In our day-to-day activities with our local church, do we compete with someone? Without understanding their commitment and relationship with God, do we ever force ourselves and our family members to imitate their attitudes? If we continue to do such things, we may face dire consequences like Ananias and Sapphira.
The raising of Lazarus would be a precursor to His own resurrection from the grave on the third day. We have read that He had raised at least two people from the dead but they had not been in the grave for four days. The disciples and the Jews gathered around this tragedy, would soon be the witnesses to Jesus’ big reveal, that He indeed is the Resurrection and the Life.
We instinctively look for the approval of others but do not like their disapproval or corrections. Criticisms, though intended to be constructive, often discourages us and even pushes us to the extreme of withdrawing from our missions. Till the time we do not realize our mistakes, we won’t be ready for corrections.
People live in vanity, and they want to show off things that they do not have and do not want to disclose the things they have. A poor person tries to present himself as a rich person, whereas a rich one does not care for such a presentation. A coward speaks much of his imaginary brave acts, while the brave keep quiet. A self-righteous person behaves like a righteous one, while the righteous do not reveal their spiritual standard. People build up false images and hide behind these lies to make a convent with death.
At the pool of Bethesda, Jesus met an invalid man and asked if he wanted to be healed. A weird question to ask someone who had been patiently waiting for thirty-eight years to receive his healing. But Jesus’ words always have a purpose and putting it in the right context helps us understand its true meaning.
The opening words of this Psalm highlights the confidence that David has in his relationship with God. To attract the attention of a person who is listening to many, we say “Listen to me.” Children use the technique of crying to attract their parent’s attention. The opening words of this Psalm also resemble the action of an adamant grown-up child persistently irritating his parent by repeatedly asking them to grant permission.
The creations reveal the existence of the Creator and the way they function projects the knowledge of the sovereign God. Somehow, many do not reach out to this ultimate truth, but they restrict themselves from this understanding by focusing only on the creations.
The Philistines had all their soldiers and chariots, “numerous as the sands of the seashore”, and the Israelites were running scared and running out of places to hide. Somehow Saul managed to muster up his troops who were still quaking in fear. He patiently waited seven days for Samuel to arrive and perform his priestly obligations, but after waiting for so long in fear, he finally gave up on waiting for Samuel and performed the offertory ceremony himself. I’ve often asked myself, why was Samuel late and why does Saul after having waited for seven days couldn’t wait a few more hours for Samuel to arrive?
Jesus deemed the pharisees guilty of sin as they were not blind but refused to change their ways. Another argument between Jesus and the pharisees ensued ending up with Jesus revealing another aspect of His identity by comparing himself to a shepherd.
In today’s context, this Psalm reminds me of a telephonic conversation with our friends and relatives. After changing our phone numbers, many would not recognize us, as the number does not appear on their phone-book.
While the Pharisees were focused on their quest to crucify the Messiah, Jesus continued to walk on the path that God had set before Him, touching yet another life on His way to Calvary. As Jesus and His disciples were walking the streets of Jerusalem, they saw a man who had been blind from birth. The disciples could not help but pass judgement and wanted Jesus to weigh in on who is responsible for this man’s condition, his parents or he himself.
In his farewell speech Samuel recounted all the good that God had done for His people and how they had always reciprocated His grace on them with betrayal at every corner. He warned them not to test the anger of the Lord and reminded them of all the destruction that came upon them when they walked away from God and held on to their precious idols.
Jesus saved the adulterous woman from being stoned and did not condemn her. But now the crowds had picked up the stones once again, this time, to kill Jesus.
Israel’s desire to be like other nations led them to reject God and have a mortal human ascend the throne. Samuel was handed the task of finding Israel a new king, one that would lead them to battles. Among the twelve tribes of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin was one of the smallest with a history of seditious revolt against the other eleven tribes. However, God’s ways are unfathomable to us, as no one would have expected the first king of Israel to come from the tribe of Benjamin.
Jesus came alone to Jerusalem and stood out in the crowd, He did not wait for the consensus to be formed about Him before He spoke out against the leaders. By the power of God, He took a stand against the leaders who had diluted the Gospel and made it a religion. Are we waiting for a consensus in our lives or are willing to stand out for God?
The Israelites put away all their gods and gave their loyalty to Yahweh, but a plot to overthrow their eternal king was soon to enter their minds.
Just like satan blinded the eyes of those disciples who abandoned Jesus that day, he is doing the same even today for the believers who are satisfied with eating the symbolic bread and wine and will never desire to taste the Bread of Life.
In the Bible we see people like Cain, Jacob and Martha getting diverted by their family members. People who are close to our heart can hurt us more than strangers. We won’t remember the abusive language used against us in yesterday’s traffic jam but we won’t be able to forget a simple statement given against us by our kith. Satan knows how to use the people around us to dishearten us.
The Israelites mourned that the Ark had departed from them but the Glory had long been departed from their midst.
Once again Jesus had riled up the Jewish leaders simply by giving a man the ability to pick up his mat and walk as they started questioning His authority.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, the Spirit of God led him to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. The primary temptations are that the devil wants us to prove to him that we are the children of God. This precious relationship is personal between us and our God. Repeatedly. the devil asked Jesus to prove his relationship with His Father, but Jesus firmly denied to prove it to the devil.
Eli was a Levite from the priestly clan of Israel and was used by God to lead Israel for forty years. But along the way something happened in his life that He had started taking the Lord for granted and not payed heed to His warnings.
During one of Jesus’ trips to Jerusalem, He encounters a man sitting by the poolside at Bethesda waiting for healing when the Healer himself came to him.
Quite ironical that the Jews , through whom the salvation was to come rejected the Messiah but the ‘pagan’ Samaritans were the first to proclaim Jesus as the Savior of the world. Jesus revealed His true identity in this Samaritan town, something that He would not do in the Jewish towns.
For all the accounts of great wars and conquests recorded in the book of Samuel, it still starts with the story of humble beginnings from a lowly town in the hill country of Ephraim.
The living water represents His Spirit in us who gives us the joy that comes from knowing that our sins are forgiven. The joy in our hearts that gives us a new life, a new beginning with the knowledge that the slate has been wiped clean. That is what Jesus has to offer.
Everyone knows John 3:16 by heart but the next verse is equally important, for Jesus did not come to condemn us but save us. If he wanted to condemn us for our wrongdoings, He would have brought the day of judgment upon us but rather He came with the sole intention to be an atonement for our sins.
Jesus did not answer their demands by giving them a sign immediately but foretold about His own death and resurrection that will be the ultimate sign of His authority given to everyone.
Two days after gathering His disciples, Jesus arrived at a wedding in a place called Cana in the region of Galilee. During the festivities, Jesus’s mother brought a matter of concern to Him saying that the wedding party had run out of wine. Of all the requests brought before Jesus, this would have been the most trivial of the lot.
Our society has both wicked and righteous people. Both of them share the same arena to earn their livelihood. The wicked will always be with us in the form of our neighbours, colleagues, friends and relatives who distort us from fulfilling the purpose of God in our lives.
The ministry of Jesus spread through people sharing their personal experiences of their encounter with the Messiah. Even today, in a world filled with countless religions and distractions, the work of God continues through the personal testimonies of people who have experienced Christ in their lives.
The conversation between the other John and the Jewish leaders where he denied comparisons to three of the most famous Old Testament figures.
God teaches us to show sympathy towards others, and sometimes He allows us to go through pain to understand other’s pain so that we may sympathetically pray for their remedy. At the same time, we should expect God to show His compassion to us rather than expecting pity from others.
Christ came to save us from our own sins but did not come to start a religion to help us save ourselves. The world around us has done its best to try and subvert the true meaning of Christmas from us.
While there are different opinions about the time of the birth of Jesus, we should also know the origins of Christmas. When people gathered in great numbers to celebrate the birth of Jesus, this was named Christmas during the late twelfth century, with its literal meaning being Christ’s Mass. With the coining of the name Christmas, the noble theme of God’s love has been distorted with some fictional characters of fantasies.
The Gospel of John does not share any similarities with the other Synoptic Gospels, but this unique account of the life of Christ has a completely different purpose. Written by most probably John, the disciple, during the latter half of the first century to a predominantly Gentile audience of the Greco-Roman city of Ephesus, its…
Amidst criticism, Prosperity Gospel still survives because there are people who need that kind of gospel. All of us love to be blessed, and we speculate and await our turn. Various schemes are devised to derive blessings, such as blessings through prayers, blessings through partnership or membership, blessings through donations or offerings, and blessings through anointed oil, handkerchiefs and servants of God.
The Bible portrays Peter, James, and John as the close associates of Jesus. Out of these three disciples, Peter’s inconsistent spiritual growth is a source of encouragement for all of us, as we are also inconsistent in our spiritual walks but the spiritual journey of Peter started when he was only an illiterate fisherman.
The purpose for our lives is to worship God with all our mind, soul and body at all times. Worship means submitting our freedom in God’s hand by using the freedom that Jesus gave us. In order to move forward in the tasks assigned to us by God, we should have a clear mind to discern the things that discourage us. We often fail to remove the beam from our own eyes but continue to peck at our neighbour’s eyes in search of specks and injure them in the process.
Perseverance Or Forbearance Many a time the meaning of the word “perseverance” is misunderstood for forbearance and tolerance. People also have a wrong notion of bearing with wickedness and treachery of our fellow believers as perseverance. Tolerating friends who continue to betray our trust and us being aware of it can hinder us from coming…
Is your faith fetching people to Jesus or is it rather driving them away from Him? Are you discouraged by the spiritual trait of some people? Here is an encouraging truth from the Bible, come near to Jesus and don’t see the crowd around Him.
Holding On A shrewd person once withdrew a large sum of cash from his bank and carried it in a dirty old bag in a crowded train. While everyone else placed their luggage on the shelf above, this person was standing amidst the crowd, tightly holding his bag with one hand and holding the roof…
The grace of our Lord makes all our hurdles lighter so that we can push them away and move forward with the task that God has assigned us.
The nature acquaints us with the creative power of God, and when we keenly observe those creations, we will understand the immeasurable power of God that pursues us to believe in His existence. In our present day scenario, because of the upcoming technologies, the current generation is unable to reach God even while utilizing all…
Nehemiah led with his heart rather than listening to the voice of God and always expected God to reward him for the sacrifice he was making in trying to rebuild Jerusalem, both physically and spiritually.
The saying, “Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are” is true and practical, because friendship builds on a common goal. When our thoughts are the same, our attitude will also be in line with each other.
Even the wisest man in the world was fooled by satan and lured away from God. Is there any hope for us?
It is obvious that even evil doers are flourishing every day on this earth and that might sprout up hundreds of doubts in our mind.
The first recorded Martyr to die for the Jesus movement.
Sometimes in our lives, we face problems after problems, like waves of the sea, leaving us to stumble.
Are we misusing our freedom, forgetting who gave us that freedom. Remember that our freedom is in Christ and not on the things of this world. Let us not continue to misuse our freedom and come to Him with anxious hearts to experience our Father’s love.
We do not get to choose our parents neither can we opt for any colour, race or religion, yet we were born of our Father’s will. The only thing that is guaranteed is that God will accomplish His Purpose in our lives.
I remember the days of 8-bit games when having only three lives in a game was the norm. There were no cloud syncs and no chance for any do-overs. We had to play a game from start to finish in one sitting. Nowadays we can restart our campaign from the exact point where we left-off…
A common perception of people about evil is that it is a force against God’s will to do good. It may be a force against man’s will to perform good things but not for God. Because no power in heaven and earth is greater than that of God’s (1 John 4:4) as He is the creator of both good and evil.
In the entire history of civilization, the importance of removing the social disparities that have widened due to status, colour and race are strongly felt. Human rights are being valued highly and people have become conscious about equality. However, all these endeavours have failed in removing the social disparities and the differences have become wider, resulting in endless debates and social unrest.
We see many miracles happening. But sometimes when it comes to our personal needs we are unable to experience the blessings that we have seen in the life of others. Most of the time we strive hard to experience it but in the process we lose our hope and often even leads to frustration.
We are constantly discouraged by satan, when he reminds us of our sins and makes us feel guilty. He will try to end our lives before we get rid of our guilt. He often deceives us by telling that we are not worthy of asking God forgiveness and motivates us to sin while at the same time, he appears before God and accuses us day and night.
One of the reason for our spiritual immaturity is that we are consider our body to be worth more than our soul. Often we do not realize that we do have a soul. We fear people who can only harm our body or hurt our emotions and do not fear God who has redeemed our soul from eternal death.
While we are striving hard, not to conform to the pattern of this world, do we conform to the Word of God or do we struggle to not desire the things of this world?
No doubt that these liturgies contain meaningful statements while the hymns are someone’s inspiration and experience. The question here is not about the spiritual richness of the liturgies and hymns but how it is being sung by the believers.
We may recall the Government officials hiring Judas Iscariot to identify the Messiah, as they were unable to recognize Jesus on their own, as they did not have the Spirit of God. Whereas the ten lepers who were staying away from their village, were able to recognize Jesus in a remote place.
This earth will only be able to give us robes (Honor) made by human hands but God wants to give us a New Robe. He wants to replace our worn out prison clothes with His heavenly robe and His seal of approval.
While reading this verse in isolation, some understand this verse as the presence of God is possibly drawn only if two or more people gather in a place. With this misconception, people use this verse to invite God’s presence while they come together. The whole endeavor for coming together in His presence may go in vain as it exposes the lack of knowledge of the word of God in them.
Often times we want humans to remember us. We seek the favor of our fellowmen and women and long for their affection, especially during our present state. But the one who is within us, who is constantly seeking us, who always remembers us and has carved us in the palm of his hands, we treat indifferently or maybe take Him for granted.
Once again Joseph’s cloak became an integral part of someone’s lie and Potiphar was fooled by his wife. Joseph was sent to prison but the Lord’s hand was still with him as the change in scenery did not stop Joseph from rising among the ranks even when he was in the prison.
We are couple of weeks into the New Year and have seen God satisfying our needs and repeatedly experience it in our lives. However, the blessings of the years passed have limited our relationship with God. For this reason, as a new year begins, anxiety engulfs us and we forget God’s enormous power.
Christmas is a well-known festival all over the world, having different perceptions be it commercial, traditional, spiritual and so on. In the Gospel of Luke we see that Joseph and Mary did not get a room for an overnight stay….
Prayer is the breath of every Christian, but how many Christians are actually praying.
Scripture says that Jesus did not allow the evil spirits to speak and the reason behind it is an eye opener to all of us. Jesus does not want people to identify him through someone else but he wants each one of us to experience him personally.
Why does a man fear the commandments and not God? He looks at God as a stringent high school principal with rules stating do and dont’s and fails to understand God’s love.
In the land of Aram (Syria in Greek) there lived a valiant soldier highly regarded by the king and was the commander of his forces. The lord had brought victory to Aram through this man. His name was Naaman. He had a perfect life, respected in his community and feared amongst his enemies. However with his great wealth he also had an incurable disease – Leprosy, the disease which caused one to be shunned from society and live as an outcast.
Almost 2000 years have passed since Jesus Christ had shed His precious Holy blood on the Cross for cleansing the sins of mankind. Although the existence of God is even before the creation of the universe but still mankind is not able to recognise the presence of God. Why is it so?
It is a common phenomenon to expect bad things to happen to our enemies. We expect evil people to pass away from the world, we want good citizen; good governance. We are unable to tolerate people who …
There may be so many unanswered questions in the heart of believers regarding long suffering. End to our prolonged suffering depends on the transformation of our hearts. Psalmist had captured the transformation that took place in the life of believers as they passed through the valley of Baca which is figuratively a valley of suffering or weeping. We are always impressed by the end result but fail to concentrate on the transformation.
At the outset, John in his book introduces the ‘word’ as God Himself. John 1:14 says that God became flesh and dwelt among us. As we are celebrating Christmas, we need to understand why God became flesh. The author of Hebrews explains the reason in Hebrews 2:14-15
We are called to bear witness for Christ Jesus but many believers misunderstand this in their lives and struggle to bear witness. Most of the time we expect miracles to happen in our lives to bear testimony. It is easy to do so when miracles happen but if nothing works out then bearing testimony to Christ Jesus seems difficult.
At once after feeding five thousand men, Jesus asked his disciples to go to the other side. Probably Jesus did not want his disciples to get carried away by the applause of the beneficiaries of the miracle. Jesus decided to spend some quiet time with His Father and went up the mountainside. Shortly before dawn He decided to join his disciples who were sailing. While they saw Jesus walking on the water they took Him for a ghost. But Jesus comforted them by saying “It is I” and asked them not to be afraid. This signifies the level of faith of his disciples.
Jesus was going to Jerusalem via Jericho and huge crowds had gathered all around Him wanting to hear what He had to say. As they entered Jericho, a blind man named Bartimaeus was sitting by the roadside. On hearing the commotion, he asked the people around him as to what was going on, to which he was told that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. We do not know to what extent he knew Jesus…
All believe in one God, but the environment refers to so many Gods and Goddesses where people believe that each of them has some specific task to perform. Likewise, idols are made by men as an object to concentrate on, as they are unable to concentrate on the `unseen’ or `unknown God’. Hence, people believed on all these as various means or ways to reach the `One God’.
Jesus said this to the Pharisees who were unable to see Him and accept His work due to their limited knowledge of the scripture. Scripture is a written law that should be implemented in our day to day life. This is being implemented by two sources, one is with human mind and discipline, the other with God’s mind and discipline. Human mind has laid down some punitive elements to implement the law but God implements His law through unconditional love. Human mind uses a law to accuse but God uses the same law to rescue.
Give a thought to do what is honourable in the sight of all. This is not about pleasing people but about acquiring peace amidst backstabbing people. God does not want us to compromise with truth to have a cordial relation with fellow men.
In the book of Genesis, the serpent played the role of tantalizing Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.I Chronicles 21:1 ” ….Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.” Isaiah (14:12) gives a glimpse of Satan’s origin. In I Samuel (28:7), Saul, a King anointed by God, felt helpless while seeing his enemies…
Ophrah was a small town in Manasseh and was the native place of Joash the Abiezrite. His sons had been put to death on Mount Tabor by the Midianites. His only remaining son, Gideon, was threshing wheat in the winepress for he feared the Midianites. Hardly the great warrior that the Israelites needed to redeem themselves of their oppressors. Gideon found it hard to believe when the Angel of the Lord told him of what God was going to do through him. Little did he know that he would be the greatest Judge that led Israel.
Often we are unable to realise the ways of God, as we expect God to do things in a human way. Even after God had divided the Red Sea and provided the Israelites the food of the angels it was still hard for Moses to believe that God was going to provide meat for Israelites. Was Moses aware of God’s sketch to divide the Red Sea? …
This verse from the book of Proverbs reflects God’s gift of “Free Will” to mankind. Our journey with Jesus starts with a simple confession that Jesus Christ died for our transgressions as our substitute. Paul writes to the Romans that this opportunity lies very near to each individual in their heart and mouth (Rom 10:8)….
“We live and die; Christ died and lived!” ~ John Stott Every year we are reminded to look at Easter not as an occasion for chocolate eggs or to buy new clothes but remember what Easter is all about. But let us try to picture what it would be like not to have an Easter at all….
In the cool of the day, two men from Emmaus were returning from Jerusalem. They had a seven-mile journey ahead of them and plenty to talk about. Unrest was at an all-time high amongst the believers. Rumors were being spread, seeds of doubt and confusion were sprouting and fear of the unknown was overwhelming the disciples.
Elijah lived in difficult times when Israel was in spiritual deterioration.The secret of his success was prayer. Elijah was used to turning the hearts of the people back to the Lord (I Kings 18:37). But what was so special about him?
Quite often we are unable to understand God’s plans. Chronic diseases, fatal accidents, sudden demise of our dear ones and financial crisis keep us in dark from understanding His ways. When we do not understand His ways. Fear hovers over our lives, sorrow fills our hearts and peace eludes us. This shows that our strength is small.
According to the book of Genesis Adam was created by God out of the soil of the earth and He breathed into his nostrils. Adam became a living person. God created the world and all that is in it by His word and when He found everything was good He created man giving him all…
This verse directs us to seek God for obtaining good things adequately. We seek God for various reasons. Among the many who seek God there are two sect of people who seek God. One sect comprises of those who have received blessings in some form be it good education, a lucrative job offer, family, house or…
Temptation and being tempted is something we human’s face in our day to day life. But God will not put us in a state where the temptation will become overbearing. Paul in his letter to the Church in Corinth says, “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and…
Isaiah (5:1-7) Depicts a picture of a vineyard in a fertile hillside, without stones, with choicest vines, watch tower and a winepress, to reflect God’s provision and care for nation. Failure of nation to live up to His expectations was brought out in this portion. In spite of all the provisions the people of God…
The most admirable and simple definition By Paul about Christmas is as below:- “II Cor 8:9 – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, Yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich. “
Main Reading: Genesis 41 In this given passage we read about the dream that Pharaoh dreamt of and how Joseph interprets it. Pharaoh gets really troubled in his spirit after seeing the dream and calls for the magicians and wise men but none could interpret it. Then the chief butler remembers how Joseph had interpreted the…
Main Reading Luke 5: 33-39 How often do we find ourselves much like the Pharisees, criticizing others regarding their spiritual activities rather than focusing on our own? The Pharisees  questioned Christ as to why his disciples don’t fast while they fasted. The disciples were all common men with common occupations whom Christ chose to carry…
One of the most confusing passage and yet it has been cited as the beginning of the end of Saul’s reign, due to his ‘Impatience’. The Philistines had all their soldiers and chariots, “numerous as the sands of the seashore”, and the Israelites were running scared ….
Main Reading Acts: 3: 1-11 Peter and John were on their way to the temple. And a certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb was carried and laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple;. At this stage the deed…
How many times have we been in the situation described in the above mentioned reading? God calls us and we find it hard to part with the earthly things and ask God to wait for us.
Main Reading – Mark 12: 42-44 The reading talks about a poor widow and her humble offering of two small coins contrasting it with the rich lot boasting and casting much more into the treasury. It was a very small amount what the widow had offered but Jesus was satisfied with that because she gave that out…