Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Promise of His Presence

A friend of mine pointed out to me that Matthew talks about the same thing at the beginning and at the end and in the middle of his Gospel:

“… they will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God with us’)” Matthew 1:23
“…where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” Matthew 18:20
“…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” Matthew 28:20

That''s beautiful. This great God not only came to be with us but promises to be with us to the very end.

That's more than enough. His presence is all that we need!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Son of Mary?

Isn't he the carpenter, the son of Mary,.. - Mark 6:3

Jesus was born of a virgin. It was a miracle. It was possible because of the Holy Spirit.But some people in those days did not believe it. Instead, they mocked at Jesus. They thought that some dirty little secret was there in the family of Jesus.

And they made fun of Jesus because of that. How do i say that?

Well, in Mark 6, Jesus is in his hometown. That's where people start calling him "Son of Mary".

In those days, people were identified with the names of their Father.
James, the son of Zabedee, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon bar Jonah. Nobody were identified with their mother's name.

But for Jesus they use Son of Mary to mock him. They were saying indirectly that they dont know who was the father of Jesus. They were talking ill about Mary. Jesus was ridiculed, mocked, and rejected.

Jesus knew the pain of people mocking him because of the family. Jesus suffered because of these gossips.

Is there a gossip going around about your family, about your father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter. Jesus knows the pain. And he stands in solidarity with you.

Once they teasingly said "“We are not illegitimate children,” in John 8. 

 Jesus shared and still shares our suffering. Do not worry because of the bad family name. Jesus will redeem it. He will make all things work together for good.



Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Free Slaves!

In order to be truly free one must become a slave to Christ.

The world seduces us with slavery and calls it freedom. Christ calls us to become his slaves, to take up the easy yoke, which is the only freedom.
                                                              - Michael Card

Paul often called himself “a slave to Christ”

 ...This letter is from Paul, Jesus Christ’s slave,...Romans 1:1;
...Paul, the slave of God ...Titus 1:1;
....I, Paul, the slave of Christ....Ephesians 3:7

Friday, 2 September 2016

Religion that God Accepts!

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. - James 1:27
The word religion is used only one time (as far as i know) in the new testament. And interestingly its not used to explain all the activity we do in the name of religion. All the temple based activities are not here.

The religion that God accepts is this:
1. Caring for the weak people (orphans and widows)
2. Living a holy life

If you are doing these two things, then you are following a religion that God accepts. If not, then you are following some other religion that God does not accept. 

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Dangerous Assumption!

When Jesus was twelve years old, his parents took him to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover festival. After the celebration was over, Jesus did what any parents of 12 year would not want them to do. He stayed back in Jerusalem without informing his parents. 

They thought he was with the group, so traveled a whole day... (Luke 2:44)

They were assuming Jesus was with them or with their group. They were given the responsibility of taking care of the Son of God but missed him because of their assumption.

Are you assuming that Jesus is with you? Instead of following him are you assuming He is following you? Don’t live with this dangerous assumption.

They travelled a whole day without Jesus. How long have you been travelling without Him? A few days, few months or few years…? 

“Every year” the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem and came back. (See Luke 2:41, 42). It was a usual thing for them. So they thought, Jesus would do the same, this year too.

As an individual, as a group, as a denomination, as a church have you been assuming Jesus is with you?

Is that your thoughts about your “every year” rituals, meetings, travels and camps? What if Jesus has some different plans this year? Are you going to assume what Jesus is going to do in your life and in your groups or are you going to ask Jesus what the plans are this year?

I don’t want to assume and miss Jesus. I don’t want to travel without Jesus. How about you?

If you have missed him, start looking for Him. Spend somedays days to analyze where you missed him in the journey, ask your group and seek him with all your heart until you find Jesus. (Luke 2:44 -45)

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Surrendered Self

Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. Luke 14: 25, 26

Wherever Jesus went, large crowd followed. People followed him for different reasons. This time Jesus turned to the crowd and said these words which would have made them uncomfortable. Jesus is saying unless you give it all, you cannot be my disciple. He did not say, you cannot be a mature disciple or a committed disciple. He simply says, you cannot be my disciple.

And in that list the last thing he mentions is your own life. I think that's because that's the last thing we give or surrender. 

Peter said he gave up everything for Jesus but we see he had an unsurrendered self. People are willing to give up their family and possession and go into the ministry but they never give up their self. 

Surrendering your self is a daily process. It has to happen everyday, in every conversation, in every decision, in every thought, in every action and every time.

Though the crowd followed Jesus, we could see they were hearts not really following the heart of Jesus. Physically they were following. But internally they were far away.

Surrendered self is a starting point to follow Jesus. 

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sell and Give!

Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  -
Luke 12:33 

I have been thinking about this verse today. Does Jesus really mean this? Sell and Give. I have never in my life sold anything just to give to the poor. 

I have given to the poor out of my excess. I have never gone to the extend of selling and giving. 

I can very well pass by this command of Jesus saying its not what he meant. I may also say that the bottom line is to care for the poor and store riches in heaven. 

But that "selling" part? What's that all about?