Monthly Archives: August 2015

prodigal-son-returns

The forgiveness of God

How different is the forgiveness of God! In His forgiveness there is no accusation! He looks only for repentance. Where that is true the sinner stands self-condemned. “I am no more worthy to be called thy son,” the prodigal confesses, and immediately the forgiveness of the father overflows, and, without a word of reproach, He takes His erring son to His heart, re-clothes him and re-instates him in the full privileges of home and sonship. With God, forgiveness means a complete forgetfulness of the past- a beginning again on the basis that the offence has never been committed.   What passed between the Lord and Simon Peter on the resurrection morning we do not know (Luke 24:34) but we do know that never again was
the matter of his base denial of his Master brought up against him, nor did the knowledge of  this flaw in his character influence the Master’s trust in His servant. Who among men would have committed the leadership of his cause to the man who had publicly denied him?

We have no right to claim any degree of likeness to our beloved Master, nor of conformity to His standards, while there is in our hearts any withholding of forgiveness from any who may have wronged us in greater or lesser degree. “Forgive, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if  ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25, 26.

How solemn are these words – and how often is this unforgiving spirit the cause of spiritual malingering that eats like canker at the root of spiritual life and growth. How many lives have been spoiled and testimonies blighted because of a root of bitterness allowed to continue unchallenged, Heb 12:15 – in fact, watered rather by self-pity and willful dishonesty of judgment.

It is only as we appreciate the enormity of our own offence and unworthiness before God, and the greatness and magnificence of His forgiveness that we learn to have compassion on our fellow-servant, even as He has had pity on us.

0

Spoiled handkerchief

Some of us may have been used by God during the past weeks, months or years in greater or lesser measure, and there may be a tendency to be satisfied because of what happened in the past. Let us remember, however, that there is a still greater blessings and fruitfulness in store for all of us, in a greater and enlarged ministry. God wants us bring forth “much fruit” and there are times when by some means or other He reminds us of past mistakes, that these may be brought before the Lord, and confessed. By this means those very same weaknesses faced and overcome in His strength can enable us to be more useful in the future. Such experiences can be compared to a very costly handkerchief which has been spoiled by a drop of ink on it. Let however that spoiled handkerchief be given to an artist, and that very spot can be changed into a beautiful flower. In this way, the costly but spoiled handkerchief becomes still more valuable and in the same way when we are faithful and sincere in confessing our failures and mistakes, these very mistakes can be used of the Lord to increase our fruitfulness.

Once in a very wealthy home a lot of guests and great persons came to stay for a week, and the mother told her children not to ask for anything at meal times or at any other time. She knew that when children see many good things on the table and they become impatient and want things before the time. One small girl, however, become impatient, and could not wait so long. One day she took something from the table herself, so the mother told her leave the table, and go to the corner, where she had to stand with her face to the wall and window.  The poor child shed many tears because of this punishment, but nobody noticed her. In the party, however, there was a very clever artist and when all were asleep he came downstairs with his brush and paints, and in the very same corner where the child had stood, he drew a beautiful design.

Next morning when the guests came for breakfast, they saw a change in the corner, and before they had food, they went to admire the beauty of the wall painting. The guests understood why the picture had been drawn there, and from that day, the child was given much more love, because through her punishment others had been benefited. In the same way even though you have made mistakes do not be ashamed to face them before the Lord, because they can be used of Him in blessing to yourself and others. As we look into God’s word we will see our mistakes and faults. Let us then be ready to admit and confess all our mistakes and faults as the Holy Spirit open up to the Word of God.

0
jesus-comforts

Selflessness of Jesus

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves,” Philippians 2:3

We live in an age where self-assertiveness plays a vital role in relationships and professional circles. From resume to personality development classes, the noun self-assertion is referred by all. It is not mere expression of one’s importance; it is insistence of one’s wishes, needs, opinions etc. We do not have much time to look at other’s miseries or troubles as we are so obsessed with our own world. A typical modern or urban home can tell much about it. The family members including parents, children and relatives all are glued to their dearest communication devices while at home. Even while having dinner they can’t leave their mobiles and tabs. They find difficulty in communicating with a family member or a person next door. However, they chat long hours with people whom they have never met. We don’t have time for others, at some extent, shamefully, not for our own dear ones too.

However, Jesus drew a perfect example for us how to serve others and think about others. While Jesus was being arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, He identified Himself in order that His disciples could get away. “I am the man you want. Let these others go” On the road to the cross, unthinking of himself, he pauses to speak to the weeping women. “Weep not for me but weep for yourselves and for your children.” When nails are driven through his hands, all his pain turned to prayer for those who did it. “Father, forgive them.” On the cross he gives comfort to the dying thief and makes provision for his desolate mother.

Jesus had enough pain, tribulation and agony during His last hours. He could have concentrated on his pain, instead of thinking about others. However, our Jesus showed us a finest example of how to treat others and their emotions, problems and tragedies. During the excruciating ache, his concern was not his pain but other’s trouble. Can we follow our master’s steps in offering comfort to our brethren? We may have our stock of pain and peril, still we can offer some help to others. Pay attention to other’s needs. Be sensitive to their emotions.

0
elijah-calls-elisha

True dedication needs humility

When God called Elisha, he had to give up his job and follow Elijah for some time, and in doing so he had to do some very ordinary jobs. He had to minister to the needs of Elijah and was called, “the one that poured water on the hands of Elijah.”Usually when somebody wants to distinguish a man he will describe him as, “a man who has travelled in many countries” or as “a man of many degrees.” But Elisha was known to the people firstly that he was a man “that poured water on the hands of Elijah,” and secondly, that the Word of the Lord was with him, II Kings 3:11. Now what is the special qualification of being one who poured water on the hands of Elijah? Simply this, though he was a wealthy man in his country, owning his own oxen and land, yet for ten years Elisha served with Elijah doing the ordinary jobs of a servant, and that is how God calls and prepares His servants. Do not be discouraged when you are proved and tested in many ways. The first thing you need to do is to convince others that God has called you for His service. It is not enough to give a few verses to your friends, but to prove it by a change which took place in your life, when the Lord took away the desire for the work you were doing and gave the desire for His work. You will find that idle and lazy people have never been proved to be God’s servants, for God first proves His servants in very small things, and only then He can give them real and greater responsibility, and their true ministry can begin. When God calls you for His service, remember that you will first be proven, so you must be faithful to God, even in that which seems to be least, and thus be able to prove that God is calling you to be His servant, His mouth-piece and His vessel.

The whole training of Elisha is thus summed up in II Kings 2: For 10 years God was proving, testing and training Elisha by keeping him under the discipline of Elijah and you will find out that in almost every case that God takes up to somebody to be trained. In some cases it is rather painful. Those who have rebelled against that period of training have been sorely tempted, and some have fallen. But God in His mercy wants to save you from falling. When God puts us in such situation to transform us, what will be our response and reaction?

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time,” I Peter 5:6.

Meditation by Bakht Singh

0

The compelling truth

In my younger days, I was extremely fond of engineering and it was my life-long ambition to be an engineer. I spent many years in study the subject in order to become a proficient in engineering. At that time I would visit all kinds of workshops where they were making machinery including gas engines, steam engines, and small engines attracted me and fascinated me and whenever saw or heard of a new machine, I wanted to see how it worked, and how it would go.

I remembered how suddenly I lost all interest in machines and machinery, no matter how new and wonderful they were. God filled me with a great longing to go and tell everybody what I knew about him. At first it was very embarrassing for me, because I had a stutter, and stammered in my speech. I had a strong desire to tell all my neighbours about God, but the words would not come out of my mouth. However carefully I tried to speak, I would begin to stutter, and then my friends would say: “Pardon me! What did you say”? I never could open my mouth and at once speak properly. I was ashamed of myself, and it was a very humiliating condition. But I was never discouraged and wanted to tell everybody about Lord Jesus Christ.

In England barbers are very talkative, and one day when I went to have my hair cut, the barber said to me, “what a miserable day”! because it was cloudy and raining. It is common among barbers to open a conversation in this way. I answered, “yes sir, but I don’t mind the rain.” So he said, “I suppose you come from India where the sun shines all the day.” “I am not talking about India’s sunshine,” I replied, “but a sunshine that has come into my heart.” He stopped cutting hair and listened to my story. What a joy it was to tell that barber and everyone in the shop about the Lord. You see, the call of God fills you with a strong urge to tell others what the Lord means to you, and that is why God is calling you. If you call yourself a servant of God you should prove that you have a strong call from God to serve Him, and that He has filled you with a great urge to tell others about Him.

Meditation by Bakht Singh

0

Tough choices

“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24

Once, a Sunday school teacher was telling the story of the rich man and Lazarus to a small group of kindergarten students. After completing the story she started asking questions to students. The last question to students was personal. She asked which man they wanted to be. A small boy answered, “Teacher, in the world I want to be like the rich man and after death I want to be like the poor Lazarus.”

Some of our attitude towards earth and heaven resemble the little boy’s answer. We want both the treasures, the one in earth and the other in heaven. But we forget the fact that a fruitful Christian life is all about tough choices. When we look into the world, there are things which are pleasing to our eyes. We want those things. And when we look at the heaven, we don’t want to lose it or at least we want to avoid the hell. We pray, attend church services and try to be good Christians while our focus is on this world. We cannot avoid its mesmerizing power because our attention is in it. Our spiritual realm is so flimsy with occasional prayer and nominal church attendance. Our faded vision about the celestial life unfortunately does not have a gripping influence in our lives.

As we read in Revelation 3: 15,16  “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”Bible does not teach us to lead a life of hermit or a wretched beggar. It demands from us a committed life. There is no wrong in earning money for a living. God look at our attitude towards money and spiritual aspects. If our attention is on God, the world and its desires will not make much impact in our lives. And at this juncture, if God demands us to be like poor Lazarus, we will not have regrets. Do we have such a spiritual gut to stand for the Lord?

As the hymn goes like, “when I look into your holiness, when I gaze into your loveliness, when all things that surround becomes shadows in the light of you,” are we looking into His holiness and loveliness? If so, the world and its pleasures become shadows because of His light. If we look into the earthly things, the Lord’s vision will become a mere shadow. So the choice is ours.

0
a-angel-visits-elijah

When God is silent

To you I call, O Lord my Rock; do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who have gone down to the pit.” Psalms 28:1

It is impossible not to have a great sympathy for Elijah as, tired and disheartened, he cast himself down under the juniper tree, and asked God to take away his life. Nor did God rebuke him, or argue with him. “Like as a father pities his children,” He looked down on His discouraged servant, and knew how much was due to his physical condition at that moment. “Arise and eat!” He said, “because the journey is too great for you.” And strengthened by that supernatural provision he travelled on for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.

It is injustice to call Elijah a coward. It was not the act of a coward to stand boldly before an ungodly despot, and announce a drought which would be lifted only at his own pleasure and command. It was not a cowardly act to present himself in front of fierce king who searched far and wide to eliminate him for troubling Israel.

It was not a cowardly act to bring fire to an altar deluged with barrels of water. And finally he slaughtered the 850 false prophets with sword. And a coward cannot pray so distressfully for the rain and the prayer brought the rain. Unfortunately, Elijah was “a man subject to like passions as we are,” and all these experiences of standing alone as God’s witness must have magnified out of all proportion his sense of self-importance and uniqueness.  Now he seemed to have failed to carry him through to ultimate triumph. Like Peter on the water Elijah turned his eye from his God, and became obsessed with the power of the billows that threatened to engulf him. Surely it was enough to discourage any man! What was the use of living if God was not going to vindicate the stand he had taken? No wonder his heart burned with despair and disappointment.

But the pitying Father did not check him or rebuke him. He allowed him to tire himself out-to come to an end of himself! Why was Elijah failed? It was the age-old reason. He had his eyes off the Lord, and took action without waiting for His command.  Elijah forgot that the secret of his strength was the command of God, and at Jezebels’ threats God had not commanded him to flee into the wilderness. God had expected him to stand firm in faith and assurance, and, as ever God would surely have stood by His servant and vindicated His faith. But Elijah had his eyes off God, and God did not speak again till Elijah was ready to listen. Sometimes we are so filled with a sense of our self-importance that we fail to listen for the voice of His direction, and take action without it.  Immediately we lose the consciousness of His presence, and in our bafflement, lose our faith and confidence in God, and our understanding of His ways. God will not compel our obedience, but in His silence there is often implied rebuke. And finally we hear the small voice out of ensuing stillness: “What are you doing here? Go back, and do only what I shall bid you!” Look at our frustration and disbelief towards God and fellow beings. Why is it so? because, we are at places where God does not want us. As the hymn insists us , “trust and obey there is no other way” we do not have any other option to be happy and successful. Just trust Him and obey Him.

 

0
Glasses on Open Bible ca. 2001

“Read the manual before using the machine”


After a long period of time, a woman was cleaning her book shelf. Her little girl after looking at the dust-covered Bible said, “Mother, is that God’s book?” The mother said, “Yes”. “Well, why don’t we send it back to God? We never do use it”. The girl in her innocence of mind observed that no one at home is using God’s book and better send it back to God. Many of today’s Christians do not use the God’s book in their day- to- day lives. It might not have accumulated dust on it. But we seldom use this life’s manual sent by God.  When we buy machines or appliances there is manual co
ming along with the product. On the machine or box, it is clearly written “read the manual before using the product”. There are chances of the machine getting damaged, if we use it in an inappropriate way or reckless manner.

We often lead a life without reading our manual. After messing up with our lives, we open the Bible and seek God’s intervention. By the time, serious damages might have occurred in our lives. So it is better to turn to God’s word everyday for instructions and guidance. We may find some time to communicate with God through prayer. But without reading the Bible, it is a one way talk. Prayer is our talk to God while meditating the scripture is God’s talk to us. If we don’t maintain both, there will be communication problem between our Lord and us.  We don’t encourage people who only talk and never give us opportunity to talk. Such relationships won’t last longer.  Let the Lord talk to us through His verses, so that there can be better communication and communion between God and us.

“The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.” Psalms 19:8

0
stories-glory-of-god-1024x768

A God who hides himself

 

There are some brothers and sisters who, whatever they do, do most discreetly without much show and display. If they bring you a drink or water, they watch for an opportunity when you looking out of the window, then coming inside your room quietly, put down the water and leave the room silently. When you turn around, you see a glass of water, but have no idea who put it there. I have met many brothers and sisters who do things like that. When they do anything for you, they do it so mutely and secretly, you don’t know who has done it.  And we say that’s their temperament! But there are brothers and sisters of a totally different disposition. They always make a great display. If they bring you a glass of water, they bang the glass so that the noise reaches you before the water does; then they walk with a great flourish and say, ‘A glass of water, brother so and so.”

Once I visited a certain church where one of the sisters had been appointed to act as a hostess. Oh! That sister simply filled the place. She was so big she obscured the whole church; I could not catch the sight of elders or the deacons or the brothers or the sisters, for the sight of her. Whatever I looked, there she was. If she brought you anything, she always did it flamboyantly. That was her temperament.

And let me tell you, our God is not like that. He never makes any display. He is too great and the marvel is that He remains hidden.  “Truly you are a God who hides himself,” Isaiah 45:15. If you study the Scriptures carefully, you will see that God has the kind of temperament that dislikes display. He likes to work secretly rather than openly. He created the universe, and then hid Himself in it, until we do not know where to find him. And finally God revealed Himself through Jesus Christ.

The works of the God are in display with their glory and vastness. But God hides Himself. This teaches a great lesson that we as God’s children can show our works but not ourselves in a flamboyant manner.

Meditation by Witness Lee

0
the-oracles-of-god-662x1024

GLS releases new book ‘The oracles of God’

Book: The Oracles of God

Author: J M Davies

The Bible is the Inspired Word of God and an authoritative text consisting of God’s plan and purpose for humanity. Through the seven chapters, beginning with the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scripture and progressing on to the topic of the calling and the mission of the Church the author contends that the Bible is still today God’s Inspired Word that equips believers to be fortified, builds them up and establishes them in the faith so that they do not get swayed by the winds of new and strange doctrines. The wariness of the author about the speedy inroads that rationalistic ideologies have made into theological colleges and their ongoing infiltration of the pulpit and Christian assemblies in the last few decades stand out starkly in these pages.

                Pick it up and explore the privileges and responsibilities entrusted to us as stewards of God’s Word.

Price: ₹ 75/- 

0