Monthly Archives: March 2016

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Comfort

“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5.4).

These words are full of meaning, and this is the second step in making us good salt. We find that as soon as we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ from our hearts, we have to face situations which we had never thought of before. Before our conversion, our friends, relatives and parents praised us very much. But as soon as we decided to obey our Lord Jesus Christ, our friends become enemies! Our brothers and sisters, children and parents who love us very much, have begun to hate us! In my family I am the eldest son, and so from childhood my mother, father, brothers and sisters showed me much love. They never said a word to wound me or hurt me. But when I became a Christian and the Lord Jesus Christ became my personal Saviour, changed my life and delivered me completely from my evil ways and gave me new life, then my relations and friends rejected me!

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When I came back to India in 1933, my parents met me in Bombay. Even though I had come back to India, after seven years, they did not want me to go home unless I agreed not to tell anyone I was a Christian. At that time I thought, if I had come back to India as a drunkard and adulterer, they would, have welcomed me. Now that my Lord had changed me and given me a new life, they did not want me! After a few moments, I heard these words, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Whosoever loveth father or mother, brother or sister more than Me is not worthy to follow Me,’ So I said to my mother, ‘I am sorry, my Lord comes first.’ Then they both left me in Bombay and went away.

Meditation by Bakht Singh

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HT April 2016 colour.cdr
matthew-54-1230x955-1024x795

Comfort

 “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5.4).

These words are full of meaning, and this is the second step in making us good salt. We find that as soon as we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ from our hearts, we have to face situations which we had never thought of before. Before our conversion, our friends, relatives and parents praised us very much. But as soon as we decided to obey our Lord Jesus Christ, our friends become enemies! Our brothers and sisters, children and parents who love us very much, have begun to hate us! In my family I am the eldest son, and so from childhood my mother, father, brothers and sisters showed me much love. They never said a word to wound me or hurt me. But when I became a Christian and the Lord Jesus Christ became my personal Saviour, changed my life and delivered me completely from my evil ways and gave me new life, then my relations and friends rejected me!

When I came back to India in 1933, my parents met me in Bombay. Even though I had come back to India, after seven years, they did not want me to go home unless I agreed not to tell anyone I was a Christian. At that time I thought, if I had come back to India as a drunkard and adulterer, they would, have welcomed me. Now that my Lord had changed me and given me a new life, they did not want me! After a few moments, I heard these words, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Whosoever loveth father or mother, brother or sister more than Me is not worthy to follow Me,’ So I said to my mother, ‘I am sorry, my Lord comes first.’ Then they both left me in Bombay and went away.

Meditation by Bakht Singh

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lubeck-cathedral

“Hear the Word of the Lord”

Ye call Me Master      and Obey Me not.

Ye call Me Light          and See Me not.

Ye call Me Way          and Walk Me not.

Ye call Me Life           and Desire Me not.

Ye call Me Wise         and Follow Me not.

Ye call Me Rich          and Ask Me not.

Ye call Me Fair           and Love Me not.

Ye call Me Eternal      and Seek Me not.

Ye call Me Gracious   and Trust Me not.

Ye call Me Noble        and Serve Me not.

Ye call Me Mighty       and Honour Me not

Ye call Me Just           and Fear Me not.

If I condemn you         blame Me not.

An inscription in Lubeck Cathedral (below)

 

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HE was ECONOMICAL

“When they had all had enough to eat He said to His disciples ‘Gather the pieces that are left over, let nothing be wasted. ’So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. “(John 6: 12-13)

Jesus knew His home economics. “Let nothing be wasted” He said.

Having just been liberally extravagant in that He fed a whole multitude, Jesus then showed the frugality of economy. ‘Waste not, want not’ is a good motto. In His days as a carpenter He knew about it, as even the off-cuts and the sawdust were found a use.

Why shouldn’t all those pieces, twelve basketfuls of them, be given to some animals who would be pleased with them? Or put to use in some other way?

We live in a modern civilisation which is becoming more environmentally conscious. ‘Green’ issues are being discussed internationally. This is because waste, and abuse of natural resources now, could mean that future generations will suffer the consequences without recourse. Recycling of waste is on the increase. Conservation’s voice is being heard more frequently. Measures are being taken to conserve and protect natural resources. Economy measures are being encouraged and wastefulness discouraged. Jesus touched a vital subject when He said ‘let nothing be wasted’.

When the crowd the food had tasted

Jesus said ‘let none be wasted!

Baskets twelve were taken round

And pieces picked up from the ground.

Jesus the food did maximize

Then the pieces did utilise.

First a taste of gastronomy

Then a little economy.

First the meal with fingers and thumbs,

Then they went and gathered the crumbs.

First came large hospitality

Then a little frugality.

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A Wiser Investment

“Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Luke 18:22 NRSVA)

Financial advisers encourage us to dig deep and invest our money today so that we can reap a benefit in our retirement. As a result, for the few last years we spend on this earth, we can live comfortably and without financial concern. To many, this is wise advice, a sound decision.

However, I wonder why Jesus didn’t advise that rich, young ruler with a wiser way to invest. It is an alternative that would shock sensible financial advisers today. Jesus suggested that we should freely give to the needy and build wealth for our eternal life, rather than our temporal life. It’s a radical idea that is probably not too popular in a self-absorbed culture. Yet from an eternal perspective, looking from the long-term view–and life is much longer than the average person envisages–this is the best choice.

Why hold tightly to what we will eventually lose? Why not invest in eternal riches that we will enjoy forever? In the words of Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who will give what he cannot keep, to gain what he can never lose.”

Lord, help us to hold lightly to all that we have been given in this life and to eagerly and wisely invest what we cannot keep, into what remains forever. May we be more concerned about laying up treasure in the life to come, than building ourselves a kingdom in this fleeting life. Amen.

Devotional by Jennifer Woodley

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HE is RISEN

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… (I Peter 1:3)

Jesus not only said “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” (John 11: 25), but He foretold that He would rise from the dead. After Jesus had returned to heaven “with great power the apostles continued to testify, to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus… ” (Acts 4: 33).

Later on Paul said of Jesus, “He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures and that He appeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles and last of all, He appeared to me also. “(1 Corinthians 15 : 4-8).

With the flower bulb, its flower dies, its leaves wither and above the ground all trace of life vanishes, leaving only the bulb to lie in the ground unseen. Come the spring there is a resurrection of life. The caterpillar turns into a chrysalis which lies still at the end of a twig apparently lifeless, until the cocoon breaks open and a beautiful butterfly emerges in a resurrection of life.

The resurrection of Jesus was unlike the phenomena of nature just described. In the two examples from nature, the resurrection is part of a natural cycle, expected and repeated. Whereas the resurrection of Jesus was a miracle. Death had left its victim cold, stiff and without a heartbeat. Death was a final episode, a full stop, a terminus, the end. But Jesus had said, “on the third day He will rise again.” (Luke 18: 33), and by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus rose from the dead.

The large stone across the entrance to the tomb was rolled away. Doubts were rolled away as one after another of the disciples met their Risen Lord. The startling and astounding thing that the Lord said He would do, He had done. He had risen. Jesus was alive from the dead.

Christ of God entombed,

You through its portals zoomed.

The stone was rolled away,

No longer death held sway.

You in the Garden stood,

Now gone was death’s dark hood.

You went and met Your friends,

Reunion joy attends.

O Resurrected Lord,

Still worshipped and adored.

Upon Your life we draw

O Lord for evermore.

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Work and Rest

And whenever the Ark set out, Moses would shout, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered! Let them flee before you!”. And when the Ark was set down, he would say, “Return, O Lord, to the countless thousands of Israel!”
(Numbers 10: 35-36 NLT)

In this portion of Scripture the Lord set a pattern for us to follow. A design that allows us to accomplish the things we need to do, but replenishes the strength to continue to achieve those things. It was a balance between doing and being.

When the Ark of the Lord moved so did the people and God’s enemies were scattered. Israel saw great victories. When the Ark came to rest, so did the people. Moses implored the Lord to come back to the people as he realized the presence of the Lord among them was the source their strength. The time spent waiting in the Lord’s presence was not wasted time, but necessary for future victories. The Lord lead his people to have a balance between doing exploits for him and being in his presence. An imbalance between doing and being is always problematic. All work and no rest leads to burnout. Inactivity without passion and vision brings about lethargy and spiritual stagnation. For some Christians it is easier to move than to remain still. Without stillness in his presence we will eventually lose the strength to move. The joy of the Lord is our strength.

Someone once said, “If your output exceeds your input, your upkeep will be your downfall.” The key to keeping your life in balance is obedience. Moses had a simple leadership strategy. When the cloud moved or came to rest so did he.

Devotional by Ken Barnes 

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HE was FORSAKEN

“…why have You forsaken Me? ” (Matthew 27 : 46)

Jesus bore the sins of the whole world, when He died for us. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5: 21).

During the moments when He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world, God turned His face away. God hid His face from His Son because God could not look upon sin. In those moments Christ was “made sin”.

It was “about the ninth hour” when Jesus cried out ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? ” (Matthew 27 : 46). From the sixth hour (noon) until the ninth hour (3pm) “darkness came over all the land ” (Matthew 27 : 45). Some theologians think that those hours of darkness coincided with God turning His face from his Son. Upon hearing His Son’s cry, God turned His face back, communion was restored, leading to the final cry. “Into Your hands I commend My spirit.” (Luke 23: 46).

During the three hours of deep darkness in the middle of the day, an awe-inspiring stillness had settled upon the scene.

No words of mockery were heard any more.

The people waited with bated breath, in the darkness. Suddenly there was the deep mysterious cry which pierced the darkness reaching every ear within hearing distance. It was the cry of spiritual anguish which came from the Son of God on the Cross.

At Calvary, that bitter cry

That Jesus sent to God on high

 “You have forsaken Me – but why?”

He asked, when then about to die.

It was because God turned away,

To look on sin He could not stay.

Jesus, ‘made sin’, opened the way,

For us to have eternal day.

But in those moments, there was lost.

 The vital link He valued most.

Communion with the God most high,

That brought the agonising cry.

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