Archive for December, 2009

Apologies!!!

Posted: Saturday, December 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

Hi brothers & sisters

This is a note of apology for not being faithful in writing out my daily devotionals. My sister and husband are visiting and therefore we’ve been busy taking care of them and showing them around and therefore I have not been getting the time to pen the devotionals. I do request you to kindly bear with me while I take this forced break and I will be back at it on 31st December so that we can start the new year on the right note!

Wish you and your families a really special Christmas Season and a Happy New Year. Thank you for being faithful in your walk with our Lord Jesus Christ and I pray that you will continue to meet with me at the foot of the cross daily.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet


Luke 20:20-25
Keeping a close watch on him, they sent spies, who pretended to be honest. They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said so that they might hand him over to the power and authority of the governor. So the spies questioned him: “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach what is right, and that you do not show partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” He saw through their duplicity and said to them, “Show me a denarius. Whose portrait and inscription are on it?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. He said to them, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

How rich is God’s word that each time we revisit it, we can draw new and insightful meaning from it. I hope you are starting to enjoy this journey we have undertaken through the new testament and I hope that God is using his words to inscribe his DNA into your body, mind and soul. The spies sent to falter Jesus approached him in a very respectful manner and posed a question that was being asked by many in the land as they felt imprisoned by the Romans. An answer this way or that would mean certain death to Jesus and we can compare it to a ‘Checkmate’ move in a game of chess. Jesus not only had to navigate himself through an impossible situation but also chose to teach us through it.

I earned my first Canadian paycheck and also got paid for a wedding photography shoot this week. Being carnal in nature, my first thoughts were to see how I could use it for myself, my needs, then my family, etc. However, as a Christian, I am reminded that I need to give to God what is God’s and then to the government what is theirs and live on the rest. Many weeks back, I said that I would tithe 10% of my gross earnings I make to God, before taxes. I probably spoke too soon because I can now see how hard that decision is. However, knowing that I serve the Lord of the Universe who has provided me more than I need, I will give as I should and not hold back from the government too. I know the remainder will only be a fraction of what I earned but I also know our Lord provides as much as we need and so we need to learn to live within what is remaining. I hope you are also encouraged today to stop complaining about how little you have and rather focus on how much you are blessed by the Lord and give back to him what is his.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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The Crooked Tree


Luke 19:8-10, 41-44
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost”… As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

What a stark contrast both these passages have! The first is Jesus’s proclamation of salvation to Zacchaeus based on his act and statement of faith and the second is his frustration with Israel for it’s hardheartedness because the people believed they were living by the law but in reality were far away from God. Is this not strange? Zacchaeus was the height of sin and corruption whereas Israel were God’s own people! How could Jesus be so dreadfully mistaken? Aren’t God’s own people automatically holier and worthier than cheats and thieves like Zacchaeus? What specifically are we being reminded today by the Lord if we are saved and if we are unsaved?

Jesus in his ministry on earth constantly reminded us that everything in his kingdom is the reverse of what we believe and know through the world. The world teaches us that we are good people and if we believe in ourselves and live by it’s rules, we are considered well. However, the Bible reminds us that all mankind has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When Zacchaeus was called by the Lord, he saw his unworthiness before Jesus’s perfectness and realized what Jesus was offering to him. A new start! If you are not in a relationship with Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, the message is clear. Submit and get a new start plus the perfect reward . If we are saved by God’s grace alone, we are reminded today to not live in a ritual religious lifestyle but in a living relationship with the Lord. Every day and every moment we are to remember how unworthy we are and how the Lord has blessed us with a new life. We are called to forgo ourselves to be of service to the Lord. Let’s all be reformed Zacchaeus’s!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting http://groups.google.com/group/in-his-loving-service. Share this with your friends and family who need some encouragement.

Birds Flock Together


Luke 18:9-14
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 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.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

It might never seem that we could ever be like the Pharisee in our life or walk with the Lord but the reality is that this is how we perceive ourselves because we look at our lives in the mirror of our sinful minds and it conveniently misses showing us our brokenness. Before accepting Christ, we live in a comfortable belief that we are “NOT SO BAD” people but after accepting Christ, that realization changes 360 degrees because we are able to look at ourselves through the mirror of God, the perfect mirror that hides nothing from us. For you, if you are not in a relationship with Christ, the answer is simple. It’s a matter of choice of whether you choose to live in the peace and oblivion of your sin and not worry about your future or you choose to reflect on your brokenness and ask Jesus to be your savior and forgive your sins, cleanse you by his shed blood on the cross, clothe you in his righteousness, make you a new creation, fill you with the holy spirit to direct you and live for his glory now here on earth and in heaven in his glorious presence. What if you are saved? What is his message for you today?

One of the greatest challenges we face in life is pride. Most people suffer from it because we are always trying to look out for ourselves, our needs and recognition and therefore pride is a stumbling block we never seem to get over. However, in God’s kingdom, pride has no place in our lives. The very fact that we call ourselves believers is an admission to the fact that we fell short of God’s goodness and nothing can change that. However, our minds convince us that we know enough about the Lord and now that we are saved we don’t need to do anything, or, we get busy living that we forget spending time with the Lord, or, we get so caught up in studying God’s word for intellectual purposes that we forget to apply it in our daily lives, etc. All of this causes us to see the unsaved people around us with distorted eyes. We try to differentiate ourselves from them and feel like we are better off. However, today we are warned that we like them are sinners saved by God’s grace and nothing we do can make us good. We need to look at others through the merciful eyes of our Lord and love them. What is the greatest commandment Jesus taught us (Matthew 22:37-39)?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting http://groups.google.com/group/in-his-loving-service. Share this with your friends and family who need some encouragement.

A Rough But Certain Path


Luke 17:11-19
Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

What a sight it must’ve been for those traveling with Jesus when ten lepers called out to him for healing as he passed them by. Over and over again in the gospels, we hear the plea of the poor, the suffering, the dying, the mourning and what is interesting about them is that they are not ashamed to call out to Jesus for help. What is even more amazing is that this is what the Lord appreciated and responded to with healing and the basis was their faith in him and his ability to heal them. In this passage above, it is the record of another great miracle but the response from those who were healed is what is most important for us today.

Last evening, we were visiting with dear friends who are better called family considering the relationship we share. They shared something from times past when they lived in Dubai that I would like us to do. Every Christmas, each person in their fellowship would bring in a list of prayer needs for the following year and these would be individually sealed in envelopes and stored by a custodian. The following Christmas, the envelope would be opened and the individuals would share the way the Lord worked in their lives. It would be outstanding to see how God answered prayers and people would express their gratitude to God for his manifold blessings. We need to know that God will answer our prayers if it is what he wants for us and we ask in faith. However, when God answers, what is our response? Have you been grateful to God for his countless blessings in your life? Have you thanked him and been grateful for his goodness? Lets be people of gratitude for what the Lord has done and is doing in our lives. Let’s not be the 9 healed lepers who forgot but rather like the one who was sincerely grateful.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting http://groups.google.com/group/in-his-loving-service. Share this with your friends and family who need some encouragement.

A Natural Canopy


Luke 16:25-31
“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

Over and over again, Jesus keeps warning us about worldly riches and it’s effect on our lives. The issues are not about having or accumulating wealth but rather understanding the purpose of it. In the passage above, we see the end result of the lives of the rich man and the poor man, Lazarus. On earth, the rich man lived a life of luxury that the world envied and in death he lived a life of pain and disaster. On the flip side was the poor man Lazarus who lived a life of pain and longing for his basic needs but in death he lived in the presence of God by the side of Abraham. What is the Lord asking of us today? Are we expected to live lives of beggars or rich men and what is the outcome of our lives?

Several people mentioned in the Bible grew in wealth, became prosperous and were spoken highly about including King David, Abraham, Job, among many others. Therefore Jesus is not condoning prosperity. At the same time Jesus tells the rich young ruler that to attain salvation, over and above living a life of perfect adherence to the law, he needed to sell his riches and give it to the poor. So what then are we expected to do? The issue being highlighted by Jesus here was not the riches that the rich man had but obviously his lack of understanding as to why God blessed him with much. Jesus came to give his own life for our salvation and that is the greatest sacrifice known to man. He does not expect us to sacrifice our lives but to share what he has blessed us with so that we can help share his love in a real and physical way. Jesus said earlier in this chapter that those who can be trusted with little shall be given more and I hope this Christmastime, you are again encouraged to share your joy with those less fortunate without an expectation back and he will bless you with more in his time and ways that you can use for his glory more and more!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting http://groups.google.com/group/in-his-loving-service. Share this with your friends and family who need some encouragement.

The Lord's Resources


Luke 15:25-32
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

If we have lost anything that is of any value to us, we really feel the hurt of losing it and try all that we can to find it. There is no major realization there because everyone of us have lost many things dear to us at different points in our lives and have tried hard to find it and we know the joy of finding it. This is the very same feeling God and the hosts of heaven have every time a sinner returns to Christ. This is the same joy the father of the prodigal son had when he saw his lost son return. However, in the brother of the prodigal son, we have a lesson to learn and that is what the Lord is reminding us of today. I’m sure like me, you feel for him when he retorted to his Dad that he never permitted him to take some their resources (A lamb in those times) and party with his friends but here he was burning up far more than just a small sum to celebrate his lost son’s arrival. Was this not partial?

In another parable in the Bible, Jesus talks about laborers and their wages and he explains that whatever the length of time the laborer spends on the fields, they would get the same pay and this is also unfair in the world’s eyes. The issue here is not that God’s scales are tilted, rather it’s our understanding. To God, it did not matter the depravity of our sinfulness and therefore he measured out a perfect sin offering to atone for our sins. However big or small our sins are, he sacrificed his perfect and only son for us to have an eternity with him. What would Jesus say to this? Why should he suffer for us when he was God’s loved son? Isn’t the whole perspective different in God’s eyes? Jesus said to his disciples when they argued who would sit on his right and left that the first would be last and the last first. In God’s eyes, the paradigm is inverted and we need to realize and accept that. Our joy should be in sharing God’s love and not trying to weigh our benefit. We need to focus our eyes on the Cross and follow Jesus as he leads.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

PS: Sign up for daily devotionals by clicking the email subscription icon at the top right of this page or by visiting http://groups.google.com/group/in-his-loving-service. Share this with your friends and family who need some encouragement.

A Narrow Path