Taking my vehicle for an auto-wash the other day really tested my level of patience . There were a couple of vehicles ahead and then the machine took over after I put my vehicle in neutral. I was out soon after, but then the owner of the first vehicle was not satisfied with the mopping and suction work of his vehicle and got into a prolonged argument with the supervisor. The guy after him and me kept waiting for our turns and with the look on the arguing guy's face, we didn't venture to speak to him to get going. The guy finally moved out and we heaved a sigh of relief.
Patience.......it's so vital in our Christian life.
Talking about the qualities that we must have as believers in Jesus Christ, the Apostle Peter says, "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness...." (2 Peter 1:5, 6)
But why patience? James, the epistle writer gives us the answer...
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:4)
Paul, the Apostle, writing to the believers in Thessalonica said,
"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men." (1 Thessalonians 5:14)
When we pass through troubles, often we get jittery and impatient, but we must remember that the Lord will work on our behalf if we wait patiently.
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:11)
Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ is merciful. He will answer our prayers. Let us wait patiently in his presence and see the deliverance come true.
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
Not many would know what Boanthropy means unless they google it or look it up in the dictionary. But there is a man mentioned in the Bible who suffered from this or a similar illness for 7 long years. He was the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. In Boanthropy, the sufferer believes himself/herself to be an ox or cow and they prefer to eat and drink what an ox or bull does- grass and water.
Nebuchadnezzar's illness was a punishment from God for his arrogance and wickedness. Actually God had warned him of the same in a dream...a dream which only the prophet Daniel could interpret.
Here's how Daniel interpreted the king's dream......
"This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes. The command to leave the stump of the tree with its roots means that your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules.
Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue." (Daniel 4:24-27)
The king did not repent of his sins and wickedness, so what the prophet had said came to pass in 12 months time........He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. (Daniel 4:33)
The king later testified....At the end of that time, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my sanity was restored......All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have you done?" At the same time that my sanity was restored, my honor and splendor were returned to me for the glory of my kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored to my throne and became even greater than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble. (Daniel 4:34-37)
The bottom line being.............those who walk in pride, God is able to humble.....even now.
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect ; if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it." (Matthew 24:24-26)
And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. (2 Corinthians 11:14,15)
Careful then to what crusade you have packed your bags to! It's imperative that every believer in Jesus Christ prays for discernment these last days, for there are many false Christs and false prophets out there waiting to deceive the gullible.
Jesus warned his disciples long back and the warnings are for us too, that we may not be deceived.
As the Apostle Paul writes, Satan's servants will masquerade as servants of righteousness. They would be using the name of Jesus, but the power will be of the devil. And every person, (even believers) who goes to get prayed by such servants of Satan will be inviting a bondage in to their life.
Paul had the gift of discerning of spirits as we read in Acts Ch.16....
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her. (Acts 16:16-18)
Mind you, the spirit was not saying lies...."These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." But Paul discerned in his spirit that it was an evil spirit, so he commanded it to come out of her and it left her.
False Christs....False Prophets......Servants of Satan......They are all out there.....masquerading as angels of light........Let's pray for discernment in these end days, so that we may not fall in to traps set by the enemy.
In 1995, a middle aged woman walked in to a meeting that I held on Wednesdays, suffering from after effects of a snake bite that she had a year ago. God did a miracle in her life and she was healed, she accepted Jesus as her savior and was baptized. Her husband who was a chronic alcoholic, chronic smoker and chronic asthmatic caused her much misery, but she prayed for him for 18 years. He accepted Jesus as savior last month (Dec.2013) and was baptized in water. When he was baptized, she testified with tears that she serves a living God, who answers prayers.
David, the psalmist sings,
Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come. When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. (Psalm 65:1-4)
For them (us) who believe in the only way, the truth and the life-Jesus Christ, answers to most prayers are only a matter of time. As the psalmist sings.......
You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas... (Psalm 65:5)
Approach the throne of grace with confidence, believing that God will answer your prayers that you pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Jesus said, " And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly....................(Luke 18:7, 8)
Of what I read in the papers, the quaint tradition of burning cars on New year's eve in France still continues. This year more than 1000 cars were burnt. The custom of setting vehicles alight on New Year’s Eve reportedly began in Strasbourg, in the 1990s, in the the city’s poorer neighbourhoods. It was then quickly adopted by youths in cities across the country. What a strange way to celebrate at the expense of other's property!
The Bible speaks of the depraved condition of men in the end days......
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God...... (2 Timothy 3:2-4)
Without self-control, brutal, not lovers of good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure...........how true!
Amidst all the chaos, God is still seeking a people for himself; people who are willing to humble themselves and live for him, accepting his solution to the chaos; Jesus Christ.
The Bible is clear regarding God's righteous judgement in this matter.......
To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. (Romans 2:7-11)
To them (us) who have put their faith in Jesus Christ, Jude, has an excellent piece of advice as to how we should live during these last days........
But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear - hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. (Jude 1:20-23)
A believer friend spoke to me today of how he narrowly escaped two major accidents in a single day. He spoke about God's goodness and protection over him and his family.
Not once, not twice, but umpteen times, the Lord saves and he delivers his children, though we may not realize it every time. His watchful eyes are always keeping vigil over them who believe in him and live for him according to his Word.
In Psalm 121, the Psalmist sings,
The Lord will keep you from all harm; he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121:7, 8)
I believe the Psalmist meant it when he sang it...... And we must believe.
Scores die each day in accidents. Some say that, that was all the life that God had given them. Others speak of fate.
But a believer in Jesus Christ and the triune God (Father, Son & The Holy Spirit)must believe that the Lord has promised him/her a long and fruitful life to do his will and that he is able to guard and guide them all through their lives.
To him who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, the promise from Psalm 91 says,
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation. (Psalm 91:16)
Another great promise for them who love the Lord and acknowledge his name from the same Psalm goes like this.....
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. (Psalm 91:14)
The truth shall set us free.............
He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. (Proverbs 2:7, 8)
It's disturbing and pathetic to see Christian websites sporting advertisements of horoscopes and sites dealing with immoral behavior. Some of them who run such sites say they have no control over the ads. that they show. That's a lame excuse for sure.
These are the sites that are to lead people to Christ and make weak Christians stronger, yet they choose to make revenue to run these sites in the above said manner and in the process make weak Christians fall. Wonder what Jesus would think of such things.
Come to see, many things wordly are now OK with many Christian Churches and Fellowships too. Many are willing to gel in with worldly things and yet call themselves believers.
Regarding a nation that God chose for himself and called out from Egyptian bondage....Israel.... he had great hopes on them and for a while they lived up to his expectations, but then they backslid and endured his wrath.
The Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthian believers exhorted them in this manner......
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did - and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. We should not test the Lord, as some of them did - and were killed by snakes. And do not grumble, as some of them did - and were killed by the destroying angel. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. (1 Corinthians 10:1-11)
The above verses speaks to us too......now.....that we should not take things for granted.
And a final word of exhortation from the Apostle.....
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! (1 Corinthians 10:12)
How significant is a needle? I mean it's just a thin short piece of metal with a minute aperture in it. What can it possibly achieve? Had it a voice for itself, it could possibly get in to the Guinness book of records and every other record book for all that it has done for generations together. God can really do wondrous things with seemingly insignificant people too. Take for instance, an insignificant man called Gideon, living in fear of enemies and living with an inferiority complex. His story goes thus........
Judges 6:11-16 NIV  The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites.  When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. ”  “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”  The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”  “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. ”  The Lord answered, “I will be with you , and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
God enabled Gideon. He, along with God's chosen 300 men wrought a great victory over a mighty enemy army. Do you feel insignificant this day? God can do mighty things through you. Look to him and obey his voice. You will be a blessing to thousands.
The first Friday worship of the year; Friday because Fridays are the Sundays or weekly holidays in the Middle East. We had a great time of worship and a call to surrender ourselves afresh to the Lord. Surrender!.......what a word...... Surrender!.......how difficult...... What would surrendering ourselves to Jesus mean after all? Letting him run our lives and us living in obedience to his Word would seem to be the most appropriate definition. Regarding this, the Bible exhorts us in this manner......
Proverbs 3:5-8 NIV  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;  in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
Submission to God definitely brings blessings to our lives. One of these blessings is mentioned by James in his book. He says, James 4:7 NIV  Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Resisting the devil is only possible to one who is submitted to God. There's victory in submission to God, so let's do it and be victorious, for the blessings of God are for the ones who are victorious.
While traveling to Kerala, India for a short vacation on Dec.23, I had a bad experience. The aircraft cabin pressure was discomforting to me and I had an episode of fainting. I recovered in a couple of minutes, and had a good vacation, most of it doing the Lord's work and visiting friends and relatives, but when it was time to fly back, I was a bit apprehensive. Would the problem recur? was the question that haunted me. All 10 days that I was in Kerala, I had prayed that the episode would not recur and by God's grace, it did not.
This testimony may sound trivial, but the experience taught me that we must not take any blessing of God for granted. Every matter in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ is very closely related to him. We must remember that he is in charge of every aspect of our life, whether small or great. We must never forget his goodness in our lives and give glory to him through our testimonies. As the Psalmist says, Psalm 103:1-2 NIV  Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits..........
So let's be faithful witnesses of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.