Sunday, December 27, 2009


In the 60’s, the Beatles rocked the world through their mesmerizing songs. John Lennon the lead singer wanted to send a tantalizing message to the world so he wrote a song on “Love” which was performed live; and watched by 400 million in 26 countries. If you listen to the song closely you can read the mixed messages.
“There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy “All you need is love, all you need is love; All you need is love, love, love is all you need.”
One way this message was saying you can do everything; does that make you special? No, because what you can do some one else can also do, perhaps better than you, then what makes you special? The only thing that makes you special is love. All you ever need and want is love” Because love is all you need. The Beatles were successful in convincing millions about their version of love but they did not quite know how to point people in the right direction. Could it be because they themselves were looking for love in the wrong places such as, music, drugs, sex, and popularity and so on?

The question however you must ask is what makes me special? Or what can set me apart from the rest? Where can I find true love? Who can truly love me unconditionally? If we were sincere; then our search for true love would lead us to Jesus who came into the world as an expression of God’s love for humanity.

When God wanted to show the world that he loved the world he did not simply say it in words “I Love You” but demonstrated it by sending his only son Jesus Christ into the world. That is the essence of Christmas. In John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” How else did God manifest his love? The prophet Hosea highlights several acts of God’s love toward his people. I would look at three amazing acts of love: His redemption; his care and his correction.

Hosea was the last prophet in Israel. He preached during the reign of Jeroboam II (793-753) B.C His mission was to call the nation of Israel to repent. Upon God’s command Hosea marries Gomer who was practicing harlotry. Hosea’s dealings with Gomer and the names given to the children who were born to him and conceived by Gomer was an object lesson to the Israelites. Just like Gomer was found unfaithful to Hosea the children of Israel too were unfaithful to God. Hosea pursued his unfaithful wife with a love similar to the love with which God perused unfaithful Israel. Inspite of their unfaithfulness God called out to the them to return.

Though the nation of Israel was turning away from God; he loved them; out of his great love for them he called them to come back to him. Just like the nation of Israel we too can go away from the Lord. The call of God is still the same even today. He is calling out to the unfaithful, and rebellious to come back to him in repentance. Vs 1. “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” The first part of the verse indicates that God loved the nation of Israel from its infant stage. The statement “Out of Egypt I called my son” was not only referring to God redeeming Israel from the oppression of Egypt but also carried a futuristic message about the upcoming messiah. It was fulfilled in Mathew 2:15 “Out of Egypt did I call my Son.”
In Exodus 4:22, 23 “My son” was referring to Israel and in Matthew 2:15 “My Son” was referring to Jesus.

The words “my son” indicates a special and intimate father and son relationship God enjoyed with the nation of Israel. God loved Israel so much that he redeemed them from their oppressors. In Psalm 130:8 - 131:1 “He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” Exodus 6:6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an out stretched arm and with great judgments” What does redemption mean?
The word redemption means: The repayment of a debt. The act of purchasing back something previously sold. Theologically it is the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil. In any case the one who is being redeemed depends on the mercy of his redeemer. The Bible says every one who sins becomes a slave to sin. Christ came to set the captives free.

Keith Green a popular American music artist searched r true love in the wrong places, In his mid teens, he became heavily involved in drug use, eastern religion, astrology, and mysticism. His search came to an end when he finally received the true love of God; so he wrote:
“Like a foolish dreamer, trying to build a highway to the sky
All my hopes would come tumbling down, and I never knew just why
Until today, when you pulled away the clouds that hung like curtains on my eyes
Well I've been blind all these wasted years and I thought I was so wise
But then you took me by surprise
Like waking up from the longest dream, how real it seemed
Until your love broke through
I've been lost in a fantasy, that blinded me
Until your love broke through”
Your problem may not be drugs; or astrology and mysticism likes; it may be something else but if you have not yet found the true love of God; you might be searching for it in the wrong places like the Beatles and Keith Green.

II. God’s Caring Love: Hosea 11: 3 “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them in my arms. But they did not know that I healed them. This verse explains how the Lord dealt with Ephraim or Israel as a father would deal with his son. By emphasizing it was I the Lord wanted the nation of Israel to know it was indeed God who has done the caring, teaching and healing and not their idols as they were led to believe.

God showed his love, care and instruction to the Israelites as a loving father would do to his children. Kidner states, “Fatherly love, in Hosea 11:1, is now in vs 3 charmingly portrayed in a scene that any family will recognize, with father absorbed in coaxing and supporting the child’s first staggering steps; picking him up when he tries or tumbles.”

I am familiar with this kind of training. I remember how I used to enjoy helping my three daughters when they started to walk. I would hold them by their arms and walk with them. Marriage and family are the most important institutions on the earth. Through a mother and a father God wants to demonstrate his loving nature. But unfortunately the very foundation of marriage and family are brutally attacked by Satan. As a result we have families breaking apart; marriages are failing; single moms are raising children and so on. Children growing up in families without a father figure at all in the first place or with abusive parents have difficulty relating to a heavenly caring and loving father. Have you ever doubted whether God loves you?

A famous poem of Foot prints by Mary Stevenson.
One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”

Some times we question God’s caring love don’t we? We wonder where God is when we are going through tough times in our lives. Though we do not see him with our physical eyes it doesn’t mean he is not involved in our lives. God wanted the Israelites to realize that it was he who taught them (by giving them the law and the prophets, it was he who fed them for 40 years in the wilderness. It was he who healed them when they were sick; in Psalm 107:20 “He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.” The unseen God is very much present in the lives of his people through many acts of his loving care. Psalm 77:19 “Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.” Whether we recognize it or not God cares for his people. I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”

Discipline is one word many of us would wish it did not exist in the dictionary. It certainly is true that in some people’s lives it doesn’t exist. No one particularly enjoys discipline but it is essential for growth and success. If you want to progress and get ahead in life you need to learn discipline how ever unpleasant it may be. There are 36 scriptures in the Bible pertaining to discipline: Let me mention a few:

The friends who came to comfort Job in his time of distress gave this advice to him.
Job 5:17 “Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” For he wounds, but he also binds up; he injures but his hands also heal.”
God rebukes and discipline’s men for their sin regardless of who they are especially those he loves the most. Hosea 5:1-2 we see that the priests and the royal house have rebelled against God so he says “I will discipline all of them” When it comes to discipline God doesn’t spare any one of his children. Psalm 39:11 “You rebuke and discipline men for their sin”

Why should we embrace discipline in our lives?

Proverbs 12:1 “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.” Proverbs 13:18 “He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.”
Hebrews 12:5-9 "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son." Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it.”

If God disciplines his children because he loves them then how can we withhold love from our children by not disciplining them?

Parents please take note; I can not over emphasize the importance of disciplining our children. Let’s not neglect our God given responsibility to discipline our children while they are young. Partly the kind of mess we are in with the crime; youth violence; drug abuse is because many parents have abdicated their responsibility. If we discipline our children well today tomorrow the courts don’t have to punish them for their wrong and unruly behavior.

The Bible doesn’t mince words when it comes to how to parent our children. Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.
Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you peace; he will bring delight to your soul.
Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death. In NLT it says “Otherwise you will ruin their lives.”

A.W Tozer (1897-1963) a well known Christian author of over 40 books including “The pursuit of God and the Knowledge of the Holy” He was considered by many Christian leaders as a modern day prophet. This is what he says about discipline in the American Church. “We must face the fact that many today are notoriously careless in their living. This attitude finds its way into the church. We have liberty, we have money, we live in comparative luxury. As a result, discipline practically has disappeared. What would a violin solo sound like if the strings on the musician's instrument were all hanging loose, not stretched tight, not "disciplined"?

The numbers tell us how undisciplined we are “The Percentage of American's who own running shoes but don't run is 87%”

Some of us wonder whether God still loves us after all what we have done to grieve him. The truth of the matter is that he still loves us inspite of all the wrong things we have done. He will punish us for our sins but he never with hold his love from us like he promised to king Solomon in 2 Samuel 7:14-15.

How does God demonstrate his amazing acts of love towards you? When you fall down he will pick you up; when you are wounded he will heal you; when you are feeling lonely he will come near you and stay with you. When you are hurting he will comfort you. When you are struggling financially he seeks to teach you and train you. When you disobey his commands he will rebuke and discipline you. When you are in danger he will send his angels to protect you. When you repent of your sin he will forgive and redeem you.

Because his great love God redeems us, cares for us and disciplines us. Revelation 3:19 “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.” Therefore Let’s turn back to God in repentance and bring our lives under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


When Pope Julius I authorized December 25 to be celebrated as the birthday of Jesus in A.D. 353, who would have ever thought that it would become what it is today. When Professor Charles Follen, lit candles on the first Christmas tree in America in 1832, who would have ever thought that the decorations would become as elaborate as they are today. It is a long time since 1832, and longer still from that first dark night brightened by a special star in which Jesus the king was born. Yet, as we approach December 25 again, it gives us yet another opportunity to pause, and in the midst of all the excitement and elaborate decorations and expensive commercialization which surround Christmas today, to consider again the event of Christmas and the person whose birth we celebrate.

How things have changed since the first Christmas. It was angels who announced the message of first Christmas. Now it’s the Macys on November 27th they ushered in the holiday season by lighting the Christmas tree in downtown Boston; announcing it is time to start emptying our pockets on Christmas gifts; replacing Christ with Santa. At the first Christmas the shepherds came longingly to Bethlehem to see the savior of the world; today both the adults and children alike come around the Christmas tree can hardly wait to unravel their Christmas presents. When the wise men mentioned to the then King Herod about the birth of the King of the Jews; along with him all of Jerusalem was disturbed. Today the very mention of Christmas is politically incorrect. How come we have replaced the eternal truths with material things? Is it time for us to consider again the true meaning and the message of Christmas?

Joseph perhaps is the most forgotten man of Christmas. He is Joseph the silent. In the word of God, Joseph never says a word. He is talked to and talked about, but not a single syllable comes from the mouth of Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus. Joseph has the role of an extra. He is a character with minor credits. When we deal with our nativity scenes, he may be the last one set up and first one toppled over. Even though there are fifteen cities in the United States named after him, Joseph is the forgotten man of Christmas.

Many can identify with Joseph in the Christmas story; he is the forgotten man of Christmas; have you ever felt like Joseph lately? You may be feeling left out or lonely; thinking no one remembers you; no one seem to care enough even to send you a Christmas card; You may be surrounded by family and friends but emotionally unfulfilled, that may be your situation. The truth of the matter is that this Christmas season no one is left out or forgotten by God.

As promised, God remembered the prophecies concerning the messiah. The birth of Jesus was prophesied around 700 BC, by the prophet Isaiah. In Isaiah 9:4 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”
In Malachi 4:5 “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah, before the great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.” This birth was referring to John the Baptist. In Biblical history, the approximately 400 years that separate from the time of Nehemiah to the birth of Christ, are known as the intertestamental period. Some times called the “silent years” they were anything but silent. Just imagine for 400 years; No visions! No revelation? No angelic visitations from God? In other words God was silent; the heavens were shut.

Oh! what hard years they must have been? Even though nothing spectacular was happening there were people like Zechariah and Elizabeth who were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.(Lk 1:6)
How ironic it is; today like never before in the history we have access to the best Bible teachers and preachers through TV, Radio and Internet; all the best available Christian literature. How careless and callous have we become when it comes to obeying God and his commandments?

In Galatians 4:4 “But when the fullness of time came God sent forth his son born of a woman” Paul captured God’s timing beautifully here; the Greek words “pleroma chronos” meaning complete; fulfillment; the state of being full. God’s timing is never too early neither it is too late but his timing is perfect. The arrival of Christ the messiah has changed the face of the earth. God never forgets; he remembers his promises.


In the year 63 BC Pompey the Roman general, captured Jerusalem, and the provinces of Palestine became subject to Rome. Herod was the great King over Judea. During these unhappy years of oppression and internal strife the Jewish people were looking for the messiah to come and deliver them from the tyranny of the Roman Empire. It was a long wait; but finally that wait ended when Gabriel appeared to Zachariah who was the priest at that time. He was told that his wife was going to have a baby. At first Zachariah was skeptic; but when the promise came through he prophesied Luke 1:69-74 “He (God)has raised up a horn (strength) of salvation for us in the house of his servant David)…salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us…to rescue us from the hand of our enemies..”

Christmas is a time of deliverance; It was not only meant for the Jewish people then but it is also for us today. The culture we live in today gives prominence to self reliance and self actualization. As a result there are a lot of “self help” and “do it yourself” books out there. This in itself is not necessarily bad but some times these books make us think we are invincible; we can do any and everything. We become gods in our own eyes. No doubt there is definitely place for taking personal responsibility when it comes to dealing with life; but certain situations are too hard; they are beyond us, that is when we must cry out for outside help.

In the Celebrate Recovery a twelve Step Christ centered recovery program by the way our church offers such a program right here; they begin their process of recovery by reminding people with addictions: “we were powerless over our addictions and compulsive behaviors, that our lives become unmanageable” Secondly, We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” I like this approach in recovery because it is a cry for help; a cry for a deliverer who can come and deliver people from their addictions and compulsive behaviors. We need a deliverer who is much stronger than ourselves.

When the Israelites faced the Red Sea in front of them and their enemies were fast approaching behind them Moses said to them: Exodus 14:13"Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” Psalm 33:17 “A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.” Paul learned not to rely upon himself but entrusted his life to some one who can deliver him from his troubles so that he could say, 2 Corinthians 1:9-10 “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,”

John Paton (1824-1907) was a missionary in the New Hebrides Islands New Hebrides was the colonial name for an island group in the South Pacific that now forms the nation of Vanuatu.. One night hostile natives surrounded the mission station, intent on burning out the Patons and killing them. Paton and his wife prayed during that terror-filled night that God would deliver them. When daylight came they were amazed to see their attackers leave. A year later, the chief of the tribe was converted to Christ. Remembering what had happened, Paton asked the chief what had kept him from burning down the house and killing them. The chief replied in surprise, "Who were all those men with you there?" Paton knew no men were present--but the chief said he was afraid to attack because he had seen hundreds of big men in shining garments with drawn swords circling the mission station.”

God is our strong deliverer. Psalm 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”


C.S Lewis once said, “Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in the slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
Men and women have pursued joy in every avenue imaginable. Some have successfully found it while others have not.

Perhaps it would be easier to describe where joy cannot be found:
Not in Unbelief -- Voltaire was an infidel of the most pronounced type. He wrote: "I wish I had never been born."
Not in Pleasure -- Lord Byron lived a life of pleasure if anyone did. He wrote: "The worm, the canker, and grief are mine alone."
Not in Money -- Jay Gould, the American millionaire, had plenty of that. When dying, he said: "I suppose I am the most miserable man on earth." Barney Madoff might say the same
Not in Position and Fame -- Lord Beaconsfield enjoyed more than his share of both. He wrote: "Youth is a mistake; manhood a struggle; old age a regret."
Not in Military Glory -- Alexander the Great conquered the known world in his day. Having done so, he wept in his tent, before he said, "There are no more worlds to conquer."
Where then is real joy found?

Did you know that there are more scriptures in the Bible speak of joy than sorrow and misery? Sad 9; Sorrow 34; Misery 34; Pain 39, Joy 210;. If these numbers should say any thing they should say that our God is a God of joy and not of sadness and misery. If God is not the source of sadness, sickness and misery then who else could be the source?

How can we differentiate joy from happiness? According to Webster: “Happiness is the pleasurable experience that springs from the gratification of desires; enjoyment; good fortune; luck; prosperity.” It is based on luck or good fortune. Joy on the other hand is described as a vivid emotion of pleasure. Thus happiness depends on circumstance; joy on our emotional well being. When we win a lottery we feel happy; but we feel joy when we look at our children or grand children. The following Alive website article reads:

“One way to understand the differences between joy and happiness is to think about their opposites. While the opposite of happiness is unhappiness, the opposite of joy is fear.
William Blake showed us the dichotomy between opposites. He wrote that two opposing emotions such as fear and joy expand and contract in direct relation to the presence of the other. We cannot feel total joy and total fear at the same time. This is why real joy is the absence of fear. Happiness happens when things go well. Joy on the other hand comes from a swell of emotion within us and sometimes has to be learned.”

If Joy is the absence of fear could it be for that reason when the angels visited Zachariah, Mary; Joseph; and the shepherds the first thing they said was “Do not be afraid”? Because the news followed afterwards would no longer be good news because if they were afraid. During his earth several times Jesus assured his disciples saying “fear not”; After, his death and resurrection the angels told the frightened women don’t be afraid Whenever God appeared to his people in the Bible and even today the first thing he wants to take care of is fear because you can not have fear and trust God at the same time.

The Bible is full of scriptures that say; do not be afraid.
Do we dare to let go of our fears and rejoice that the Savior has come? Or are we like the Presbyterians at a conference in Omaha who were put to a little “Joy test”. People were given helium filled balloons and told to release them at some point in the service when they felt like expressing the joy in their hearts. Since they were Presbyterians, they weren't free to say "Hallelujah, Praise the Lord." All through the service balloons ascended, but when it was over 1/3 of the balloons were unreleased. Let your balloon go! Lift up you head and let your heart sing. Joy to the world the Lord has come… Let earth rejoice his

Sunday, December 13, 2009

THE SPIRITUAL WAR ZONE:(The Three Battle Grounds)

The sights of exploding bombs, Army tanks, burnt down buildings, and gun shots, grimly remind people that they are in a War Zone. A group of academics and historians compiled this startling information: Since 3600 B.C., the world has known only 292 years of peace! During this period there have been 14,351 wars large and small, in which 3.64 billion people have been killed.

For many of us war is not a new concept. According to this article the world has been literally at war since 3600 B.C but another war has been going on since the creation of the world that is Spiritual warfare. The Argentinean Evangelist Ed Silvoso says, “The Church in the West today presents too easy a target for Satan. We do not believe we are at war. We do not know where the battleground is located, and, in spite of our weapons, they are neither loaded nor aimed at the right target. We are unaware of how vulnerable we are.”

Though we may not visibly see the exact location of where this Spiritual warfare is taking place, the fact is that we are indeed in a Spiritual War Zone. Paul compares Spiritual warfare to a wrestling match in Ephesians 6th chapter. Like wrestling, spiritual warfare is constant and the battle is absolutely constant. When I say the battle is constant, it does not mean that we must struggle to maintain which God has done. We don’t need to struggle to achieve salvation. The grace of God has placed us in that position. We stand, not for our salvation but because of it. Let’s look at the strength of the enemy, his impact in the world and his three battle grounds.

How often do we think about angels fighting? Until the publishing of Frank Peretti’s book, “This Present Darkness” in 1986 many did not consider the Biblical reality of angels and demons. Even now many Christians do not consider it at all. Daniel 10 gives us a peek into the cosmic unseen realm. Daniel fasted and prayed for twenty one days. Many of us would give up after praying for twenty minutes. As a result of his prayer God sent an angel, “Daniel 10:12-13 Then he continued, "Do not be afraid, Daniel.” Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia.” Later the angel says, “But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia.” Vs 20.

In the story of Daniel we see how evil forces can oppose God’s angels. Let’s not under estimate the power of Satan. Jesus often delivered people who were possessed by demons by a simple rebuke. The freeing of the demoniac gives us a glimpse into the power of Satan. Mark 5:1-5 “When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.” The strength and the power of this man was unusual no wonder he was controlled by over 2000 demons. With one command Jesus freed the demoniac. Another hilarious incident explains the power of the evil spirit.

We read in Acts 19:14-16 “Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were driving out demons by using Jesus’ name. One day the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” Pretty embarrassing’ right? That shows the power of the evil spirits. Don’t play with evil spirits.
The Bible refers to Satan and his power a lot does it mean it is giving too much prominence and publicity to the devil? I have been sharing for the past three weeks on this subject matter as well. Why do I do that? As I have mentioned earlier, most spiritual warfare is won in our awareness of the work of the enemy.

Let’s be aware of the enemy; but be impressed by our God and His power!

Think of the most grotesque and evil things people do to one another. Think of the 9/11 terrorist attacks where 2,976 innocent people were killed. In 2008 Mumbai attacks, nearly 200 people were killed and 300 were wounded. Think of all the violence, crime, and wars, the killing of innocent babies, broken marriages and families, and other devastations in the world. Does this make you wonder who could be behind all this tragedy? Dean Sherman the author of Spiritual warfare writes, “We recoil in horror from these terrible things that men do to one another. For the most part, we are sheltered from the terror of these realities. But these things have all been spawned by our enemy. Satan is far worse than anything real or imagined.”

Satan seems to be having the control over the world. He is publicly worshipped. Many are being deceived by listening to his lies, and blindly following him. There are Satanic Churches and there even is a Satanic Bible. How does one gets into the grip of Satan? It is through disobedience to God and willing exposure to satanic activities. Satan intends to destroy our minds, bodies, character, reputation and our relationships. The Bible warns us against certain evil practices. In Deut 18:10-12, “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead, For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord.”

Why should Christians avoid these abominable practices? Because, when we consult a supernatural source for understanding we open up ourselves to the powers of darkness. God wants us to consult him when we need understanding. He wants us to ask him for wisdom. According to Dean Sherman,“the growth and widespread acceptance of the occult has been increased in the recent decades.” The other day I went to the RITE AIDE store to pick up some medicines while checking out, my eyes fell on a glittering gold color horoscope book titled “Know your future 2010 by reading your Stars” Hm! Here I’ve been fasting and praying to sense God’s direction for me, my family and the Church in 2010, how easy it would be to just flip through something like that?

Unfortunately every morning over coffee, millions flip to the horoscope section of the daily news paper to find out what their day will be like. If you have more money, you can even hire a personal psychic who could predict your future. Undoubtedly these days Satan is targeting Christian homes and families with an intention to destroy them. As parents we have an awesome responsibility to bring up our Children in the ways of God. Parents let’s be careful on what we let our children read, listen, watch and play with. For example, tarot cards, Ouija boards, Dungeons and Dragons games, certain comic books with demonic characters, palm reading, certain computer and video games, music and so on. Like any other sin all these, usually start out as innocent fun and exploration, but what people don’t realize is that they get caught in a web of evil powers that can ruin their lives. What are some of the prime targets of the enemy? Let’s look at the three battle grounds.

Coming back to my war analogy in the beginning, in any war strategic areas such as Bridges, Roads, Airfields, Television, Radio Station, and Telecommunication are highly protected from the enemy. There will be intense and heightened security around these targets. Whoever will hold these key places can eventually win the battle. In the same way in spiritual warfare the enemy likes to target three main areas in a believer’s life. 1. The mind 2. The heart. 3. The mouth. If he could get hold of these three areas he can destroy your life.

Every thought that enters our mind has three possible sources. Firstly, God has created us with a unique ability to think our own thoughts independent of any other source, these are our thoughts. Secondly God can speak into our minds, while praying, reading the scriptures or listening to a sermon or listening to wise council. Thirdly, the forces of darkness also speak to us. Unfortunately, many Christians listen to the enemy, are influenced by him and suffer the consequences. Why is the mind the first strategic target? Because everything begins in our minds. Most spiritual warfare takes place in our minds. The more we listen, and believe the lies of the enemy in our minds the more we behave like. What we think is often what we tend to believe.

There were times I needed to catch myself from thinking negative and critical thoughts of other leaders and ministries. Satan is the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10). He takes delight in filling our minds with accusations against our husbands or wives, our leaders, our friends, or people from a particular country or city or against God himself. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”(NASB).

Two mental strongholds are extremely common today among Christians and non Christians a like: thoughts of inferiority and thoughts of condemnation. Inferiority thoughts constantly tell us, “you are not tall enough” “you are not beautiful” “you are not smart enough” “you are not really making it in life” “No body loves you” In my own life I struggled with these thoughts and also ministered to many people who have entertained such thoughts. For some Satan brings thoughts of condemnation saying, “You are not pleasing to God, you are not spiritual enough, you are not reading your Bible enough, not praying enough, you are not close to God. These thoughts make us feel like we could never experience God’s fullness in our lives.

Some Christians live constantly with thoughts of inferiority and condemnation. Through spiritual warfare we must pull down these two strongholds. How can we do that? It is possible by renewing our minds or replacing the lies of the enemy with the truth from the scriptures. The truth of the matter is “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”(Romans 8:1)
We are called to watch our hearts with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23). When the Bible refers to “the heart” it may mean many things. In regards to spiritual warfare, I am taking two of the Bible meanings – the attitudes and the emotions. We know the utmost importance of the head and the heart in our body. In a battle if a soldier looses a leg or a hand can still survive but a wound to the head or heart can bring fatal.

We Christians are good at dealing with sins of actions but we seldom pay attention to what goes on in our heart, our attitude and emotions. Great many number of books out there in the market dealing with the subject “Attitude” Jeff Keller wrote a book titled “Attitude is everything: “Change your attitude and Change your life” secular people understand the importance of having the right attitudes. We can do and say the right thing but if our attitude is bad nothing we do or say pleases God. We should be just as responsible when it comes to dealing with wrong attitudes. Putting on the old self and putting on the new self (Eph 4:22-24) means taking daily responsibility to deal with our wrong attitudes.

How about dealing with our emotions like anger, harboring bitterness in our hearts. Ephesians 4:26 "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry and do not give a foot hold to the devil. Why is it important to check our anger quickly, when we remain angry for a long time we will give entry to the devil; If we give him one foot he will come in ten feet into our hearts. Bitterness is another thing that can destroy lives. Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” It is our responsibility to get rid off anger and bitterness, Ephesians 4:31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Please don’t remain angry and bitter and miss out on God’s grace.

So often we who are supposed to be encouragers of the brethren and proclaimers of truth allow our mouths to become tools of destruction in the hands of the devil. In the name of freedom of speech we talk any and everything that comes to our mind; we justify it saying “this is my opinion.” Even Christians at times let unwholesome talk come out of their mouths without blinking an eye. What does the bible say about our words and our tongue?
Ephesians 4:29-31 “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Much can be said on our speech; I will keep that for another time.

How could we have the victory over our mouth? Firstly, by repenting of our loose talk, secondly, by asking God to give his fear over our mouth thirdly, asking God to shut our mouths like David did, Psalm 141:3 “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips. So far we have learned that we are in a spiritual warfare, the warfare is consistent, our enemy is indeed strong and powerful, he is causing havoc in the world, he attacks us in our mind, heart and mouth. Let’s guard these three crucial battle grounds of the enemy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

KNOWING YOUR ENEMY(Regaining Spiritual Power)

We are in the thick of the Basket ball season. After a brief bump in the road, where our Celtics lost three of four games in mid-November, all seems to be right again in Boston. The Celts are riding high with a five-game win streak. To ensure his team’s victory any good coach understands that knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his own team is only half the game; knowing and understanding the opponents personnel is the other half. Basket ball strategist Clint Adkins says, “Learning about the opponent is best accomplished by scouting, which includes going to opponents games, watching tapes of them play and looking for players statistics.”

Scouting is not only used in basket ball games but also in military combating. This is not a new thing; it was used a long time ago by military strategist Moses when he dispatched the first CIA (Canaan Investigation Agency) ever. He sent out twelve spies with specific instructions to investigate the land of Canaan: “See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they un-walled or fortified?”(Numbers 13: 18-20)

In my previous message I have shared that whether we like it or not, whether we are prepared or not we have an enemy to fight and a war to win. This is unlike any other warfare; this is Spiritual Warfare. The enemy we are dealing with is much smarter, more powerful and wiser than we think and above all he is vicious and wickedly harmful. He has a bagful of schemes and plans to deceive and possibly destroy God’s people. As a good spiritual coach and a caring pastor I do not want any one of us to be as gullible and ignorant as to succumb to his tactics.

How can we fight the enemy on a daily basis? How can we become victorious in our battles? At the end of every famous GI Joe episode, the network would play on the famous GI Joe Public Service announcement it would always go something like this: The Kids would say "Thanks now we know. G.I. Joe Soldier would respond saying "knowing is half the battle!" in the same way knowing about the origin, the nature, strengths, limitations, his battle strategies and the destiny of our enemy is half the battle. So let’s explore.

All Bible believing Christians acknowledge the reality of Satan or the Devil. I Peter 5:8, “Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the Devil.” The word Satan both in Hebrew& Greek means adversary, the accuser, the superhuman figure, the enemy of God and his people. Has Satan always existed like God or has been created at one point? What does the Bible say about his origin? Though we don’t read much about how he was created; nonetheless he was a created being like everything else.Colossians 1:16 “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” All things; yes including Satan was created by God.


When we think of Satan or the Devil we imagine a shady character in dark clothes, with two horns on his head, two wings, long tail, with a pitch fork in hand terrorizing people. Neither does he walk around with a red band on his forehead which says “SATAN.” When God created Satan was he as ugly and bad as Hollywood and cartoonists tend to project? No! Like everything else that God created he was a good Cherub (angel); God anointed him and placed him as a guardian cherub. “He was the model of perfection full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12).
He was blameless until wickedness was found in him. In other words until Satan sinned. What was his wickedness? What caused Satan to loose his position of being the guardian worshipping angel? The scripture says, that his heart became proud because of his beauty and wisdom, he exalted himself above God. Therefore God drove him in disgrace from the mountain of God to the earth.( Ezekiel 28:16,17) along with him he brought a third of angels who later became his followers, (Rev 12:4). He’s now along with his evil forces fighting for control of the world and the souls of humans. Pride became the downfall of SATAN.

What does the Bible have to say about Pride?
Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
James 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below. News of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn't a technology problem like radar malfunction--or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship's presence nearby. Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late.

At times we take pride in our achievements, and accomplishments, thinking that it was all because of us. But we fail to give the glory back to God who enables us to accomplish things.
May we learn from this call for National humiliation and Fasting & Prayer day by Abraham Lincoln on April 30th 1863.

Excerpts from that proclamation: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”
While much can be said about pride, here we have an example in Abraham Lincoln who was humble enough to call the nation back to acknowledge their sin of pride and ask God for his mercy and forgiveness.

The Bible doesn’t keep silent when it comes to exposing Satan. There are number of names mentioned for Satan in the Bible which give us a glimpse into the nature of Satan.
Accuser (Rev 12:10),
Beelzebub (Mt 12:24)
Devil (Mt 4:1)
God of this age (2 Co 4:4)
Murderer (John 8:44)
Prince of Demons (Mt 12:24)
Prince of the kingdom of the Air (Eph 2:2)
Prince of this world (John 14:30)
Ruler of darkness (Eph 6:12) Serpent (Gen 3:4) Tempter Mt 4:3) Unclean Spirit (Mt 12:43) Evil one Mt 13:19)

Jesus further revealed the nature of Satan by saying, John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 8:44 “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Satan has been a liar, murderer and deceiver from the beginning. Satan deceived Eve by causing her to question the goodness, love and motives of God. Did God really say? You must not eat from any fruit from any tree in the Garden? In other words has God placed any restrictions? He created a doubt in the mind of Eve, to further strengthen that doubt he told her a half truth, “You will not surely die” your eyes will be opened and you will be like God knowing good and evil.” Nancy Leigh Demos the author of “Lies Women Believe” says, “Eve had listened to that lie, believed that lie, and acted on that lie. Every problem, every war, every wound, every broken relationship, every heartache—it all goes back to one simple lie.”

Sin always begins with a doubt and followed with a lie. For example having an affair and committing adultery, when the Bible says “You shall not commit adultery” you doubt the good intentions of God in a committed relationship to one spouse. You will believe a lie which says, no one will notice your affair, your wife is not hear, by they way cheating on wives is a common thing these days, in fact it makes you more of a human like some one said in the recent celebrity cheating case of Tiger Wood. Be careful your sin can always catch up with you; sooner than latter. The enemy is a deceiver from the beginning. To deceive means “To cause to believe what is not true; to mislead.” Many ads on the TV and magazines can be misleading. Our culture is steeped in deception. It is everywhere. Many of us have been sorely disappointed rather deceived by certain ads either on the TV, Billboards or magazines. Don’t be deceived, everything that glitters is not gold.

Satan is deceiving millions with half baked truths. Leigh Demos deals with 40 lies that women tend to believe, “I am not worth anything, I need to learn to love myself, I can’t help the way I am, Physical beauty matters more than inner beauty, I can sin and get away with it, I have to have a husband to be happy, My husband is supposed to serve me, If I submit to my husband I will be miserable, Sometimes divorce is a better option than staying in a bad marriage.”

How about men? Are they any better? No they too believe lies. What are the lies that men believe? The following list is taken from a blog article. It may not be true with all men but it gives us an idea of the lies we men tend to believe:
No one will find out. I won’t be caught viewing pornography The consequences won’t be that bad.
I don’t need other people. No one else faces the same temptations I do.
More money and possessions will make me more happy.
I can’t help who I am. I could never do anything great for God.
The best way to provide for my family is to work, work, and work.
Its uncool to be humble, ask forgiveness, seek help.
Its uncool to be kind, considerate, and show grace.
A little time in church on Sunday is enough.
God has nothing to do with my work and hobbies.
My marriage is never going to be great.
If my wife is unresponsive its okay to look elsewhere for what I need.
Its impossible to relate to my wife.
Little sins are okay – everyone does them.
Church is for wimps. God is not able.”

May be there are other lies you believe that are not included in this list. How about the lies young people believe? It is cool to be a rebel, quit school; it is for wimps, Pre marital sex is great; every one is doing, it better prepares you for marriage, For boys: if you drive a cool car, girls will fall for you. For girls: if you wear sexy and revealing clothes you become popular. Life is short so enjoy everything now.

Unfortunately even in Christian circles lies are rampant. According to Leigh Demos, “Tune into many religious radio and television broadcasts, listen to many popular Christian mental health professionals, and you will find respected Christian leaders who are deceiving their followers. They promise God’s blessing and grace to people who do not qualify because of their willful disobedience and unrepentant hearts. Through their teaching help people justify:
Anger (“healthy expression of your true feelings”)
Selfishness (“You’ve got to place boundaries between you and demanding people)
Irresponsibility (“you are dysfunctional because you have been deeply wounded by others) and infidelity (“You are free to divorce your mate and marry some one else; God is the God of the Second Chance). At the same time through their teaching, they make the righteous “feel” sad or guilty: For taking personal responsibility (“You are codependent”)
For demonstrating a servant’s heart (“you shouldn’t let others take advantage of you) and for being faithful to their vows (“God doesn’t expect you to stay in that marriage.”)

From the beginning, the enemy has tried to make right look wrong and the wrong look right. How can we encounter the lies of the enemy? Jesus gave a principle to follow in combating the lies that the enemy bring to your mind. John 8:31-32, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It is only by holding on to the teachings of Christ, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free from the bondage of Sin. We looked at the origin, the fall, the names and the nature of the enemy. Knowing our enemy is half the battle.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (Regaining Spiritual Power)

Donna Summer a local neighborhood girl from Dorchester who started her carrier as a gospel singer became the first female artist to have four number-one singles in a thirteen-month period. Summer's website claims that she has sold more than 130 million records worldwide. Listen to the words of one of her popular songs “No more tears (Enough is enough).
“Tell him to just get out
nothing left to talk about
pack his raincoat show him out
just look him in the eyes and simply shout

Enough is enough is enough
I can't go on, I can't go on, no more no
enough is enough is enough
I want him out, I want him out that door now
“I Cant’ go on I can’t go on no more no”

Obviously there is a message here from a female lover who was looking for a perfect lover but in the end was badly cheated by him. It was time for her to say “Enough is enough” We often see posters or hear people talking about things going out of control just like in this add “Enough is Enough” But how about the internal trash? Do we say Enough is Enough?

Have you ever felt that you have been trapped in your addiction to alcohol, smoking, drugs, over eating, and wrong relationships? Are you tired of trying to kick certain habits or harmful patterns but you seem powerless? Do you struggle with sin? You feel like you can’t take it anymore may be it’s time for you to take personal responsibility, turn around and say, I am not going to put up with this any more, I am sick and tired of being a defeated Christian. Enough is enough.


There are many great qualities in this culture; one of them is the tenacity to fight against odds. There is great resilience and a never say die attitude. How come that on the other hand we see so many powerless when it comes to fighting against certain crippling, and harmful habits?

As a result we have 50% divorce rate in first time marriages, highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world, 750,000 teen pregnancies annually. Currently, 3,900 babies die from abortion every day in America - one every 22 seconds. Each year, over 1.4 million infants die from abortion. More than 50 million babies have been killed in America since the Supreme Court's ruling in 1973: more than the total loss of life in every American military conflict. Not to mention forty million smokers. Aren’t these numbers staggering? Why are so many lives being lost? Why so many are living in defeat? Sadly speaking even many born again Christians seem to be living a life of defeat.

What is the cause behind this moral decay in a nation that was presumably founded on Judeo Christian principles? One of the primary reasons I believe is that the arch enemy of God, Satan is having a field day.

The apostle Paul reminds us that there is a war between God’s children and the powers of darkness, a war between good and evil. This is unlike any earthly war; many bible scholars call this “Spiritual warfare” in order to be victorious in this war we need to develop an attitude that says “Enough is Enough to Sin” and learn how to regain our spiritual authority to take a stand against Satan, the deceiver. Some of us are so deceived that we can’t even recognize that we are in bondage. The Bible says every one who sins is a slave to Sin. (John 8:34) I would like to share some principles which will help you to stand your ground and experience true freedom.

We must look at our struggles in a broader context. Recognizing that we are in a Spiritual warfare puts some of our battles in right perspective. What is the nature of Spiritual warfare? Who is our enemy? What is the nature of the enemy? What are the enemy’s battle grounds? Who is our God? What are the weapons of warfare? How are we to fight our enemy? How to lead a victorious Christian life? There is lot learn so let’s get started.


In ancient Greece wrestling was a popular sport. The readers of his time were familiar with wrestling. Paul uses this analogy to explain the nature of Spiritual warfare. In Ephesians 6:12 “for our (struggle) in KJV it is “for we “wrestle” not against flesh and blood” but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Is it possible for a born again Christian to be attacked by evil forces? Have you wondered why you are struggling with sin even though you are saved? Has it been hard for you to quit a certain harmful habit? Are you living in defeat? Do you lack spiritual power? Do you want to be free? Whether you realize it or not, every child of God is involved in a Spiritual War. Paul recognizes that he was waging a war with in himself, Romans 7:23 “but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.” If Paul was not exempted from fighting a war do you think you and I will be exempted?

Spiritual warfare is between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. When you made a conscious decision to follow Jesus you brought much joy to God and the angels but upset Satan and his evil forces. He will do any and every thing possible to hinder you from growing spiritually.

Spiritual warfare is constant. It is fought twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and 52 weeks a year. There is no room to be complacent. When we talk about Spiritual warfare there are two extremes. One is the under emphasis and the other one is the over emphasis. What do I mean by that?

Those on the under emphasis side would say in this modern time and age there are no demons, it is just a myth, it’s all your imagination, and they completely ignore the fact that the demons exist and they are real. Others on the over emphasis side see demons everywhere. They give too much publicity to demons; they attribute every thing to demonic activity. They are demon chasers.

We must avoid either of these extremes and develop a balanced outlook on this subject. “The man who fears God will avoid all extremes” (Ecc 7:18). I personally do not think that the enemy is the cause for all the problems, and struggles we face. Some problems we face because of our wrong choices, harmful habit patterns and irresponsible lifestyle, for example, smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, and immorality no one forces any one to do all that, it is a choice we make.

The enemy can tempt us to sin but can not make us sin. In James 1:14-15, “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” However I can not rule out the fact that certain hardships and heartaches we face are beyond us. We suffer because of other’s actions (i.e. child incest, robbery, loss of a loved one due to gun violence, some one opens up fire and kills innocent people etc). We had no control over those circumstances but we face the brunt any way. What logical explanation can you give to such heinous acts some people commit? Could it be that they are controlled by the Devil?

In Timothy 2: 26 we read about certain people who “are trapped by the enemy, they were taken captive by the Devil to do his will.” Unfortunately born again believers can also be deceived by the enemy if they are not watchful and if they don’t stay in close relationship with God through prayer, reading His Word and in right relationship with other believers. We need to know who our real enemy is.


No science fiction movie comes close to describing the conflict raging around us in the spiritual world. The forces of God and of his enemy Satan are locked in battle over the lives of individuals, communities, and nations. A young American was trying to explain to a Kiwi woman in Papua New Guinea about the unseen forces of good and evil. When asked if she understood, she said, Oh yes, there were three (demons) in my house this morning.

Here, I drew pictures of them. She handed the astonished American a paper with hideous half-human, half-animal beings sketched on it. We don’t have to convince most people in Asia, Africa and the Pacific of the reality of the spirit world. Some live with it on a daily basis often seeing the evil spirits with the naked eye.

By contrast, most people in Western countries place demons in a fantasy category, like Superman, Harry Potter and the Hobbit. This is a dangerous view because demons are not make-believe. You don’t have to go to Asia or watch movies to understand the spirit world. The demonic realm is just as substantial as the world we see. It is existed before the material world and continues to exist today. The Bible is clear in exposing and explaining the spirit world.

Paul writes to the Ephesians believers explaining that they were not fighting against people, in other words people are not our enemies. He goes on to say in Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

This indicates that when we fight against people we are fighting a wrong battle because they are not our real enemies; our real enemy however is as the Bible says Satan, or the Devil. Although we usually can not see these forces with our physical eyes, they should be no doubt in our minds that they exist. The Bible describes Satan as an angelic being who was thrown from heaven because he tried to exalt himself above God (Isaiah 14:12-15). He’s now fighting for control of the world and the souls of humans. The Bible calls him the ruler of the kingdom of the air. Ephesians 2:2 “in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”

Satan can not have power over God’s children unless it is given to him like in the case of Job or through our sheer disobedience to the revealed truth. So how are we to face this enemy?


In the OT the children of Israel were in constant war. Under God’s direction they won many battles and enjoyed great victories. We are familiar with the great warriors of the Bible like, Moses, Joshua, Saul, David, and Samson who fought valiant battles. But have you heard about Shammah, who perhaps was one of the most seemingly insignificant characters yet brought great victory for Israel? 2 Samuel 23:11-12, “When the philistines banded together at a place where there was a field full of lentils, Israel’s troops fled from them.

But Shammah took his stand in the middle of the field. He defended it and struck the Philistines down, and the Lord brought about a great victory.” Instead of running away just like the others Shammah, showed a different spirit. He had the courage to say” Enough is Enough. He took his stand against the enemy; and God gave him the strength to defeat the enemy. When you are being pushed around by the enemy the best way to fight him is to turn around and take your stand. In other words don’t run away, stand your ground.

As the saying goes: half the battle is won by recognizing our enemy! We have only just started there is much more to learn on this subject. What have we recognized so far?
* We are made more than conquerors with Christ.
* People are not our real enemies.
* We have a real enemy to fight; his name is Satan. We have a war to win.
* Spiritual warfare is constant, so let’s be vigilant
* We avoid the extremes of over emphasis and under emphasis in Spiritual Warfare
* We have to regain our spiritual power.
* We have to learn to say “Enough is enough” and take our stand against sin and Satan.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


A mother wanted to teach her daughter a moral lesson. She gave the little girl a quarter and a dollar for church "Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself," she told the girl. When they were coming out of church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given. "Well," said the little girl, "I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the man in the pulpit said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I'd be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did."

We can not blame the little girl; she didn’t know any better. She did not know the Joy of giving. Not only that little girl but unfortunately many Christian adults loose their joy when it comes to giving to the work of God. Why do we find it so difficult to give? Why are we not finding joy in giving? Whenever a pastor starts to talk about giving people tend to switch off thinking OK, here he goes again about money, but wait a minute, don’t be turned off, I am not after your money, neither is God; as Paul has beautifully put it in Philippians 4:17 “Not that I am looking for a gift, but I am looking for what may be credited to your account.”

Around thanksgiving and Christmas we get a lot of appeals from Christian organizations, charitable societies, ministries, and it looks like all of them are after our money. We can be turned off with all these appeals and decide not to give anything at all. That should not be our attitude but at the same time we don’t want to be wrongly influenced and manipulated by these appeals. Instead we want to see what God’s word has to say about giving and discover the Joy of Giving. Are Christians required to give? Is giving necessary for my spiritual growth? Many sincere and God fearing Christians have conflicting views when it comes to giving to God and to Church. I would like to explain several principles of giving that are mentioned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

The giving nature of God runs throughout the Bible. Over a thousand scriptures in the Bible talk about giving and many of them refer to God giving to humanity. The following scriptures explain how generously God gives to his people:

After creating man God made him in charge of the Garden of Eden and gave him every seed-bearing plant and fruit bearing tree as food to man. Later on after the flood he also gave them the animals as food. God entered into a covenantal relationship with Abraham and said, “All the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring for ever.” I will give this land.”(Gen 13:15) He reminded Isaac, Jacob and their descendants about the promise he had made with Abraham. In accordance to the promise the Lord gave the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey along with the land to man he also gave them the ability to produce.

We have been created in the image of God therefore we are to reflect the nature of God and as we see part of it is giving. In the OT we often read God commanding his people to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices. God’s people were also required by God to bring tithes and offerings.
In Malachi 3:8-11 “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' “In tithes and offerings.” You are under a curse-- the whole nation of you-- because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit," says the LORD Almighty.”

This scripture is often used by preachers and pastors to induce fear in people regarding tithes and offerings. They convincingly speak to make their listeners and viewers believe that if they give tithes regularly and give generously for the work of God they will receive blessings and failure to do so some curse may come upon them. I have mixed feelings about it. Yes it was true under the Mosaic Law, tithing evoked a blessing from God and failure of it evoked a curse. But we are no longer living under the Mosaic Law because Christ has fulfilled all the requirements of the law and has therefore taken away the curse of not fulfilling it from us.

II. Giving in the New Testament:

Under the new covenant we don’t live by the law but by grace, does that mean we are free from giving tithes and offerings? What does the N.T say about giving? Were the believers in the early church required to give tithes and offerings?

During Jesus’ time the Pharisees were practicing the law meticulously; to an extent that they became proud of it. Tithing was still a kept up tradition. Listen to this proud prayer of one Pharisee, “The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: God I thank you that I am not like other men, robbers, evildoers, adulterers or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”(Luke 18:11-12). Jesus did not dispute that practice but rebuked the Pharisees for their failure to take care of the poor and the needy. Although we are not obligated to tithe; however giving was highly encouraged by Jesus and the apostles and was a visible phenomenon among the early churches. How has been the giving of the Church in America Today? Is it increasing or declining?

According to a George Barna’s Research (May 19, 2003).Church revenues fell during the past 12 months. One reason may well be the decline in the proportion of Christians who tithe. Among the highlights of this report on tithing are: (1) The proportion of adults who tithe dropped by 62 percent in the past year. (2) Just 6 percent of born-again households tithed to their churches in 2002. Here are a few points to consider when it comes to giving.


God has made us with a unique ability to choose. He never forced and never will force anyone to do anything he or she is not willing to. Even the commandments are not forced upon us, we can either choose to obey them or reject them. Jesus said if you love me you obey my commandments not if you fear me? When it comes to giving to God and to his work we have a choice to make; we can either choose to give or not to give? That is a decision you must make.
Giving is a choice and should be a joyful one. Paul high lights the importance of giving cheerfully, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8 Remember this: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” To paraphrase this scripture, “You are under no pressure to give, you are free to decide in your hearts how much to give (you can not decide a Zero) it has to be some amount, once the decision is made then give cheerfully not grudgingly.”

When we give to God with Joy he is able to make all grace abound to us so that in all things at all times having all that we need (not all we want), we will abound in every good work. My wife(Wilma) and I can testify to this. There were times when we joyfully gave away large sums of money to support God’s work and his people. In all my years of ministry I can tell you with experience that He has never let us down. He always provided what we needed and some times what we wanted, but that was a bonus. As the pioneer missionary to China Hudson Taylor would say, “God’s work done in God’s way never lacks his provision”


We all know the principle of sowing and reaping. Our reaping depends on the amount of sowing. Paul said, “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. In order to teach the principle of sowing generously Jesus said in Luke 6:38 “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Proverbs 11:24-25 “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” God doesn’t want us to be tight fisted when it comes to giving. All we have ever owned comes from him in the first place any way.

When it comes to generosity no one can beat the Macedonian believers. They were perhaps like us, going through severe trials, economic hardships, struggling financially to make ends meet but they did not let their circumstances dictate their giving. Paul commended them for it. 2 Corinthians 8:1 “And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.”

What a model of eager participation and generosity. They actually considered giving a privilege. Paul’s ministry needed funding and these believers were willing to invest in the work of the ministry. We read in the Gospels about the group of women who supported Jesus out of their private earnings. In the same way the ministry of our church can not flourish without the generous giving of its members.


Have you wondered how much actually God requires of you to give? In the OT law God required people to bring tithes 10% (tithes) from all their increase. Jesus not only fulfilled the law but also intensified the law. He wants you to give him more than just 10% give him all of your heart. Are we turning our hearts to God? Psalm 119:36 “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.”

During one of his visits to the temple in Jerusalem, Jesus sat down opposite to the offering box and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. A poor widow also came rather nervously and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. In order to teach them a lesson Jesus called his disciples to him, and said, "I tell you the truth; this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything-- all she had to live on." (Mark 12:41-44) How could that be possible? She only gave less than a cent? The truth of the matter is not the quantity but the willingness to give all we have for the work of God even when it hurts.

God places much greater value on a few dollars given with a right attitude and a joyful heart than the great philanthropic charity done in order to get publicity. When we give we must give whole heartedly even if it is a small amount. God is no debtor to any one. Even if we give a glass of water to one of his servants we will not certainly loose our reward then how much more we will receive when we actually start giving generously for the work of God? (Matthew 10:42)

Oseola McCarty, eighty-seven, did one thing all her life: laundry. For decades, Miss McCarty earned fifty cents per load doing laundry for the well-to-do families of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, preferring a washboard over an electric washing machine. Every week, she put a little bit in a savings account. When she finally retired, she asked her banker how much money she had socked away. "$250, 000," was his reply. She was in shock. "I had more than I could use in the bank," she explained. "I can't carry anything away from here with me, so I thought it was best to give it to some child to get an education." This shy, never-married laundry woman gave $150,000 to nearby University of Southern Mississippi to help African-American young people attend college. "It's more blessed to give than to receive," she tells reporters. "I've tried it."

The Bible explains God as a giving God. Since our God is giving we too are called to give. No one can beat the generosity of God in other words we can not out give God. We are not obligated to give, but who in their right mind and with grateful heart wouldn’t want to give when all that they are and have has been given to them by God in the first place.

What is your attitude towards giving? How do you handle money? Is Jesus Lord over your check book? The Bible says where your treasure is there also your heart is. Who is you treasure? How has your giving been lately? Do you honor God with your finances? Beautiful words of reminder from Paul: 2 Corinthians 8:7 “But just as you excel in everything-- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us--see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” May the Lord help us to increase in the grace and the Joy of Giving.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


When there are so many religions why Jesus? When I say Christianity has been in existence for 2009 years not many dispute that fact, even the modern calendar agrees with that claim, but how about if I say, the existence of Christ goes back to the beginning of creation itself many argue about it and some for example the Jehovah’s witnesses (JW) vehemently deny that fact. Where did JW and others go wrong when it comes to seeing Jesus as the incarnation of God and in the end God himself? Not only today, even during Jesus’ time some people did not believe that he was God. Jesus warned in the end times “Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”(Matt 24:11)

In the first century a group of people called the Gnostics denied the pre-existence of Jesus and where by denied his deity. In order to confront such heretics John wrote the Gospel and three other letters. It doesn’t take a BIG lie to dissuade people from the truth, but it is often a slight twist of the truth which can mislead millions of people. Some of us may have had JW knocking at our door, looking very friendly and gentle trying to convince us that Jesus Christ is not God.

How do we as Bible believing Christians fortify ourselves against those who try to mislead us? Peter would say, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;” 2 Pet 1: So it is important that we not only believe but know what we believe and why and how to defend what we believe. Unlike the other gospel writers John recorded many miraculous signs in his Gospel to show his readers that Jesus was fully human and fully God and he has always existed. He wanted his readers to know that eternal word of God was made flesh and lived among us.

Background Information: The Gospel of John dates back to the end of first century around 85 A.D. It was largely agreed that the author was the apostle John, the disciple whom Jesus loved who was also may be the first cousin of Jesus. John wrote this Gospel so that “you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)


If Jesus Christ is God, then He must be eternal since God has neither beginning nor ending. There was never a time when Jesus did not exist in all the fullness of who He is. (Psalm 90:2) "Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Was Christ involved in creating the world or was he a created being himself? That is where the Jehovah’s witnesses differ from the rest us.

JW believe that Jesus Christ was a perfect man, and that He is a person distinct from God the Father. However, they also teach that before His earthly life, Jesus was a spirit creature, Michael the archangel, who was created by God and became the Messiah at His baptism. According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus is a mighty one, although not almighty as Jehovah God is. This is where the twist comes in. In all the major translations, John 1:1 was translated as "In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the Word was God," This is shockingly mistranslated, according to their Bible, The New World Translation, “Originally the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god,” See how a slight deviation has deceived many people.

In contrast to this false doctrine, the Bible presents Jesus as the uncreated Creator: "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made" (John 1:3). In the beginning He was not created or made. In the beginning He already was (John 1:1-2). The Apostle Paul declares that "He is before all things" (Col. 1:17).
In fact the first three verses of Genesis explain the perfect harmony between the persons in the trinity (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit) Gen 1:1-3, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said “Let there be light”? (The word Logos). John brought this fact that Jesus was with God at the time of creation. “In the beginning there was word and the word was with God and the word was God (John 1:1-3).

Else where in the Bible the Pre-existence of Christ is mentioned:
A. Illustrated by the Creation:
All things have been created by Jesus (Heb 1:2-3, Col 1:16-17)

B. Foretold by the prophets:
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrata, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Isaiah 9:6-7, Zech 2:10-11)

C. Affirmed by Jesus Himself:
“I tell you the truth Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born I am.” (John 8:58)
John 17:4-5 “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

D. Proclaimed by the Apostles:
By John in his gospel, and also his epistle - Jn 1:1-4;
1 John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched-- this we proclaim concerning the Word of life.
By Paul in his epistles
a. Christ was the spiritual rock from which the Israelites drank in the wilderness1Co 10:4
b. “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped” Phil 2:6

In his own words Jesus said, "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." Rev 1:8 this scripture makes it very clear that there was never a time where Jesus did not exist and there will never be a time where he won’t exist. He was God; he is and will continue to be God.
When we have so many religions why Jesus? Because he is the ONLY one in the end we all will have to face. JW and others who deny him will be surprised when they have to give an account of their denial of his pre-existence and His deity.

Jesus existed with God in the form of Logos during the creation and appeared figuratively several times in the OT as the angel of the LORD, son of man, (Daniel 7:12) the spiritual rock and so on. Two thousand years ago it was the most glories moment in the History of the world where this eternal word of God who was with God and who was God appeared in human form and made his dwelling among us. Jesus came to his own people (Jewish) with a hope that they would receive him, on the contrary they rejected him and did not see him as their messiah (Savior).

The creator of the world was rejected by his own creation? How was that possible? He is the giver of life and wants to give life to all men, then why would any one in their right mind want to reject such an offer? When they have an opportunity to walk in the light why would people choose to walk in darkness?

When you take your car with a hope of passing the inspection how would you feel when a sticker comes out with “R” rejected? When you are applying for a Job which you so badly needed, how do you feel when your application is rejected?

Campbell Morgan was one of 150 young men who sought entrance to the Wesleyan ministry in 1888. He passed the doctrinal examinations, but then faced the trial sermon in an auditorium where three ministers and 75 others who came to listen. When Morgan stepped into the pulpit, the vast room and the searching, critical eyes caught him up short. Two weeks later Morgan's name appeared among the l05 REJECTED for the ministry that year. Disappointed Morgan wired to his father one word “'Rejected,' and sat down to write in his diary: 'Very dark everything seems. Still, He knows best.' Quickly came the reply: 'Rejected on earth. Accepted in heaven. Dad.'" In later years, Morgan said: "God said to me, in the weeks of loneliness and darkness that followed, 'I want you to cease making plans for yourself, and let Me plan your life.'" Rejection is rarely permanent; as Morgan went on to prove. Even in this life, circumstances change, and ultimately, there is no rejection of those accepted by Christ.

Whether we like it or not rejection is indeed painful. No one particularly enjoys it. How ever we need to learn how to handle it wisely if it is un-dealt it could potentially lead to committing suicide. Sylvester Stallone said, “I take rejection as some one blowing a bugle in my ear to wake me up and get going, rather than retreat.” You may be going through rejection right now, don’t let that beat you down you got to get up and keep going; this is not the time to retreat. Jesus understands your pain of rejection because he knows what it is like to be rejected.

The Prophet Isaiah paints the picture of a rejected and dejected Jesus, Isaiah 53:3 “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” John points out, He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive Him.”(John 1:11)

God loves all people, infact the whole world because of his great love He sent his only Son Jesus into the world. John explains, “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and only who came from the Father full of grace and truth.”(John 1:14)

In the OT God would often reveal himself either in the form of a cloud, fire, or a thundering voice? There was no physical manifestation of God. When Moses wanted to see the glory of God, mercifully God did not show his face to him. Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." And the LORD said, "But," he said, "You cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." (Exodus 33:18-23). Moses was to be satisfied only looking at the back of God. When Jesus came into the world what was invisible became visible. He revealed who God was through his very presence on the earth. John writes, “Jesus made his dwelling among us.” Literally, "pitched his tent/tabernacle." The tabernacle or tent of meeting that was the place of God's presence among his people (Exodus 25:8-9). The incarnate Word; Jesus is the new mode of God's presence among his people.

John 1:14.Jesus was full of Grace and Truth: these words represent two of the Characteristics of God. The very purpose why Jesus came into this world was to seek and save that which was lost. You and I were lost, living in sin but that did not hinder Jesus from reaching out to us. No matter who you are, and what you have done Jesus loves you. He is inviting you to join God’s family. Jesus never rejects any one, he accepts all people. To every one who believes in him and receives him as his savior he gives the right to become a child of God.

Can you imagine what a perspective that is; we actually become God’s Children? And God will be our father? Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. If you hear his voice all you need to do is to open your heart and invite Jesus into your heart. You will have eternal life. He will give you Joy and peace which you can find no where else. When your journey on the earth is over he will take you to dwell in the presence of God forever and ever.

Jesus the true light has come into the world but people chose darkness instead of light, chose death instead of Life. What will you choose?

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Have you ever doubted whether God is real and He will be able to rescue you from an impossible situation? If you have, then you are not alone there are many skeptics out there who doubt the very existence of God. They are promoting an ideology which says “there is no God” by ad campaigns such as "Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake," "A million New Yorkers are good without God. Are you?" “There is probably No God; now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” According to the American Religious Identification System (ARIS), about 40 million non believers in the USA.”

When people constantly are bombarded by such deceptive ads and surrounded by atheists at the work place, schools, in the market place, they tend to believe those lies. Psalm 53:1 “The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good.” Is it possible even for seasoned saints to doubt at times? especially when they face situations that are beyond them such as the diagnosis of an incurable disease, mounting credit card debt, unemployment, loss of a loved or even loss of a dream or expectation and so on. During such times we wonder where God is? Our faith is shaken and we can’t figure why God is allowing all this. We move into unbelief which can lead to despair, fear and eventually to total hopelessness.

In John 11th chapter we read of two sisters who were hurting because of the death of their brother. Everything looked bleak and they had given up all hope. They wondered where God was in all this. Jesus walks into that situation and tells them “your brother will rise again” this didn’t make any sense; He’s been dead for four days. It’s impossible they thought.

I. Does God really care? :( Vs: 1-6)
Bethany was a small village on the southeastern slope of the Mount of Olives. On his many travels to Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples frequented the home of Martha and Mary at Bethany. Mary here is the same one from whom Jesus cast out seven demons once. These were the same two sisters who opened up their home to Jesus (Luke 10:38-41) and provided hospitality. They had a brother by name Lazarus. One day, Lazarus became very sick, so they sent a word saying “Lord the one you love is sick, with a hope that Jesus would come and heal their brother. Where was Jesus? Jesus was near the Jordan valley at that time. (For the gospel writer John the timing and the place was very important)

What would you do if you get news saying one of your dearly loved friends is sick? Won’t you make some efforts to go and see your friend? Surprisingly upon receiving that news Jesus did not make any effort to go to Bethany, instead he stayed where he was two more days. It does sound rather strange isn’t it? It seemed like Jesus did not care about his sick friend and his two worried sisters. As if that was not enough he said to the disciples let’s go back to Judea which is in the opposite direction to Bethany. Have you ever been hurt beyond what you can bear? You wanted so badly for God to intervene in that situation. You prayed and nothing happened. It seemed as if God did not care a bit about what you were going through. You feel like He is moving too slow, taking his own sweet time. He is answering every body else’s prayers except yours. You feel like he is by passing you and blessing others instead. Just because he is not moving as fast as you would expect him to move does it mean that he doesn’t care about your situation? In fact God loves you so much, when you hurt he hurts. In Nahum 1:7 “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.” Peter invites us to cast all our anxiety upon God because he cares for us.”(I Pet 5:7)

II. Why does God delay? (Vs 7-14)
After hearing the news Jesus stayed back two more days where he was. But all along he was sensing in his spirit what was going on in Bethany. It took four days before he could get to Bethany. Why did he take that long? Bethany was only less than two miles from Jordan. Was he denying healing to his sick friend through his delay? No! Jesus purposefully stayed back for two reasons, firstly he wanted his disciples to believe that he was the messiah and he can do any thing. Secondly he waited for four days perhaps to make sure that Lazarus was irrevocably dead in order to rule out a false belief of some Jews who believed that a dead person’s soul waits near the body for three days to get back into it. So Jesus waited until the situation became totally impossible by any human standards.

God moves and operates in a different time frame than we humans do. Ron Walters explains, “His dealings with mankind have always done in real times, and in some cases, real slow time. God’s building project for Noah took one hundred years. God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah took twenty five years to fulfill. God waited four hundred years before he delivered the Children of Israel from Egypt. The promised second coming of Jesus Christ is taking over two thousand years.”

Illustration: Before we came to Boston for my seminary studies we were searching for a house to rent via internet in India. We prayed, wished and hoped that we would have the security of a place before we left India. En route to Boston we stayed in Holland for a few weeks. Our search continued for a rented place. I was worried, made desperate phone calls to a rental agency in Malden, and had several sleepless nights finally but it was to no avail. In the end just thirteen days prior to our leaving Holland we were able to secure a place to live in Malden. What a relief!

We may never fully understand why God some times comes quickly to our rescue and at other times he delays his rescue operations. A few reasons why I believe we don’t see the answers immediately. Some times the answer is delayed because of the opposition of the demonic forces who will try everything to block that answer. Daniel prayed to God for an explanation of a vision. God sent the answer on the first day that Daniel set his mind to seek the Lord for an answer but that was delayed by 21 days because the enemy was opposing God’s angel.(Daniel 10:12-13). There are other times God delays it in order to achieve a greater purpose as in this story of Lazarus’s death. What ever may be reason for his delay, his timing is always right and that is something we can rely upon. For example, When Abraham was about to kill Isaac, God provided a ram substitute, When Moses and the Israelites faced the red sea God parted the red sea. Isn’t that typically how our God works? He will make a way where there seems to be no way. God’s delay is not necessarily meaning his denial. So let’s not give up; hang in there, maybe the answer is just around the corner.

III. If you believe you will see the Glory of God (Vs 38-44)
Finally after four days Jesus arrived at Bethany. Martha was the one who first heard the news and she went up to meet him. We often think of Martha being the busy one who never spends time with God and Mary being the more spiritual one, sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to every word he was saying to her. But when the calamity hit both of them have responded the same way saying, “Lord if you had been here my brother would not have died.” In one way they were blaming Jesus, for not coming in time to heal their brother. Interestingly in this story Martha seemed to be the one knowing the scriptures and having more faith in God.

Listen to the dialogue between Martha and Jesus: Martha said, Vs 22 “But I know that even now God will give you what ever you ask.” Jesus said your brother will rise again. Martha answered “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” She just quoted from Daniel 12:2, “Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus said to her Vs 25 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live; whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” Vs 27 Martha answered “yes Lord I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who was to come into the World.”

We may have head knowledge of the Bible and all the right answers but how far do we really believe that God is real, he is trustworthy and is able to deliver us from all our troubles? In Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Why belief in God is important? Romans 14:23 “everything that does not come from faith is sin.” Unbelief is the root of all sin infact unbelief is SIN.

Vs 33 Jesus was deeply moved and troubled by the enormous grief of Mary and the Jews who had come to comfort her. He asked where you have laid him? As if he didn’t know the place. He was God right? He should know every thing. Yes that is true, but at the same time he wants us to tell him what we need. This tells that Jesus wants to walk right into the problem. He wants us to be specific as if doesn’t already know what we need, yet amazingly he wants to hear us! He wants relationship; it makes his heart respond to his people. What do we see Jesus do here as Martha and Mary show him where their brother is buried? Jesus weeps!.................To that some said: “see how much he loved him and others who were skeptic scoffed and said could he who opened the eyes of the blind man not have kept this man from dying?

There they were; in front of that closed tomb, Take away the stone Jesus said. Martha thought she really had to correct Jesus here and give a little hygiene lesson. “By this time there is a bad odor for he has been there for four days she said.” Don’t we all try to reason things out with our own little minds? We think we own the wisdom in the world and have all our facts lined up and we leave no space for God in our equation? And what does Jesus say when Martha is trying to put him right? Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God? What does that imply? Do we often give up hoping in the Lord a little too soon?

V 41 says, they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.
When he had said this Jesus called in a loud voice, said three powerful words LAZARUS COME OUT… The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, Take off the grave clothes and let him go. As a result of this miracle many Jews put their faith in Jesus.

How about you? What is the impossible situation you are facing in your life? Has your faith taken a beating at some of the things that have happened in your life? What is the miracle your are looking for? When have you last talked to the Lord about it? Don’t doubt his love! He always hears you! When he gives certain instructions to follow, simply obey and follow, don’t argue with God because you will be the looser in the end.

Don’t give up your faith, continue to believe in God you will in deed see the glory of God.