Friday, 27 February 2015

Being Rich is bad?

Mark 10:25 says “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of god”.  

Luke 6:20, Jesus says “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

So having worldly luxuries is a curse?

Most of the time when I ponder on the quotes, my first thought is getting rid of stuff and giving it away. Really!! I cannot imagine giving it all away and putting my family in difficult times. However, being a good steward of your possessions does not necessarily mean getting rid of them. I see loads of people doing charity during the season of lent, in hope that they will get multiples in return. God does not distinguish between rich and the poor. So, yes, don’t feel guilty about what you have. Whether you have much or very little, God gave it to you for a reason. Your job is to be a wise steward. Look at what you have and determine how you can use those possessions to serve God.
In the name of charity we donate money; we spend our time in orphanages and old age homes, Its Great!! But do we give time to people who are our own? We need to ask ourselves are we doing it, because God will bless us with heavenly treasures.  Are we making a give and take deal with God? 

We all know that our greed for money lies in the fact, we want to give the best to our loved ones, there is absolutely no harm doing this. But don’t lose yourself. Money possession may perish, but love and affection for your family and friends is FOREVER. Instead,

“Lose yourself in me, and you will find new life

Lose yourself in me, and you will find yourself

And you will live; yes you will live in my love.”

During the season of lent, let’s make a promise to ourselves to open a “Recurring account”. Invest your time, talent and money in improving at least one life. Start with your own family and friends. Don’t do it for reward, don’t do it for heavenly treasures, just do it for YOU will like it. There is more happiness when you do good with no greed attached. 

Author - Ashmitha Noronha

Thursday, 26 February 2015

God`s Grace

We could have come across the term grace so many times in our lives, but have we really thought what it actually is? Many a times we simply accept things given to us as it is and move ahead, without giving a second thought to what just was given to us. Yes, this is a very human-like behavior. Both you and I have done this at some point in our lives. Let us today focus on one of the many gifts, yes gifts that God has given to us. This gift is called Grace. The reason I use it with a capital G is because it is not any ordinary gift, but a gift from God himself. 

Think of it this way, if some ordinary person gives you a gift we treat it just as a gift, but if the same thing were given to us by some person of a higher stature, say the Prime Minister or King for that matter, wouldn't we look at it in a different light? The gift remains the same, but it is the giver of the gift that really adds value to the gift.

When God has given us this gift, shouldn't we revere God's Gift as it should be?
Our dictionaries define grace as "unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification" (Merriam-Webster ). But from a Christian perspective, we can say that it is the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it.

When God gives us something we ought to be sure that it is enough for us, for that is his promise in
2 Corintians 12:9 (But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me)

The bible is full of examples of how God's Grace changes our lives, here are a few.

God's Grace as an Eternal Gift

Romans 3:20-24 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Romans 4:15-17 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written:  "I have made you a father of many nations" He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God.

Ephesians 2:4-9 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Power of God's Grace

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Acts 4:33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.

Acts 6:8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 14:1-3 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.

Upon finding God's Grace

Esther 2:16-17 And when Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign, the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins, so that he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.

Jeremiah 31:2-3 Thus says the LORD:”The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Acts 15:39-40 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Upon receiving God's Grace

John 1:15-17 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Acts 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Romans 1:1-5 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

May God's Grace be with you forever.

Author - Prashant Charudatta Salvi

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Let the little children come to me

The Bible says in Matthew 19:14

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

When a child is born into this world, you can't capture the beauty enough through a picture frame, a camera or even a you tube video. It is probably one of the most miraculous things that takes place in this world. This new born baby is new to the world and new to everything and everyone. Yet he or she in time smile, chuckle, laugh, babble & talk. Similarly they roll over, crawl, stand and walk as they progress with their motor milestones. As a mom it's precious to watch your baby take those first staggering steps as he learns to walk and get his way in this complex world. We seldom take the time to reflect on this simple yet profound truth in the scriptures that the kingdom of God belongs to these innocent babies. It's the amazing thing ever that Jesus said unless we became like a child we will not enter his kingdom. So how do we become like a child?

Firstly we need child like purity

Though the child gets upset he or she comes back crying to his mommy or daddy. Why? Because they keep no grudges. There is no hatred or discord in their hearts. They have pure motives and forget the hurt like it never happened. They keep no record of wrongs or count the number of times you've messed up. They love and forgive unconditionally. Let's pray that this Lenten season God would equip us with child like purity.

Secondly we need child like faith

The familiar story of the man walking across the Niagara on a rope illustrates this beautifully. He had just finished walking on the rope alone and now asked someone from the audience to volunteer as he would carry him/her on his back. Obviously everyone was scared to death but a young lad without any hesitation put his hand up in the air and said, " daddy I am ready to volunteer". The son had no doubt that his dad would bring him safe over the raging waters of the niagara. What about your faith and mine as we face the raging waters of sin, temptations, trials abc tribulations. Let's ask God to increase our faith as without it it is impossible to please God.

Finally we need child like obedience

The bible says obedience is better than sacrifice. When God asked king Saul to destroy the amalekites completely, He expected 100% obedience. Saul decided to spare the best of the plunder as a burnt offering. Many times we figure our own way to please God. If it's not in his word then we can't fabricate it. Sin is missing the mark bad disobedience is like rebellion so let's be warned and obey The Lord wholeheartedly as we await His second coming.

May The Lord help us to embrace child like purity, faith and obedience so we can inherit the kingdom. May the Holy Spirit equip us to become like little children so we can please him.

Stay Blessed!
Author- Mrs. Pearlin Jayaraj

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Power and works of the Holy Spirit

Acts of the Apostles 1:8

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

It's true that we are called to live a holy life. But the question is, how would you live a holy life?? A life that God has called you to live. A life according to His will.
We live in a world that has accepted sin as its companion and rejected Christ as Lord and Savior. But in the midst of destruction and brokenness God has promised us of his Holy Spirit.

But first let us know who Holy Spirit is??

The Holy Spirit is the third person in the Trinity.  He is fully God. He is eternal, omniscient and omnipresent, has a will, and can speak.  He is alive.  He is a person.  He is not particularly visible in the Bible because His ministry is to bear witness of Jesus (John 15:26).

 The work of Holy Spirit is not limited but in fact you can see his mighty works in the Bible
        The Holy Spirit was involved in Creation (Genesis 1:2)
        The Holy Spirit empowers leaders (Judges 3:10)
        The Holy Spirit teaches us (John 14:26)
        The Holy Spirit guides us (John 16:13)
        The Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses (Acts 1:8)
        The Holy Spirit lives within us (Romans 8:11)
        The Holy Spirit sanctifies us (Romans 15:16)

Photo courtesy:

I believe that unless you won't live a "holy life you won't be able to Witness" God's mighty work in your life nor would you be able to witness Christ’s ministry.

So how will you receive the power, the answer is Holy Spirit. You can receive the holy spirit when you are willing to accept Christ as your lord and savoir and repent of your sins , but the process doesn't stop here it requires continues prayer & fasting, seeking Christ earnestly, having the thirst and hunger to know Christ and by carrying the cross.

It's difficult to live a godly life in this sinful world, only the Holy Spirit can help us, lead us, guide us, teach us & empower us.

In the bible we see many witnesses to God's power.
        The Israelites witnessed God's power when he led them out of Egypt
        Elijah witnessed God's mighty move and power in his life
        Mary also witnessed the power of Holy Spirit in her life
        John and Paul witnessed God's mighty move

My point here is we must not focus on God's blessings or power or gifts of the Holy Spirit but what matters is that our focus should be on Christ - Holy Spirit.
We must live a life filled with love, kindness, patience. We must not only practice love and forgiveness but put it in action.

Our lives should be a living sacrifice, offering ourselves to God. We need to obey God's commandments; we must pray and meditate on the word of God day and night. Praise and Worship should be our lifestyle. We should pray for those who persecute us, bless those who curse us. Lead others to Christ.

Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you Christ. Holy Spirit is the One who can reveal the power of Christ in you. Holy Spirit is the One who can reveal the depth that is in the love of Christ.

Once you receive Christ, you receive Holy Spirit; you receive God's power which will equip you to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will be a witness to God's ministry to the ends of the earth.

Not just this lent season but let's seek Holy Spirit in every season, every minute of our lives.

Let us in this season open our hearts to receive Holy Spirit. Let our hearts tune to his voice and be witness to God's ministry here on earth.

Stay Blessed!

Author - Vineet Kamble

Monday, 23 February 2015

A Pure Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart...” – Matt 5:8

10 Characteristics of a Pure Heart 

1)   A pure heart is a Heart that looks at people, things and situations with and through the eyes and perspective of God. We are so biased and judgmental and we jump to conclusions so hastily. Do we ever take time to stop and think how Jesus would look at it?

2)   A pure heart is a heart that hates sin in all its forms and obeys God completely. The Bible instructs us to hate sin (not sinners) in all its forms no matter how small it seems. There is no way we could accommodate sin. Likewise we are also expected to obey God completely and wholeheartedly. It is important to understand that partial and/or delayed obedience is disobedience.

3)   A pure heart displays the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) in all circumstances. Remember, our spontaneous response to a given situation talks a lot about the purity of our heart and Christian Maturity.

4)   A pure heart loves God and fellow beings and tries to dwell peacefully with everyone. Loving God isn't enough. We must also love the people around us no matter how challenging it may be at times.

5)   A pure Heart is never indifferent. We need to be sensitive to the needs of people around us. People have different kinds of needs, and if it is in our capacity to help them, as Christians we must make every effort to do so. In Genesis 14:14-16 we see how Abraham went an extra mile for Lot even risking his own life. He could have just ignored and been indifferent but he chose to intervene. And that’s what we are expected to do as Christians in our society; in our country.

6)   A pure heart is selfless. We have to cease to be selfish and self centered. We have to broaden our horizons and be inclusive when it comes to charity and good deeds. Christ died for everyone and He did not have any selfish motives.

7)   A pure heart always Glorifies God in everything. We must not fall prey to self-glorification business.

8)   A pure heart is faithful, stable and focused. Infidelity can never be a virtue of a pure heart nor can instability be accommodated.

9)   A pure heart is humble and meek. Meekness does not mean weakness. There is nothing wrong in being strong, powerful or influential, but it is very important to know how to withhold, control and channelize that strength. We need to cease to dominate and impose things on the weak and the downtrodden.

10)  A pure heart always keeps on improving. No one is perfect. It’s important for us to understand that there is always a scope of improvement for us. We need to keep on improving daily.

Blessed are the Pure in heart – Do we really have a pure heart?

Author - Rev. Abhijeet Sasane

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Patience – A valuable virtue!

It's lent, the season of fasting and abstinence. I could see people around me observing fast on Ash Wednesday and making wows to abstain from things they love like non veg food, chocolates, alcohol, tv and so on, after which Easter seemed to kick start all this with triple vigor and all the abstinence made back then would lose its importance later. It often made me wonder of the purpose behind it all. What was lent originally supposed to be? Who benefited from it? Why were the ones abstaining craving for the same and what did it mean to them? So one day a pastoral sermon in church made me love the unconventional way of abstinence and why not? Abstinence from anger, greed, hatred, jealousy, evil really made perfect sense! Wouldn’t our thoughts, deeds and behavior benefit a lot of people? Wouldn’t they feel glad and blessed to have us around them? Yes, it would definitely make a difference to them. The priest that day further spoke about the fruits of the Holy Spirit which I tried to incorporate in my life.

So when Priyanka invited me to write a post on her blog about “patience” which is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Being a hyper active person, I was a bit apprehensive, even so I agreed. I decided to do a quick self review on my understanding of the word. When somebody says “Be patient” our pacing thoughts and actions automatically get altered into calmer ones. I feel it has the divine ability to keep our composure even in the most overwhelming situations. It is something we all try to master.

We are so busy rushing here and there that we fail to have patience with our loved ones; we fail to stop and listen to them. Do they desire our attention? Do they require our help? Or they might just want an ear to listen to or a shoulder to cry on to. Are we that impatient to stop by and find out the reason behind their attention seeking? Or do we just rush for all are pre-planned commitments? Are some of the questions worth asking and answering too?

James 5:7 says “Be patient therefore, brothers, to the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.” We want everything to happen so instantly that in case it doesn’t go as planned we tend to get frustrated or even upset. More often than not we tend to lose patience with ourselves. We tend to overwork our emotions only to realize our self made disasters.

1 Samuel tells us, “Lack of patience will cause you to miss blessings.” This reminded me of an incident that taught me about patience. I joined as a lector in church to read about the word of God and as I went for my first reading, stage fear kicked in - I stumbled with the words, rushed with the reading and later bowed at the people instead of the alter only to find the entire choir and people sited ahead laughing at my nervousness. That day embarrassed, I came home and thought of quitting the lectors but may be God wanted me to continue so I called up my mentor and narrated the incident to him. His words still calm me down every time I get overwhelmed with a situation. He said, “Slow down, the time is yours nobody can take that moment away from you, so relax read at a slow pace and I know you’ll do well.” I could see God showering his patience through my mentor. After that day till this very day I read with patience and understanding. Yes, my nervousness still gets on to me but patience with myself calms me down. What if I had quit that day? I would have never realized the joy it brought to me. I would have indeed missed being blessed!

One can only exhibit patience to others when he is patient with himself. 

Think of all those moments where you have shown patience and how did it alter your situation. You just might be pleasantly surprised.

Wishing you all a blessed season of lent. Stay blessed and be a blessing to all.

Author - Ann Fernandes