Monthly Archives: July 2017
As I was admitted to the ICU, my wife and I agreed that we would not divulge everything to others. The place where I am from, they would make a hue and cry for even a headache. So, we decided to keep between us whatever the doctors were going to tell.
So, imagine my surprise, when some of my blood relatives, who are not my well-wishers, came to visit me after few days. And they knew my entire treatment – what was my condition when I was admitted, what were the medications prescribed, the diet I was under, the tests taken and their results. We were very confused, because when my attender asked one of the nurses about the result of a particular test the previous day, he was told, in a very curt manner, that the results could be discussed only with the patient and his wife, and not with anyone else.
But here are some family members, who are not in touch with me, yet revealing every single thing. Then one of my very distant relatives came in and they proudly proclaimed how they got all my medical data from the hospital. Their daughter, my cousin, is a physician who went to the medical school, with one of the practising physicians at the hospital where I was admitted. However, that physician was not treating me at that time; and she was pregnant and hence she was on maternity leave.
As soon these relatives heard that I was at that hospital, this physician, who is practising in that hospital was contacted. She had accessed my medical files and told them that there was nothing wrong me and that everything under control. But my cousin did not believe that there was nothing wrong with me; so this physician, who was not treating me, who was on leave at that time, had taken a copy of all my data and sent them to my cousin to show that I was doing okay. And my relatives were so proud how their daughter had received all my medical data from the hospital just by a phone call. Only thing is they had no idea what I was thinking during all those boastings. I really wished we were in USA; man, I would have sued her, her friend who disclosed my information and the hospital and would have been a multi-millionaire now, with two physicians losing their license. But, alas, it is India. So, it would be better to leave it as it is.
Anyway, it made me think about how God has dealt with me in the past with my secrets. Nearly 10 years back, a woman possessed by an evil spirit was brought to our church for exorcism. I was quite new to the church then, so I would just sit in the back and watch the proceedings. During that time, many teenagers had got baptized and they wanted to do “great things” for the Lord. So they all had gathered and started to pray fervently, but the prayer lasted just few seconds. The demon-possessed woman opened her mouth and started telling the secret sins of the teenagers one by one. They were astonished and one of them asked me how she could know all these things. I told that girl that when we sin, demons know of our sins, and unless we have confessed and have received forgiveness from our Lord Jesus Christ, the demons could use against us.
I wish we had a video camera then. As soon as I told this, all the teenagers literally ran away from the place. I mean, every single one of them ran away, worried that the woman might expose them before the ministers, elders and their own parents. I still remember vividly how fast they were running, it was hilarious.
Now after exposing everyone else who were present, that woman turned towards me. And, if there is a competition, I am sure I would be the vilest sinner in our entire church; yet, I could see that she was struggling. Then she said these words: “Oh, I know everything you have done. I know, I know. But He has forgiven your sins. HE has thrown them into the depths of the ocean. And He has commanded us never to use it against you, because you have confessed and sought His forgiveness. Oh, He is not allowing me to speak about you.” She kept repeating those words and finally fainted.
It was then I realized the full import of David’s declaration: Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1 (NKJV)
Though vilest of sinners, Jesus had covered my sins by His blood. Yes, the blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has cleansed me from all sin (1 John 1:7).
The world may not keep all our secrets; even the ones that are supposed to be protected by them, they may tell others. But not our God. When with a repented heart, we confess our sins, He promises to have compassion on us. HE will trample our sins under His feet, and will throw them into the depths of the ocean. HE will blot out our transgressions, and will not remember our sins anymore. Yes, blessed are we, whose transgression are forgiven, whose sin are covered.
Once again You will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under Your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean! – Micah 7:19 (NLT)
I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. – Isaiah 43:25 (NKJV)
As I was reading some messages about a Christian’s duty about his/her country, I came across this message. Initially I thought it was written by some Christian author very recently as the message seems to be so current. Then I looked at the author and was stunned to see that it was written by John Newton, the Christian saint who wrote “Amazing Grace”; this message was written sometime towards the end of 18th century, yet so relevant. How prophetic is this message!
The whole system of my politics is summed up in this one verse, “The Lord reigns! Let the nations tremble!” Psalm 99:1
The times look awfully dark indeed; and as the clouds grow thicker–the stupidity of the nation seems proportionally to increase. If the Lord had not a remnant here, I would have very formidable apprehensions. But He loves His children; some are sighing and mourning before Him, and I am sure He hears their sighs, and sees their tears. I trust there is mercy in store for us at the bottom; but I expect a shaking time before things get into a right channel–before we are humbled, and are taught to give Him the glory.
The state of the nation and the state of the churches–both are deplorable! Those who should be praying–are disputing and fighting among themselves! Alas! how many professors are more concerned for the mistakes of government–than for their own sins!
“Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns!” Revelation 19:6
“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15)
“For I know whom I have believed.” (2Timothy 1:12)
“I will not doubt, though all my ships at sea
Come drifting home with broken masts and sails;
I will believe the Hand which never fails,
From seeming evil worketh good for me.
And though I weep because those sails are tattered,
Still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered:
‘”I trust in Thee.”
I will not doubt, though all my prayers return
Unanswered from the still, white realm above;
I will believe it is an all-wise love
Which has refused these things for which I yearn;
And though at times I cannot keep from grieving,
Yet the pure ardor of my fixed believing
Undimmed shall burn.
I will not doubt, though sorrows fall like rain,
And troubles swarm like bees about a hive.
I will believe the heights for which I strive
Are only reached by anguish and by pain;
And though I groan and writhe beneath my crosses.
I yet shall see through my severest losses
The greater gain.
I will not doubt. Well anchored is this faith,
Like some staunch ship, my soul braves every gale;
So strong its courage that it will not quail
To breast the mighty unknown sea of death.
Oh, may I cry, though body parts with spirit,
“I do not doubt,” so listening worlds may hear it,
With my last breath.” Amen.
“In fierce storms,” said an old seaman, “we must do one thing; there is only one way: we must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.”
This, Christian, is what you must do. Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you; and then you can do but one thing; there is only one way.
Reason cannot help you; past experiences give you no light. Even prayer fetches no consolation. Only a single course is left. You must put your soul in one position and keep it there.
You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may– winds, waves, cross-seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers– no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm, and hold fast your confidence in God’s faithfulness, His covenant engagement, His everlasting love in Christ Jesus. — Richard Fuller
“Hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, which I have reserved against the day of trouble?” (Job 38:22-23).
Our trials are great opportunities. Too often we look on them as great obstacles. It would be a haven of rest and an inspiration of unspeakable power if each of us would henceforth recognize every difficult situation as one of God’s chosen ways of proving to us His love and look around for the signals of His glorious manifestations; then, indeed, would every cloud become a rainbow, and every mountain a path of ascension and a scene of transfiguration.
If we will look back upon the past, many of us will find that the very time our Heavenly Father has chosen to do the kindest things for us, and given us the richest blessings, has been the time we were strained and shut in on every side. God’s jewels are often sent us in rough packages and by dark liveried servants, but within we find the very treasures of the King’s palace and the Bridegroom’s love. — A. B. Simpson
“If we could see beyond today
As God can see;
If all the clouds should roll away,
The shadows flee;
O”er present griefs we would not fret.
Each sorrow we would soon forget,
For many joys are waiting yet
For you and me.
If we could know beyond today
As God doth know,
Why dearest treasures pass away
And tears must flow;
And why the darkness leads to light,
Why dreary paths will soon grow bright;
Some day life’s wrongs will be made right,
Faith tells us so.
“If we could see, if we could know,”
We often say,
But God in love a veil doth throw
Across our way;
We cannot see what lies before,
And so we cling to Him the more,
He leads us till this life is o”er;
Trust and obey.”
There is a prevalent idea that the power of God in a human life should lift us above all trials and conflicts. The fact is, the power of God always brings a conflict and a struggle. One would have thought that on his great missionary journey to Rome, Paul would have been carried by some mighty providence above the power of storms and tempests and enemies. But, on the contrary, it was one long, hard fight with persecuting Jews, with wild tempests, with venomous vipers and all the powers of earth and hell, and at last he was saved, as it seemed, by the narrowest margin, and had to swim ashore at Malta on a piece of wreckage and barely escape a watery grave.
Was that like a God of infinite power? Yes, just like Him. And so Paul tells us that when he took the Lord Jesus Christ as the life of his body, a severe conflict immediately came; indeed, a conflict that never ended, a pressure that was persistent, but out of which he always emerged victorious through the strength of Jesus Christ.
The language in which he describes this is most graphic. “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed, always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifested in our body.”
What a ceaseless, strenuous struggle! It is impossible to express in English the forcible language of the original. There are five pictures in succession. In the first, the idea is crowding enemies pressing in from every side, and yet not crushing him because the police of heaven cleared the way just wide enough for him to get through. The literal translation would be, “We are crowded on every side, but not crushed.”
The second picture is that of one whose way seems utterly closed and yet he has pressed through; there is light enough to show him the next step. The Revised Version translates it, “Perplexed but not unto despair.” Rotherham still more literally renders it, “Without a way, but not without a by-way.”
The third figure is that of an enemy in hot pursuit while the divine Defender still stands by, and he is not left alone. Again we adopt the fine rendering of Rotherham, “Pursued but not abandoned.”
The fourth figure is still more vivid and dramatic. The enemy has overtaken him, has struck him, has knocked him down. But it is not a fatal blow; he is able to rise again. It might be translated, “Overthrown but not overcome.”
Once more the figure advances, and now it seems to be even death itself, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus.” But he does not die, for “the life also of Jesus” now comes to his aid and he lives in the life of another until his life work is done.
The reason so many fail in this experience of divine healing is because they expect to have it all without a struggle, and when the conflict comes and the battle wages long, they become discouraged and surrender. God has nothing worth having that is easy. There are no cheap goods in the heavenly market. Our redemption cost all that God had to give, and everything worth having is expensive. Hard places are the very school of faith and character, and if we are to rise over mere human strength and prove the power of life divine in these mortal bodies, it must be through a process of conflict that may well be called the birth travail of a new life. It is the old figure of the bush that burned, but was not consumed, or of the Vision in the house of the Interpreter of the flame that would not expire, notwithstanding the fact that the demon ceaselessly poured water on it, because in the background stood an angel ever pouring oil and keeping the flame aglow.
No, dear suffering child of God, you cannot fail if only you dare to believe, to stand fast and refuse to be overcome.
– From “Streams in the Desert”
I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. – Psalm 34:1 (NKJV)
When I read this verse the first time, I was in my teens and did not know what life means. This verse appealed to me, and I would sing (or, as some people called, I would “bray”) at all times. But then, life came into the picture. Failures upon failures befell me; one sickness followed another. As I started to lose my vitality to my depression, it became harder to bless the Lord at all times. Even if I was singing a Christian song, it would be more a pathos, not a praise.
Oh, easy it is to bless the LORD when you are successful, when the days are shiny and your steps are peppy. How easy it is to praise Him continually when everything goes your way, when all your losses are recompensed, when you are filled with so much energy. Yes, it is not hard to bless the Lord sometimes. It is not hard to praise Him on certain days. But David says that he would bless the LORD at all times, that his mouth would praise God continually.
Does not David say that the Lord desires truth in the inner parts (Psalm 51:6)? How can I be sad at what has happened, yet bless the Lord at the same time? How can I praise Him when all I want to do is curl up in a fetal position and cry till I am too tired to stay awake? The Lord surely desires truth in the inner parts, right? I was confused about all these.
Then one day the Holy Spirit moved me to read the heading for Psalm 34, which says that this Psalm is sung by David, when he pretended to be insane before the Philistine king Abimelech, who drove him away. It was then David sang this song.
This was David, the anointed one, the one to become the next king of Israel, the son-in-law of the present king of Israel, and a man after God’s own heart. And he had to go to a Philistine king for protection, and being afraid of what would happen to him, he was acting as if he was insane and was driven away. And he chose that moment to say: I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.
It was not when he won against Goliath, he sang this psalm. Not when he was victorious in battles after battles; nor when he married the daughter of the king of Israel. No, he sang this psalm at one of his worst moments; when he had to humiliate himself; when he was afraid for his own life. Yes, God did save his life, but imagine all those who were with David. What would they have thought their champion, acting like he was insane to save his life? They trusted him and followed him and here he was, acting like a mad man to save his own skin, all because of a “wise” decision he had made. Yet, in that moment of abject disgrace, David only saw the grace of the Lord saving his life, though he had erred by trusting his own counsel.
Now, I am no David. But almost all the embarrassing moments in my life were due to myself following my own counsel, decisions that sounded right and wise at that moment. What I forgot were how I had to struggle with depression because of those decisions, times when I had decided to commit suicide, times my hands have picked those sleeping pills and various medications. Yet, every time, the LORD intervened and saved my life. Why did He do that? Do I deserve another chance to live? Of course, not.
Yet, in His mercy, the LORD has forgiven me of my trespasses. And my Saviour Jesus Christ knows my weaknesses and He has been interceding for me. There were times when all around me, I saw accusing eyes, I looked up at the Cross, to see those eyes, those eyes that pierced the heart of Peter the night before, the eyes covered with grace and compassion, looking at me, telling that He understands my agony, that He has taken up my failures in the Cross, that He was forsaken so I could never be.
One look at the love of God our Father exhibited at the Cross… one look at my crucified Redeemer’s eyes… hearing the sound of the inexpressible groans with which the Holy Spirit praying for me… all these when I was in the worst state of my life… oh, how could I stop my heart from blessing this Triune God? How could I prevent my mouth from praising Him all the days of my life?
Oh, my heart, bless your Lord at all times. Oh my lips, praise Him continuously. Let the world think that I am insane to be singing the praises of my Immanuel at such a moment in my life. Let the people think that I have gone crazy to be blessing my Ebenezer, during these darkest hours of my life. But, I will bless the Lord at all times and His praises will be on my lips ever so continually. May the Lord accept this sacrifice of thanksgiving for ever and ever more! Amen.