Posts Tagged ‘Disciples’


Acts 11:22-26
News of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord. Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

The news that brought Barnabas out to Antioch from the comforts of his home was that of Christ being preached and many submitting their lives to God’s leading in places as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch. It says that Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith and a great number of people were brought to the Lord through him. That sounds fair and investing him into that ministry was a great idea but why Saul? The last time he tried, he was getting in trouble with the officials and had to taken away in hiding by the believers there. What was the Lord doing and what is his direction to us today through this passage?

In recent weeks, I’ve been raving about the training I’ve been receiving at my new job. The content is from top educational institutions and the investment in time and resources by my bank in me is something I can never imagine. It’s something I know God blessed me with and was not because of anything I did or deserved. However, when I compare this to the awesomeness of my Christian education through God’s own words, nothing compares! What is most amazing is that God invests his Holy Spirit in people who themselves may not make the worldly cut for their roles but God uses them to glorify himself. We’re all broken clay pots restored by the Holy Spirit for God’s use. Lets go out and fulfill God’s call in our lives to impact the generations for HIM!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Acts 6:2-4, 12b-15
So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word”… They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, “This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.” All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

As we continue to read through the book of Acts, we notice how the spirit of God is at work in and through the body of believers. Significant challenges come up and wisdom is exercised beyond the intellect of the chosen. Each situation is dealt with appropriately and there is a peace which is not the norm in any human transactions. What is the Lord speaking to us through these passages?

The only news these days is about economic recovery, stimulus, bail outs, unemployment, etc. A global economic crisis has struck and all the wisdom of the world is unable to resolve the issue. Many other issues are being pushed down to accommodate this one and in the process, there is turmoil and uncertainty everywhere. Don’t we wish the wisdom given to the believers in the Church in those times was given to our leaders today? Wouldn’t it be most prudent to ask God to intervene in the present situation and help us resolve it? Our call as children of the living God is to pray for God’s wisdom upon those in power and authority and we are called to show obedience to God’s word and testify that peace which only a believer can feel in trying circumstances such as these.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Mark 13:32-37
“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. “Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’”

The reality of Jesus’ betrayal and his death has become a reality to the disciples who now sit Jesus down to enquire when it will take place. This is so human and curiosity kills. Israel was and is still waiting for the coming messiah who would save them and take them to heaven and like the rest of Israel, the disciples wanted to know when. They realized that Jesus was the long-awaited messiah but wanted to know what next. Reminds me of me because as I wait upon the Lord for the right job opportunity, my curiosity kills me to a point of asking God for signs or evidence that he has something in store and I’m reminded again that I am to wait on God for his timing and not mine.

Jesus’s response to this question is not what the disciples probably hoped to hear, specially when he said that neither the angels or even he knew when the time was but he certainly gave clues. 2 days ago, a new friend and I were talking and he indicated to me signs that the end times were here and I have to say, it was compelling. Therefore the caution that Jesus gives us to be on guard and not asleep is key for us today. Our eyes are to be focused on sharing the gospel to the world and living worthy lives through God’s help and not to be caught off-guard. It’s a wake up call that we cannot be asleep in our walk with Christ but awake. If we are not walking with Christ yet, it’s a loud shout to us that the end is near and before we loose the opportunity to share eternity with God, we need to submit our lives to his Lordship. Rise and shine Children of the living God!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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Mission Panorama


Mark 6:41-44,48-50
Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to set before the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand… He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

After Jesus performed an astounding miracle with the physical provision of food to 5,000 men and their families using just five loaves and two fish, it was disheartening to hear how the disciples were down on morale and struggling at the oars and that is the reason Jesus decided to walk to them on water to encourage them. Somehow I think I would be full of courage and strength if I were to witness such miracles but after pondering about it, I realize that I am certainly no different from these disciples in my faith. Time and again, the Lord works his miraculous ways in our lives but we in our selfish nature either are blinded to the truth or are lost in our own selves and don’t recognize them.

You might not have seen a healing or a feeding like those reported on these pages of scripture but look back at your life and think of the little miracles that have happened? I remember prayers being answered in difficult circumstances, undue blessings coming our way in times of desperation, situations coming to pass without our efforts, etc. However, I know now that I have issues and problems and situations that I am banging God’s doors with because I am concerned God will not come through. Am I not acting like the disciples? I pray today that we will start to count our blessings and when we are faced with storms, that we will be able to submit our problems to God and wait upon him for his blessing rather than trying to fix things ourselves. This is a journey from head to heart which seems short in length but will take a lifetime!

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

Guarded Beauty

 

 


Matthew 24:3-8, 36

“Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains…“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.


As Jesus approaches his betrayal and death, his disciples start to wonder when it is that he will come and rescue them? They had Jesus beside them and they followed him but when Jesus was gone, what would happen to them and their loved ones? If Jesus was going to be killed by human hands, what would these human hands do to them? These were questions that worried them and a solution was what they sought. Jesus answered them but he did not specify the time or date when he would come again because he said that he himself did not know, only God the father did. How would the disciples have felt by this response? What hope would they have had? Do you think they could loose their faith in him because of this?

It’s amazing to note that all the disciples except for Judas who betrayed Christ spent their lives, after Christ’s death and resurrection, in sincere service to God, a transformation only possible through the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives. However, at the point where we are at, the answer Jesus gave must certainly have worried them but like many of the mysteries surrounding Jesus, they did not question it but listened and followed Christ. When I read the warnings Jesus specified, I feel the time is here because everything that Jesus spoke about seems to be happening now. We therefore need to be faithful servants and be on our alert to serve God and his people sincerely and share the good news with many and help them find the same hope we have in Christ.

In His Loving Service,

Vineet


Matthew 19:11-12, 14-15, 23-24

Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”…Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there…Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

 

Jesus seems to contradict everything known to the men of those times, even the wise and learned ones, and the passages above are a reflection of some of his statements that puzzled everyone, even his own disciples. It seems like he was getting them to unlearn all of Moses’ teachings, the traditions followed by the Israelites for 1,000s of years and the rules set to help people follow God diligently. What was the problem? Is this something we face today also? What is Jesus teaching us today?

One of the things we notice is that Jesus’ corrections were to do with the blindness of our beliefs. In those times, it was unthinkable for children to be given any importance in society and they were the outcast until they became adults, just like women always were. Divorce became a thing of convenience and was no longer a taboo like it is not today. Religiosity and religious fervor was determined by acts and deeds and not by a change of heart and faith. Jesus was trying to awaken their dead hearts which were living in their version of the present rather than what God wanted for them and this was the reason for conflicts. Are you fixated on your version of God’s will for you or can you hear what the Lord is speaking to you through his word today? For me, it’s going to be a lifetime of undoing what I thought and think about living and all I pray is that God would patiently love and lead me each day to make me more like his son Jesus and to change my heart to love and serve him in everything I do.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet