Monthly Archives: November 2016
I said: “The desert is so wide!”
I said: “The desert is so bare!
What springs to quench my thirst are there?
Whence shall I from the tempest hide?”
I said: “The desert is so lone!
Nor gentle voice, nor loving face
Will brighten any smallest space.”
I paused or ere my moan was done!
I heard a flow of hidden springs;
Before me palms rose green and fair;
The birds were singing; all the air
Did shine and stir with angels” wings!
And One said mildly: “Why, indeed,
Take over-anxious thought for that
The morrow bringeth! See you not
The Father knoweth what you need?”
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”
– 2 Corinthians 9:15
For Christ who came from Heaven above,
For the cross and His redeeming love,
For His mighty power to seek and save,
For His glorious triumph o’er the grave.
For the lovely mansions in the sky,
For His blessed coming bye and bye–
I give Thee humble thanks.
A godly farmer was asked to dine with a well-known gentleman. While there, he asked a blessing at the table as he was accustomed to do at home. His host said jeeringly, “That is old fashioned; it is not customary nowadays for well-educated people to pray before they eat.”
The farmer answered that with him it was customary–but that some of those on his farm never thanked God their food.
“Ah, then,” said the gentleman, “they are sensible and enlightened! Who are they?”
“My pigs!” the farmer answered.
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
In all circumstances! This comes as a surprise when one considers the vicissitudes of human life. Sickness and health, poverty and wealth, joy and sorrow–are all ingredients of the cup placed to human lips–so all must come within the scope of thanksgiving. Personally for me, this year so far has been my struggle with my health. From March till September, I spent most of time in sickness. Yet, I am thankful to God for everything. Why be thankful for everything? Because God causes everything to work together for good to those who love Him. And whatever our life has changed, if we love God, then trust that the Almighty God has a plan for our good. And, in faith, let us praise and give Him thanks.
In everything, give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
One day, Johann Tauler of Strosbourg met a peasant and greeted him, “God give you a good day, my friend!”
The peasant answered briskly, “I thank God that I never have a bad day!”
Tauler, astonished, kept silent for a moment. Tauler then added, “God give you a happy life, my friend.”
The peasant replied composedly, “I thank God that I am never unhappy!”
“Never unhappy!” cried Tauler bewildered, “What do you mean?”
“Well,” came the reply, “When it is sunshine–I thank God; and when it rains–I thank God. When I have plenty–I thank God; and when I am hungry–I thank God. Since God’s will is my will, and whatever pleases God pleases me–I am never unhappy.“
Tauler looked upon him with awe. “Who are you?” he asked.
“I am a king!” said the peasant.
“A king?” Tauler asked, “Where is your kingdom?”
The peasant smiled and whispered softly, “In my heart!”
Read recently in my Daily Meditations and the words are so true:
We shall find it impossible to commit our way unto the Lord, unless it be a way that He approves. It is only by faith that a man can commit his way unto the Lord; if there be the slightest doubt in the heart that “our way” is not a good one, faith will refuse to have anything to do with it. This committing of our way must be a continuous, not a single act. However extraordinary and unexpected may seem to be His guidance, however near the precipice He may take you, you are not to snatch the guiding reins out of His hands. Are we willing to have all our ways submitted to God, for Him to pronounce judgment on them? There is nothing a Christian needs to be more scrutinizing about than about his confirmed habits and views. He is too apt to take for granted the Divine approbation of them. Why are some Christians so anxious, so fearful? Evidently because they have not left their way with the Lord. They took it to Him, but brought it away with them again.
The men took this as a good sign and were quick to pick up his word. “Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad!” they said. “Go and get him,” the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab had him come up into his chariot. – 1 Kings 20:33
As we saw earlier, Ahab and Ben-Hadad were the worst of enemies. Yet, when the time came to take vengeance on Ben-Hadad, Ahab, an evil king by any standard, was merciful towards his arch-rival, calling him as his brother. But surprisingly, Ahab was very gracious towards Ben-Hadad. Not only he spared his enemy’s life and called him as his brother, he showed his sincerity by making Ben-Hadad come up into his chariot. This is grace, because of all the people in Ahab’s life, it was Ben-Hadad who did not deserve such a treatment.
Contrast this with our status. God could have just forgiven our sins; that would tell His great mercies. Jesus Christ calling us as His brothers and sisters, shows us the love He has for us and proclaims the great sufferings He took on our behalf. But, God did not stop there. For our Lord God is also gracious. So, He went ahead and made us sit with Jesus Christ in heavenly realms.
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. – Ephesians 2:6.
Now this is my problem. I believe the Bible. Therefore I believe that we are seated with Him in the heavenly realms. But do I understand the magnitude of this verse? The only thing I understand is that this verse talks about a glory that I cannot possibly even begin to understand. It is something beyond my comprehension. I know who I am. Like Ben-Hadad, I was an enemy of God. Everything in my nature was to rebel against God. And when I was finally made to realize my folly, not only the Lord forgave me my sins, not only Jesus Christ called me as His brother… now I am seated with Him in the heavenly realms. Oh, the wonderful grace of our Father!
However, we also have to remember that both Ahab and Ben-Hadad were kings. If we compare them, then we will realize that Ahab was the first generation king. That is, Omri, father of Ahab, was the first king in their family and Ahab was the second. But for Ben-Hadad, they had been kings for generations. And most of the time, the Syrian kings were victorious over Israel. So, when Ahab condescended to call Ben-Hadad as his brother and had him come up into his chariot, it was not a huge leap.
But I am not of royal blood. None of my parents infused any royal lineage into my blood. If at all they gave me something, they gave me a DNA filled with sin. Yet, here I am. God made His sinless Son to become sin for us, and we are called the brothers and sisters of Jesus; and seated with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. How great is His love for us!
So they wore sackcloth around their waists and put ropes around their heads, and came to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’ ” And he said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.” – 1 Kings 20:32
When the servants of Ben-Hadad sought the mercy of Ahab, there were few obvious choices before the cruel king of Israel. He could have, of course, opted to murder his arch-rival. Or Ahab could have just forgiven Ben-Hadad and sent him his way. But, the king of Israel says, that “Ben-Hadad is my brother.”
Dear friend, when we seek the mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ, there are many ways in which He could deal with us. For our sins, we could lose our life on earth; or even the eternal life itself. Or we could be forgiven and sent our ways. But Jesus Christ chose to became our Brother. For us, it is a great honor. But to the Son of God, the Most Holy One, it is not a honor; it is something to be ashamed of. But the Bible tells that He was not ashamed to call us His brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 2:11)
Once I asked some fellow believers about how they see their relationship with Jesus. For many, Jesus is the Lord; for some, He is the Master. For few, He is the Husband. For others, He is their Friend. But not one of them said, Jesus is their Brother. The Bible says that He had to be made like His brothers in every way – like you and I in every way. Isn’t this amazing?
For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)
Jesus became, in every single way, like us. HE had the same nature as we have; He faced the same trials as we face today; He suffered temptations like we do. And why is this important? The Bible answers that in the very next verse.
Because He Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
Dear friend, Jesus knows your pain. Jesus understands your suffering. HE sympathizes with the amount of temptation you are facing. And He is able to. HE is able to help you. Not only to help you power through your pain and suffering, but Jesus is also able to help you from sinning. Because He won a decisive victory over the temptation, the tempter and the sin that so easily entangles us, HE is able to help you. Come to Him. Come to Jesus. Come to your Brother Who is ready to help you.
When I started to learn more about faith, I was told that a man of faith must never be afraid of something. It did appeal to my ego and hence I would conceal my fears through bravado. But as I grew in the grace of the Lord, I realized faith is not “never being afraid”, but declaring that “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3)
As my sickness became severe and severe, I started having trouble sleeping; and even when I slept, I had severe nightmares. Most of the time, when I woke up in the middle of the night, for 5-10 minutes, I would not even know where I was. My heart beat would be pretty high, because I was scared. So, before going to sleep, I would play Christian songs on my laptop and would leave it on all night. Anytime I woke up, some beautiful song would be playing and I would feel safe. There were times when I woke up in the middle of the night, I was not able to go back to sleep; then I would sing along and then slowly fall back into sleep.
However what I did not realize was that many believers and our neighbors had noticed that songs were playing all night, and that I was singing along at odd hours. Except, they did not know that I was singing aloud because I was afraid. They all were amazed at my “faith”, that even in such condition, I was able to sing praises to the Lord. Many times, I tried to tell them that it was out of fear, I was singing; but they are not believing me yet.
On July 8th, when I was admitted to the ICU, I was very tired after the excruciating ordeal I had been through. As I was slipping into sleep, I suddenly realized that for the first time in nearly a month, I won’t be hearing a Christian song when I wake up. And the ICU was absolutely silent, which I was not used to while sleeping. I knew that I was safe, but I was worried how I would feel when I wake up in the morning. So, I asked the Lord to take care of me when I wake up. And slept like a little baby.
Early in the morning, the nurses came to change the sheets; but what I heard first was a Christian song playing, and I was utterly confused. It is an ICU where strict silence was maintained. And it was around 4 in the morning, so it could not be. But, I was really hearing a worship song so early in the morning and it soothed my nerves. Apparently, one of the nurses is a Christian and she would play songs in her cellphone early in the morning when treating the patients. Her idea is that when they wake up in the morning, hearing the praises of the Lord our God will help them. And it did help.
Yes, our LORD knows our fears. And He wants us to put our trust in Him. Peter was sinking because he was afraid. But he was a fisherman, who knew how to swim. But he did not trust his own ability; instead he stretched his hands towards Jesus Christ and our Lord did not leave him. Jesus stretched out His hands and lifted Peter from the waters. Then He made Peter walk again on the same waters. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. And He does the same to everyone who trusts in Him when they are afraid.