“Did you teach hawks to fly south for the winter?” (Job 39:26)
There once was a bird that lived in Canada. One winter he announced to the other birds, “I’m not flying south for the winter. I’m staying right here!” All the other birds said he was crazy, but he answered, “You’re the ones that are crazy. You’ll get down south, turn around and fly right back up here again next year. What’s the point?!”
The other birds shook their heads, shrugged their shoulders, and took to flight; leaving him behind.
Wondering what winter in Canada would be like, the lone bird was pleasantly surprised at the stretch of Indian Summer that lingered long into the fall. “Aha!” he said to himself, “I was right to stay. This is wonderful!” But then, winter hit full force in the middle of December. Shuddering in the cold the silly bird finally realized, “I must hurry and leave before I freeze to death!”
He took to flight and made it as far as Montana. There, in mid-air, he froze up and tumbled to the ground; landing in a farmer’s barnyard. “Oh, what a stupid bird I am,” he moaned to himself. “I should’ve flown south with all the other birds, but now I am about to die.”
Just then a cow in the barnyard strolled past the fallen bird and without realizing it dropped a big cow-plop right on top of him! “Oh, this is just great,” mumbled the buried bird. “It’s not bad enough that I’m about to die; now I’m covered with cow manure!”
But then he noticed something he had not expected. The warmth of the plop actually began to thaw him out and restore him to life. “Why, what do you know about that?” said the bird. “This ain’t so bad after all!” Then he began chirping and singing under the pile of poop.
Meanwhile, the barnyard cat was passing by and heard the sound of singing coming from the pile. Curious as a cat can be, he pawed around in the pile and uncovered the thawed bird. Their eyes met, there was a silent moment of suspense, and then the cat ate the bird.
The moral of the story is three-fold. First, not everyone who dumps on you is your enemy. Second, not everyone who cleans it off is your friend. Third, when you do get dumped on, it is best to keep your mouth shut.
The bottom line is this. When the chips are down, the Lord is up to something good. Take heart, and place your trust in Him. You’ll be blessed in every way.
“Consider the lilies, how they grow” (Matthew 6:28).
“I need oil,” said an ancient monk; so he planted an olive sapling. “Lord,” he prayed, “it needs rain that its tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers.” And the Lord sent gentle showers. “Lord,” prayed the monk, “my tree needs sun. Send sun, I pray Thee.” And the sun shone, gilding the dripping clouds. “Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues,” cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost, but at evening it died.
Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk, and told his strange experience. “I, too, planted a little tree,” he said, “and see! it thrives well. But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition. I fixed not ways or means. “”Lord, send what it needs,” I prayed, “storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know.””
Yes, leave it with Him,
The lilies all do,
And they grow–
They grow in the rain,
And they grow in the, dew–
Yes, they grow:
They grow in the darkness, all hid in the night–
They grow in the sunshine, revealed by the light–
Still they grow.
Yes, leave it with Him
’tis more dear to His heart,
You will know,
Than the lilies that bloom,
Or the flowers that start
”Neath the snow:
Whatever you need, if you seek it in prayer,
You can leave it with Him– for you are His care.
You, you know.
DISCLAIMER: I believe in every word of the Bible as the Word of God, I believe in the confession of our faith, I believe that our faith grows with our confession of the Word of God and I also believe in divine healing. But then….
On 5th October 2017, I had a sharp pain on left knee, but I ignored it as it had happened twice before, and after a day or two, the pain would be gone and I would be okay. But this time, the pain became so intensive, I was unable to walk. Till today, I am not walking. But the Lord did promise me that this is my time to take refuge under His wings, to unlearn few things and to learn few things, and that He will deliver me in His time. HE also said even if I seek medical help, it won’t help; that I have to drink from this bitter cup.
But, NO, I would not listen to the Lord as it became more painful, and I got admitted again in the same hospital that treated me before. The physicians were kind to my plight and were very nice to me. For 3 weeks, they did all possible tests, but they could not find anything wrong with my left knee. Everything was perfectly okay. And they could not even lessen the pain without giving me some serious pain killers, which they did not want to.
But God in His mercies, renewed His promise to me that if I yield to His purpose for me, slowly the pain would go away and one day I will walk again. Finally one day, after being admonished by my wife for the lack of faith in our God, I surrendered myself to the will of God. It was then a brother in Christ visited me at the hospital.
He was a believer in our church and now is pastoring a church in a rural area. Recently he joined a weekly Bible college that is based on Word of Faith movement. The founder of the Bible college is a big name in USA, and I have read about him when I was there. When this brother came to meet me, he was surprised to see that I was well overall and the only problem was my knee. He told me that to the pastor who is in charge of the Bible college here, this would be nothing. He would cure it in seconds, he declared. Then the brother called that pastor on the phone and asked to pray for me. That Word-of-Faith pastor said a small prayer and asked me to start walking. I really tried to move, but the pain was so severe, I could not move my leg. So, he prayed one more time, with more intensity and then asked me to just jump out of the bed and start to walk. But I could not even move my left leg. So, he prayed a third time, rebuking my “unbelieving” heart that is not willing to listen to God’s command.
I did not know how to respond. God knows I wanted deliverance at that moment. And I know that if it is God’s will, it will take only a second for me to be healed. But when the Lord has told me that I have to be in the furnace for an appointed time, there is nothing any miracle worker can do about that.
Then I got discharged and on December 25th, 2017, the brother called and said he is bringing that pastor along with me, and that he wanted to pray directly for me. The pastor came to my room, and talked about how many people were healed on that trip by him and all that. Then he looked at the swelling on my left knee and rebuked the “evil spirit” in the name of Jesus Christ and commanded me to walk in the Lord’s name. But nothing had changed. So, he prayed more vehemently this time and commanded with authority to walk. Again nothing but pain. Then he help my knee where it was paining severely and gave a mighty punch and ordered the demon to leave my body and commanded me to walk again. If I was in pain before, after that mighty punch, the pain was unbearable. After sometime, he left, wondering what is causing my “unbelief” in God.
I am still unable to walk, but when slowly God taught me few things about myself, I started to surrender and accept my faults. The Lord has been teaching me long-suffering and patience over the time, and my pain has subsided so much. And whatever He has promised would happen during that phase has been happening, just in His time, as perfectly as He has said. Glory to His mighty Name alone. Amen.
Two days back, my niece visited me. As we were discussing many things, for some reason, my wife and we ended up talking about the serial F.R.I.E.N.D.S. My niece asked me if I knew that the “FRIENDS” movie is going to release in 2019, and the trailer is very funny. I knew right away that it can’t be, as no one is going to release a trailer of a movie one year before the movie is scheduled to release. So, I told her it had to be a fan-made trailer. She was adamant the news is true and she had seen the trailer herself.
Then I gave a search, and needless to say, there is no “FRIENDS” movie and the trailer is fan-made. I informed my niece about the same, and I was surprised by her attitude. She was still adamant that a movie is being made, and probably I had seen the wrong trailer. I don’t know how to react to that. I am seeing the news is fake and she is telling the trailer I saw was fake, and the news is true, because she had seen the “true” trailer.
When I was growing up, there were only few ways to check whether a news was fake or not. Yet, we would take pains to find it out. We went to the library, read papers, magazines and journals and found out the truth about a news. Now, all you need is to do a “Google” search which takes less than a minute to tell us whether the news is fake or not. Yet I see a new generation which believes what it sees and do not do have time for a little search. If it is in “Youtube” or forwarded via “Whatsapp”, it has to be true.
The sad thing is that this attitude has seeped into Christianity. Apostle Thomas said that when he sees the Risen Lord, he would believe. Still he had a condition even then: he had to touch and feel the wounds to know that what he sees is true. But nowadays Christians just believe anything they see. Angels blowing trumpets, the head of Goliath discovered, the lost day from the Book of Joshua discovered by NASA scientists, etc. In all these, they forget to seek and find the Lord and His Word. Whenever some young people send me such videos, I discourage them from doing so, asking them instead to concentrate on seeking the Lord, reading and meditating on His Word. Later I find out that they just don’t send me those videos, but circulate among themselves.
Let us stop believing everything we see. Instead seek the Lord, search His Word and find true wisdom that the Lord provides. May the Lord of all grace help us to do so. Through Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, Amen.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor deem these days– these waiting days– as ill!
The One who loves thee best, who plans thy way,
Hath not forgotten thy great need today!
And, if He waits, ’tis sure He waits to prove
To thee, His tender child, His heart’s deep love.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Thou longest much to know thy dear Lord’s will!
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Corrodingly within, because of His delay
Persuade thyself in simple faith to rest
That He, who knows and loves, will do the best.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor move one step, not even one, until
His way hath opened. Then, ah then, how sweet!
How glad thy heart, and then how swift thy feet
Thy inner being then, ah then, how strong!
And waiting days not counted then too long.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
What higher service could’st thou for Him fill?
‘Tis hard! ah yes! But choicest things must cost!
For lack of losing all how much is lost!
‘Tis hard, ’tis true! But then– He giveth grace
To count the hardest spot the sweetest place.
— J. D. Smith
Jesus Christ is the Same yesterday and today and forever. – Hebrews 13:8.
What a glorious and assuring thought as we begin this new year! I don’t know what is in store in this new year, for you or for me. Things are going to change around us; circumstances will be beyond our control. There will be fluctuations even in our character as the year proceeds. But through out the year, there will be one constant things to assure us: Jesus Christ our LORD is the Same.
HE is Jesus, my Jesus, our Jesus, your Jesus. For He will save us from sin. HE is the same Saviour in His great salvation and redemption.
HE is Christ, Christ of our Heavenly Father, and our Christ. HE is the Anointed of Jehovah, the Sent of Jehovah, the Sealed of Jehovah. HE remains the same in His great majesty, in His great anointing.
And He is the Same yesterday… from the beginning, to the beginning… before everything began. And He is the Same today… nothing today can take His great power of salvation or redemption away from Him. His anointing does not diminish with time. And He shall be the Same forever, for eternity.
Jesus Christ is the Same in His love for us; in the efficacy of His redemption. HE is the Same in the power of His blood to cleanse us; in His power to defeat the evil forces up and below. His righteousness to justify us remains the same; the power of the Holy Spirit that He sends us remains the same as it has been on the day of Pentecost.
Yes, dear friend, let us take the step forward in faith knowing our Jesus Christ is the Same yesterday, today and forever. Amen. Welcome 2018.
Now may our joyful tongues,
Our Maker’s honour sing:
Jesus the Priest receives our songs,
And bears them to the King.
Before His Father’s eye,
Our humble suit He moves:
The Father lays His thunder by.
And looks, and smiles, and loves.
No fiery vengeance now,
No burning wrath comes down.
If justice calls for sinner’s blood,
The Saviour shows His own.
Immanuel – God with us. Jesus Christ is Immanuel, Jesus Christ is God with us. But how did He become our Immanuel? There was a sign given for that. “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” – Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV)
The sign was that a virgin shall conceive and the Son she bears would be the Immanuel. Now, we know that a virgin conceiving is against the laws of nature, the same nature that the Lord created. By breaching it, to be with us, the Lord God points out few things.
The LORD God reigns supreme. Everything in this universe is under His sovereign control and nothing is impossible for Him. We may not be able to break the laws of nature, but for the LORD Almighty, the laws of nature are nothing.
By breaching one of the inviolable laws of nature, the Lord is pointing out how irrational that some people believe in nature to be god, and how some people try to explain miracles and wonders that God does for His children by twisting and turning the nature. Nature cannot explain God; it can only be a witness bearer to the Almighty God and His awesome power.
By breaching the laws of nature to be with us, Jesus Christ is assuring us that being with us is very important for Him. If needed, He will breach the laws of nature again and again, to be with us, to keep us and to save us. If need arises, He will go against the laws of nature to perform miracles and wonders in your life. For He is Immanuel.
As I was reading my morning devotional after a very long time, I was sort of disheartened by the opening verse.
Lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. – Genesis 15:12
But the devotion written by F. B. Myer strengthened me spiritually and made me steadfast in my wavering faith, and here I am, sharing… hoping at least one more Christian will be strengthened by our Lord this morning. All praise, honour and glory to our Lord God and to His Son and our Redeemer Jesus Christ. Amen.
The sun at last went down, and the swift, eastern night cast its heavy veil over the scene. Worn out with the mental conflict, the watchings, and the exertions of the day, Abraham fell into a deep sleep, and in that sleep is soul was oppressed with a dense and dreadful darkness, such as almost stifled him, and lay like a nightmare upon his heart.
Do you understand something of the horror of that darkness? When some terrible sorrow which seems so hard to reconcile with perfect love, crushes down upon the soul, wringing from it all its peaceful rest in the pitifulness of God, and launching it on a sea unlit by a ray of hope; when unkindness, and cruelty maltreat the trusting heart, till it begins to doubt whether there be a God overhead who can see and still permit– these know something of the “horror of great darkness.”
It is thus that human life is made up; brightness and gloom; shadow and sun; long tracks of cloud, succeeded by brilliant glints of light, and amid all Divine justice is working out its own schemes, affecting others equally with the individual soul which seems the subject of special discipline.
O ye who are filled with the horror of great darkness because of God’s dealings with mankind, learn to trust that infallible wisdom, which is co-assessor with immutable justice; and know that He who passed through the horror of the darkness of Calvary, with the cry of forsakenness, is ready to bear you company through the valley of the shadow of death till you see the sun shining upon its further side. Let us, by our Forerunner, send forward our anchor, Hope, within the veil that parts us from the unseen; where it will grapple in ground and will not yield, but hold until the day dawns, and we follow it into the haven guaranteed to us by God’s immutable counsel. — F. B. Meyer
Immanuel – God with us. Jesus Christ, our Saviour is Immanuel; Jesus is with us.
Unfortunately we have confined the presence of our Lord to few places like Gentiles do. In the places where we worship, Jesus is with us. If two or three gather in His Name and pray, then Jesus is among them. And there are few more places where, depending on your denomination and your spiritual background, Jesus Christ is with us.
But our Lord Jesus Christ is Immanuel – He is with us. Wherever we go, He is with us. It is not the place that matters to Him; it is our hearts that matter. HE resides in our hearts and whether we like to take Him to certain places or not, He is with us.
Does Jesus love to be with us wherever we go? Yes, He does. Is He pleased with certain places we go? Now, that is a question I wish every Christian asks before going and I am sure, if we sincerely ask this question before we decide to go somewhere, we will be saved from lots of sins, temptations and sufferings.
The psalmist puts it in a very elegant manner: “If I go up into Heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.” (Psalm 139:8, MKJV) Sheol here is not Hell as some translations say, but the place of the dead. And the psalmist says even if he makes his bed there… he is not talking about his death, but lying peacefully among the dead, just like sinners, even then the Lord Immanuel is there with him.
You may not agree with me in this. But there are times, deep in sin, with no hopes left, I have heard the silent whisper; I have felt the tender breeze; I have realized the wounded hand of my Redeemer. More than anything, this realization, that even in my worst moments, moments I have ever been ashamed of, moments I would never share with anyone, my Lord Jesus was with me, with that one look that broke Peter’s heart on that night when he denied knowing the Lord… yes, my LORD is Immanuel. Jesus Christ has always been there, even though I deliberately chose to ignore Him.
Dear friend, if the temptation of sin overwhelms, know that Immanuel is with you. The God Who overcame is with you. Because He is with you, you can also overcome this world and its lusts. You can win this battle and the war – for our Immanuel is also the King of kings and the Lord of lords.