PHILIPPIANS 4 : 22
Paul’s one more prison epistle; usual way of greeting his
readers; but here some thing unusual!
Greetings not just from Paul and his co workers,
but also from the saints who are of Caesar’s household!
Saints in Caesar’s household?
See the situations;
Claudius Caesar banished Jews from Rome( Acts 18 : 2 );
After him came Nero Caesar, whose hatred against Jews
and Christians was so sharp and strong;
In these averse situation, how in that Caesar’s household
a group of saints?
When and how they came to Lord?
Who was instrumental in their Truth discovery?
They are of Caesar’s household, but they are bold enough
to have fellowship with Paul;
Actively involved in Paul’s epistle ministry!
Now think about Paul;
In Roman prison because of his faith(Philippians 1 : 13 );
Facing envy and strife from some Christians( Philippians 1:15);
Uncertainty about his life (Philippians 1 : 22 & 23 );
Under prolonged affliction (Philippians 1 : 30 );
Feeling forsaken by all (Philippians 2 : 20 );
Grieved by the sickness of his partner(Philippians 2 : 27 );
Full of tears because of strange teachers (Philippians 3 : 18 );
Depending on others for his financial needs (Philippians 4:14);
And with all these pressures and challenges,
Paul was able to have a healthy prison fellowship;
That also for the Caesar’s household!
Dear friend, almost all the genuine works for God got roots
and flourished from these kinds of uncertainties, pressures, challenges, backstabbing, financial insecurity, misunderstandings, health constraints and loneliness!
Waiting for the ‘right time’? Right place?
Expecting red carpet welcome? peaceful circumstances?
Complete deliverance? Financial security?
Good; GOD can and will give these all;
But, to start the work, to exercise your gift,
The right time is always ‘now’.
Start your work subject to ‘conditions from Above ‘.
Remember Paul; Remember the household of Caesar;
Remember their ‘GLITTERING GREETINGS’ to saints!
Pray; Discern; Use the opportunity!
HE WHO OBSERVES THE WIND WILL NOT SOW,
AND HE WHO REGARDS THE CLOUDS WILL NOT
REAP. ( ECCLESIASTES 11 : 4 ).
GENESIS 16: 9.
Hagar: A slave from Egypt; a maidservant of Sarah;
No great expectations; No pride and prejudice; But
Because of the momentary decision taken by the frustrated Sarah,
Hagar’s life and Sarah’s frustrations gained momentum!.
You know, decisions taken at frustrated moments will surely beget more frustrations; Enter His rest before making decisions!
Sarah suffered, felt inferior; not willing to accept even her own expectations about her family’s future;
Late revelations: Abraham’s baby is not my baby!;
Sarah went to the next extreme; dealt harshly with Hagar and she fled;
Abraham? So silent; father of faith had a black spot of doubt?
Silently accepted Sarah’s suggestion; Silently enjoyed Hagar’s embrace;
Silently supported Sarah’s madness; Silently watched Hagar’s escape!
But Poor Hagar,
What was her mistake?! Why she had to suffer for their foolishness?
She was used, misused and abused; treated like a wooden toy;
No respect for her personality, her feelings and emotions;
Better to quit; resign; escape; Her decision to run away justified!
But God? Is He watching? Why He allowed this?
GOD, who was silent up to that moment, sent an angel;
To acknowledge her decision? To console her?; No!
To send her back to her mistress; to submit herself under her hand!
Is it not cruel? Is this visitation and the message from GOD’s angel?
Is it logical? Will they accept? Even if they accept, how will they treat?
Will they punish, the punishment for a runaway slave?
See Hagar, no questions asked; no ifs and buts; simply obeyed!
The secret: The assurance she got ‘ YOU ARE THE GOD WHO SEES’.
Submitting to Sarah may become suffocating, but it does not matter!
If we have the assurance ‘ EL ROI’, no submission will be suffocating!
Hagar didn’t think about the wisdom in that command, like most of us.
But see the consequences and the rewards!.( Genesis 16 & 17 ).
1. Abraham’s house, even if Sarah was fuming, was the safest place for the delivery.
2. Her son was acknowledged as Abraham’s son; in the wilderness,
nobody would have accepted that as a legitimate child!
3. Abraham named the child Ishmael, meaning GOD hears; even the name
selected by GOD.
4. Because of the intervention of GOD, through the angelic visitation,
her status got changed; from just a slave to mother of ‘GOD hears’.
5. Her son Ishmael got circumcised as a mark of a covenant with GOD.
6. At least thirteen more years of peaceful dwelling in the land; no more
torture mentioned in the Word.
7. Specific blessings to Ishmael were uttered to Abraham by the angel.
8. Silent Abraham becoming struggling Abraham, struggling to send her away when Sarah revolted the second time. A bond created. Oh! the assurance of being loved( Genesis 21 : 11).
A name, a bond, a place, a status, a covenant, a blessing, a prophecy,
an assurance and much more; just because of single act of blind obedience; ignoring the temporal suffering by reckoning the great truth;
‘ EL ROI- GOD SEES and ISHMAEL – GOD HEARS’.
Praise the Lord, Hagar obeyed!
Tell me friends; Which costs more, obedience or disobedience?
No one to understand your sufferings?, no one to wipe away your tears?,
Feeling just used and thrown away? frustrated by passive Abraham?
Tortured by selfish Sarah? Bewildered by GOD’s silence?
GOD is silent, but not blind and deaf;
HE SEES, not just you, even your future!
HE HEARS, not just your voice, even your afflictions!
HE KNOWS, and HE wants to protect and bless you!
Don’t doubt GOD’s wisdom and instructions!. Just obey!.
You may not understand The INFINITE’s plan with your finite mind;
But, one day you will surely testify: EL ROI!;
Man’s manipulations and Satan’s subtleties won’t touch you,
If you dwell in the secret place of the MOST HIGH!
You know, the surrendered life is always a successful life!
FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE ON THE RIGHTEOUS,
AND HIS EARS ARE OPEN TO THEIR PRAYERS…(I PETER 3 : 12)
MATTHEW 9 : 9 – 13.
Matthew, also called Levi, a tax collector;
An official post in the Roman empire, but a hated position in
the Jewish land. Tax collectors were labelled as worst sinners;
His faithful attempts to please the Government in his job always
increased the number of his enemies in his land; Nature of Job!;
But, like most of us, he had his own circle, a peer group;
A group of fellow tax collectors!
One day, the Word called him when he was in his office;
No hesitation, he just left everything and followed JESUS;
So happy, so enthusiastic, Matthew celebrated this with a dinner;
A dinner to honor his new Master, The Word, Jesus;
As usual, he invited his group, fellow tax collectors!
Lifting his head high, Matthew looked around expecting appreciation
from Jews for his stand;
The way he quit the hated job of tax collection and accepting JESUS
as his new Master deserves some impact on the Jewish society?
The accusing arrows of the society attacks JESUS participation in the
Matthew and his friends were unacceptable to them.
Matthew left his old way of life and JESUS accepted him,
But the society?
So called society!
How many sincere people were labeled and rejected by it!
How many enthusiastic people were haunted by the comments,
about their past, of it!
How many beginners became backsliders because of it!
How many forgiven souls were tortured by false guilt injected by it!
His very first attempt to honor JESUS backfired because of his past!
The enemy, the accuser, subtly manipulating the so called society to
hurt, sideline and silence the soldiers of GOD’s army!
Dear friend, are you in the company of Matthew?
Enthusiastically entered but emotionally crippled by the society?
Wish to excel, but somehow your guilt traps you just to exist?
Your vision, burden and concern are humiliated by the society?
Don’t worry! Just stand still!
Watch, Matthew did not justify any thing; but his Master spoke;
Beautiful explanation about JESUS’ mission!
Silencing the society! But that is not the end;
After few days JESUS honors Matthew by naming him as an apostle!
Imagine the shock waves felt in the society;
Beauty of GOD’s grace;
That is also not the end, you see!
The assignment of writing the Kingdom Gospel given to Matthew;
You Know the uniqueness of this gospel? It is targeting Jews;
Yes, the same so called Jewish society; That is why Matthew Gospel,
Unlike other gospels, quotes extensively from the old testament,
the tool that society used to attack JESUS and his followers;
Oh, the beauty of grace!
His first attempt to honor JESUS was questioned; but his proofs using the
prophesies of old testament, nobody can question!
Dear friend, never allow the accuser to remind you your past;
Failed?, Confess them; Sincerely confessed sins GOD never remembers!
If your past limits your potential and your future,
Just remember Matthew! His Gospel is the living proof that
‘ our qualification cometh from HIM’.
YOU PREPARE A FEAST FOR ME IN THE
PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES ( PSALM 23 : 5 )
MARK 6 : 20
John the Baptist in the prison;
Imprisoned because of his commitment to the truth;
His preaching ministry in the wilderness got disturbed;
Is it temporary or permanent? No idea;
From the wilderness to the prison, and not to the palace!
Is it a shortcut to the palace, like in the case of Joseph in Egypt?
A chance to become the official priest of Herod’s kingdom?
Ministry expansion?, Chance to preach from palace?
God’s time to reward John’s faithfulness in the wilderness?
Herod’s hatred slowly becoming acceptance, is it a sign?
A sign that a deliverance and promotion are waiting?
King’s frequent visits and willingness to obey John’s words,
A confirmation to a comfortable future?
But, at what cost?
A slight change in his conviction?
Little compromise? A single word of approval?
Approval of the illicit affair of Herod?
See the possibilities; A silent nod can change everything;
John the Baptist got tempted?
We don’t know, nothing mentioned in the Bible ;
But, surely he got disturbed, he got confused,
To the extend of doubting even Jesus,
To the extend of sending his disciples to Jesus,
To question Jesus and His mission!
A desert trained prophet getting depressed? distressed?
Confidential conflicts and confusing attacks in his mind?
Prolonged imprisonment and loneliness breaking his will?
Silence of Jesus suffocating his inner man?
John suffered, but how cruelly he suffered? Who knows?
But he won; he never gave up; never compromised;
Never came down from his convictions to win any favor;
In fact, even in prison he shows favor to Herod by his teachings!
Lost his life in the end, but never lost his calling;
What about you?. Entering February, the month of valentine!
A month of temptation to the singles and the married!
To the singles, to prove to their group ‘ I got my Valentine’!
To the married to show to the world ‘ Even now, I can get a valentine’!
At what cost? By compromising what?
Eros eroding your convictions in this e-world?
Preparing yourself to sleep with the serpent?
Compromising the privilege of walking with THE LION?
Ask Samson; He will tell you the bitter truth;
Walking with the Lion and sleeping with the serpent
Made him a clown in front of the crowd!
Ask Herod and he will tell you the same!
But ask John the Baptist, he will tell you;
Better to be lonely than to compromise;
Better to be faithful than famous;
Better to face the prison wall than to dance in the seducer’s hall;
Better to WALK with THE LION than to sleep with the serpent!
Planning to celebrate valentine’s day?
Go celebrate, not with the world but with THE WORD;
Enjoy an extended time of embrace with your Eternal Lover;
The soft and silky, smooth and silent , seducer calling you to bed?
Remember, The WORD, The LION, your Lover crushed its head!
Advanced Valentine’s Day wishes!
…I AM CONVINCED THAT NOTHING CAN
EVER SEPARATE US FROM HIS LOVE……
…….. . FROM THE LOVE OF GOD THAT IS
REVEALED IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD ( ROMANS 8 : 38, 39 )