Jesus will Come in & Eat with us!

Luke 24:35-48 is about Risen Jesus appearing to His disciples. They’ve just heard from the two who experienced Him at Emmaus & they’re all unsure about what’s going on, when He appears. Their first reaction is fear, terror even thinking they’re seeing a ghost. But Jesus calms them all.

breadPractical Reflections:
1) Jesus knows their hearts & ours. He knows the doubts & anxieties we have. When we are scared or worried, He will come and calm us.

2) When they still disbelieve, He comes and *Eats* with them! Rev 3:20 says “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”
If you are disbelieving at this point, ask Jesus (Who is even RIGHT now at the door of your heart) to come in.

3) Eating Requires time. Imagine you have guests at home for a meal. Will you just Hello & Goodbye them? No, you will serve them, sit at the table or lounge with them. And chat with them as you’ll eat. Jesus wants to sit with you today & spend some time with you.

4) Eating also refers to His Word. In the Old Testament we see God often telling the prophets to ‘Eat’ the Word. This means we should take time when reading the Bible. Chew it properly. Reflect on the words. See what God is saying to us today through the Bible.

Share This Post

Practical Lessons: Emmaus Encounter

Jesus Emmaus-07

Today’s Gospel is about the ‘Emmaus Encounter’ (2 unnamed Disciples leaving Jerusalem going to Emmaus upset over Jesus’ Crucifixion when Jesus appears to them & explains all)

Lessons to be learned:

1) When times are toughest, even if all seems lost, even if you’re running away from God, remember Jesus will STILL come and walk with you. He’ll never leave you or abandon you.

2) He explained them all the scriptures. Scripture needs to be learned. Let us arm ourselves with the knowledge of His Word. Go to a Bible class, get a Bible study guide, ask the Lord to explain. It is in knowing the Scriptures that we will know Him and understand how and why and what to do in our daily circumstances.

3) They recognised him in the breaking of bread. It is after studying scripture, when we ‘break bread’ (ie Celebrate the Eucharist) that we will recognize truly Who Jesus is.

4) Another way the term ‘breaking bread’ is used is to describe fellowship. It is in fellowshipping with other Christians that we grow. We are aware of our strengths and weaknesses as we see them in our dealings with other people.

Share This Post

Humility > Pride

Pride is often the first sin mentioned in the list of 7 Deadly Sins. It’s also understood to be the first sin ever committed – the sin of Satan himself.
We see in Ezekiel 28:14–15 a description of Satan. God had blessed his with talent and anointing – but iniquity (sin) was found in him.

You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in thee.

This sin, we see in Isaiah 14:12–15:

How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

We see from the quote above that Satan’s sin was Pride. He thought he deserved to be greater than God! He wanted to be exalted above the stars of God! Truly his opinion of himself was so high that he wanted to be “like the most High” in every way, including being worshipped like God.

The Consequences of Pride:

Proverbs 16:18: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 11:2: When pride comes, then comes shame, with humility comes wisdom

Satan’s pride caused such great destruction! His haughty spirit comes before a fall – a fall right down from heaven to hell! How shameful indeed.

We see the absolute opposite in Jesus.

Jesus – God made Man – came to save us from sin and from the effects of sin. Jesus was Humility incarnate. As God to even become man, Jesus had to be fully humble.

We see Jesus’ mindset being explained in Phillipians 2:5-8

the … mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

The Consequences of Humility: (in the very next verse, Phil 2:9)

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name

Pride causes a fall – whereas God exalts the Humble!!

If we look around at the world today, everywhere we see man looking only at himself, his achievements as if gotten by himself solely, unaware of God’s hand in his life and thus unthankful to God, wanting to live his life as he chooses being the sole – basically man not Glorifying God.

Pride being the first sin, is also the sin from which all other sins stem. Anger, hate, jealousy, and ingratitude all stem from pride.

When something we wanted to happen does not happen, if someone treats us in a way we ought not to be treated (or doesn’t give us something we feel we ought to have gotten), if our name / reputation is spoiled we feel offended, our pride is wounded and our emotions are stirred to cause us to act sinfully in hate, anger, envy, jealously.

But if we stop and reflect WHY we think we deserve to be treated in a good way or WHY we think our name should only be praised – we will realise it all stems from PRIDE.

Jesus wasn’t treated the way He ought to have been treated (with honor and worship and veneration). Instead the opposite – he was put to death in the most humiliating way, by public crucifixion. In the most painful, publically heinous way to die. His reputation was utterly destroyed. Even the closest to him denied him multiple times.

Let us look at our supreme example of JESUS everytime someone doesn’t treat us well
Let us look at our supreme example of JESUS everytime someone doesn’t praise us or thank us when we feel we should be thanked
Let us look at our supreme example of JESUS everytime someone speaks against us and spoils our name & reputation
Let us look at our supreme example of JESUS everytime we suffer unjustly

Let us know that if we walk like how Jesus walked – in HUMILITY, trusting in His Father to get Him through the ordeal in His Time, in His Way, then we too, like Jesus will eventually be Exalted.

humility

HOW TO PRACTICALLY DEAL WITH SITUATIONS

James 4:5–8

Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?  But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

1 Peter 5:5-10

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Both the above verses are so similar and both teach us how to be humble rather than proud.
God assures us in both verses, when we submit to God (by humbling our will to His), He will lift us (Exalt us) up in His Time.
If you are going through something in life where your pride is being attacked – someone is speaking against you or being ungrateful or being hurtful and hateful – SUBMIT IT TO GOD.

RESIST THE DEVIL – resist the tempting ways to react to the issue – by being angry back, being hateful back, trying to defend yourself, speaking ill about those persons etc.

WASH YOUR HANDS / PURIFY YOUR HEARTS – instead look at the situation for any area where you might be in the wrong. Ask pardon & forgiveness from the Lord. In every situation there will be at least a LITTLE part wherein we have gone wrong (often it is more than a little if we are honest with ourselves).

WAIT ON GOD -Let us trust in God’s timing no matter how difficult things seem at the moment. The Word assures us that at the right time, God “will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

—-
Part 2 on Humilty > Pride coming up

Share This Post

The 7 Deadly Sins and more importantly – the corresponding 7 Life-Giving Virtues

7 virtues and sins

 

 

 

Welcome to this series on the 7 Deadly Sins – and what I believe to be more important – the corresponding 7 Life-Giving Virtues.

In this series we shall see that we “ALL have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Rom 3:23) in EVERY area (at least a little bit).

Perhaps you’ve come here to study or learn a bit about the sins & virtues. Or perhaps you’re trying to learn how to overcome an area of sin in your life.

Whatever it is, even if you’ve tried and failed a million times, remember –

“What is impossible with man is possible with God.” (Jesus’ Words in Luke 18:27)

In 1 John 2:16 we read
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life, is not of the Father but is of the world.”

In the above scripture, we see three basic types of sin –
The lust of the flesh (lust, gluttony, sloth),
the lust of the eyes (greed),
and the pride of life (pride, envy, anger)

The Capital Virtues, which are the opposite of the seven deadly sins, are as follows:

Chastity – It overcomes the sin of lust.
Temperance – It overcomes the sin of Gluttony.
Diligence – It overcomes the sin of sloth.

Liberality (Generosity) – It overcomes the sin of Greed.

Humility – It overcomes the sin of Pride.
Brotherly Love – It overcomes the sin of Envy.
Meekness – It overcomes the sin of Anger.
If the virtues overcome the sin, then the Virtues > the Sins! Halleluiah, there is hope for us all!

Even as we learn about the sins – and how they manifest in today’s day and world – let us learn about the Virtues and how to apply them practically in our lives.

Share This Post

Lessons from the Cross

Let us start 2015 by looking at the Cross & learning 3 important lessons to set the tone for our year ahead!
Lessons from the CrossIn the cross, the vertical beam is a symbolic representation our relationship with God. The horizontal beam symbolises our relationship with our human beings.
We build and strengthen our relationship with God through Prayer.
We build and strengthen our relationship with our fellow human beings through Service.

Lesson #1: One without the other wouldn’t do.

We shouldn’t be people who only selfishly pray for our own needs and those of our families (perhaps once a week on a Sunday or at a prayer meeting?) and neglect to serve the people around us.

On the other hand we can’t only be involved in Service without Prayer. Or all our service will be human without any direction or anointing from God – service, which will bear zero fruit in the long run.

Let us genuinely meditate if we are only doing one without the other & make a conscious effort to start building the other beam in our lives.

If you only pray & don’t do any service, you could start small by checking what sorts of associations or ministries are already functional in your church and where you feel most inclined to help out. You could help the poor, teach children, do outreach programs – the sky really is the limit! But start somewhere! Remember if you only say you have faith but do not do any service, then the Bible has this harsh truth to say of your faith “Faith without works, is dead” James 2:17

If, like me, you already are involved in various ministries (ministry = service), then sit back and look hard at your prayer life. Are you praying as much as you should? Are you giving of yourself or of the Lord? The Word of God is very clear on just service as opposed to God anointed service: “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain” Ps 127:1.
Which brings me to the next point;

Lesson #2: Our Prayer time should be twice our Service time

If we look at the beams, the vertical beam is twice the size of the horizontal beam. From this we could infer that our prayer time should be (at least) twice our service time.
If you fall into the first category where you only go for a Sunday Mass or Worship Service for about an hour or two (depending on your church) a week, then start with Service for ½ hour or 1 hour a week.

If you fall into the second set of people I spoke of, then count how many hours of service you do a week. I do about 3 hours a week. Which means I should be spending at least 6 hours a week in prayer (one hour a working day not so bad – yet I’m not doing it!). The weeks we have outreach programs etc, I need to be spending even more time in prayer!

Remember though, the prayer : service 2:1 ratio is not a hard and fast rule. God looks at our hearts and if we have for genuine reasons not been able to reach out in service or not been able to spend time in prayer, God will not chastise us. Nor is the timing something we should do mechanically (set alarm, go pray, yikes!). Instead it’s more of a guide, to show us where we are and where we should be in our prayer and service. If our God Jesus Himself spent the whole night in prayer and a good part of the day reaching out to people, it’s a good indication that we should follow suit!

Lesson #3: There is only One God. All Human beings are equal.

The Us -> God beam is singular. There is only One God. We as Christians need to put aside all idols! Anything we’ve given priority over God is an idol – be it money, careers, vanities of looking good & creating a social image, relationships with our families. A good indicator of whether something is an idol in your life is the amount of Time and Energies you put into any of those things as Opposed to building a relationship with God.

The Us -> all other human beings beam is singular. We are all equal in God’s eyes. Just like a good parent would love all his/her children equally and impartially, regardless of their behaviour and achievements, similarly we should look at everyone as equal to us.
Romans 10:12 “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him”.

Do you look down on your maids or people in your society who you consider lesser than you, because of their lack of wealthy or looks or social standing? Do you run after people in power or people with fame & money? Neither of them are good.

Let us love all people like we love ourselves.
We see Jesus Himself telling us this in Matt 22:36-40 when asked,

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Jesus not only spoke these Words, but lived them, in His lifetime on earth and in the culmination of His life as seen on the Cross.

Most of us have a cross somewhere put up in our homes, every time we look at them, let us remember these 3 lessons.

Wishing you a blessed 2015!

Share This Post

Dealing with ‘Juniors’ at Church

This is my 18th year “in the Lord” – which is basically nothing but a very charismatic-ky phrase for saying it’s been 18 years since my first real, personal encounter with our beautiful Lord Jesus.

Recently some people who are new “in the Lord”, barely one/two year old, babies so to speak, due some positional placing within our group, have been telling me what to do, giving me instructions & telling me their opinions on things.

I was finding it a bit frustrating to deal with. However our wonderful Lord showed me a couple of wonderful things:

(01) Humility, Humility, Humility.

Every lesson we ever learn should lead us closer into becoming what God originally designed for us to be – beings created in His image.

The first sin recorded according to timeline of the Bible, was the devil’s Pride. It was Jesus’ Humility that led Him to the Cross to save us.

Could it be that I was coming from a place of Pride? – “I’ve been here longer, so I know better than you”. Yes, nail on the head.

While counting the years we “are saved” is a super awesome way to celebrate anniversaries with Him, we should also guard that it doesn’t make us Pharisaical in the way we deal with others, especially those who are newer in the faith.

While we might possibly know more than these babes in the faith, the way we instruct them also shows whether we come from Pride or from truly desiring them to grow in Christ.

We shouldn’t however assume we always know better – let’s be aware that God reveals things to ‘children’ in the faith that He may not to us, if we consider ourselves “wise and learned” —

“Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.” Mathew 11:25

(02) Don’t be Envious of God’s Generosity.

Last Sunday’s Gospel, speaking out to me:

“When those hired first came, they thought that they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius. When they received it, they grumbled at the landowner, saying, ‘These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day.’

But he answered and said to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what is yours and go, but I wish to give to this last man the same as to you.

Is it not lawful for me to do what I wish with what is my own? Or is your eye envious because I am generous?’ So the last shall be first, and the first last.” Mathew 20:1-16

JayDo I seek a higher reward because I’ve “been faithful” to God for so much longer than these little ones. Do I seek my reward in earthly titles, positions, honor? (The Prodigal Son’s ‘Elder Brother’ analogy works here too).

Do I realise how blessed I am to receive ANYTHING at all, despite who I am? In these years, if I admit it, it’s been GOD WHO HAS BEEN FAITHFUL to me always. And sadly the reverse has not always been true. So really, what I am grumbling about? Like David, I should be grateful even if I get to be a doorman in His House!

And (03) If you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted

A secular principle that works just as well in the spiritual world!

The second God revealed His heart to me on the above two points, I was able to seek His forgiveness for the grumblings in my head and heart. He then also showed me His plan –  through prayer & also confirmation in the natural as well — greater than I could expect and already in motion!

If I was to however stick at where I was, considering myself to be irreplaceable – I would not only get replaced (by someone better!) but also I wouldn’t be able to move up into my God ordained spiritual destiny.


Food for thought & lots of learning for me for the future. Hope it also helps you!
And an apology for all my seniors in the Lord, whom I’m sure I’ve been quite a pain to in the past. What goes around, comes around eh? :)

Share This Post

Displacing God, one place at a time.

I always say that I put God first place in my life.

But there are also lots of OTHER important things to me. Friends, Family, Work, Other Stuff (which in school would get categorized as Extra Curricular).

2014 NW Play

Last weekend I acted in a play.

It was super fun! We had an awesomely talented director. It was like being in a 2 month drama school. So much of new, fun learning.

However as the show drew near, rehearsal timings doubled. I found myself cutting down, and eventually missing out, on my daily Bible reading.

I had to miss a youth meeting (that I usually head), I even — missed Sunday Mass on the main show day.

In the middle of all that I was wondering when the play became so important in my life that I would let it displace God out of first position.

I know lots of other people were depending on me to be at practices, I know we had the Auditorium so sparingly and only at those timings, I know we were all burning the candle at both ends with practices….

But at the end of it all — It was ME who displaced God out of the position I claimed to give Him.

I have confessed.

But without learning, without resolve to not do it again – then the confession is only lip service.

Is there anything in your life that you give more priority to than God? Your husband or children? Your work? Your phone? Your email? Your tv programs?

Like the absolutely spot on song by Jimmy Needham ‘Clear the Stage’ goes:

Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
Anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
Anything that I give all my all my love is an idol

Let’s stop committing idolatory. And let’s put God back to first place like we say & like HE deserves.

 

Share This Post