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Great and precious promises

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4).

When a shipwright builds a vessel, does he build it to keep it upon the stocks? Nay, he builds it for the sea and the storm. When he was making it, he thought of tempests and hurricanes; if he did not, he was a poor shipbuilder.

When God made thee a believer, He meant to try thee; and when He gave thee promises, and bade thee trust them, He gave such promises as are suitable for times of tempest and tossing. Dost thou think that God makes shams like some that have made belts for swimming, which were good to exhibit in a shop, but of no use in the sea?

We have all heard of swords which were useless in war; and even of shoes which were made to sell, but were never meant to walk in. God’s shoes are of iron and brass, and you can walk to Heaven in them without their ever wearing out; and His life-belts, you may swim a thousand Atlantics upon them, and there will be no fear of your sinking. His Word of promise is meant to be tried and proved.

There is nothing Christ dislikes more than for His people to make a show-thing of Him, and not to use Him. He loves to be employed by us. Covenant blessings are not meant to be looked at only, but to be appropriated. Even our Lord Jesus is given to us for our present use. Thou dost not make use of Christ as thou oughtest to do.

O man, I beseech you do not treat God’s promises as if they were curiosities for a museum; but use them as every day sources of comfort. Trust the Lord whenever your time of need comes on.
— C. H. Spurgeon

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Unless given from above

You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.
– John 19:11 (NKJV)

It may seem that your enemies are increasing by day; that they are becoming more and more powerful every moment. Your situation may go from bad to worse in a matter of seconds. Probably, the clouds of darkness that is engulfing you has become impenetrable and you don’t see any rays of hope. All seems to be lost at this moment.

Oh, dear friend, I was there just this morning. In despair. Running out of energy. My body wilting under constant weaknesses. Unable to stand even the least amount of pain. Seeing my loving wife watching me with pained eyes, and suffering in silence. It felt like there is no way to be unshackled from this bondage. The darkness felt too much to bear, and then the Word of God broke through.

You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Our Master’s words to Pilate, as an excruciating death on the cross was waiting for Him.

Are you surrendered to the Lord’s will? Do you trust and obey Him truly? Then no matter what happens in your life, remember that it has been sanctioned by your Loving Father in Heaven. No one can have any power against us. It may seem like others have power over us, because of the power they have, their wealth or influential status in the society. Or just because they are in majority over us. Or probably they are vociferous against us, calling us names and accusing us of so many things just because we are Christians.

But in truth, what they have is a fleeting power that has been entrusted to them, by our loving Father. It can be taken away from them at any moment, or will be held in check at the command of God. Without His consent, no man can be a weapon in the armoury of devil, or harm even a hair of a believer’s head; and even that the LORD will consent, only if it is going to bring some good to us. Yes, for all things work for good to us, who love our Father.

Any arrows that are pointing at you, dear friend, do not panic. Do not be despaired. There is no power against you, unless our Father permits it; even then, nothing is allowed to overpower you, as long as you have surrendered yourself to His will completely. And the arrow that is sent your way, trust that by the time it passes through the pierced hand of our Redeemer Jesus Christ, it will become a blessing to your soul. Be blessed, dear friend and be a blessing unto others. Amen.

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Loved

“Loved! then the way will not be drear;
For One we know is ever near,
Proving it to our hearts so clear
That we are loved.

“Loved when our sky is clouded o”er,
And days of sorrow press us sore;
Still we will trust Him evermore,
For we are loved.

“Time, that affects all things below,
Can never change the love He’ll show;
The heart of Christ with love will flow,
And we are loved.”

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Denying Christ

One of the things that always confused me when I read the Bible was Peter denying the Lord. I mean, it is not like Peter did not know that he was going to deny Jesus. The Lord Himself told Peter that he would be denying Him before the rooster crows that night. In the Gospel according to Mark, there is an additional detail, wherein Jesus says that Peter would deny Him before the rooster crows TWICE. I mean, just once I understand. I did not have a chance to stop and think about what I was doing. But, you hear a rooster crowing, you would think for a second what the Savior told and not deny Him once more. Yet, Peter went ahead and denied Him.

I had been, like every fledgling Christian, thought that I would never deny the Lord. But as I grew more and more in a life being led by the Holy Spirit, He pointed out those times when I had denied our Lord, knowingly I might add. However, I alleviated my shame of denying the Lord, by telling myself, “Peter was with the Lord and he should have known better. If I have had the same kind of intimacy he shared with our Redeemer, I would not have done so.” So, imagine my surprise when the Spirit of God convicted me today of denying Christ and the shame with which I am writing this blog.

From Monday (July 31st, 2017) till yesterday (August 02nd. 2017), I was suffering from a severe shortness of breathing. I could not even get out of my bed without breathing so heavily. I could not walk more than few steps without stopping to reduce the pain in my chest while breathing. I could only eat breakfast, as in the morning, it was relatively easier for me to breath. But as the day progressed, it was hard and just to eat a little of rice, I had to spend nearly one hour, with so much suffering. By yesterday evening, I was too tired and when I came upstairs, it was an ordeal to climb those stairs. I was totally disheartened, but then the Lord spoke to me through two devotions, which I blogged them yesterday: These are His mountains and Whence does it come? After reading those two devotions, I felt much better and I spent sometime praising and worshipping the Lord. Though I still could not eat much for supper, at least my heavy breathing had subsided, and I did sleep well.

Before going to sleep, my wife was talking about the availability of sea weed capsules in our town and was reading from a website that the sea weed has lots of potassium in it. Then I suddenly remembered that I was advised to take a potassium supplement, as the edema causes a loss of potassium levels in my blood. One of the symptoms would be heaviness of breathing. I told my wife that we need to get some bananas and also one other source of potassium.

When I woke up this morning, I did not have any breathing problem. I ate my breakfast normally and was actually a little active compared to the last few weeks. Then after noon, a believer got me some bananas and also the sea weed capsules. By then I was breathing normally, yet I ate two bananas and also took a capsule.

The lunch also went smoothly. Though I still could not eat much, at least I did not have to huff and puff for one hour. Then my wife made this remark: “Thank God for this deliverance. Once you read those devotions and praised the Lord, you have been doing pretty good.” And my answer should have been, “Yes, praise the Lord”, or “Hallelujah” or at least an “Amen”. But what I said was: “No, it is not that. It is because I ate those bananas and the sea weed capsules.”

As soon as those words came out of my mouth, the Holy Spirit pointed out that I had just denied the Lord. I had just ascertained the reason of my deliverance to something I did, not ascribing to Jesus. And there were no priests waiting to kill me for my association with Jesus; there were no maid servants accusing me of being with Jesus. I was in no danger at all. No one was accusing. The only person who was there was my loving wife, and she was also praising the Lord. Yet, I had to open my mouth and deny the Lord, and say those words.

As I was filled with shame, I am also glad that the Lord broke me yet again, to point out one more thing that was hiding deep inside me – the rational mind. I also know that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and ever. So, the LORD Who forgave Peter has forgiven me too. And all I can tell Him is this:

“LORD, You know all things. You know that I would betray You, that I would deny You. Yet, You love me so much, so much that You gave Your life to save this wretched sinner. And all I could tell is, Jesus, with all my shortcomings, You know that I love You. Yes, Lord, I love You.”

Denying Christ

Sweet music from us

Mendelssohn, on one occasion, hearing an organ being played–asked permission to play it for a few minutes. The organist reminded Mendelssohn that he was a total stranger to him–and that strangers were not allowed to touch the valuable instrument.

Mendelssohn

At last permission was granted, and then Mendelssohn brought forth such music from the organ as to make the organist weep! Ah! But before the music came forth, there were two things necessary:

  • the first was, the instrument had to be abandoned to Mendelssohn;
  • and the second, Mendelssohn had to take control of it.

The same is true with us in the spiritual realm. There must be the entire surrender to Christ first – and then He shall bring forth from us the sweet music of . . .

  • a holy heart,
  • a lovely character,
  • a gentle disposition,
  • a surpassing peace,
  • a sweet humility,
  • a lowly service,
  • a beautiful sympathy,
  • and a Christ-like life!

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship!” Romans 12:1

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The School of Suffering

To have a sympathizing God we must have a suffering Saviour, and there is no true fellow-feeling with another save in the heart of him who has been afflicted like him.

We cannot do good to others save at a cost to ourselves, and our afflictions are the price we pay for our ability to sympathize. He who would be a helper, must first be a sufferer. He who would be a saviour must somewhere and somehow have been upon a cross; and we cannot have the highest happiness of life in succouring others without tasting the cup which Jesus drank, and submitting to the baptism wherewith He was baptized.

The most comforting of David’s psalms were pressed out by suffering; and if Paul had not had his thorn in the flesh we had missed much of that tenderness which quivers in so many of his letters.

The present circumstance, which presses so hard against you (if surrendered to Christ), is the best shaped tool in the Father’s hand to chisel you for eternity. Trust Him, then. Do not push away the instrument lest you lose its work.

“Strange and difficult indeed
We may find it,
But the blessing that we need
Is behind it.”

The school of suffering graduates rare scholars.

“You are no Elijah”

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.

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Invitation to command

“Concerning the work of My hands command ye <e” (Isaiah 45:11).

Our Lord spoke in this tone when He said, “Father, I will.” Joshua used it when, in the supreme moment of triumph, he lifted up his spear toward the setting sun, and cried, “Sun, stand thou still!”

Elijah used it when he shut the heavens for three years and six months, and again opened them.

Luther used it when, kneeling by the dying Melanchthon, he forbade death to take his prey.

It is a marvelous relationship into which God bids us enter. We are familiar with words like those which follow in this paragraph: “I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.” But that God should invite us to command Him, this is a change in relationship which is altogether startling!

What a difference there is between this attitude and the hesitating, halting, unbelieving prayers to which we are accustomed, and which by their perpetual repetition lose edge and point!

How often during His earthly life did Jesus put men into a position to command Him! When entering Jericho, He stood still, and said to the blind beggars:

“What will ye that I shall do unto you?” It was as though He said, “I am yours to command.”

Can we ever forget how He yielded to the Syrophenician woman the key to His resources and told her to help herself even as she would?

What mortal mind can realize the full significance of the position to which our God lovingly raises His little children? He seems to say, “All my resources are at your command.” “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do.” — F. B. Meyer

Isaiah 45_11

Your place!

Just where you stand in the conflict,
There is your place.
Just where you think you are useless,
Hide not your face.
God placed you there for a purpose,
Whate”er it be;
Think He has chosen you for it;
Work loyally.
Gird on your armor! Be faithful
At toil or rest!
Whate”er it be, never doubting
God’s way is best.
Out in the fight or on picket,
Stand firm and true;
This is the work which your Master
Gives you to do.

Spiritual polyps

The polyps which construct the coral reefs, work away under water, never dreaming that they are building the foundation of a new island on which, by-and-by, plants and animals will live and children of God be born and fitted for eternal glory as joint-heirs of Christ.

If your place in God’s ranks is a hidden and secluded one, beloved, do not murmur, do not complain, do not seek to get out of God’s will, if He has placed you there; for without the polyps, the coral reefs would never be built, and God needs some who are willing to be spiritual polyps, and work away out of sight of men, but sustained by the Holy Ghost and in full view of Heaven.

The day will come when Jesus will give the rewards, and He makes no mistakes, although some people may wonder how you came to merit such a reward, as they had never heard of you before.

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