Posts Tagged ‘Living’

Genesis 47:3-6,9,25-26 Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” So they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.” They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. Now, therefore, please let your servants live in the land of Goshen.” Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. “The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my livestock”… So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning”… So they said, “You have saved our lives! Let us find favor in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh’s slaves.” Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt valid to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; only the land of the priests did not become Pharaoh’s.

Is it not wonderful to see great blessing being poured out and to rest in the knowledge that God is almighty over everything that He has created?

Joseph’s family spoke truthfully of their occupation to Pharaoh and as Joseph expected, Pharaoh established Israel and his family well and gave them the responsibility to oversee his own flocks also.

Truth certainly paid off well and was rewarded well but is that what today’s chapter is about? (more…)

1 Peter 1:13-16, 23-25
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy”… For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

There are several individuals who have made a significant impact on mankind and are remembered today much after they died but they account for not even a fraction of a fraction of number of people who have lived and died on earth. Most human lives will have been lived without much reason or purpose and that is the grim reality. Everyone tries, aspires, makes goals, fights hard but eventually leave without much to look forward to or little to leave back. Is this a reality we can accept and if we are tired of fighting a losing battle with no hope in sight, is there one that we can fight for and make a difference? (more…)

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

A sacrifice is an act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God. If Jesus was the perfect sacrifice that was sufficient to end sacrifices altogether, what is the reason Paul is asking us to offer our bodies to God as living sacrifices and where do we make this sacrifice?

In return for God’s mercy upon us because of our sinfulness, Paul is asking us to consecrate our entire life – sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life – to glorify Him. The altar is the world and our transformed life in action is the sacrifice as an offering to Him. We are called to serve Christ to the world in EVERY area of our lives. We no longer are working or living for ourselves but for the glory of God alone. Have you submitted every area in your life to Jesus for His glory?

In His Loving Service,

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “Men of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you.

Paul was a trouble maker before and after the Lord called him to be his own. Before he was saved, he led the lay Jews against the followers of Jesus Christ and after he was saved, he tried to help the same people see the truth, both ways getting himself into trouble. In today’s passage, he is addressing the wise people of Athens who spent their days and nights debating. This was a sport of it’s own kind and these people wanted to hear him out before challenging him back. Why was Paul unwantedly getting himself in a knot?

We are all creatures of habit and we like to steer towards thing we are comfortable with more than things we are not. Paul was a man smitten by God’s love for him and for all mankind that he could not stop himself from sharing the good news of Jesus Christ, whatever the cost. Worse still, he was sure that if he lost his life, he would gain it with Christ and no one could ever take it away. When I watch the athlete’s daily in the winter olympics, I see human passion for being the best, even at the cost of life. Some of these athlete’s train all their lives for a few seconds of competition and only 3 out of millions in the world make it. As Christians, what are we passionate about and are we running the race?

In His Loving Service,

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Word and Light

Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 in John, New Testament
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

John 1:1-5
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

About 136 days later, we start the last of the 4 gospels and what a wonderful journey it has been. Not a journey through my lens but a journey through God’s word which is what we have the privilege to study daily. After reading The Jesus Chronicles regarding the life of John in his final years, this gospel narration seems to become all the more real as I now can see from the eyes of one who submitted himself fully to the Lord and lived for his glory alone. This introduction sounds a bit too heady but when you dwell on the first 5 verses and put it into perspective, it makes a lot of sense. We are privileged to read the Word of God which gave life and light to creation and through which everything we know of has been created. Jesus was that Word and he came to live among us and give us the confirmation of eternity in God’s presence if we will submit our will and our lives completely to him.

Last night, I received some sad news about my wife’s cousin who was supposed to return to Canada after a holiday and was not able to because of visa issues. Her Dad who shared the news was obviously crushed and so was I, specially because she was doing her final semesters in Bible School. As children of God, what should our reaction be? The hurt and the pain of such events can rob the joy of serving a living savior and that is where our faith steps in. Jesus reminds us that in this life, there will be struggles and our testimony is to shine’s God’s light on our struggles to let him work through them to transform them into opportunities for his glory. We are called to give God glory regardless of our circumstances and to be encouraged that when we are reduced in significance, he increases in glory.

In His Loving Service,

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Elephant Tales

Luke 24:1-7, 25-26, 46-49
…the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus… two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’”… He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”… He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

It seems like for centuries, people have battled most with the concept of Jesus rising from the dead. Something completely out of the natural order of things and beyond human comprehension. I cannot imagine how difficult it must’ve been for the disciples who even though they were prepped about it did not realize it. In today’s day and age, we have the powerful medium of cinema which helps us believe more than the improbable. Star Wars, Back to the Future, Avatar and so many more movies help our mind go beyond the reasonable and often people start to believe in fiction to a point of death. However, in those days, this was not something anyone was willing to accept and tore the world apart. Believing in a miracle working man was hard enough, now to contend with the fact that he had absolute control over death and life was just impossible and anyone who believed such a message was considered a lunatic for obvious reasons.

When I read the passages above, what struck me was the statement the angels made to the women who came to Jesus’ tomb. Why do we look for the living among the dead? While it sounds so simple, there is significant meaning in it and Jesus himself explains it to the disciples in person after that. The question for us is the same. Are we following a dead or a living God? Are we mourning Christ’s death or celebrating his resurrection and sharing the joy of salvation through him with those around us? Are you joyous about his victory over sin and death or are you still beating yourself up about his physical death? We do however have to be cautious here not to overlook the sacrifice but instead to put it in perspective to our sinfulness and the hope that he gives us beyond the grave. I pray you like me are encouraged to go out and share the good news to those who are sinners like us and in need of a savior?

In His Loving Service,

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Baby Elephant

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,

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The Crooked Tree