“Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt.28:20)
“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” (Ps. 16:8)
A poor old widow lived alone in a small home in Balmoral, England. She was always happy and enthusiastic about her close companion with the Lord Jesus Christ and spoke about Him always. Her neighbours used to make fun of her for her spiritual attitudes.
One day, Queen Victoria made a visit to this humble cottage and spent some time with the old saint. It became the talk of the town. A few people gathered together wanting to tease the old lady. They asked her, Granny, who is the most honoured guest you have entertained in your home? She immediately replied that it was the Queen. “Now we have caught you alright. You used to always talk about Jesus, so how come He is not your most honoured guest anymore?” With great joy she replied, “But my Lord Jesus Christ is not a guest, He lives with me always in my home.”
Is the Lord Jesus Christ a guest or a resident in your home?
Matt. 1:23; Acts 4:13; 1 John 1:13; 2 Cor.6:16
Excerpt taken from the book “Manna for the Soul” written by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj, published by GLS Publishing.
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“The Lord saith, for them that honour me, I will honour.” (1 Sam.2:30)
On the Zambia- Zimbabwe border, the river Zambezi suddenly plunges into a chasm that is nearly 100 meters deep, creating one of the largest sheets of falling water and a cloud of spray. This fall in the ‘dankest Africa’ as the country was once called was not known to the world till David Livingstone, a Britisher, discovered it in 1855 and called it after his monarch.
The Victoria Falls was named by David Livingstone, the great Missionary who gave his life to serving the Lord Jesus Christ among African people. Now there is a small island just at the edge of the falls that is named ‘Livingstone Island’ after him and a statute to his memory at another edge of the falls. One reaches this famous tourist place after landing at the Livingstone Airport in Livingstone Town. UNSECO has declared this place as a world heritage site.
David Livingstone shines as a star, being one of the ambassadors of Christ with worldwide fame.
“Verily, verily say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit.” (John 14:24)
“If any man serve me, him will my father honour.” John 14: 26b)
Ps.126:5; Dan. 12:3; Jn. 4:36; 1 Cor. 3:9
Excerpt taken from the book “Truths for the Soul” written by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj, published by GLS Publishing.
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There is a lesson for us in Moses’s encounter with God at the bush in the wilderness.
Why did the Almighty God use a scrubby bush to reveal His presence and glory? It would seem that the bush was just a common acacia plant. It had no intrinsic worth. It was in itself completely helpless. And it could not back out. It was caught there, indwelt by the presence of God and fire.
Like the bush, we will never know God until we are helpless in His hands. We will never be of worth to Him until there is no escape. As long as we can run, as long as we know we can depend upon our avenues of escape, we are not really in God’s hands.
Much of our trust in God depends on the fact that things have never gone wrong for us. The crisis time has never come. We figure that God is out there somewhere in case we come to that place of “last resort”.
Let me tell you with assurance that the happy Christian is the one who has been caught – captured by the Lord. He or she no longer wants to escape or go back. The happy Christian has met the Lord personally and found Him an all-sufficient Saviour and Lord. He or she has burned all the bridges in every direction.
Some of God’s children are dabbling with surrender and victory. They have never reached that place of spiritual commitment which is final and complete and satisfying. They still retain their escape routes.
I have come to as sad conclusion about some of the professing Christians around us today. They are poor examples of what Christ is trying to do in our world because they have never willingly given up their doors of retreat. They can get out any time they want to. They can appear to be walking with the Lord as long as things are normal. But when the tight spot comes, the time of crisis, they opt out. They want the human solution.
I thank God for the little bush! It was caught, it was helpless. But it was radiant and useful and enduring in the presence and hands of the living God.
Excerpt taken from the book “Men who met God” written by A.W. Tozer, published by GLS Publishing.
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There is an idea abroad that wrestling in prayer is always a good thing, but that is by no meaning true. Extreme religious exercises may be undergone with no higher motive than to get our own way. Extreme religious exercises may be undergone with no higher motive than to get our own way.
The spiritual quality of a prayer is determined not by its intensity but by its origin. In evaluating prayer we should inquire who is doing the praying – our determined hearts or the Holy Spirit? If the prayer originated with the Holy Spirit, then the wrestling can be beautiful and wonderful; but if we are the victims of our own overheated desires, our praying can be as carnal as any other act.
Two examples are given in the Old Testament, Jacob and the prophets of Baal. Jacob’s wrestling was a real exercise, and at first it was not Jacob’s doing. “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” (Genesis 32:24) Obviously the “man” was the aggressor, not Jacob, but when Jacob had been beaten upon, he became the aggressor and I cried, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.” (32:36). The wrestling was of divine origin, and the blessed results are known to every Bible student.
The other example does not turn out so well. The prophets of Baal wrestled also, much more violently than Jacob, but they wrestled in the flesh. Their writhings were born of ignorance and superstition and got them nowhere. Everything was a mistake – their zeal, their body-punishing prayer, their determination. They were wrong in spite of their zealous praying. And such error did not die with them.
Only the Spirit can pray effectively. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).
Excerpt taken from the book “This World: Playground or Battleground?” written by A.W. Tozer, published by GLS Publishing.
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Once while walking among the hills of a south-eastern state I noticed a piece of a paper lying by the road side.
Its presence there was, under the circumstances, so unexpected that it aroused my curiosity. I picked it up and found written on it in a clear legible hand these words: “In all the world there are only two creatures that are larger when they are born than when they get their growth; one is a wasp and the other is a church member.”
Whether this was a lost gem taken from a sermon delivered in a church somewhere among the hills or in a nearby town, or whether it had been placed there by some friendly philosopher who had observed my approach and dropped it there for my edification I will probably never know, but I found it more than a little interesting.
Not being an apiarist I am unable to judge the truth of the statement that a baby wasp is larger than an adult one; but that part about the church member I find too true to be amusing or even comfortable.
Knowing the good people of the hills as I do, and being familiar with their religious terminology, I am sure that the writer of the epigram meant the term “church member” to be understood as synonymous with Christian, and intended to say that his experience had taught him that average Christian lost “size” and become less a Christian later on than when he was first converted.
Why do so many enthusiastic new converts later run out of steam and settle down to a life of dull religious routine? Why do they lose their first zeal and accept the dead average subnormal spirituality they see about them as the best they can hope to maintain in this present world? Why are they often “smaller” after they have been on the way for several years than they were when they first started on their journey toward the Celestial City?
Now I do not insist that my description applies to all Christians. In fact I think our epigrammatist was covering too much territory when he gave the impression that all church members get smaller as they get older. I do not think they all do, but the fact that some do is enough to disturb one who loves the church and carries the welfare of the saints on his heart; and the fact that any do calls for prayer and careful investigation.
Could it be that after a joyful conversion many have without knowing it become enamored of their experience instead of fixing their eyes upon the Lord? Then when novelty wears off their experience the joy and enthusiasm go out of their lives. What they should be taught is that a true Christian is converted to Christ, not to peace or rest or joy. These things will come in their time, but they will go again unless the gaze is fixed upon Christ who is the source and fountain of all spiritual delights.
Only engrossment with God can maintain perpetual spiritual enthusiasm because only God can supply everlasting novelty. In God every moment is new and nothing ever gets old. Of things religious we may become tired; even prayer may weary us; but God never. He can show a new aspect of His glory to us each day for all the days of eternity and still we shall have but begun to explore the depths of the riches of His infinite being.
Excerpt taken from the book “God Tells the Man who Cares” written by A.W. Tozer, published by GLS Publishing.
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“If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God…I will put none of these diseases upon these…” Exod.15:26
These laws given to Moses are modern twentieth century medicine and public health guidelines. God told His people not to eat “unclean” animals and this is still applicable today. The pig and hare are exceptions, but modern medicine tells us that these two animals have parasitic infections that cause diseases if not cooked well, something which was very difficult to do as the people journeyed in the desert! God also forbade eating flesh of any animal that had died a natural death, advice which is still enforced in most civilized countries today.
The principle of quarantine was also unknown until recently, yet God explained it to Moses nearly 3500 years ago. This ensured that contagious diseases which were spreading amongst other people, who did not have God’s laws, were perfectly controlled amongst the people of God.
The subjects of water supply and sewage disposal are today considered to be of extreme importance for public health and prevention of diseases. Moses, however, thousands of years ago, was using the principles of bacteriology. He forbade the drinking of water from small or stagnant pools, or water contaminated by coming in contact with animals or meat (Lev.11:29-36). Directions for disposal of sanitary sewage by burial (Duet. 23:12-14) and regulations concerning personal hygiene were far ahead of practices even in the civilized countries until the past century. Indeed “the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine” (Ps.33:18-19).
Excerpt taken from the book “And God Said….Science Confirms the Authority of the Bible” written By Dr. Farid Abou Rahme Ph.D., published by GLS Publishing.
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A past filled with difficulty and broken relationships can overshadow the present. Though we have been forgiven our sins and have turned away from them, we are not automatically freed from the struggles of sin. If we are not careful, we can allow these struggles to sap our enthusiasm for life and douse our hopes for the future.
Hope for the future can provide great encouragement for the present. The promise of deliverance makes it possible to continue in the process of spiritual renewal. Zechariah’s book in the Old Testament part of the Holy Bible is a fascinating study of how God, through His prophets, led His hurting people from hopelessness to commitment, through self-examination and transformation to a deepening spiritual perception. It is an account of rebuilding and spiritual renewal.
Disappointment can lead to Despair
When faced with disappointment we have a choice: we can nurture our negative feelings, or we can confront them and find a solution. The people of God chose to hold onto the disappointment that came from exile. This led to despair. To avoid despair we need to give our disappointments to God and confront those aspects of them that we can change. As we use the keys to spiritual renewal, we will find that our feeling of despair will pass. But we can not just passively wait for our transformation. We need to become actively involved in God’s plan for our spiritual renewal.
Hope Encourages us Today
Zechariah’s visions of the future gave hope to the people, helping them face the tasks their present. Our hope of God’s complete transformation of our lives can encourage us to endure the pain that may be part of our spiritual growth today. We won’t always feel so hurt and confused. If we follow God’s will for us in faith, we will experience His transforming power and discover the joy that only He can give.
Hope for the Grieving
1 Th 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
1 Th 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
Our hope of resurrection is an encouragement today to live for Christ. It also helps to encourage one another with the hope of meeting in eternity our loved ones.
Last Sunday (in 2016 April), I was sharing this message of hope in our church here, as one of our sisters lost her mother recently. Our grief is controllable due to this hope unlike the people in the world who have no hope beyond the grave! Because He lives, I have hope for today, tomorrow and for eternity. Hallelujah! Amen.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” James 1: 2.
Any trial can be a joyous experience if your perspective is right. Unfortunately, the anticipation of sorrow and trouble often casts a shadow over our greatest joys. The book of Job reminds us that trouble is inevitable: “Man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward.” Job 5:7.
We all dream of a perfect environment of comfort and tranquillity. Although any temporary rest from trials may lead us into believing we might find permanent exemption from them, our lives in this fallen world will never be without them. We can live in a fool’s paradise, never forecasting any trouble and predicting a future of ease, but that is fantasy. Christ warned His disciples and all who follow in His footsteps to expect trials in this life (John 15:18-16:6). What ought to sustain us in the midst of them is our faith in God, knowing He is working all things out for our good and His own holy purpose (Romans 8:28), and that we will have victory over them through God’s presence (Psalm 23:4).
The book of James was written to help believers endure their trials. In James 1:2-12 James discusses the reason for trials, the appropriate responses to trials, and the result of trials.
Trials are tests that reveal the genuineness and strength of one’s faith (James 1:3), and therefore apply to believers as well as unbelievers. If you consistently persevere through trials and never abandon your trust in God, then you prove to have genuine faith.
Jesus once used 5 loaves of bread to feed a multitude. He first blessed the loaves. But the 5 loaves still remained as 5 loaves – and the multitude was not fed. It was only when the loaves were broken that the multitude was fed. So, being blessed (anointed) by the Spirit is not enough. We also need to be broken by the Lord. Then we will keep our face in the dust and the power of God will flow through us, unhindered.
Moses and Aaron were commissioned at the same time as leaders of God’s people in Exodus 4. Aaron was a fluent speaker, but Moses was not (Exod.4:10, 14). Yet God used Moses and not Aaron – because Moses was a broken man, but Aaron was not. God had taken Moses through a 40-year breaking period in the wilderness. God humbled him, bringing him down from being a ruler in a palace to being a shepherd in a desert. And He made him stay with his father-in-law for 40 years – and work for him as well! That was enough to break him thoroughly. Aaron never had such a breaking. That was what made the difference between the two of them.
We can see the difference between the effectiveness of these two men in Exodus 32. The people of Israel followed the Lord as long as the broken man Moses was in their midst. But when Moses went away from them for just 40 days, and Aaron became their leader temporarily, they drifted away into idolatry and started worshipping a golden calf immediately. Aaron was an eloquent speaker. But he could not preserve God’s people in purity, because he sought to please men. Unbroken elders always seek their own honour and seek to please the people in their church. That is why their people drift away from the Lord.
It was one broken man Moses who preserved two million people in God’s ways for 40 years in the wilderness. That is how it has been throughout the centuries in church history as well. God has used broken men to preserve His church in His ways.
God breaks us by asking us to submit to our elders. “Submission to a godly man will not only protect us from doing many foolish things, but will also enable us to learn a great deal of wisdom from him. He will be able to warn us about dangers that he himself has faced that we may be unaware of. So to be under spiritual authority is as safe for us, as it is for children to be under their parents. “In 1 Peter 5:5 we read that younger men should be subject to their elders, because God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. Here we see a great secret of obtaining spiritual authority from God. I’ve known many fine brothers who were never given spiritual authority by God, for just one reason: They never learned to be subject to anyone in their entire lives. And so their strong will was never broken. Authority is a very dangerous thing in the hands of an unbroken man. If you’re not broken first and you try to exercise authority over people, you’ll ruin them and you’ll destroy yourself in the process too. God has to break the strength of our pride first before He can commit spiritual authority to any of us.
Let me tell you of my own experience briefly. For ten years, between the ages of 20 and 30 in my life, God allowed me to be pushed down and publicly humiliated in more than one church, by elders who were jealous of my ministry. In all those instances, the Lord told me to keep my mouth shut and to submit to those elders without questioning them. And I did. I kept a good relationship with them when I was in their churches and even after leaving their churches. In those years, I never knew what ministry God had in store for me in the future. But God was preparing me to exercise spiritual authority by breaking me over a period of many years. He hasn’t finished with breaking me as yet. Over the past few years, God has taken me through new trials that I’ve never experienced before – like being taken to court by religious people and being falsely accused there – for 10 years. But His purpose in my life remains the same – to break me even more, so that He can commit more of His life and His authority to me.
God breaks our strength and our pride by correcting us through our leaders. Almost all believers find it very difficult to receive correction. It’s not easy even for a two-year-old child to receive correction – especially if it’s given publicly. When was the last time you joyfully accepted public correction? Have you accepted it even once in your life? If not, then it’s not surprising that you lack spiritual authority. “Unbroken people tend to be lonely people. They never submit to anyone. They go where they want to go and do what they want to do. Such unbroken believers can work only with those who obey them and accept everything they say. God can never commit spiritual authority to such “loners”, because He’s building a Body and not a bunch of individualistic believers!”