Archive for June, 2010


2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for [that day will not come] until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

Recently I watched the movie 2012 and like all big blockbusters, this one kept me entertained. There has been a lot of talk about this movie and the predictions that were the foundation of it. The Mayans claimed 2012 was the year and so did many people from centuries ago and several people live today trying to prove its validity. In today’s passage, Paul reminds us that Jesus will not return until the rebellion of man is complete to a point where Satan through humankind will crown himself over God and will be worshipped. What are we therefore expected to do and is it time yet?

We were reminded in 1 Thessalonians 5 that the Lord will come like a thief in the night when no one expects him to. This could be now or a 1,000 years from now and only God the Father knows when. Jesus said in Matthew 24:43-44 that if we knew when He was coming, wouldn’t we be all prepared just before He came but until then live like we wanted to in sin? Therefore His return would be at a time we do not expect and so we have to always be prepared. Then what about the signs Paul spoke about? As we look around our world, it seems like Satan is getting more control whether in terms of a one world governance, unified currency, separating religion form state, from school and from daily lives, etc. We do not know when the time will come but we do know that it will be sudden and so we are reminded to be on alert always, to live our lives to the fullest for Jesus Christ who saved us from destruction, to serve those around us His love and to be beacons of light in this dark world. Are you living the life worthy of His name or are you looking for the signs to start?

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Matthew 24:43-44 If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

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2 Thessalonians 1:3-5
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering.

I was so exhilarated by Paul’s joyous statement to the Church in Thessalonica of their faithfulness to God and ever increasing love for each other. Sounds like a body of believers I would love to be a part of because I often feel it is something we really miss in today’s selfish world. What struck me as odd was his next statement about how the Church persevered in trials and persecution! If we are faithful and growing in love, why would God permit persecution and trials in our lives? Shouldn’t we be blessed with the opportunity to share this same faith and love with those around us and show people what true joy is? What is God speaking to us today through his Word?

To every story there is always a fairytale ending, at least in children’s books. As we grow up, we start to see the brokenness in the world and accept the bleak reality that there are no fairytale endings. In Christ however, there is a fairytale ending and it is more beautiful than any we have seen, heard or read. However, Christ is a fairytale to the world and we as His followers will always be plagued with people trying to shake us out of our misguided faith. This results in persecution and trials and they are not bad because being Christian is being Christ-like and that means living a life that Christ lived and acting and responding like Him. As we share our joy and faith with those around us like the Thessalonians, we will hit resistance and our response shows our faith. Are you suffering persecution and trials in your life because of your faith? May I direct you to the cross to find your hope and joy in Jesus Christ who overcame the world for us.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

2 Thessalonians 1:11 To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power

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1 Thessalonians 5:5-11
You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Last evening, a dear friend of mine called to share heartbreaking news of his wife’s decision to annul their marriage by filing for a divorce. This young man was shaken at the very core and he could not believe it and asked me a question that seemed so hard to answer. Why did God permit him to be married to her when God knew this was not going to work specially after he asked God to only permit the marriage if it was God’s will. In these troubled times when we are surrounded by brokenness and suffering, why is God reminding us to be hopeful and when will He come and take us away from this suffering?

As I spoke with my friend, God led me to remind him of the life of Joseph who was a good kid but was betrayed by his own brothers, sold as a slave, imprisoned on false charges and finally was lifted by the pharaoh and blessed those who betrayed him. Also, I reminded my friend that God saves the lost and that’s whom we are. We are the worst of the worst that God saves, transforms and uses for His glory and therefore we should not consider suffering as loss but as gain because through suffering, we gain Christ and everything that comes from Him. As Christians, our hope is in an unseen God and our reward is in future, not at the present time. Therefore we are encouraged to keep focussed on this unseen God and wait eagerly for this future gift of life in God’s presence. We do not need to seek worldly pleasure to fill our hearts, it can never fill the void, we only need Jesus. Are you troubled, are you lost, are you seeking, then know that Jesus is standing at your door waiting to come in and love and transform you for His glory. Just ask Him in!

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Romans 8:24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?

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1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Yesterday was a challenging day for me as I was asked permission to feature this blog on an upcoming christian website targeted at the Indian Diaspora living outside of India. Quite an honor I would think but it made me wonder what God wanted because this work is physically mine but the wisdom and direction has been from above and I cannot take credit or direct its path. As I sought God’s response, I received prayer support from my dear blogger friends and this morning’s passage spoke clearly to me. While all this was going on, I was asked a hard question about promoting the blog on Facebook and this passage spoke to me about that too.

One of the challenges we face as Christians is that we try to apply the great commission of sharing the gospel with the world in a human way. I wanted to carry the gospel to the world and decided to use my Facebook profile to do so. I realize now that it was like putting a square peg in a round hole. Christians who felt motivated to read it read but non-Christians avoided it. This was counter productive and God was not glorified. On the contrary, when God desired for this blog to go out to a larger audience, He created the opportunity and all I had to do was comply. Paul’s words to the Thessalonians reminds me that we should serve God with our all but under His guidance and not try to humanize God. I now want to live my life normally and in so doing if people are attracted to Christ, then to God be the glory. Hope you agree with me?

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Colossians 4:5 Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity

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1 Thessalonians 3:4-8
In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know. For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter might have tempted you and our efforts might have been useless. But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.

When we take a stand for Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we go against the grain of this world and against Satan who is like a roaring lion, waiting to devour people (1 Peter 5:8). Paul reminds us of the reality of persecution but that is not the point of God’s message to us today. When Paul, Timothy and Silas were being persecuted, they were concerned that the Thessalonians would start to lose their faith and drift away from God. The fact that sincere followers of Christ were not blessed but rather were being attacked constantly would cause anyone who believed in Christ to doubt if their faith was rightly placed. Is this what you have experienced or witness in other believers? What is God’s response to this?

As you can note from Timothy’s feedback to Paul, the Thessalonians were not discouraged but instead full of faith and love. They had good memories of them and were longing to see them again. That was only possible because their faith was correctly placed. When we fully understand God’s calling in our lives and are willing to follow Jesus, we know that we will be persecuted just as He was for our faith in Him. Therefore when we suffer or see other christians suffer, we know that it is our responsibility to pray for them and our Lord and Savior is in complete control. When I think of suffering, I praise God because through suffering, our faith is strengthened and our desire for God is intensified. Lets not be shaken and tossed like the people of this world because our God is bigger than the little storms in our lives and our lives are secured by Christ’s resurrection.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.

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1 Thessalonians 2:13-15a
And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe. For you, brothers, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own countrymen the same things those churches suffered from the Jews, who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.

What is the sound of God’s voice like? This is a question I have often been asked and wondered a lot about. Is it loud or soft, gentle or forceful, is it audible or so gentle that one wouldn’t hear unless listening intently. We try ever so hard to hear God’s voice and I’ve know many including myself who have been dejected about not hearing God’s voice audibly whereas I have met several people who hear His voice often and very clearly. What is God teaching us from today’s passage and does it help us understand how to hear His voice?

Paul commends the Thessalonians for receiving the word of God in faith and showing evidence of their conviction by their lives. The word of God is real, is true and is even printed for those of us who need to see it. The Thessalonians and the Christians of those times past had only scrolls to refer to which were not indexed or bound together like we have it today. Their faith was much greater than ours because they believed God’s word for what it was. We need visual proof in sound, theatrics and more to believe and keep the faith but they had none. God’s voice is recorded in word and we are reminded that this world will pass away but not God’s word which will be real and true for eternity. Are you able to hear God through His written word or are you sad that God missed your sensory needs? Let’s live by faith and not by sight.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Luke 21:33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

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1 Thessalonians 1:2-3
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the joys I have in serving God through this platform is how God brings people to encourage us when we serve. It can be quite daunting to go out on a limb to serve a God who is not seen, whose Son lived and was crucified 2,000 years ago and who ministers and directs us by the Holy Spirit, who again is unseen. As we step out in faith convicted by our belief in this God, He responds by ministering to us through His Holy Spirit which fills us up and directs our path moment by moment. The other aspect of his provision is bringing His own to encourage us and as I continue to walk in faith serving this great God, he has placed many in my midst, albeit that being online, who continually encourage, support, value add and pray for me. Was Paul speaking as an encourager here and was that the essence of his message to us today?

A dear christian friend and encourager shared an incident at her church where a lady attending shared a vision that she saw 2 ships, one with people having a great time but no joy inside and another with people all wounded but full of joy. The christian ship is the latter and even though we are the downcast in the eyes of society, we are the chosen in the eyes of the Living God and our encouragement is from God and each other. I thank God for each of you that are serving God the Father, His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit together and I celebrate with the hosts of heaven your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

1 Corinthians 13:13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love

 

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Colossians 4:2-6, 18
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone… I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Back in ’77, my Granddad (Dad’s) passed away, then in April ’99, my father-in-law passed away (2 days after my son’s birth) and then in November 2003, I lost my Dad (The day before his 55th birthday) and in a couple months, my Mom’s Dad passed away too. This left me without a physical Dad to look up to and that was when my dependance on God the Father became total. This year, father’s day was the day I remembered each of my Dads and most importantly, the one Dad I will never lose who means the world to me and who loves me so much that He gave up what was most special to Him to bring me closer to Him. Today’s passage does not remind us of father’s day and you must wonder why I mentioned my Dads in this post?

In the life of Jesus and the apostles, the one thing that marked them was their reliance on God being their father. Everything they did was after praying to God the Father for His wisdom, leading, correction, anointing, or direction. Paul reminds us as followers of Christ that we are to be devoted to prayer and live a life evidencing the grace that saved us. The start and sustenance of our faith is God the Father who made all things possible so that we might be created and brought into communion with Him through the shedding of His son’s blood for our unrighteousness. Without our Father in Heaven and His son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in our lives, we would not exist and our lives would be meaningless. I pray that today each of us will remember our Father in Heaven and celebrate Him as we celebrate the lives of our Dads. I pray for us Dads that we will pray for God’s leading in our lives to be Fathers like He is and that we will live to serve our families as Christ lived to serve His church, us.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Psalm 103:13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him

 

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Colossians 3:15-17
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I was chatting with my ex-colleague and friend from Dubai yesterday and in the course of the conversation got three pieces of sad news. An ex-colleague lost her husband in a car accident in Nigeria yesterday, another ex-colleague’s husband has been jailed because of trumped up charges and no lawyer will represent him because the ruler of the city is involved and a third colleague has filed for divorce because her husband tried to kill her. All these have occurred in the span of a few weeks and my friends are all upset and feeling helpless. In today’s passage, Paul talks about the peace of Christ ruling our hearts and one might wonder why God would give that word to us in such difficult times and how we could possibly have peace when the world is at war?

Paul lived a hazardous life as did many children of God and most importantly Jesus Christ himself. Jesus warns all who follow him that in this new life, we will have trouble but we are not to worry for He overcame the world for us (Jn. 16:33). The peace of Christ rests upon us from the moment we submit ourselves into His hand and even though we face challenges, we are comforted. The word of God gives us assurances time and again about God’s promises and we therefore need to immerse ourselves in the word to be able to draw strength from it. Furthermore, we are called not just to be hearers of the word but to teach, correct each other, worship God through song and praise showing our gratitude to Him. Everything we do, we need to do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, always thanking God the Father through Him and by that the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:7).

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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Colossians 2:20-23
Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

If I was standing right now before God and He asked me the same question that Paul is asking, I fear that I will have no response to give because as much as I desire to be one with Christ, my humanness craves to live in sin. I was at the public library last evening checking out some books and DVDs when the librarian looked at a DVD I had and remarked that my kids might enjoy it too. I told her that I did not think so and she went on to share a new learning she had about how ratings in the US and Canada differ. In Canada, violence seems to be an issue and in the US sex is. How different views can be across a virtual border and this affects what we consider safe standards to live and grow in?

Hitting the lotto jackpot seems to be the greatest desire of my colleagues and most people I see here. It seems that the more we have, the better we live and the less we want. Another human standard and it fuels a significant amount of money into the coffers of the lottery companies but robs the average Joe of his money for a chance only a few will have. Are we to live by these standards? We are reminded that these are destined to perish and so are we. Why would we wager on selfish human standards when the highest standards set by God are available, the access is free, the invitation is open, the payout starts now and lasts an eternity and all we need to do is submit? What wisdom are you leaning on and how is that helping you?

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

1 Corinthians 6:13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.