Sunday, 6 December 2015

The Real Heroes

...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.  Matthew 25: 35, 36

Chennai is reeling under floods. With dams being opened and lakes overflowing, people are rushing to save their lives from the gushing and chasing waters.

No network, no electricity, no mobile, no internet, no ATM... complete blackout! Stone age days again?

But despite this, Chennai sees humanity at its best. People standing for other people amidst all odds - the real heroes. From opening the houses to accomodate those seeking refuge, wading through neck-deep water to rescue people, to distributing food and other essentials, Chennai sees love surpassing all barriers.

Everyone doing their bit to help others... Chennai has found the warmest hearts amidst the horrible disaster.

But let's not wait for a disaster to show our love to our neighbours. Hoping the rains would stop soon, but love would keep growing! #prayforChennai #ChennaiFloods

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Bear Fruit and Let Your Light Shine

Each of us are planted as a seed of highest quality – created in the very image of God – created by God.

As we grow, as we take root in this soil, learn the world around us and experience life in its manifold facets, we are expected to produce fruit of the highest quality. Fruit that will resemble our Creator, fruit that Christ not only expects from us, but has taught us, fruit that the Holy Spirit is willing to bestow upon us – love, joy peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

But the question remains. Am I able to produce such a fruit in my life?

When God looked at the Israelites, he was burdened when he saw their waywardness and unfaithfulness. And he cries out

I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?  Jeremiah 2:21

Then He expected it to produce good grapes But it produced only worthless ones.  Isaiah 5:2

The rest of Isa ch 5 portrays God’s agony over the Israelites.  

There was injustice in the society with the rich getting richer and subsequently the poor becoming poorer. Righteousness had lost its meaning. People rejoiced in strong drinks. There were music and celebrations, but without God. Deceitfulness and wickedness raised their ugly heads. Evil was considered good and good evil. Justice was denied to the innocent. Bribe won the race. People were wise - in their own eyes.

The books of Isaiah and Jeremiah outwardly might look like the words of the prophets to the then nation of Israel, but look deeply; they have equal significance in today’s world.

Does God agonize over us and over our society today?

There had never been a time in history when people of God didn’t need this warning, ‘Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world’ (Romans 12:2). But the nation of Israel was not willing to heed to this word. They were tempted to imitate the customs and practices of the nations and people around them, although they knew it was against the God they knew and worshipped. And the result was an evil society that loved riches more than people and darkness more than light!

And the warning sounds good to us today too. In a world whose views are radically different from ours, are we able to reflect and imitate Christ in their midst. Are we able to bear fruit that our Savior expects from us? Are we able to let our light shine amidst this dark and broken world?

When life poses challenges and when living gets harder, we often miss the mark. Bearing fruit becomes difficult and secondary. But let me encourage you, bearing fruit and living a life pleasing to God is not impossible. Jer 17:7 and 8 point out to the fact that despite every storm and every drought, you’ll not cease yielding fruit if the Lord is your trust. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Safest Place To Be

Safety is no more a personal choice; it is rather a universal concern. From helmets to seat belts, from awareness drives to compulsory health insurance, from child safety services to financial safety, measures are taken and rules are being laid to assure safety of people, lives and belongings.

Are these efforts winning their fight towards protection? Although these measures are welcome, they have their own limitations.

But did you know there is a place that offers you round-the-clock guaranteed safety and protection?

One psalm that Christians would have read over and over again, but still find new hope every time it is read is Psalm 91.

A lovely psalm that talks about the 24-hr protection in God’s presence, across the length and breadth of your existence!

Protection during day time, protection during night time
Protection from pestilence, protection from destruction
Protection when you’re alone, protection when you’re surrounded by wicked
Protection from evil, protection from diseases
Protection from accidents, protection from enemies

The Psalmist does not end here:

When you are in God’s presence, you’ve deliverance, you’ve exaltation, you’ve answer to your prayers, you’ve honor, you’ve the blessing of a long life and above all, you’ve salvation.

How amazing! What is more worthy of being desired than this awesome presence of God – the secret place of the Most High?

Are you finding it hard to reconcile these verses with the experiences you are going through? Wondering why countless believers still face hard times, dangers and problems in life?

These verses do not indicate absence of danger, but joy and safety in God’s presence, amidst struggles and challenges.

There will be perilous pestilence, but have faith God can deliver you. There will be arrows thrown at you, but do not be afraid. There will be stones in your journey, but believe angels will guard you.

If you begin to focus on your problems, you lose sight of God who can solve your problems.

Don’t panic. There are uncertainties in life. There is danger everywhere. But you are shielded. You are safe when you’re in the presence of God.

God’s presence is the only source of ultimate joy and protection – the knowledge that even when you pass through the deep waters or fiery furnace, His hands still holds you.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Embracing Hope at Hard Times

"Look, even if the LORD should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?" 2 Kings 7:19
These words by the officer echo the valley of hopelessness he was going through.

The entire city of Samaria was facing acute famine. So horrendous was the famine that pigeons’ dropping was unaffordable and a donkey’s head was a luxury. More so, a mother wouldn’t mind boiling the child she begot, so that she could eat him and fill her growling stomach.

Are you going through a similar hopeless situation in your life. Do you say it is impossible for a miracle to happen. How could this be? Even if God would open the floodgates of heaven, my life wouldn’t change. My disease wouldn’t leave. I can never achieve this.

The whole lot of people were going through a hopeless situation. When all hope of survival was lost, here comes the words of the prophet Elisha. "This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”   

For the people deprived and dying, the words of Elisha were absurd. In such a seemingly hopeless time, for a miracle to happen ‘tomorrow’ sounded ridiculous.

Elisha’s words did come to pass. The dreadful famine disappeared in a day’s time, in a way that the people couldn’t have even imagined. However, the doubting officer was not alive to experience it.

At hard times, you need to cling on to hope that wouldn’t disappoint. In Christ, you have endless hope. Don’t give up. Without hope, things get worse soon. God needn’t open heavens for a miracle to take place in your life. A wave of His hand or a mere whisper of His mouth can change what you are going through. 

Friday, 3 July 2015

The Friendly Counsel of God

At different points in time, we seek the counsel of friends, relatives, neighbors or acquaintances. Counsels are sought for several reasons – for simple matters such as finding the best place to host a party or making the right investment plan to more important issues such as choosing the right career, getting into a right job or working out a good marriage. Whatever the reason! Counsels come in handy and are greatly sought after.

But remember the times when we look back and say “Had I not listened to his words!” “My life would’ve been better if I only I had not heeded to…” Such expressions are common and often play a part in everyone’s life.

Although they are easily forgotten in case of trivial matters,  when it comes to more important things in life, a wrong counsel can end up in a wrecked life – failures, broken marriages, failing relationship – things that shatter one’s  faith and break one’s spirit.

Here is when we need a counsel that never fails, counsel that will bring with it peace and prosperity, counsel that overcomes undue circumstances. Where do we find such a counsel?

Job says in 29:4, “when the friendly counsel of God was over my tent” (NKJV). KJV puts this as “…the secret of God was upon my tabernacle.”

A wise counsel is secret to victorious living. Job needn’t had to run here and there in search of this secret as it was always over his tent, gracing his home.

How wonderful to receive a friendly counsel at all times and how much more wonderful if that friendly counsel came from the eternal, all-knowing God Himself!

Are you wondering what the future holds for you? Are you anxious about your life? Are you puzzled about what step to take next or in which direction to move forward?

Allow God to counsel you and direct your paths.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Arise! Rise up from the seat of complacency!

Are you sitting in the seat of complacency? It’s time you arise. (Amos 6:1; Isaiah 32:9)

It is very unfortunate that complacency is sweeping across the churches and among Christians these days. Bible warns believers against being complacent.

1. Complacency deafens our ears to the voice and calling of God.
Matthew 22:5
But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business
In this parable, the people had a great and an honorable invitation before them. They were invited by the king for the wedding banquet of his son. The dinner was ready. The oxen and fattened cattle were butchered for them. But the invitees couldn’t understand the greatness of their calling. Their ears were deafened and they were happy to carry on with their own chores in life. The ones who had work in farm went to the farm; the other went to his business. Pathetically, there were others who mistreated the servants who were sent to invite them and they killed the servants.
Many times, when we remain complacent, we too become deaf to the voice and calling of God. We are happy to carry on with our own duties and chores that we hardly have time to even listen to what God might want to speak to us.
2. Complacency gives a false sense of security.
Luke 12:19
And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."
In Luke 12, Jesus tells this parable of a rich man. This man seemed to be prosperous in all that he did. His ground yielded an abundant harvest – so abundant that he had no place to store them. He thought of reconstructing his barn so that he could store these plenty of grains. And he remained satisfied with that! He never wanted more in life. His soul had no thirst for God. All that he could say to his soul was, “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
The abundance of his riches gave him a false sense of security. He couldn't find his security in God.
Just like this rich fool, today we live in a materialistic world. We resort to malls, gadgets or other things to heal our broken hearts. We are unconsciously drawn to a false sense of security. Our thirst for God gradually dries down.
Jesus calls this materialistic person in this parable as a fool. Contentment does not come with abundance of things we possess but from Christ. That’s why Jesus tells in Luke 12:33, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
3. Complacent people cannot see the true state of themselves.

Jesus condemned the church at Laodicea for being complacent. He says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. 'Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…” Revelation 3:16-17.

They thought they were rich, wealthy and had no need of anything, but in reality they were poor, wretched and miserable.

Complacent people can never see the true state of themselves. Just like the Laodiceans, they think they are indeed rich in spirit, know the Word perfectly and have no further need of anything. But in reality, they are spiritually poor and miserable.

That is why Paul warns the church at Corinth, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12

An Invitation That Transcends All Boundaries

You host a party. Who would be in your invite list? Family. Obviously! Friends. Oh. They are the must. Else, what’s the fun? V...