Sunday, January 24, 2010

Age of the universe

Found this very interesting lecture by Dr G Schroeder in Jerusalem about the age of the universe and how the Bible and science don't really contradict each other.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Lovest thou me?"


"Do you love Me?"
The Lord Jesus Christ, after His resurrection asked this question to His apostle Peter.

But so many times we are the ones who ask this question to the Lord, "Lord, do You love me?" When we are going through tough times, we ask Him, "Lord, do You love me?"
And when we are entangled in sin, we ask, "Lord, do you still me?"
Many have been the times when our pillows are wet with our tears or when we are walking about with a smile on our face so that no one may notice that tiny tear at the corner of our eye. Then this silent cry has gone up to heaven, "Lord, do you love me?"
Peter himself was probably asking this question. For all his loud boasting, he had abandoned the Lord when He needed His friends the most. He denied his Lord even when the Lord Jesus could still hear every word he was saying.
After all this Peter was full of doubts and fears, "Does the Lord still love me?"
The Lord Jesus Christ knew all this, but He did not address any of these questions directly. He went straight to the question that really mattered. He said, "Peter, do you love me?"

Like Peter, we also keep asking the wrong question. The question is not whether or not the Lord loves us. He settled that question once and for all on the cross.
He bled and died for us "while we were yet sinners". He suffered silently for our salvation even as our disobedience mingled with the voices of the mocking crowd.
He called us to be His own even when He knew how we would repeatedly stumble and break His heart by our sins and doubts.

The question is not whether or not the Lord loves you but it is, do you love Him?
Do you love Him enough to show respect for His sacrifice for you?
Do you love Him enough to give up your sinful lifestyle and live for Him instead of making excuses?
After you have stumbled and fallen, do you love Him enough to get up again, brush yourself off of all malice, anger and sin and walk in His grace?
When you are all alone in the valley of the shadow, when your life seems useless and meaningless and death seems like a welcome release, do you love Him enough to trust His promise that He will never leave you and is able to restore all you have lost? Do you love Him enough let His light shine through you in the darkness. Do you love Him enough to go on in His strength which is perfected in your weakness?

Never ask the Lord if He loves you. He's settled that once and for all. He loves you with an everlasting and unchanging love.
That is why, instead of answering any questions that were in Peter's mind, the Lord Jesus Christ asked him the only question that really mattered.
Even today, He asks us the same question, "Do you love Me?"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Lord, be my Vision!



So many times we get caught up in the various trials of life and get bogged down by circumstances and people and devils and what-not. So much so that we forget the purpose of our lives. We get so busy trying to be happy and at peace that we neglect to do the one thing that would bring us peace and happiness.
The past few weeks had been bad for me, a bit depressing. Made me think about a lot of things, about where exactly my life was headed. I was going around in circles inside my head, my heart heavier with each progressing circle and my mind more depressed and anxious.

Then I stumbled upon this great hymn on the Net. It made me realize how far I had wandered. My vision had been live for the Living God and if He thinks me worthy, to die for Him. But I had started living for myself. Thinking more of the one I love than The One who truly loves me, The One who IS Love, The One who deserves my first allegiance above all else.
This hymn brought me comfort and strength by helping to get things back into perspective.
The purpose of our lives is the glory of God, not the pursuit of personal happiness! Pursuing anything or anyone more than the Kingdom of God will only lead to despair and pain. For without Him, all the world is but dry dust, but with Him, even the dry desert flows with springs of cool water and blossoms as the rose!
The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. But what right have we to complain when he has given Himself to us and will never take away the only thing that really matters in this universe- His very Presence!
When we strive after things he has given us, material things, relationships, etc more than striving after Him we are bound to get hurt because we are no longer living the purpose of our lives.
As the verse in this blog's heading says, no soldier gets involved in civilian affairs. Oh Lord! Grant us the grace not get sidetracked. You be our vision, our reason to live! For You know what we need and You give us freely all that is needed.

Now, about this hymn....
It's called 'Be Thou my Vision'. This is an Irish hymn , about 1200 years old. Some say it was written by the great evangelist, St. Patrick himself.

The Youtube link for one of the versions of this hymn is :-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G70IhjDOuu8&feature=related

Or a link for my favourite version of the song is:-
http://www.songsandhymns.org/hymns/detail/be-thou-my-vision
This is the complete song, most others usually drop the 3rd verse. To listen to the song, pls just click on 'mp3' or 'Real Audio'.

The lyrics are :-

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul's Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heaven's Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Indeed Lord, be thou our vision always that we may not stray from the path that we are to walk.

Glory to the God who died and now is risen and reigns forever. Amen!

(Note:- 'High King' was the title of the chief of all the kings of all the tribes in ancient Ireland. So when an Irish hymn refers to God as the High King, it means something like the 'King of kings', the greatest Ruler)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Armour Of God


Sorry for the delay but finally, I hope to continue with the Armour of God by the end of this week.
God bless.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Love (knows no reason)

"Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy strength."
Deut 6:5


Do you love God? If yes, why do you love God?
The Bible commands us to Love God. But is it really possible to love someone just because you have been commanded to do so? Is it humanly possible?

Suppose you were commanded to love a person you do not even know, a person who seems so distant and so different from you. Would you love him/her? Sure, you may behave like you love that person, you may speak well of him/her and even do good things for that person. But is that all love is? In fact, you may sincerely believe that you love that person.

Today, so many relationships are being destroyed because we have forgotten what true love is, because we have forgotten how to to love. Relationships between friends, between brothers and sisters, relationships between parents and children and very importantly, the relationship between a husband and a wife. All these relationships suffer because of the lack of love. This may sound strange, but the most important relationship that suffers due to lack of love is our relationship with God. It is indeed strange that there should be any lack of love in our relationship with God who Himself is Love. But this is often true.
God loves us. Of this we can be sure. But do we love God? A wise priest once said, "There are mainly two kinds of Christians in this world. One kind is those who sincerely love God and the other is those who just as sincerely believe that they love God."
Examine yourself and see, do you love God? If you say that you love God, then ask yourself, why do you love God? Many of us may have a ready answer for this: "Because He loved us first". After all that's what the Bible says!
But I ask you again.Why do you love God? Be honest. Is it not because of all that He has done for you? He has taken all our sin on Himself and taken all the punishment that we deserved and has set us free. He has prepared mansions for us in heaven, so that we may be with him for eternity. He has triumphed over the evil one. And surely, He has done wonderful things in your life.
Is this not the reason that you love God? That is a good enough reason. But is it the only reason for the love that you have for God?
Suppose that God had never come down in human flesh and never taken your punishment on Himself. Would you still love Him? Now, let your imagination run and at the risk of sounding blasphemous, suppose that Jesus had never won the victory, but had instead been defeated. Would you still love Him? I'm especially speaking to you who have been "in the LORD" since a long time. Would you still love Jesus if tomorrow you found out that Jesus were not victorious.
It is good to love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ because of His victory and His power and provision. But if after being in His presence and experiencing His love and power for quite some time, that is the only reason we love God, then something is terribly wrong. It implies that we have not even begun to know God.
A man may fall in love with a woman because of her good looks and a woman may fall in love with a man because of his strength or his intellect. But if these are the only reasons that they love each other, then the relationship is bound to collapse as they grow old and the woman loses her looks and the man loses his strength and passes into dotage. This is because neither of them has bothered to know the other person and so enrich their relationship.
It is the same with our relationship with our Lord. If we love Him only for His love and power, then we are bound to fall in times of trial and testing when He seems so far away and so uncaring. If we love Him only for His forgiveness then we will fall when we reap the fruits of our wrong sowing even though He has forgiven us.
Our Lord Jesus has won the victory. Of this there can be no doubt. But if this is the only reason we love Him, then we are more like God's customers than His lovers. The symbolism, though crude is often true. Is this not how we treat God so many times?
It is good to love the Lord for all the things that have been mentioned. They are reason enough in the beginning. But if after months, even years of being "in the LORD", they are our only reasons then we are like the man who loved his wife only for her looks and ignored the beautiful complete person that she was. If on the last day the Lord says to us, "I never knew you", would it not be because we have never bothered to know Him?
Maybe we just do not know what it means to love. The disciples said, "Lord, teach us to pray". May we not cry out, "Lord, teach us to love!"? After all the Person who is Love has loved us with a love that is true and unconditional. Yes, He expects some things of us. But even if we fail Him a billion times, His love for us is undiminished. His love knows no reason. With all our faults and weaknesses, He loves us for what we are.
The Magdalene loved Him before she was forgiven by Him and was there by the cross and at His tomb when He died. While the apostles who expected favours from the Messiah deserted Him when He needed them most.
Only if we take the trouble to know Him more will we able to love the Lord as He loves us, with a love that is true, never failing and unconditional. Then our relationship with Him will be as it is supposed to be.
Once that Relationship is right, all our other relationships will start falling into place.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Predestination or Free Will?

"Predestination or Free will?", this was the question put to me by one of my kids when I was serving in the Youth ministry. I had answered then and had tried to keep my answer short. I hope to elaborate on that answer here.
"In Him we were also chosen having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will." Eph 11:1
"We have been predestined..."; what does this actually mean? The Bible says that God has chosen us from before the foundation of the world. This clearly means that some people in this world have already been chosen to spend eternity with God. This also clearly means that some have not; these have been chosen for destruction! So now we naturally ask, "Is God fair? What kind of justice is this? Why does God claim to be just He will send some people to Hell only because He Himself did not choose them?"
Such questions may seem almost blasphemous but these are honest and reasonable questions and deserve honest and reasoned answers. But before this we need to answer one important question, "On what basis does God choose people for His kingdom?" For this we need to understand something of God's character.
God is God and can do anything He wants to. After all, does He not declare, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy."? But He also says that He is not willing that any should perish. This means that God does not want anyone to be lost! Yet He Himself has said, "Narrow is the way that leads to life and few be they that find it."
So we see that God does not want anyone to perish and yet many will perish. Then does this mean that God is not all-powerful after all? Certainly not!!!
Yes, God is all powerful and almighty but He is also humble. Even though we are less than a speck of dust when compared to Him, He respects us and respects the decisions we take. If during our life on earth we prefer to stay away from Him, we certainly could not stand being with Him for all eternity! God knows this and respects our decision to stay away from Him. So He grants us a place where there is absolutely no manifest presence of God- the lake of fire.

But then what of predestination? It is on the basis of our decisions that we are predestined to spend eternity either in heaven or in the lake of fire.
"For those God foreknew He also predestined... Rom 8:29
also
"who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God..." I Pet 1:2
We are chosen and predestined according to God's foreknowledge. God sees the end from the beginning. Even before He created Adam and Eve, God knew which of His descendants would choose to follow Him and He chose such people. In other words He chose the people He foreknew would choose Him. Therefore predestination and free will are in fact complementary rather than contradictory!
So I believe in predestination based on man's(or woman's) free will. Only this makes sense in light of the character of God as revealed by the scriptures.

God bless you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Delay...

Sorry, I haven't been able to post as frequently as I'd have liked to. I was planning on continuing with the Armour of God but am learning some more about it now. So I will post the next part on that topic when I'm ready. In the meantime, as I'd discussed with a dear friend I'll post on some other topics, the next being a piece about predestination and free-will. I was supposed to have posted this one yesterday but there have been some delays. I will post it sometime today.
God bless y'all...