Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts on praise- 6

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:10)

This was an exhortation from God through Moses to the Israelites before they entered the promised land of Canaan. The Israelites had craved for food in the wilderness. They had murmured against God and Moses. God had given them manna and quails for food.
He had provided them with water miraculously time and again. Some of the Israelites did not follow the commands regarding the manna. They were obstinate and doubted the faithfulness of God. Yet he was merciful to them that he did not destroy them all, though some had to pay dearly for their trespasses.

Must we praise God for the food and water that he gives us? You bet, we must. There are millions who starve everyday because of poverty or famine or natural disasters, so when we eat food or drink water we must be thankful to our Provider and praise him for it.

There are many who suffer from many sicknesses and can't find satisfaction after they eat food. If you are able to eat food and find satisfaction from it, you must praise the Lord.

Praise: O Triune God, I praise you for the food and water that you give. I praise you for giving me satisfaction when I eat. I praise you for the promise of eternal life.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

Getting stuck at the top of a rollercoaster is one of the worst nightmares that rollercoaster enthusiasts might have. It happened for nine people at a Strathclyde theme park in Scotland on July 3rd 2011. Their afternoon ride turned into a long evening with nowhere to go as the Tsunami ride in the park suffered a mechanical failure. Their car stopped 60ft or around 18 metres up. Atleast they were not upside down when it happened otherwise it would have been tragic instead of traumatic. A difficult rope rescue by police and rescue teams, which saw the riders aged from nine to 49 saved one by one, was eventually completed at 12.45am in the morning.

Some believers also get stuck regarding their spiritual lives. The reasons may be diverse but the outcome similar. A stagnation. The writer of Hebrews mentions this regarding believers who do not mature spiritually.
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! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

Are you stuck in your spiritual life? Stagnating?

Here's a piece of advice from the writer of Hebrews,
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1, 2)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Thoughts on praise- 5

In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. (Leviticus 19:24)

God gave the Israelites a specific rule regarding fruit trees that the Israelites would plant in the promised land of Canaan. He said,
When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden ; it must not be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:23-25)

Notice that God spoke in specifics. The first three years they were not to eat the fruit. The fruit of the fourth year would be holy and was to be an offering of praise to the Lord. And they were given permission to eat the fruit from the fifth year onwards.

Why all this trouble? Only for God to bless and increase their harvest. An offering of praise was what God desired.

The writer of the book of Hebrews exhorts us in this manner:Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise - the fruit of lips that confess his name. (Hebrews 13:15)

A continual offer of praise? Is that possible? Definitely!
Why not try it if you have still not tried it?

Praise: O Triune God, I praise you because I have access to you at all times. I praise you because you accept my praises.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Thoughts on praise- 4

He said, "Praise be to the Lord, who rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh, and who rescued the people from the hand of the Egyptians. (Exodus 18:10)

Moses told his father-in-law Jethro about everything the Lord had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel's sake and about all the hardships they had met along the way and how the Lord had saved them. Jethro was delighted to hear about all the good things the Lord had done for Israel in rescuing them from the hand of the Egyptians.

Jethro praised God because God had rescued Moses and the Israelites from Pharoah and the Egyptians. He brought a burnt offering and other sacrifices to God. He acknowledged that omnipotence of God and said,
"Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods, for he did this to those who had treated Israel arrogantly." (Exodus 18:11)

We read in the book of Revelation of a proclamation by God. He says,
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:8)

The four living creatures around the throne of God in heaven praise and glorify God day and night. They never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come." (Revelation 4:8)

Do you acknowledge that your God is Almighty and that he has no equal?

Praise: O Triune God, I praise you because you are Almighty and you rescue me from the power of evil.

Let it all be done in love!

No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. (1 Corinthians 11:19)

Wintertime mood disorder or Seasonal Affective Disorder as it is called, affects people in some countries. Those affected sleep more, gain weight and crave high carbohydrate foods, and tend to slow down and socially hibernate from late fall to early spring. But some get Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the summer. As hot weather approaches, those with summer SAD sleep less, eat less, and lose weight. They're extremely irritable and get angry.

People differ so much and in so many ways. Even believers in Jesus Christ are so different in their outlook towards life in general and even in their spiritual life. The Apostle Paul writing to the Church in Corinth mentions this specifically as we read in the title verse.
Believers there, were in a contest as of who would have the approval of God. So eventually there were divisions. He adviced them to be of one mind. So also while writing to the church in Philippi, he says,
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. (Philippians 2:1-3)

We must remember as believers in Jesus Christ that there will be differences in the ways that we worship and serve him. But we should not look down on those who do not match up to our spiritual standards or are different in their approach towards their spiritual lives. Even if we think that anyone needs correction, let it all be done in love.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thoughts on praise- 3

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. (Exodus 15:2)

There was singing and dancing in the Israelite camp. God had destroyed Pharaoh and his army. God had split the Red Sea for his people so that they could walk across. Moses praised God for the great miracles he had done for his people. The song came naturally to him and the Israelites because they had experienced the mighty deeds of the Lord first-hand .

Moses proclaimed, "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you - majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? (Exodus 15:11)

Moses declared, "In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. (Exodus 15:13)

Mighty are the deeds of God in our lives too. He deserves our praise day in and day out. He destroys the evil forces which try to create havoc in our lives. He opens up unknown ways for our deliverance. He puts a song in our mouth. He is glorious.

Praise: O Triune God, I praise you because you defeat the evil forces that rise up against me time and again. I praise you because you open up ways unknown to me for my deliverance.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Thoughts on praise- 2

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "This time I will praise the LORD." So she named him Judah. Then she stopped having children. (Genesis 29:35)

Jacob had 2 wives, Leah and Rachel. He loved Rachel more than Leah. When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, "It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now." She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too." So she named him Simeon. Again she conceived, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons." So he was named Levi.

Leah had great expectations from Jacob that he would love her because she had borne him not one, but three sons. Sadly, that was not the case.

She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, "This time I will praise the Lord." So she named him Judah........(Genesis 29:35)

Leah finally realized there was one who would love her at all times and that she should lean on him continually to have true happiness. When she gave birth to her fourth son, she took a decision to praise the Lord instead of desiring her husband's affection. She named her son Judah which means Praise.

God cares for us even though sometimes people around us may not care. We must praise him for that.

Praise: O Triune God, I praise you because you love me and care for me at all times.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thoughts on praise

Thoughts on Praise- 1

Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD, saying, "Praise be to the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the Lord has led me on the journey to the house of my master's relatives." (Genesis 24:26, 27)

Abraham's chief servant had been commissioned by his master to go to his country and to his own relatives to get a wife for his son Isaac. The journey ended with the servant landing up in the house of his master's relatives. His prayer for God to grant a suitable wife for Isaac materialized sooner than he thought. And that's why he bowed down and worshiped the Lord and gave him praise. He praised God for not abandoning his kindness and faithfulness to his master and for bringing him to the right place.

Our God is a prayer answering God and like Abraham's chief servant, we must also praise the Lord for making our journeys successful. We must praise him for not abandoning his kindness and faithfulness to us.

Praise: O Triune God, I praise you for making my journeys successful and for not abandoning your kindness and faithfulness to me.

When in a whirlpool of disasters..................

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6,7)

"Rehearse" death with a mock funeral, is being practiced in a Thai temple to end a run of bad luck and bring good luck. There are many who go to this temple to start life afresh. The Pram Manee temple, 107 km northeast of Bangkok, holds two rituals every day: at 9:09 a.m. and 1:09 p.m.; the number nine is believed by Thais to bring good luck. Those who take part, stand in front of their designated coffins, holding flowers and praying for bad luck to go away, then they pray to receive good luck. While the participants lie in their coffins, monks chant prayers. After this, they get up from their coffins to be blessed with holy water by a monk. $6 is paid for the flowers, a white sheet and a "merit set" (contains food, toothpaste, toothbrushes and other necessities) which is to be offered to monks for prayers and the promise of a better life.

The ritual that we read of above is just one of the innumerable ways that people try to get a better life. When in a whirlpool of disasters, people try frantically to solve their problems by turning to every other method available. The question is, "As a Christian, what would your plan of action be if in a whirlpool of disastrous situations?". Anxieties run rampant in such circumstances, but the Bible advices....Do not be anxious about anything......Then what??? In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
But will it work? Could it be so simple? is a question that many believer's ask themselves. The answer is....Yes, a miracle can happen immediately or sometimes the deliverance may take some time, but it will work. But one wonderful result of presenting our requests to God with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, is that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

Instead of panicking and resorting to unbiblical means to get deliverance, it is best for believer's to wait upon the Lord, with prayer, petition and thanksgiving and he will work wonders at the right time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Seized With Remorse

When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. (Matthew 27:3)

A thief who stole a woman's wallet in a New Hampshire supermarket showed up at her door 8 days later to return $90 and a GPS, and brought an apology letter too. The woman said she was surprised to see a stranger at the door and found it even more strange when the man said he was sorry, returned her belongings, gave her the long letter and ran away. Perhaps he found something in her wallet that made him remorseful and prompted him to give back her belongings. But would he be justified if he stole again?

Judas was seized with remorse when he saw that Jesus was condemned, but instead of going to Jesus and asking for forgiveness, he chose to go to the chief priests and the elders and returned the thirty silver coins for which he had betrayed Jesus.
"I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood." "What is that to us?" they replied. "That's your responsibility." (Matthew 27:4)

Deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed is good, but it must lead to seeking forgiveness and repentance which truly means turning away from the wrong done. Then and only then does remorse matter.

Judas could have approached the one who really could do away with his guilt i.e.Jesus, but instead he carried his guilt and seeing that he was no longer in favor with the chief priests, went away and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:5)

It's never too late to go to the Savior and ask for forgiveness for one's sins. The sooner, the better.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fatal Attraction

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Oleander, an attractive flowering shrub, is one of the most poisonous of all commonly grown garden plants. It grows in many countries, and with beautiful, fragrant blossoms, it is tempting to include it in any garden. But touching it or tasting the leaves or stems can pose serious health problems. Handling leaves itself can cause symptoms. Upon consumption, the poison causes vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation, and cramping. It can also cause a rapid, irregular heart rate, poor circulation, tremors, seizures, coma, and death.

Oleander is attractive because of its beautiful fragrant flowers but it is deceptively dangerous. Anyone without the knowledge of the truth regarding it can be cheated and many are. And so are many Christians deceived by hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world. They are fed what is attractive but way away from the truth. They are not told the true gospel and fall prey to lies which seem attractive but are deceptively fatal leading to eternal punishment.

Writing to the churches in Galatia, The Apostle Paul writes,
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel; which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:6-8)

The message to us is clear: Beware of them who pervert the gospel of Christ.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Godless Chatter

Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. (2 Timothy 2:16)

A 39-year old woman, talked for more than half a day while on an Amtrak train going from Oakland to Salem. The loud mobile conversation lasted sixteen hours after which police stopped the train to arrest the woman. In the train compartment, a few passengers asked the woman to end the call but she kept on talking. Staff members were unable to convince the woman to end the conversation; finally they stopped the train and police arrested the woman.

What could a person possibly talk for 16 hours? For most of us, even speaking for an hour would be an ordeal. Godless chatter is forbidden by the Bible. Some believers have the habit of talking without restraint. This the Bible says, will lead to more ungodliness.

The Apostle Paul advices Timothy,
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith......(1 Timothy 6:20, 21)

Believers should exercise self control while talking among themselves and with unbelievers. Better to be hearers than talkers and while speaking adhering to the Apostle Paul's advice to the Colossian believers:
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Wife carrying competition- Anyone game?

Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)

A Finnish pair won the country's annual wife-carrying competition for the third year in a row in June 2011. Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen defended their title in front of 6,500 spectators who turned out to watch the event in Sonkajarvi. The 46-year-old lawyer, his partner's legs wrapped around his head, sprinted 253 metres, leaping hurdles and negotiating a water pool along the way, all in a time of one minute.

Even if this pair did it for the sake of competing, it has some significance when we see that they did it in public for 3 years in a row.

Being considerate and treating wives with respect and as co-heir of the gracious gift of life is not commonly seen. But the Word of God advices husbands to be like that. Even followers of Christ fall short in this matter unless they are committed to obeying God and his Word.

The commands given to husbands and wives in the New Testament of the Bible are not optional. Only obeying them would bring lasting peace in a person's married life. Often husbands and wives complain about their partners not being conformed to the Word, when in fact, what they should be doing is checking whether they are doing their part to perfection.

Lasting peace, satisfaction and joy can be achieved by husbands and wives in their married lives by knowing God's requirements of themselves, as is put forth in the Word of God and striving to achieve that by the help of the Holy Spirit of God.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Watch where you are going!

He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." (Jonah 1:9)

A pony who escaped from a circus in Germany tried to board a tram in its getaway attempt, only to be prevented by the driver and other passengers. The stallion was waiting patiently with people at a tram stop in central Germany, and wasn't shy about trying to board when the doors opened. Other passengers and the tram driver were not in favor and held the animal back. It was later known that the pony had just escaped from a circus that was in town. Circus employees finally put an end to the pony's adventure by taking it back.

Jonah the prophet, was told by God to go to the city of Nineveh and tell them of God's impending judgement upon the city's inhabitants. Instead he ran away and headed for Tarshish in a ship. He lay fast asleep below the deck though a storm had hit the ship.

The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" (Jonah 1:6-8)

And that is when Jonah gave the answer that we read in the title verse. True he was a worshipper of God Almighty, but he had defied the orders of the Lord. Thus the storm. Jonah advised the sailors to throw him in the sea so that the storm would subside. They threw Jonah into the sea and he was swallowed by a fish in whose belly he was for three days and three nights. There he repented and the fish vomited him onto dry land. He submitted to God's command to go to Nineveh and told the inhabitants of God's judgement coming upon them. They repented and God withheld his judgement upon them.

The Bible advices us,
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5, 6)

Have you been going astray lately? Better to obey the voice of the Lord and have peace rather than disobey and land in troubled waters.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Take your stand!

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)

A German chemicals company reported that its managers have begun keeping their mobile phones in biscuit tins during meetings in order to guard against industrial spying.
"Experts have told us that mobile phones are being eavesdropped on more and more, even when they are switched off," said an official. Biscuit tins have a so-called Farraday cage effect, she said, blocking out electromagnetic radiation and therefore preventing people from hacking into mobile phones, not only for calls but also to get hold of emails.

The managers here were not going to be outwitted by rivals. They found a way to secure their cellphones from scheming spies. We should secure our spiritual lives too by putting on the full armor of God, as the Apostle Paul says in the above verse. He tells us of how to dress up for warfare against the evil one.

"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests....." (Ephesians 6:14-17)

Looks tough wearing all that and at all times, but it's possible if we take the help of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor. You have been wearing the full armor, haven't you? It's not optional. It's imperative if you have to overcome the wiles of the evil one and be acknowledged as overcomers by Jesus.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bear with each other

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)

The migration of diamondback terrapin turtles happens every year at New York's Kennedy airport, which is built on the edge of Jamaica Bay and a federally protected park. In late June or early July the animals heave themselves out of the bay and head toward a beach to lay their eggs. About 150 turtles crawled onto the tarmac at New York's Kennedy airport on a Wednesday in June 2011 in search of beaches to lay their eggs, delaying dozens of flights. Within three hours starting 6.45 am, there were so many turtles on Runway 4L and nearby taxiways that controllers were forced to move departing flights to another runway. Flight delays averaged about 30 minutes. Workers from the Port Authority scooped up the turtles and moved them across the airport.

Sometimes people, even believers, may seem like an unwanted intrusion in our lives. But it maybe because they are not as strong as we are spiritually or may be they are in need of help because of their weaknesses. Like the turtles that we read of, they may not realize that they are causing trouble to others. They would be going about their businesses, yet causing discomfort to others. The Apostle Paul exhorts believers in this manner,
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)

Writing to the believers in Rome, Paul reminds them,
"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves." (Romans 15:1)
We can pray to the Lord that he grants us more grace that we maybe able to fulfil these teachings, which if we do fulfil, would be pleasing to the Lord.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)

21-year old Taisia Sidorova, from Saint Petersburg, Russia, was involved in a terrible car accident that crushed her skull and bone fragments were wedged in her brain. Doctors were not sure whether she would survive, but even after she had the left hemisphere of her brain removed, she did not die. The family never gave up on her. The girl’s mother stayed by her bedside praying, massaging her limbs and talking to her. On New Year’s Eve, while she was crying on Taisia’s bedside, the girl moved her arm trying to wipe away her mother’s tears. It was a miracle and in two years’ time she regained her strength, started to speak and even learned to hold a pencil and paintbrush. Although she had shown no interest in drawing and painting, before the accident, Taisia began sketching to pass the time, and when her family saw some of her sketches, they decided to buy her some paints. Her art teacher remembers Taisia showed no artistic talent before her ordeal, but says she now has a natural talent for art and is at the top of her class. Doctors who treated her opine that her brain seems to have compensated for the missing section, and has activated a previously undiscovered talent for art.

The human body is a marvellous creation of God. Scientists are still discovering many new things regarding the human body. It's amazing that so many organs function in so many varied ways. As long as every organ functions smoothly, we hardly realize the significance of it. But when any one organ ceases to function or is decreased in its capability, how much it affects our lives. Another thing notable in the above story is that the mother never gave up. She did what she had to and they experienced a miracle. She hoped against hope and things happened for the good.

Some of the gifts that God has bestowed upon an individual lie latent and need to be discovered. Even natural inborn talents often go unnoticed and unless they are nurtured when noticed, they may not bloom to perfection.

The Psalmist praised God because he realized that God's creation of him was a wonderful piece of work. He sang,
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Best if we all lived with the kind of acknowledgement of the Creator as the Psalmist did.