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Deep Petition

“Make thy petition deep” (Isa_7:11, margin).

Make thy petition deep, O heart of mine,
Thy God can do much more
Than thou canst ask;
Launch out on the Divine,
Draw from His love-filled store.
Trust Him with everything;
Begin today,
And find the joy that comes
When Jesus has His way!
— Selected

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… all that night.

“The Lord caused the sea to go back…all that night” (Exodus 14:21).

In this verse there is a comforting message showing how God works in the dark. The real work of God for the children of Israel, was not when they awakened and found that they could get over the Red Sea; but it was “all that night.”

So there may be a great working in your life when it all seems dark and you cannot see or trace, but yet God is working. Just as truly did He work “all that night,” as all the next day. The next day simply manifested what God had done during the night. Is there anyone reading these lines who may have gotten to a place where it seems dark? You believe to see, but you are not seeing. In your life-progress there is not constant victory; the daily, undisturbed communion is not there, and all seems dark.

“The Lord caused the sea to go back…all that night.” Do not forget that it was “all that night.” God works all the night, until the light comes. You may not see it, but all that “night” in your life, as you believe God, He works.

– From “Streams in the Desert”

Exodus 14_21

Lessons from ICU. 27. Playing it safe

And also the Strength of Israel will not lie or repent; for He is not a man, that He should repent. – 1 Sam. 15:29 (Amplified Bible)

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I was watching an eye “specialist” giving a prescription for 15 tablets, 5 eye drops and an injection for a student with headache. Then another “specialist” dropped by to see if they could go to the canteen for a break.

She was shocked at the least and pulled the first specialist and told her to cancel the entire prescription and suggested to write one tablet and one eye drop and nothing more. The first specialist protested saying that those are nothing but generic medications, but the patient needed more treatment than that.

The second specialist’s answer jolted me. She said, “That’s not our problem. If something happens to her eye sight, you will be in trouble. Just give these. Then she will come again and may be someone else will take the risk. Let us play it safe, okay?” Then the first specialist returned and crossed out the entire prescription, and wrote just one eye drop and one tablet, both generic.

Let us play it safe. That has become the lifeline for many. Let us play it safe. And everything in life revolves around that concept: play it safe. Why risk anything?

But not our Lord. HE does not play it safe. HE takes risks, risks that are not worth taking in our eyes.

I knew a believer who is chosen by our Lord to be used a broken vessel for the glory of God. Now, this believer was one of the most adamant persons I have met. It is so difficult to prove a point with him. And there would be no trace of love of Christ when he would admonish others.

So, I was surprised when God chose him to be a vessel to show His love unto the world. He was the least qualified candidate in our church. Yet God chose him. Now we can all the see the changes in him. God does not play it safe.

Dear friend, there will be times you are left wondering why God picked you of all the people… in our eyes, we have nothing. And it is true, that we are nothing. But God chose you, and once you have dedicated your life to Him, He will not let you go as you are. Our Lord Almighty will fulfil His purpose for you. And during those times of intense suffering and weaknesses, He shall be the Strength of Israel unto you. Amen.

1 Sam 15_29

Word, Faith, Healing… but

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.

Isaiah 60:22

Seeing and believing

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.

Friends

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!

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

Sit still

A horror of great darkness

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

Genesis 15_12

Trust and Rest

“Trust and rest when all around thee
Puts thy faith to sorest test;
Let no fear or foe confound thee,
Wait for God and trust and rest.

Trust and rest with heart abiding,
Like a birdling in its nest,
Underneath His feathers hiding,
Fold thy wings and trust and rest.”

– From “Streams in the Desert”

Trust God

Let the walls of Jericho fall down by faith!

“And when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat, and the people shall ascend up every man straight before him” (Joshua 6:5).

The shout of steadfast faith is in direct contrast to the moans of wavering faith, and to the wails of discouraged hearts. Among the many “secrets of the Lord,” I do not know of any that is more valuable than the secret of this shout of faith. The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour.” He did not say, “I will give,” but “I have given.” It belonged to them already; and now they were called to take possession of it. But the great question was, How? It looked impossible, but the Lord declared His plan.

Now, no one can suppose for a moment that this shout caused the walls to fall. And yet the secret of their victory lay in just this shout, for it was the shout of a faith which dared, on the authority of God’s Word alone, to claim a promised victory, while as yet there were no signs of this victory being accomplished. And according to their faith God did unto them; so that, when they shouted, He made the walls to fall.

God had declared that He had given them the city, and faith reckoned this to be true. And long centuries afterwards the Holy Spirit recorded this triumph of faith in Hebrews:

“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.” – Hebrews 11:30
— Hannah Whitall Smith.

“Faith can never reach its consummation,
Till the victor’s thankful song we raise:
In the glorious city of salvation,
God has told us all the gates are praise.”

Hebrews 11_30

Job’s Wife – Bless God and die!

1. Job’s Wife – Introduction

2. Job’s Wife – Balaam’s Wise Utterance

3. Job’s Wife – The LORD Understands Depression

4. Job’s Wife – The Silent Sufferer

5. Job’s Wife – Her Broken Heart

6. Job’s Wife – To Bless or To Curse

7. Job’s Wife – Blessing While Sinning

8. Job’s Wife – Satanic Sarcasm

In the previous blogs, by the grace of God, I hope I have explained how the word ‘barak’ was mistranslated as ‘curse’ in the three instances in the first two chapters of the Book of Job. It still leaves us with that one verse that matters the most. Those words Job’s wife utters in Job 2:9.

And his wife said to him, “Are you still holding fast to your integrity? Bless God and die!” (LITV)

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (NKJV)

Now, if we consider that ‘barak’ means to bless, and hence Job’s wife did say “Bless God” instead of “Curse God”, we have two questions that need to be answered. The first question would be why if she said to bless God, did she add “die” to that? To answer that question, let me talk about a conversation that happened in July this year.

I met this elderly couple who have been ministers of God, for more years than my age is. For a long time, the church they pastored to was considered a beacon of Light and Truth to many people in our town. The church members were delivered from many bondages; the believers prospered; 24/7 someone would be praying in the church; youth would be praising the Lord even at 3 AM; many people were being saved; many believers became servants of God and branched out. It was during this time, the Lord gave them great promises regarding the future of the church and various plans He has for them.

But for the last 20 years or so, things took a rough turn. Except on Sundays and Fridays, when there are appointed times for worship and prayer, no believer would come to pray. Many believers suffered severe financial losses. Those who came to the church with myriad of problems were not delivered any more. For few years, there was no baptism at all in the church. The church members seem to be lost. The ministers themselves have fallen on hard times for quite a long time.

When I was talking to the elderly ministers, I was talking about the great promises that the Lord has given them and to my surprise, they were not giving much importance to those promises. They told me that they were not focussing on those promises anymore. They had had a good run. For many years, the church was thriving, the members were prosperous, and God had used them to save so many souls. They are grateful for all those blessings. They have decided to spend the rest of their lives to thank God for the good things He has done in their life, for letting them do His ministries faithfully for so long, and to await either the Second Coming of our Lord or the sweet deliverance of death. They have, they declared in a firm voice, absolutely no compunctions about the various promises not fulfilled. They had a fruitful life, they are thankful for that, and they have decided to bless the Lord for all those good things He has in their life and to prepare for death.

“Bless God and die!”

I hope that conversation has made it clear what it means to ‘bless God and die.’ Job’s wife was not telling him to blaspheme God and then to commit suicide. She was telling him, instead of hoping that things would change for him, he must bless God for all the good things he had enjoyed in his life and be prepared to meet his Creator.

Now that may sound alien to us, but the Bible does have a record of such an instance. As we know, the 11th chapter of Hebrews is known as the “Hall of Fame of Heroes of Faith”, and for a good reason. But if we read carefully, we will see certain oddities in the names of the heroes, and also what things are considered to be “of faith” by the Spirit of God. Most striking of those oddities would be what had been recorded for Jacob.

There were many incidents in the life of Jacob, where he exhibited great faith in trusting God against all odds. Yet, the Scripture records the final moment of Jacob, as an act of faith, that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. And that record is:

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. – Hebrews 11:21 (NKJV)

Jacob, as he was dying, leaned on the top of his staff, which accompanied him in his lonely walk when he ran away from his brother, and worshiped the Lord; apparently Jacob, knowing his death was imminent, was blessing God for all the good things He had done in his life, and died.

This was what Job’s wife was asking him to do: Bless God and die!

However, that leaves with still one more question to answer… Job’s response to that. God willing, we will see discuss his response tomorrow. Peace be with us all. Amen.

Hebrews 11_21