty our LORD is.
The more the Spirit of God led me, the more I realized that I know less of how mighty our LORD is. It dawned on me that I would never be able to grasp the power of His power, might and authority… that these are beyond human comprehension. With that came the realization how small and insignificant I am in this world. Now I am under His mighty hand and I am waiting for the due time, when God, in His grace, will exalt me.
Recently I came across the website of a church and I really liked few articles on the website. So I wanted to know more about the church and gave a Google search (oh, I still hate the term “googled” as I was originally fascinated with its mother: Yahoo! search engine) and came across a site which denounced the teachings of this church.
I was intrigued, so went to that site. It had lots of information about lots of churches, denominations, etc. Regarding this church, the site claimed that this church teaching is from demons and anyone who attends or follows this church would be surely burning in hell. Now, for me, I find it very amusing whenever someone tells so and so is going to burn in hell. The Bible I read says that God our Father had given that authority to His Son Jesus Christ… and I may not know Jesus Christ that well, but from what I know, these people who condemn others to hell, they surely are not Jesus Christ.
Anyway, I continued reading and found the reason why that site condemned this church to eternal damnation. Because that church believes in water baptism. According to that website, it is a deed-based church and is not based on the grace of our LORD. So they are going to go to hell. Deeds is a very strict no-no.
I was really amused at such utter non-sense and with a smile, I perused further and found something funnier. That site also claimed that if you are not reading the King James Bible – Authorized version, that was published in 1611, and if you are reading any other translations, including NKJV or MKJV, you are deceived by the devil and hence, you will be burning with him for eternity.
That is great to know. But I have one problem. What happened to the “no deeds, only grace” part? If I am going to go to heaven based on grace only and not based on my deeds, why should it matter what I read? Isn’t reading actually a deed? If I am going to go to heaven only based on grace, why there is an insistence of reading KJV-1611? And why the condemnation when someone insists on water baptism? I guess I am missing something in the translation (pun intended).