Posts Tagged ‘Challenge’


Luke 3:15-18
The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.

These are the words of John and in it we see humility not because John was being ‘Appropriate’ or ‘Nice’ or ‘Respectable’ but because he knew this to be the truth. John does not come across as a cultured well mannered person but as someone who dressed wildly, spoke brashly and was willing to die for his beliefs. What a contrast to us today who would rather hide our beliefs, be considered appropriate and mild mannered and avoid conflict. What is the Lord asking of us today?

We now live in Canada and it is a beautiful land with absolutely wonderful, warm-hearted people who make it warmer than the coldest winters can get. One challenge we face here though is that it is not socially appropriate to share your faith and people reserve their thoughts and feeling of religion and politics to themselves. This is not uncommon in most places I have lived in or visited and the challenge for us today is to decide if we want to fall prey to the devil’s taunts through what’s culturally acceptable or if we want to shamelessly profess our gratefulness to our Lord and maker who has transformed us and given us hope all the money in the world would not buy. Are you holding back to be culturally appropriate and losing precious souls in the bargain? Are you willing to be shameless and bold for what the Lord has done for you? Lets be Johns’ in our world and save many than be Judass’ in our willingness to sell our faith for being appreciated in the eyes of man.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Ugly Frame or Beautiful Structure

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Mark 4:26-29
He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.”

Jesus spoke in parables and sometimes I wonder why not just plain talk but that doubt was clarified in v11 where he said that the secrets of the kingdom of God are revealed to those God chooses to reveal it to and not to those who God chooses not to. Today’s parable seems so obvious and I would wonder why some people dint get it but as I read it again, I realized that to understand it, one first needs to understand God’s will for our own lives. This parable was spoken in the spiritual sense and has to do with what God commanded us to do in Matthew 28:19-20 when he gave us the great commission. He commanded us to go and share the good news of salvation through his own death and resurrection and the new hope that we have of knowing where we are headed beyond this physical body.

As servants of God, our primary calling is to serve God and not ourselves. After we are saved, our new lives are not to be lived for our old selves but for our maker and creator who saved us from certain death and the fires of hell. For this great blessing, we are called to go out and share this great news of forgiveness and hope which is free to all men. A serious challenge we face with this commission is our minds which makes us wonder how we can share the good news because we may not be good speakers like Moses, worry about loosing friends when we talk things that they don’t appreciate, etc. However, we need to realize that God saved us not because of anything we did but because he wanted to bless us and we need to go out and shamelessly share this same good news and not worry about the result because that is God’s work. Are you willing to stand us for your savior? If yes, do it shamelessly for the Lord and if no, seek God’s help to know how you can serve him.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

Bridge Over Calm Waters


Matthew 26:6-15

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

 

Today’s chapter was the meatiest of the 26 we have studied to date in the gospel of Matthew and therefore it would’ve been a challenge to understand what God wanted us to hear today. However, the 2 tales of money mentioned above caught my eye as amazing. On one side, you have the lady who spent a fortune on an expensive perfume and poured it into Jesus’ hair and on the other side, Judas offers to lead Jesus’ enemies to Jesus for a lot of money. When you look at the question asked by the disciples and the one asked by Judas, don’t you see such an amazing contrast. On one side, the disciples are asking if all that money was worth pouring on Jesus’s head and on the other, Judas is trying to understand how much Jesus’ head was worth? What a crazy contrast?

In your eyes, what is the cost you are willing to pay to follow Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Is there any value that you can put to following Christ when you are guaranteed that following him means walking against the grain of this world resulting in persecution? Are you trying to weigh the cost? If you are, know this that the gain of loosing yourself to Christ is to share eternity in heaven with him, long after our physical bodies turn to dust on this earth. It’s about spiritual blessings that far outweigh all the material blessings this world has to offer and a chance to communicate with your maker which we were robbed off by our sinfulness and filthiness that stands no ground before God the father.

In His Loving Service,

Vineet

Journey to the misty summit

Journey To The Misty Summit

 

 


Matthew 16:6-12

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.” Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.


Because of sinfulness, we are blinded to see what God is saying and doing in our lives and this is probably the biggest challenge to our walk with God. I find it such a challenge to prepare myself to sit before the Lord because before I do, I reflect on my life and have to first weed through the sin that covers my heart and mind and blocks my full view of what the Lord is teaching me. This morning more so than others and so when I read today’s chapter, I realized that even the disciples had a hard time figuring out what our Lord was speaking to them through the parables because they were still being pruned.

Again it seems the Lord is warning about following the Pharisees and Sadducees and I’m certain this was no mistake. Even though these were men of God who took care of the temple, taught God’s word and instructed people in God’s ways, Jesus was telling us off about them. This makes leadership such a challenge because when we lead, if our humanness comes before God’s holiness, we start to serve ourselves before God. The Pharisees and Sadducees were stuck in a spot where they were serving God in the way they felt right and therefore were blinded to the truth of the messiah’s arrival and their religious fervor and rituals had gripped their hearts. I encourage us to seek the Lord today and ask him to weed out such strongholds in our lives that prevent us from full and total submission to the Lord and to ask Jesus to always reign supreme in our lives and reduce our significance because our lives are to be lived for his glory.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet


Matthew 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

There are 4 major themes in chapter 4 and choosing Jesus’ temptation seemed fitting because it is something I personally battle with; what about you? What first got me was the realization that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted. I constantly pray that God would protect me from the fowler’s snare and here God himself is being led into it. To add to the challenge, Jesus fasts forty days and nights which means he did not eat a morsel. Fasting one meal for me is a challenge because I’m a foodie and often that sacrifice of meal consumes me so much that I chicken out of fasting. Then Jesus was tempted with things no man could refuse. Satan throws food, comfort, power and majesty in Jesus’ feeble hands as these are things most of us would clutch on to when we are tempted but Jesus refuses every one of them and counters each one scripturally, finally to be rid of the devil.

In our context, what does this mean? We live lives filled with challenges. To some it’s basic necessities, to some money, to some power, to some relationships, to some respect and honor and so on. These challenges all revolve around us and we are constantly seeking ways to resolve them. The poor want to be rich, the weak want to become strong, the sick want good health, the old want youth and the young want age! When we realize that it is not I that matters and we cross the I, we are led to the cross. In Christ, there is surety of being recognized as precious because he died for us which none can match, there is eternity which is unthinkable, there is peace which is unaffordable and there is joy that comes from his love in our lives. Which path would you choose?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet