Friday, 29 January 2016

What Jesus Sees? (Part 2)

42 Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter”[n]).  - John 1: 42

The very first time Simon Peter met Jesus, Jesus looked at him intently. He kind of scanned him through. At present he was Simon, he was a fisherman, he was ordinary and tough to handle. But when Jesus saw him he not only saw the present Simon..but also saw the future Peter.

"Your name will be..."

Jesus now sees you and says your name is .....but follow me you will become..

Jesus sees the "future you" and call the "present you" to come become the "real you" whom he intended to be..

Jesus was patient with Simon as he saw what he could become in the kingdom of God...He is patient with you now because he sees what you could become in the kingdom of God in the future....

Let your journey continue from "your name is...." to "you will be..." as you follow Jesus daily...

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

What Jesus Sees? (Part 1)

Mark 2 records an interesting incident about Jesus healing a paralytic man, who was brought by four friends of his. By tearing open the roof, they let him down to Jesus.

It is interesting to notice what Jesus sees in this passage.

Mark 2:5 says Jesus saw their faith....

...He said to the paralytic your sins are forgiven...

2:8..Jesus knew what they were thinking...

Jesus saw the, sins, thoughts...

He saw their faith and responded to it...
He saw the paralytics sin and forgave him...
He saw their thoughts and corrected them...

Jesus sees things that man cannot see...

Is he looking at your faith, sin or thoughts...? What is the eyes of Jesus looking in your life...

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Read, Stop, Do, Read...

I wonder what would happen if we all agreed to read one of the Gospels, until we came to a place that told us to do something, then went out to do it, and only after we had done it .., began reading again? 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Friendless Sinners

Whenever a person sins publicly (We all sin privately and hide them most of the time from others), the immediate response by the christian society is to unfriend him (facebook language). So a sinner becomes lonely and rejected. In other words, he becomes a friendless sinner.

Jesus was called "...a friend of publicans and sinners" (Matt 11;19) A friend of sinners....What a title!

Jesus was not only a friend of sinners then, but even now he is still the Friend of sinners.

Are we like Jesus...a..friend...of ...sinners...?

The world is full of friendless sinners...May be introduce The Friend of Sinners to the friendless sinners around us...

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Love God

28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”
29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’[g] 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[h] No other commandment is greater than these  - Mark 12

Jesus summarizes the entire old testament into two commandments.

Love God 
Love your Neighbor

Regarding loving your Neighbor Jesus follows up with a story about the good Samaritan. 
(Luke 10:29-37)  

So how do we Love God then.. 

And many Christians think they love God only by going to church. Going to church on a Sunday can be a good start but your loving God should also continue on Monday, Tuesday...and  all Days. 

So how do you Love God? One way to love somebody is to love what they love. So in a way if you love what God loves, you can love him. The question then becomes, what does God love? Well, think about the scriptures...ask God...

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Distant From Jesus?

When did you came close to Jesus? Are you keeping yourself from places where Jesus could be found? It is interesting that church (building) is not mentioned here. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Son Bathing!

A month ago, my boys were diagnosed with vitamin D deficiency. The doctor prescribed that we should expose them to the sun. So they spend some considerable amount of time in the sun these days. They sun bath daily. And because of that their skin is tanned. People could recognize that they have been exposed to sun lately.

In his book "The relentless tenderness of Jesus", Brennan manning explains that when you are exposed to sun so much people notice the difference because of the tan. He says, what is required among Christians is "Son Bathing," that we would be more exposed to Jesus, the Son of God.

As we expose ourselves more to the Son, Jesus, his radiant light starts to fill us and people start to recognize the difference.

Expose yourself to this great Light of the world, Son of God, Jesus. Spend more time basking in the Son. Son bath daily and frequently. Let your life be changed because pf it. Let others see it. Let others want it.

Did you Son Bath today?

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Mad Passion!

Michelangelo, the greatest artist of all times, said this as he neared the end of his life.

“So now, from this mad passion 
Which made me take art for an idol and a king
I have learnt the burden of error that it bore
And what misfortune springs from man's desire...
The world's frivolities have robbed me of the time

That I was given for reflecting upon God.” 

                                           ― Michelangelo Buonarroti

The question is what is your mad passion, which had become an idol and king and robbed you of the time that was given to reflect on God?

The entire life wouldn't be sufficient to reflect upon the beauty of Jesus. 

Friday, 15 January 2016

On Being a Father!

Today is the 6th birthday of my loving Boyz Nathan and Neil! These 6 years has been incredible. And yes, I've learned a lot of unexpected things over these six years.

I always understood that my experience as a son might inform my view of God. But I never guessed that being a father would help me see things a little bit better from His perspective.

It's an imperfect analogy, of course. I am not God — far from it! But it helps. 

I love them irrespective of their behavior.  

I am not waiting for them to err and then hit them. In fact i love them the most when they are weak and when they fall. 

They sleep well because they don't worry about anything. They know they have a father who takes care of them. ( Though i am not even 1 percent like the Real Heavenly Father)

I teach them step by step and not all at once. 

They are always curious and hence the learn all the time.

They laugh all the time even at the smallest things of life. They don't take themselves seriously. They laugh at themselves. 

When my boys hurt each other, or take things from each other, whether they realize it or not, they are hurting me, since I love them both.

I don't want them to study me but to love me. 

I should refocus on the Fatherhood of God. Jesus believed in a perfect father and so should I. 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Studying the Life of Jesus Christ

I have been spending time with Thomas a Kempis, who lived in the 13th century. Well, through his famous book, "The imitation of Christ".

The Imitation of Christ, one of the most popular and best known Christian books on devotion.

He starts his book with these words:

HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness," says the Lord.  By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ."

It cant be so clear than that. If you want to follow Jesus, study the life of Jesus. Start by reading Mathew, Mark, Luke and John in the Bible. How much time have dedicated each day to have a look at the life of Jesus?

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

When Will Day Arrive?

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one--as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.  - Jesus (John 17:21)
There is a Jewish story that goes like this.
“How do we know,” a rabbi asked his disciples, “when the night is over and the day has arrived?”
One student replied: Night is over and day arrives, when you can see a house in the distance and determine if that’s your house or the house of your neighbor.

Another student responded: Night is over and day arrives when you can see an animal in the field and determine if it belongs to you or to your neighbor.
A third said: Night is over and day has arrived when you can see a flower in the garden and distinguish its color.
“No, no, no” said the Rabbi, “Why must you see only in separations, only in distinctions, and dis-junctions. No. Night is over and day arrives when you can look into the face of the person beside you and you can see that person as your brother, as your sister. Night is over when you can see that you belong to each other. That you are one"
Day will arrive in Christianity when we see each others face and see them as brothers. Right now we see others through the lens of denominations, caste, doctrines, beliefs, and so on. Let us put down all these lens and see each other as brothers and sisters in Christ. Let the night of disunity end. Let day arrive. Let us strive to live in unity because that was the desire and prayer of Jesus.  

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Judge Not

Do not judge  - Matthew 7:1

Some of the teachings of Jesus are so direct. One such command is "Do not Judge". But it is one of the difficult command to follow. Most of our complaints about others are because we Judge them. We Judge others in our mind all the time. Judging shows our pride and God can never ever teach a proud person.

There is a story that i recently read.

A certain preacher had a method of dealing with those people who were critical of others. He kept a complaint book in his desk. When a church member would come to tell him of another's faults he would say, "Well, here is my complaint book. I'll write down what you say, and you can sign your name to it. Then I'll go and take it up with our brother."

Invariably the critic would stammer, backtrack, and insist that nothing be written or signed. In his 40-year ministry that preacher opened his complaint book hundreds of times—but never made a single entry.

How about it? Are you willing to write out and sign the ugly things you have said about others? If not, perhaps it would be best to leave judgment where it belongs—with God.

Try not judging anyone one whole day and see what happens. Examine yourself before examining others!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Turning Over Tables

15 Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 
 - John 2:15

Jesus the meek, gentle, lamb of God is what we like to view always. But the above verse paints a different picture of Jesus. Jesus who turns over tables. He was carpenter. May be he made those tables. But they were using it for the wrong reason. So he turns over the tables. Do you know this Jesus? 

What are the tables in your life? Has Jesus turned over any tables in your life? 
Today, what are the tables Jesus would want to turn over in your life?

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Compassion Into Action

Lets read a few verses first.

Matthew 14:14

When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick. 

Matthew 20:34

Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.

Mark 6:34

When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

Matthew 15:32

And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, "I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way."

Luke 7

13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”

I think you understand my point. The compassion of Jesus always led him to do some action. 
We feel sorry for so many people. We sympathize. But it is possible that most of the time our compassion does not lead us into action. 

As we follow Jesus, and each time as we feel compassionate towards a person, ask how can you turn it into action. And then listen to what Jesus tells you and do it. Jesus like feeling should be coupled with Jesus like action. Let's turn compassion into action.  

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Come to, Learn from, Live like...

One of mentor once said something which has always stuck to my mind.

He said, "we come to Jesus, to learn from Jesus, how to live like Jesus.Our goal should be to live our lives the way Jesus would live our lives.... if Jesus had our lives to live."

Have you come to Jesus? Not to church, religion, Christianity or tradition. but to Jesus. Have you come to Him?

Are you learning from Jesus? What is he teaching you these days?

Are you living like Jesus? How far is the gap between your life and his life? Does Jesus live your Life?

Pondering these questions...

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Madmen Whom Jesus Did not Heal!

The first part of Mark 5th chapter talks about a man who lived in graveyard and who could not controlled by anyone. (I would encourage you to read the first 20 verses of Mark 5). He was a madmen, a demon possessed man. He could not control himself from cutting himself. What a tragic condition. But when he encountered Jesus, he comes back to his senses. He becomes a normal person. He is delivered by Jesus.

What struck me today in this portion is as the demons left him and entered the pigs, the way that people of the village reacted was shocking. They did not rejoice with Jesus about this great miracle. Instead they wanted Jesus to leave them. They were more worried about the pigs than the man who was healed. They valued pigs more that they could not accommodate Jesus the son of God.

They had to choose between pigs or Jesus and they chose pigs. How tragic was their condition. Who would chose pigs instead of Jesus? Only a madman would! They were the madmen who Jesus did not heal.

And Jesus respected their choice and left that place.

We like those men choose pigs, the resources of this world rather than Jesus. We like them place low value for Jesus. We like them are the madmen. We need healing from our confused value system.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Brand Ambassadors!

Superstar Amitabh Bachchan will replace Aamir Khan as Brand Ambassador of the Incredible India campaign run by the tourism ministry of the country.

Just saw this news. I remembered 2 Corinthians 5:20 which says "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors.."

 How are we as Christ's ambassadors representing him? Am I building his brand or destroying his brand? When I look at other Brand Ambassadors of Jesus and even at my own life, I feel the Brand Jesus is taking a big hit because of us.

This Incredible Jesus is losing his credibility because of his Brand Ambassadors!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Domesticating God!

I came across this Quote by a Japanese Theologian Koyama....

"Man wants to control and domesticate God. Man wants to confine God in some definite place.  He puts God in a cage, as it were, with inspiring ceremonies and praises!  God is thus 'grounded' (localized) in the temple and this arrangement gives man an opportunity to commercialize his grace.  Special 'sacred persons' are assigned to the temple to retail and distribute the 'tamed grace of God to the people.  This is the way stingy man handles a generous God! (Matthew 20:15)."

 Friends, think about it...

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Going into Arabia!

13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. - Gal 1:13-17

"...I went into Arabia.." That little phrase caught my attention. 

Paul was a doer. He was an activist. He was a man of action. But when God revealed himself in a glorious light and through a voice on his way to Damascus, he went into a solitary time of prayer with God. 

Then, he went into Arabia and i believe that he spent studying the word of God and understanding God's plan for his life. Arabia is a place where you spend time with God alone.

An Encounter - Solitude - Ministry.  That was the order. 

Now a days, I see 4 to 5 christian churches in a street. I am worried about the impact it has on the surrounding community. Thats because everyone who has had a encounter with Jesus, starts working for him without taking time to understand this Great God and his plans for us. 

We need to go into Arabia. We need spend some quality time in Arabia alone with God before we work for him. 

For some you might be in a season of being in Arabia. Stay there till God sends you out into those missionary journeys...

Where is your Arabia? How long has it been since you have shut yourself off from the outside world and spent time with the one who created this world? Go into Arabia...

Monday, 4 January 2016

Meeting the Elder Brother!

Jesus was a master storyteller. He said a lot of stories and it is said he did not speak to the crowd without any parable.

The famous story among the stories of Jesus is the Story of the prodigal son as it is commonly known.The question that I have been wondering about this story is this.

"What would have happened if the returning prodigal son met the elder brother before meeting his Father?"

Lets just speculate for a moment.

The story would have been different. The elder brother would have chased his brother before meeting their father. Or the elder brother would have said that the father is very angry and his father was not looking down the road expecting him. Or he might have told his younger brother that he would try to convince his father to accept him and then get back to him based on the father's response. Or he might have told that the father would never run towards him and he would never party again and dance again with him.

In short, he would have given the wrong signals and images about his father scaring the prodigal son away.

I have been the elder brother turning away prodigals from Jesus by giving the wrong picture about him many times.

There are many elder brothers today who block the returning prodigals from reaching the Father.

Cut through the elder brothers and meet the Father..

...and if you are the elder brother stop blocking people from the Father...

Thank God that the prodigal didn't meet the elder brother first! Lord save us from the elder brothers.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

It's for that Very Reason!

Today i was watching Narnia - Prince Caspian movie and there was this beautiful conversation. It seemed like my conversation with God.

Take a look at it.

[Caspian, Peter, Edmund, and Susan all kneel in front of Aslan]

Aslan: Rise, Kings and Queens of Narnia.
[Peter, Edmund, and Susan stand up, but Caspian stays, head bowed, on one knee]

Aslan: All of you.

Prince Caspian: I do not think I am ready.
Aslan: It's for that very reason, I know you are. 

 I like Prince Caspian many times cry out to God and say Lord i am not ready. And every time God says since you feel you are not ready, you are ready for i can use you now. Our worthlessness moves us to depend on God's grace and power more.

Feeling unworthy? Feeling not ready to do God's work?

It's for that very reason, I know you are.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Astonishing Jesus

Astonishing Jesus! This was the constant reaction of people who met Jesus.

They were astonished by his teachings, by his power, by his ability to silence tricky religious people, by his silence and so on...

So the question becomes, is Jesus astonishing to you these days? If not may be you are not following the real Jesus!

This year, my prayer is that Jesus would astonish me by his words, deeds and his presence!

Let Jesus Astonish you this year friends!

Believing a Different Story

In Mathew 28, we see about two groups who witness the resurrection, the women and the soldiers. Both see the angel, both see the rollin...