“I will be still, and I will behold in My dwelling place” (Isaiah 18:4, RV).
Assyria was marching against Ethiopia, the people of which are described as tall and smooth. And as the armies advance, God makes no effort to arrest them; it seems as though they will be allowed to work their will. He is still watching them from His dwelling place, the sun still shines on them; but before the harvest, the whole of the proud army of Assyria is smitten as easily as when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman.
Is not this a marvellous conception of God– being still and watching? His stillness is not acquiescence. His silence is not consent. He is only biding His time, and will arise, in the most opportune moment, and when the designs of the wicked seem on the point of success, to overwhelm them with disaster. As we look out on the evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that hate us, let us remember these marvellous words about God being still and beholding.
There is another side to this. Jesus beheld His disciples toiling at the oars through the stormy night; and watched though unseen, the successive steps of the anguish of Bethany, when Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of mortal sickness, until he succumbed and was borne to the rocky tomb. But He was only waiting the moment when He could interpose most effectually. Is He still to thee? He is not unobservant; He is beholding all things; He has His finger on thy pulse, keenly sensitive to all its fluctuations. He will come to save thee when the precise moment has arrived. — Daily Devotional Commentary
In our backyard a mango tree has been growing for a while. It covers almost half of our backyard. This summer, it was brutally hot. I mean, even if you are inside the house, closed all the windows and doors, and turned on all the fans, still you could feel the heat and you would be drenched in sweat. Especially, sleeping in the afternoons actually became dangerous, because when we woke up, our lips and throats would parched and we would have severe pain in our limbs. It was really a horrible summer, and I still can’t believe I survived it.
During this dreadful summer, I saw something. The landscape around our home was parched. There was no greenery at all in sight. All the grass have withered and all the leaves had fallen from the trees and it was a very disheartening sight. Except our backyard. The mango tree stood right there, amid all the parched land, and it was so green. Because its root go deep, it was drawing water from a live stream nearby and just looking at it would make our eyes feel better. But there was something else.
In the mornings, I would and I still wake up on hearing the morning calls of various birds, which have taken the mango tree as their homes. In this year alone, though I am not an ornithologist, I found five new types of sparrows in our backyard. And there are many birds which I have no idea, would visit once in a while. It would be so beautiful, hearing all of them singing the praises of our Lord in the morning. And in the evening, the shadow of the mango tree saved us from the burning sun. And, how can I forget the cool breeze that would pass through the mango tree.
It is such a great blessing to us and many types of birds. But, did the mango tree grow so that it could be a blessing to us? Did its root search for water deep in the ground, so that it could give us shadow during the summer? No. It grew because it is its nature. It searched for water, because it is its nature. It is evergreen throughout the year, because it is its nature. But its very nature has become a blessing to so many living beings.
Yes, dear friend, when the Lord says that you shall be a blessing (Genesis 12:2), He wants to change the very nature of yourself. We shall grow in the Lord. We will search for the Living Water of Jesus Christ, because it will become our nature to do so. As we do, we will be greener by the day, and we shall become a blessing unto thousands, without even realizing. Let us grow in our Lord and may all of us be a blessing. Amen.
“O troubled soul, beneath the rod,
Thy Father speaks, be still, be still;
Learn to be silent unto God,
And let Him mould thee to His will.
“O praying soul, be still, be still,
He cannot break His plighted Word;
Sink down into His blessed will,
And wait in patience on the Lord.
“O waiting soul, be still, be strong,
And though He tarry, trust and wait;
Doubt not, He will not wait too long,
Fear not, He will not come too late.”
As I write this blog, I still remember those days when I was bound by sin few years back. I wish I could tell that those were the days of innocence, when I did not know what was right and wrong. But, I am still today ashamed to think of those days, because I knew what I was doing. But even those days, when I was feeling disgusted at myself, there were times when I realized that the LORD still loved me. But instead of running into His wide-opened arms, I shrunk back.
But one July 17th morning, as I was singing my morning devotional song, the Spirit of the Lord moved me to sing a Tamil Christian song in which one of the line is from Psalm 16:10.
For You will not abandon me to Sheol. – Psalm 16:10 (HCSB)
As I started to sing the song, I got stuck at that particular line. I was singing just that one line for nearly five minutes, I was unable to move to the next song or even next line. Suddenly the Lord opened my eyes and made me see myself in the Light of His Word. If I was disgusted with myself before, now I abhorred myself completely. And the Lord broke my heart and with tears in my eyes, that morning, I pleaded only one thing from our LORD: please do not abandon me to Sheol, O Lord. I kept singing that song. By that evening, the Lord broke the bondage of that particular sin in my life and delivered me from going to the pit.
And I remember that very night, when I sat there to pray, I was too stunned about my utter stupidity. It took few days for me to realize in what precarious position my soul was in. It took me more than few weeks to realize what great mercies and grace that the Lord had showered on me on that day.
On that night, on July 17th, I started to write in my diary about what I had done and how the Lord saved me in His grace and all I could utter where the words of Balaam.
The utterance of him
who hears the words of God,
who sees the vision of the Almighty,
who falls down, with eyes wide open…
– Numbers 24:4 (NKJV)
It was during that time the LORD made me realize that I needed more spiritual support to proceed further and it was then I thought of writing a blog. For whenever I start writing a blog, I remember that these are utterances of him, who fell down with eyes wide open… though he was hearing the words of God, and was seeing the vision of the Almighty. It makes me realize every time I blog, that I am standing only because of the grace of the Lord. If not for His grace, I would be falling down, with my eyes wide open.
O my Father in heaven, thank You for Your grace. Thank You for providing Your Spirit, Who convicted me of my sin, Who broke my stubborn heart. I thank You, especially for the gift of Your Son Jesus Christ. It is His blood that cleansed me of my sins. It is His blood that gives me the strength to face my accuser. It is the faith of Your Son which is the Shield by which I am extinguishing the burning arrows of the evil one. Thank You, Father. Help me to grow more in Your grace. Through Your Son and my Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
“Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son…I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven; because thou hast obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:16-18).
And from that day to this, men have been learning that when, at God’s voice, they surrender up to Him the one thing above all else that was dearest to their very hearts, that same thing is returned to them by Him a thousand times over. Abraham gives up his one and only son, at God’s call, and with this disappear all his hopes for the boy’s life and manhood, and for a noble family bearing his name. But the boy is restored, the family becomes as the stars and sands in number, and out of it, in the fullness of time, appears Jesus Christ.
That is just the way God meets every real sacrifice of every child of His. We surrender all and accept poverty; and He sends wealth. We renounce a rich field of service; He sends us a richer one than we had dared to dream of. We give up all our cherished hopes, and die unto self; He sends us the life more abundant, and tingling joy. And the crown of it all is our Jesus Christ. For we can never know the fullness of the life that is in Christ until we have made Abraham’s supreme sacrifice. The earthly founder of the family of Christ must commence by losing himself and his only son, just as the Heavenly Founder of that family did. We cannot be members of that family with the full privileges and joys of membership upon any other basis. — C. G. Trumbull
You shall be a blessing. – Genesis 12:2
You shall be a blessing. But it is not “what you can do to others”, but “what you become yourself.” May the Lord of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, change our lives so that we all become a blessing unto others. May the blessings of Abraham rest upon us, through the Saviour Who became a curse for us.
If last week, I spent time praising and thanking the Lord for saving my life a year back, this last week was spent sulking and being depressed for most of the time. On this day last year, July 14th, 2016, I was moved out of ICU to Special Ward, and I remember how ecstatic all of us were. We were sure that within months, I would be back to my normal self and all the troubles were over.
But the last one year has been anything but that. Few relapses, three nearly fatal encounters with medications and overall weakness in fragile body frame are the outcomes we have faced in this year. The doctors told me that I have the protein content of an infant, and my body strength is equal to a kid that is 2 years old, except that I am carrying such a huge frame for a 2-year old. So, I become very tired too often. Especially this week.
I slept for two days, Monday and Tuesday, like a little baby. Though I managed to stay awake for most of the day from then on, I have become too weak to concentrate on anything. As a result, this week, I have not read my Bible as much as I would like to, my prayers are limited to morning when I feel more fresh and my praise & worship are limited to singing one or two songs… mostly because by the end of second song, I would have fallen asleep.
So I was going down spiritually and I could sense depression taking control of me. Especially this afternoon, I was very upset with myself that after all the LORD has done to me, I am still depressed and hated myself. But the more I wanted to pray, the weaker I felt and had to lie down. I did not want to sleep, I wanted to pray and suddenly I heard the quiet voice of our Lord: “Even Elijah got depressed. And you are no Elijah.”
I honestly cannot express in words the comfort those words gave me. It was the voice of the One Who understands the weaknesses of the body as well as the spirit; of the One Who experienced agony by Himself at the Garden of Gethsemane; it is the soothing, gentle voice of our Lord Jesus Christ. HE understands our weaknesses, He knows our suffering and He understands our inner turmoil better than we do.
If the great Elijah had his moment of depression, where he wanted death more than anything else, under that juniper tree, who am I? So, I just put all my burdens on the bosom of our Lord Jesus Christ and slept again. Now, still physically I feel weak, but spiritually I feel strong; I feel His gentle presence in the midst of this darkness. And I know that an angel will provide me the food and water I need to make that life-changing journey. The God of Elijah will fulfil His purpose for me. Amen.
“God…calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Rom_4:17).
What does that mean? Why Abraham did this thing: he dared to believe God. It seemed an impossibility at his age that Abraham should become the father of a child; it looked incredible; and yet God called him a “father of many nations” before there was a sign of a child; and so Abraham called himself “father” because God called him so. That is faith; it is to believe and assert what God says. “Faith steps on seeming void, and finds the rock beneath.”
Only say you have what God says you have, and He will make good to you all you believe. Only it must be real faith, all there is in you must go over in that act of faith to God. — Crumbs
After being treated in the Emergency Ward for nearly 5 hours, I was finally transferred to the ICU around 7:30 pm on July 8th, 2016. As soon as all the orderlies went, I looked around and was visibly confused. My wife saw the question mark in my face and asked what was wrong. And I very seriously asked, “But where are the large LCD TVs before our beds, so we can keep watching the news or something?” Apparently I had this idea that each ICU bed would have a LCD TV, of course, with the sound muted, but whenever the patient was bored, he or she could watch the news of some programmes. Don’t know how it entered into my mind.
Once I realized that I would be spending most of my time either sleeping or just sitting, I was a little worried. My idle mind would start solving the problems of the entire world and would get infuriated that no body understands how I could solve all educational crises and poverty, only if they would give me the authority and power. Ok, just kidding. But I used to get worried about the how things are in the society and all that. And at times, it would lead to depression when I think about the chances that I had wasted. So, I asked the nurse if I would be allowed to keep my iPod with me, so that I could listen to songs. The nurse smiled at me and politely said that the nurses who are working at the ICU are from very poor background. When they see an expensive iPod lying around a patient who was sleeping, they would be tempted to steal it. And she asked me if that was a good thing for me to do?
To be honest, I was stunned by her honesty. To admit that someone from her ilk would steal is a big thing. Then she explained further how nurses from very different background are working there; and there are people who come to clean the floor and most of them are on contract basis, and if something goes missing, then it would put a question mark on everyone who is working. So, she asked me not to use my iPod during my stay at ICU.
Then I remembered the words of our LORD: But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42, NKJV)
On Sunday night, many daily labourers were coming to clean the entire ICU to get it ready for the week. I could see how impoverished they were and as they were working, their eyes would be looking at the patients, the nurses and the doctors – expecting at least an acknowledgement of their existence. I smiled at few of them, and one of them came to me with tears in his eyes and told, “Man, you are a good person. In all these days I have worked here, you are the only person to look at me as another human being and smiled. Thank you”, he said and walked away. Soon he came back with something in his pocket and asked me if I want to eat some snacks; he got some chips for me to eat as he knew that the food at ICU would be intolerable. I smiled and politely refused, and he was very disappointed and asked, “Is it because I am doing such a menial job you are refusing it from me?” Then I had to explain to him that it was 2 in the morning and I generally don’t eat at that time and it has nothing to do with his job. I also thanked him for what he was doing. Only then he was convinced and left with a huge smile in his face.
And, what if I had kept my iPod nearby and tempted that poor man? I thank that nurse who pointed out that fact to me and ever since, I am mindful of not tempting anyone by anything I say, or do or leave behind. The LORD teaches in mysterious ways.
“It came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land” (1Kings 17:7).
Week after week, with unfaltering and steadfast spirit, Elijah watched that dwindling brook; often tempted to stagger through unbelief, but refusing to allow his circumstances to come between himself and God. Unbelief sees God through circumstances, as we sometimes see the sun shorn of his rays through smoky air; but faith puts God between itself and circumstances, and looks at them through Him. And so the dwindling brook became a silver thread; and the silver thread stood presently in pools at the foot of the largest boulders; and the pools shrank. The birds fled; the wild creatures of field and forest came no more to drink; the brook was dry. Only then to his patient and unwavering spirit, “the word of the Lord came, saying, Arise, get thee to Zarephath.”
Most of us would have gotten anxious and worn with planning long before that. We should have ceased our songs as soon as the streamlet caroled less musically over its rocky bed; and with harps swinging on the willows, we should have paced to and fro upon the withering grass, lost in pensive thought. And probably, long ere the brook was dry, we should have devised some plan, and asking God’s blessing on it, would have started off elsewhere.
God often does extricate us, because His mercy endureth forever; but if we had only waited first to see the unfolding of His plans, we should never have found ourselves landed in such an inextricable labyrinth; and we should never have been compelled to retrace our steps with so many tears of shame. Wait, patiently wait! — F. B. Meyer