Posts Tagged ‘Joy’


3 John 1:2-4
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

Sometimes I wonder what is the point of trying so hard to serve God to man when man does not want God. If God wanted, He could turn the heart of men towards Him just as He turned the heart of Pharaoh against Him when the Israelites were living in captivity in Egypt and Moses was requesting Pharaoh to release them. When I look around, the world around me seems to want to live in oblivion to God, sin and any sense of morality. Things that were shameful in the past is now acceptable and trendy and things that were condoned before are now revered. In such times, would it not be easier to blend in with the world and believe what we believe in the privacy of our hearts so as not to look foolish? What is God saying to us today as we rationalize our purpose? (more…)


Hebrews 12:2-6
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son”

I woke up this morning to a prayer request from a dear one who is in the process of selling her home to move to be with her husband and is facing serious challenges in terms of selling. They have been asked by potential home buyers to redo their roofing, sewerage and other fixes which will cost them over 10% of the value of the home. This is highly discouraging news and for one who has not put her trust in Jesus as her Lord and Savior, it is a point of no return because it seems like they are pushed against the wall and have no hope left in the world but in God alone. Why does God place us in such situations and where is God’s hand of blessing when we call out to Him for help? (more…)


Philippians 2:1-3, 5-8
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose… Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

According to my dictionary, humility means a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness. This is something we can ascribe to people with low self esteem or people who feel they are less than those they serve. It is a very defeated attitude in today’s world and therefore as much as we talk praise about people who are humble, we cannot aspire to it because it is not in us. When I had the inspiration for ServantBoy as a handle, it seemed to the world the worst way to portray oneself and I was told more often than not to change it as it embarrassed people who knew me. When I look at today’s passage, I am encouraged by Christ’s example and feel inspired once again.

So many traits of Jesus in His earthly life are painted by the picture of humility. He was born in poverty, He knelt and prayed to God the Father, He was surrounded by the lowest in society, He amassed no wealth, He rode on donkeys and He was even stripped, beaten and humiliated by being hung on the cross beside two criminals for no fault of His. If we are to serve Him as our God, how can we not humble ourselves below Him? How can we seek our own comforts before the comforts of those suffering around us? How can we justify our gain at someone else’s loss? God rewards us for loving His Son and living a life worthy of His name and that reward will be for eternity but to be blessed, we need to first seek His Son Jesus and live by His example. I hope you are encouraged by Jesus’ example and are proud to call yourself His own and live a life worthy of His name?

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Matthew 11:29 “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.


Galatians 5:16-17, 22-25
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Freedom in Christ if not clearly explained might mislead us and therefore Paul clarifies the spiritual freedom we receive as a people saved by the grace of God. As humans, we like to establish boundaries to know where we can operate and what is out of bounds. While this might be the case, as broken as we are, some of us like to work on the edge of these boundaries and when challenged argue our way out of it. For example when we have a speed limit on the road, the purpose is to ensure safety of all who use the public road and the keyword stated with the speed limit is ‘Maximum’. However, we like to use it as a gauge of what speed we can drive at and we generally drive around that speed or higher, seldom lower. How then does the spiritual freedom operate and how do we exercise it?

Overcoming sin such as that mentioned above is a real challenge because as hard as we try, we fail. However, when we are saved by the grace of God, we are in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit and it steers us away from sin because it desires to serve God and not Satan. The fruits of the Holy Spirit evident in us are listed in the passage above and it shows that there is no room for sin. When we are confronted by sin, we know it because we are reminded by the Holy Spirit and our response should be to run away from it because if we court sin, we cannot serve God. When I am reminded by the Holy Spirit about doing something that is not pleasing to God, I submit myself into God’s hands and run from it. Satan attacks us in very subtle ways and walking close to God helps us hear His voice which directs us away from sin. This is hard for me to talk about because I know my brokenness and my propensity to sin but I also know that Christ has won the victory and as long as I am His, I am protected.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

Romans 8:5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.


1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 12-13, 27
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit… Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it.

Paul writes much about gifts of the Holy Spirit in this chapter and I recommend you read it well to understand it. The Bible tells us that we are filled with the Holy Spirit when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is at work in us transforming us from inside out to make us like Jesus and empowers us to serve God in many ways. Different believers have different gifts that collectively serve God and Paul weeds out the confusion regarding this gifting because in our paradigm, we think each one should have the same gifts and don’t appreciate the variety that adds up to glorifying God collectively.

Yesterday we reflected on communion which is a symbol of the body and blood of Jesus. In 1 Cor. 10:17, Paul reminds us that ‘Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread‘. We are all different in our cultures, colors, languages, etc. but we all are bound in love by Jesus that makes us family. Similarly in our gifting, we are all differently gifted but collectively serve God to glorify Him alone. No one of us is greater or lesser because of our gifting and also Jesus reminds us in Luke 9:48 that whoever is the least among us is the greatest. Let us seek our spiritual gifts from God to use it for His glory and lets work together to build His kingdom.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


1 Corinthians 4:6-7
Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man over against another. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

Paul continues in his letter to the church in Corinth and to us today where he reminds us that we are servants of Christ Jesus entrusted with the secret things of God and that we are not to judge others because only Christ can judge and reward us as He can see the motives of our hearts. He also warns us not to go beyond what is written in God’s word and this is critical to us today in our walk with the Lord. We are ‘Glory Thieves’ and our desire is to always make ourselves look better in the eyes of man and in this pursuit we twist even the word of God to our benefit.

As I was riding back on the train yesterday afternoon, I tried to read a book but was distracted by the ambient noise of people chattering. I put down my book and listened to what was being discussed. The train was full of everyday people who regularly travelled together and conversations included issues in their workplaces, relationships, homes, lousy weather, busy weekends, endless chores and more. When I looked outside, I noticed that we were traveling through a picturesque landscape of mountains, waterways, colourful flora and fauna, quiet towns and a beautiful life, which few were able to see because they were consumed by the pains of the lives. Do we really appreciate what God has blessed us with and is life not much more than just our problems? Let’s refocus our eyes on Him and live for Him and lets us not be blinded by our problems but instead share the joy we have abounding within us through our relationship with Jesus!

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy


Acts 8:5-8, 26-27, 38b-40
Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city…Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians…Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

The book of Acts gives us a sense of how the Church exploded after Jesus’ resurrection. Nothing was the same and followers of Christ were doing things that were not of them. Philip seems to be the man of action mentioned throughout this chapter and he was involved in some real mystifying acts like healing people with evil spirits inside of them, healing cripples and paralytics and even disappearing after baptizing the Ethiopian eunuch who accepted Christ. What is God speaking to us today through this passage?

For many weeks, a dear friend of mine has been plagued by a rasping cough. It’s trying and hard when the medication he has been taking has had no effect and his faith is being challenged. It is at times such as these when one doubts why the Lord permits suffering in the lives of his cherished and those living far from God seem to be in bliss. The reality is that like Philip, we are called to serve God regardless of when and where and we should consider it a privilege to serve for the salvation we have received from the Lord. Philip was not acting in his strength but through the Holy Spirit at work in him. The Lord works in mysterious ways when we submit to his will and we need to pray for humble hearts that we might serve faithfully and God is glorified through our lives.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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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

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A Narrow Path

Servitude and Obedience

Posted: Monday, November 9, 2009 in Matthew, New Testament
Tags: , , , , , ,

Matthew 21:6-11

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on  them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

In the last many days, we have been warned, corrected and led in tough teaching and that was good for our souls. However today, the passage that stood out to me in this very trying part of Jesus’ life is one of sorrow, yet great joy for Jesus. What joy can come out of knowing you are going to be publicly shamed, denounced, rebuked and executed based on false allegations? Christ just spoke of all of this because he knew what was about to happen and yet walked into it with purpose which is totally contrary to what any reasonable man would do.

It is ridiculous in our eyes because we run from death and hurt and therefore what Jesus was doing is considered a suicide wish because there was no way out of death for us. However for Jesus, there was purpose in his death because it was a fulfillment of scripture that the final sacrifice was made and man could once again be reconnected to God not by our own broken sacrifices but by the perfect sacrifice for us by God’s own son. However, the joy that I am referring to is not just this but the fact that the disciples obeyed Jesus’s instructions regarding getting the donkey and colt without too many questions and the crowd that spread their cloaks did so in recognition of the arriving messiah. After a long time, it must’ve been wonderful for Jesus to note that some people were obeying and serving him rather than themselves. As we approach the commercial season of Christmas, I pray that God would help us obey him and serve him in a way fitting for a savior and not in a manner fitting the world.

In His Loving Service,
Vineet


Matthew 10:26-31

“So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”


These are the words Jesus spoke to his disciples before sending them off on their journeys across Israel to share the gospel with God’s children. Every word spoken is so weighty and I dint know which one to choose but I ended up choosing this passage because of the assurance God gives us in it. My biggest fear in sharing the gospel is that I am embarrassed to talk to someone about something that might make me look and sound uncool. Talking about religion is so socially unacceptable in our times that it is now shunned in commercial media, at schools and universities, in offices, homes and just about anywhere you go. How then are we expected to live out the great commission of sharing the gospel with the lost if it is such a difficulty.

The answer is not in going for a toastmaster’s class or going to Bible school but instead, the answer is through prayer and knowing that we are going about God’s work, not ours. When I first thought of starting this devotional, I was embarrassed to invite anyone to read because I was worried my writing was not good, my understanding of the word was poor and many other excuses, much like Moses before freeing the Israelites. Once I asked God to lead me and realized this was God’s work, it became so easy and today it’s a joy. I may still not be a great writer, have a masters in Theology or be ordained to minister in the Church but I know that as I serve God, God gives me the wisdom and I’m just a glorified typist who is blessed to be entrusted with this work. It’s about God, not me! Until we get over the fear of man and recognize that it is not about us but about the one that saved us, we will live in fear and satan will rejoice. Now are you ready to give God a chance?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet