Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Leaving a Godly Legacy

CT Studd’s famous quote goes like this “Only one life and that too will soon pass away, only what is done for Christ will last forever”.  Life is too short on this earth. We never know when we kick our bucket. What we have is our life today.
It’s my privilege and joy to share this message to the youths gathered at Periyamalai, a 55 km away from Hosur, the first mission station for FMPB (Friends Missionary Prayer Band) in the year 1967.Along with few friends from Hosur and Bangalore we went to this place on May 10th 2013 and it was a real blessing in my life.
What would we like to be written on our grave tomb after we leave this world? It’s a serious question and it needs a serious introspection of our lives. It is purely based on how we live our lives now.
Let’s draw our focus to the book of Acts chapter 20:17-38 the farewell speech of Apostle Paul to the Ephesian elders at Miletus.
As we read these verses in our own versions, we can derive 6 important lessons from the life of Apostle Paul that will help us to leave a Godly legacy.
Lesson 1: Live a life of transparency vs.18
There is no shadow of doubt or hypocrisy in the life of Paul. His life was so real, transparent and it was an open book to all who lived in Paul’s time. What can be said of our lives today?
Lesson 2: Serve God with Humility vs.19
We cannot serve God with pride and arrogance. It all needs a humble attitude and a servant heart to serve God. Paul in Eph 3:8 says ‘Iam less than the least of all God’s people’. And in 1 Cor 15:10 he says He is the least of the apostles. Someone said the problem in missions is that nobody wants to be second. Today our Model for humility is none other than Jesus Christ. He humbled himself on the cross to the point of shedding his Blood for us. He is truly the humble servant king (Phil 2:1-11). It is worth imitating His humility.
Lesson 3: Be willing to proclaim the Gospel of God vs.24
Paul’s passion and ambition is to preach the Gospel (Rom 15:19, 20). He is not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation (Ro 1:16). AT Pierson says “It is the responsibility of the whole church to preach the whole gospel to the whole world”. Today we gossip many things with our friends. Why not we gossip the gospel? There are places and people groups in our country who have not heard the name of Jesus even once. Let’s have the passion and ambition like Apostle Paul to preach the Gospel.
Lesson 4: Equip the people of God with right doctrines vs.20, 24-27, 31
In all of these verses we can capture the words like Preach – Taught – Testify- Declare – Proclaim- Warning. 1 Tim 4:13 Paul exhorts Timothy to devote himself to preaching and teaching of God’s word.
 Today as we listen to so many fanciful and wrong interpretations of God’s word, the challenge is to preach  & teach Gods word correctly (2Tim 2:15).God is counting on us. And we are responsible for our generation.
Lesson 5: Have a simple lifestyle vs. 33
We read Paul did not covet no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Leaving a legacy requires living a simple life. Many a times we easily complicate life by living in discontentment. There is true joy and peace when we live in contentment. Today the watch word in the advertising world is ‘sophistication is simplicity’. But the truth is other way round. The teachings of Jesus too call’s us to live a simple life. Let’s heed to the warning given in Luke 12:15 “for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possess”.
Lesson 6: Learn to give and support God’s work vs.35
Giving requires commitment and sacrifice from our end. The early church modeled it. Why not we?  2 Cor 8:1-4 we read the Macedonian church set an example in giving in difficult times.
John Wesley the great Methodist preacher said “Earn as much as you can, save as much as you can, give as much as you can”. Christ himself said “for it is more blessed to give than to receive”.
Give as the Lord directs you, Give generously and Give cheerfully for the Glory of God! 

Are we willing to give up our life of complacency and be serious in our commitment to God? If then we too can leave a godly legacy like Paul.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Whom do you follow?

‘To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps’ 1Peter2:21(NIV)

Today we see lot of fan clubs among young people. Hero worship is been offered to many celebrity’s and spiritual gurus these days. We live in a world that exalts someone who comes in the screen often. As you read these lines ask yourself whom do I follow? And if someone comes to your mind, think why do I follow that person?

Jesus Christ sets a perfect example to all of us. Following him is a personal decision; it becomes our daily choice too. Read about him in the Gospels and you will know more of him, his miracles, his mission and his divinity. Following Jesus as some religious leader or teacher is one thing, and following him as Lord of our life is different. Is he the Lord of your life? If not surrender your life to him and follow him as your Lord and master.

Indeed there is also a cost in following Jesus.(Luke 9:57-62; Luke 14:25-33) Jesus does not promise everything will be prosperous as you follow him. You will go through suffering, trials and persecution. Following Jesus closely is not an easy cake walk. You have to persevere amidst trials and ridicule. It’s Martin Luther who rightly said ‘If Christ himself suffered with crown of thorns, why should a Christian expect a bed of roses’. Christ doesn’t offer such a comfy life to us. Are you still willing to FOLLOW HIM?

The cost of following Jesus is denying oneself (self surrender) taking up his cross daily and following him. ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me’ Luke 9:23(NIV)

It can be succinctly said in three little words – Give up, Take up and keep up!
Give up your old self and put on the new self (new nature) as you follow Christ.
Take up the cross means, willing to suffer for Christ and to take up the mission that God gives.
Keep up your faithful devotions (Prayer life and Bible meditation) all your life as you follow him.
Discipleship is truly demanding. It demands our whole life. Are you still willing to FOLLOW HIM?

God Bless!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Reformation required even in these days…

In Jeremiah 7:1-15 we read the context of 'False Religion worthless’.we may ask ourselves what do I believe these days? Or in other words who is my God?
Beware of False teachings and false teachers around you.So much of Deception around us these days.Jeremiah challenges the heathen thinking in Jer10:10 in giving a contrast picture with idols made by human hands and the Living God.He thus boldly declares that our God is true, living and he is the one who makes the earth tremble.Wow!What an awesome and Omnipotent God the Bible describes. He lives and reigns forever above all other Gods. There is no rival for Him.Alleluia!

In Jeremiah 7: 3, 5 it talks about the reformation that God expects.Reformation in three areas mainly (Thought-Word-Deed)

Reformed Thoughts
What’s on your mind? A precise practical book by Merlin Carothers challenged me during my student days. It is difficult sometimes to have a clean mind. But Gods Grace with our efforts it is possible to have a victory in overcoming sinful thoughts.Romans 8:13

Reformed Words
Think for a while do your words build people or break. In other words is it constructive or destructive. God wants our each word to be meaningful and powerful.cos we are accountable to him for each careless word we utter.
Mt 12:36 This verse makes all of us to shudder.

Reformed Deeds
Jesus being our role model and Bible being our basics we can follow Jesus lifestyle. He didn’t speak much rather He demonstrated his faith in his father while his life on earth. In Acts 1:1 Luke records it like this ‘he (Jesus) began to do and then to teach’. Here we see ‘practice precedes preaching’.
God wants the same quality of action in our lives too.

Let God help us to tame our tongue, mind and our spirit to act justly,to love mercy and to walk humbly with him. Micah 6:8

God Bless.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hollow blocs

Col 2:6,7 ‘So then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness’.(NIV)

Are we like hollow blocs looking strong outside and hollow inside? If we observe today’s most of building constructions hollow blocs are been used. We also notice that the work is done overnight very quickly. But it makes us to think how strong will it be? But to my findings hollow blocs are good for building small and medium sized houses.

This analogy goes well with our spiritual health check. How is our inner lives built in this post modern days. Are we spending enough time at the feet of the Lord praying and reading the word or our devotions very quick and fast every time? Facetiously someone said that believers today are called watch watching believers, very much conscious of the time we give to God. Let’s remember there is no short cut for spiritual growth.
We grow only in spiritual disciplines. It takes time not like an overnight construction. Someone said like this ‘Conversion of a soul may be a miracle in a moment but making of a saint is a life time task’. God is patiently working on us but are we patiently waiting on him?

We all have an enormous responsibility today in building our lives in Christ. What steps are we taking with the available resources at hand? Are we growing strong in God everyday or still remaining as infants showing impoverished growth? Here goes the warning from the writer of Hebrews Chapter 5:12-14

Vs 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
Vs 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
Vs 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil’

The following acronym for GROWTH will surely help us to build our lives in him. (Read my blog entry on what is Growth for more detail)

G – Get to know God personally in your life. (Why not today as you read these lines)
R – Relate to God through prayer. (Prayer is a simple conversation with God)
O –Obey his Word by doing what it says.
W –Worship him truly in Spirit and in truth.
T –Tell others what God has done in your life.
H – Have fellowship/friendship with God’s people. (Find a church in your vicinity for fellowship)

On Christ the Solid rock we stand. All other ground is sinking sand. He is our Rock eternal (Isaiah 26:4)

God Bless!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Definition of Love – Where to look at?

Unsullied love
Only one act of pure love, unsullied by any taint of ulterior motive, has ever been performed in the history of the world, namely the self-giving of God in Christ on the cross for undeserving sinners. That is why, if we are looking for a definition of love, we should look not in a dictionary, but at Calvary.
(First Paragraph is excerpted from John Stott’s “The Cross of Christ” –P 212)

Unfailing love
In a distressed, disappointing, false promising world the one true love that will not fail us is God’s love for us. You can ask will he not fail me unlike other human love. Taste and see that the Lord is good. Come to him with your broken heart and he will make it whole again. Don’t just try him, but trust him.His love will never disappoint you rather it will always comfort you.

Demonstrative love
Oh what a love that its depth not be understood fully in words which he demonstrated for us on the cross. We were not present on Golgotha when this took place two thousand years ago. But we can see today in our eye of faith and believe that the blood that he shed covers the sins of the whole world. We may ask how I know that he died for me and how it can cleanse me. Come to the feet of the cross with a humble, simple, saving faith and believe on the finished work of Christ, and you will understand how much he loves you still.

Romans 5:8 - “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

1 Cor 15:3,4 - "For what i received i passed on to you as of first importance:that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures".

It’s my personal plea to everyone who is reading these lines to believe the unsullied, unfailing and his demonstrative love for you displayed on the Cross.

God Bless.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

"Be filled with the Spirit"

What is to be filled with the Spirit?

Ephesians 5: 18 – ‘Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead be filled with the spirit.’(NIV)

Being spirit filled in another words is being spirit controlled. No matter what temperaments we have, are we allowing ourselves to be controlled by his spirit?
If not let’s contemplate the literal meaning of the phrase ‘be filled with the spirit.’ The tense of the Greek is present imperative.Paul could say ‘I have been crucified with Christ’ (Gal 2:20), and yet he died daily (1cor 15:31).
Surrender is done, and yet it is never done –It is a continual yielding. It is important to point out that surrender is not once and-for-all; surrender must be continuous. Likewise we need to be continually filled with the Spirit. Thus D.L Moody prayed like this “Lord am a leaky vessel which needs your filling every moment”.

We receive the Holy Spirit at the time when we hear the Gospel of truth and accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior. We are at that moment baptized by the Holy Spirit. People who have experienced this can rejoice with this truth. Let’s remember that Holy Spirit is a person and not some force. Some wrongly think that the Holy Spirit is only like a electric force or power which can be used for our conveniences. There are varied understanding of this doctrine of Holy Spirit and the interpretation of the words anointing, filling, baptism of the spirit, speaking in tongues and so forth. I don’t want to distort what Bible teaches about all these. Let’s look at the scriptures below (All reference from NIV) and learn as the Holy Spirit himself teaches us and brings us the understanding.

Ephesians 1:13, 14 - ‘And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.’

Ephesians 4:30 – ‘And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.’

Romans 8:9 – 'You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.’

1John2:27 –‘As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit –just as it has taught you, remain in him’.

The person of Holy Spirit who indwells us can be very much grieved by our sinful choices that we make every day. Are we really careful in leading a life controlled by his Spirit? If not lets allow the spirit of God to take control of our mind, emotions and will. Personally explore yourselves in the understanding of this truth and I believe God will teach you more if you’re open minded.

God Bless!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Just a thought on “offering and sacrifice”

I came across this nugget of truth while reading a book. A simple story but what a profound truth! Ephesians 5:1, 2 reads like this.

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children, And walk in love as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour” (KJV)

The believer follows God, first by becoming a follower of God. This is a very important decision that a person makes in his life. It means that he is gonna be loyal to a person of Jesus Christ the rest of his life. He can then sing aloud that I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, the world behind me and the cross before me. Thus he makes himself get detached from the things of the world and get attached with God. It’s a matter of detach and attach. Where is our attachment today?
Secondly, by loving as Christ loved. His love is pure and selfless. The hardest thing for any person to do is to deny his selfish desires and offer his life as a sacrifice. All of us can relate to the following story:
Once upon a time a Pig and a Chicken went for a walk together down the main street of town. As they were walking they were talking. The chicken noticed a sign in the restaurant that looked like a pretty good deal to him. “Hey pig. Look at that sign in the window: ‘Ham and eggs – all that you can eat.’ That’s a great deal.” The pig paused for a moment while he carefully chose his words. “A good deal you say. Well, for you it’s only an offering; but for me it’s a sacrifice.”

The point is this: the believer is to walk in love, just as Christ has loved us and has given Himself as an offering and a sacrifice to God. There is to be no limit to the offering and sacrifice of our lives to God and to men.
Remember: God’s love – agape love – is always an acting love. How is our love for others? Introspect yourself for a moment while reading these lines and check your love for God and for others, and determine to walk in a sacrificial kind of love. God Bless.