Christmas Thought: Did you put your Lights up yet?


star and lights

Star and lights

Some of you have already put your Christmas lights up and some of you are going to put up soon. Christmas time is a joyous time and it seems everywhere you go to- like shops,  malls, streets and houses in your neighborhood are all  glittering and shining with the lights.

 

When Christ was born, there was a Star shining in the east in the night. Wise men from the east came,  .. and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Mathew 2:2. There was not only a Star that was shining, but Jesus who was the Light Himself came to call us out of the darkness into His marvelous Light. Are you walking in the light?  Paul was changed forever when he was confronted with the Light- Jesus Christ on the way to Damscus. (Read Acts 9)   “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:4-5  

At His Second Coming, it will again a night but without a light or a star, it will be a dark night.   “….those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”   Mathew 24 :29-30. 

Do you have the light?  Jesus said ” I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”.  Its not about the lights on the  house but the light in the heart !

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Christmas Thoughts: Are you expecting a gift?


Are you expecting a gift?

Christmas is a time when people give gifts or receive gifts. The shepherds were told that you will find your gift wrapped in swaddling clothes. “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

The Word of God encourages us to receive Christ Jesus who is God’s indescribable gift to mankind! ( II Cor 9:15) As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: John 1:12

There are also gifts stored for those who are looking  for His second coming! “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” II Timothy 4:8

Christmas Thoughts: Are you expecting a gift?


Are you expecting a gift?

Christmas is a time when people give gifts or receive gifts. The shepherds were told that you will find your gift wrapped in swaddling cloths. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

The Word of God encourages us to receive Christ Jesus who is  God’s indescribable gift for mankind! ( II Cor 9:15) “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: ” John 1:12

There are also gifts stored for those who are looking for His Second Coming! “Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.” II Timothy 4:8

Christmas Thoughts


I am planning to write a ” #Christmas Encouragement for the day ” for the next 21 days as we are in the Christmas celebration month. Check here every day.

How is your preparation going on?

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”Micah 5:2 For many missed his First coming except for few even though it was foretold clearly by the prophets.

And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence. I John 2:28

As we are planning and preparing to celebrate our Lord’ First coming or Advent, similarly we must prepare for our Lord ‘ Second coming or Advent. not be ashamed before Him. Are you preparing?

Do you believe that once you are saved, you are always saved?


Reflection on I Timothy 6:17-19


Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

According GeorgeBarna.org research on giving the percentage of born again adults who gave any money to churches dropped to its lowest level this decade 76% but at the same time among all born again adults, 9% contributed one-tenth or more of their income. Among those who made more than $60,000 to 100,000 or more only 1-5 percent born again people contributed one-tenth or more of their income.

Christians who are rich are often tempted to live like other worldly people. We find in the Scripture a young man who was rich who when asked by Jesus to give his possession to the poor became sad. Even though, he had obeyed the Ten Commandments from his childhood. The Rich man who allowed poor Lazarus to sit by his gate and shared all his left over crumbs was seemingly a good man, because he didn’t chase poor Lazarus and nor stopped him to sit by his Gate, but he was not a very generous man. Hannah and Saphira in the New Testament Church were godly people and member s of a bible believing church of Jerusalem. They both struggled to give their all even when they had promised to give the price money of their field. In all these three incidents found in the Bible. The end result was very tragic and terrible. Though the people in the first two incidents which I have mentioned were not believers but the third example is of a rich Christian couple who displeased God and the Holy Spirit. They were struck by the Holy Spirit and died. We find in all three incidents, God was not pleased. How often we find people in our churches that are rich and well-heeled but are not very generous.

We must give our attention to the Greek word for “Charge” Παράγγελλε; it is to give command with solemn authority. Therefore we should understand that God is not suggesting but commanding the rich people in the Church to use their riches wisely. These commands should not be taken lightly.

The key message for the rich is to exhibit their trust in God by distributing and giving their uncertain riches to receive good and certain reward.

It is said of King Munbaz, when he dispersed his father’s treasures to the poor, his brethren and friends came about him, complaining of it; to whom he said, “my fathers treasured up below, I treasure up above. My fathers treasured “up for others”, I treasure up “for myself”; my fathers treasured up for this world, I treasure up for the world to come.”

“Uncertain riches” is a good description of the mammon as it cannot satisfy you nor can last eternally. Riches fly away and cannot save one from God’s eternal judgment. The purpose of money is also given in this passage. First God does permit to enjoy but more than that God expects to “Distribute and Give”. God has given here the purpose of the riches because He Himself is the giver of all good things. We find here what is called: Purpose Driven Giving.

  • Ready to distribute (εὐμεταδότους)
    This carries an idea of giving to a particular person (without any partiality). This has an inbuilt notion of giving toward the needs of a destitute and indigent believer in the local church. They should be always ready to give to those who are in need in the body of believers. Here the idea is rich should have eager desire to invest in the life of individual believers who do not have enough and are impecunious. Buying groceries, clothes and pay for poor children’s school fee etc. are some of the examples. Always looking for an opportunity to give.
  • Willing to communicate (κοινωνικούς)
    This carries an Idea of willingly giving to the need of a fellowship/local church. The rich should be willing to bear the burden of their local church. There are many needs in the local church. First and foremost they should be willing to pay their tithes faithfully, though the NT does not prescribe tithes but one is expected to give more than 10%. The Pharisees use to give 20% of their income. We are expected to give more than that sacrificially and cheerfully without being noticed by the congregation. The rich should not neglect the world wide body of Christ. There are many bible believing churches in developing nations where their need is exigent and insistent. Some of them cannot support their own pastors nor can send missionaries. Therefore giving towards such need is vitally important for the cause of the gospel.

Paul asked Timothy, a young Pastor to “Charge them that are rich”
Ten Commandments for the Rich based on I Timothy 6:17-19
1. Thou shall be not highminded.
2. Thou shall not trust in uncertain riches.
3. Thou shall trust in the living God.
4. Thou must know that it is God who giveth thee richly all things to enjoy.
5. Thou must do good.
6. Thou must be rich in good works.
7. Thou must be ready to distribute to the needy fellow believer.
8. Thou must willingly give to the fellowship of the believers.
9. Thou must lay up in store for thyself a good foundation for the future
10. Thou shall lay hold on eternal life.

• Pastors should not be afraid to confront rich people of his local church.
• Pastor should not hesitate to ask them to give toward the needs of poor people of the Church.
• Pastor should encourage them to give to the local church for the gospel ministry.

The advancement and propagation of the Gospel should be the chief priority. Investing in the ministry of the Gospel is best way of investment in the future because it has eternal and infinite value all other things are transient.

Reflection on James 1:27


Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

We have often asked to ourselves and others what is the right religion? What should we be doing to please God? Does this verse give us warrant to become active in social work? I hope shedding some light on this portion of the Scripture may help you to evaluate your religion.

We must understand that James is writing to the Jewish Churches who are scattered in all different places. He is also trying to help them to see the difference between unproductive religion and productive religion. He is giving them picture of false religion and pure religion which is accepted by God. They must have brought with them in their Church their old religion and practices.

Pure religion – On the word here rendered “religion” (θρησκεία thrēskeia). BDAG says, “it is the expression of devotion to transcendent beings.” Here James is emphasizing external actions and patterns of behavior of follower of Christ. Most commentators will agree that this word refers to the outward, to the external expression of belief. It is outworking of one’s Faith. Faith without works is dead..” We must understand even though we are talking about outer behavior, practice or work, but we are not called to do these outward things out of impure and selfish reasons. This should be the inevitable result of the one’s internal pure religion. The phrase “pure religion” means that which is genuine and sincere, or which is free from any improper mixture.

Undefiled (ἀμίαντος) carries the further idea of a religion free from selfish do-good motives.Andtherefore undefiled religion is what is not selfish and a religion which does not promote one’s own interest. And this is not what one feels about his or her own religion but what is pure and undefiled before God and the Father.

This genuine religion has two elements.

1. First it is not selfish but benevolent. (External Element)

First, the verb to look after or oversee ἐπισκέπτεσθαι (episkeptomai) is a compound verb in which the prepositional prefix epi- places an emphasis on the act of looking. Here, then, it is proper to translate this verb not merely as “visit” (KJV, RSV, NASB) but as “look after” (NIV). It is the same verb used by Matthew in Mt 25:36, 43. it is just not feeling but it is moving with compassion in a tangible way. A Christian is moved with compassion and gives out all what he can liberally, sacrificially and cheerfully. One is not merely giving money but also is actively involved in taking care of the fatherless and widows with his own hands. You are also called to do not for you own glory and praise. We can be tempted to do it and want our name or our loved one’s name on a plaque. How often our giving and our service is merely for applause.

2. Secondly it is not stained but blameless. (Internal Element)

The second thing, we must give our attention to is to this Greek word Unspotted (ἄσπιλον).(“unspotted,” literally, “without spot or stain”) refers to what is morally (spiritually) untainted, i.e. morally unblemished (pure) – “free from censure, irreproachable, free from vice, unsullied” (K. Wuest). The pure religion also demands purity. It is a call to live holy. We should keep ourselves “without reproach”. That is, religion will keep us from the maxims, vices, and corruptions which prevail in the world, and make us holy. James has used word “world” five times in his epistle but on all occasion it is used in negative sense. This means he was exhorting us that there are things in the world that can defile us.What are some of things that can taint or stain us?

a. By world: culture, community, and company (II Corinthians 6:12,Proverbs 12:26 ,Psalm 1:1)
b. By Flesh: Our tongue (v 26), our heart ( Jeremiah 17:9) and our corrupt mind ( I Timothy 6:5) and our lust and greed (Colossians 3:5)This is by no means a exhaustive list.

• Evaluate the motives behind the social work. John 12:6

• New Testament tells us who these widows are, see I Timothy 5:5-10

• Acts 6 is another example of taking care of poor and needy within the church.

• James does not open up a social organization for widows and for orphans. He is speaking to these Christians in their churches, and he is reminding them of their duties. It is Churches’ responsibilities.

• This passage does not give us any basis for social agenda, which has become increasingly popular among evangelicals.

• Many social religious organizations and the leaders of such organization using religion as a “cloak of covetousness” (I Thessalonians 2:5), “whose god is their belly, and who set their mind on earthly things”( Philippians 3:18) and those who suppose that godliness (Religion) is a means of gain. ( I Timothy 6:5)


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Reflection on Mathew 25:40


And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Mathew 25:40

Today we have much confusion over the mission of the Church. This is one of the passages, which is often misquoted and misinterpreted by many to justify their holistic approach to the gospel. This is one of the verses many would quote to justify, why they strongly feel about the social justice and put strong emphasis on social transformation. This confusion has changed the gospel preaching ministry into so-called “Incarnational ministry“.

An Example of this confusion is found in The Lausanne Covenant.

It states, In the Church’s mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary. World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. John R. W. Stott explains this statement: “I now see more clearly that not only the consequences of the commission but the actual commission itself must be understood to include social as well as evangelistic responsibilities” We therefore should share his (God’s) concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men from every kind of oppression. We express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive.

The key to understanding this passage lies in ἑνὶ τούτων τῶν ἀδελφῶν μου τῶν ἐλαχίστων, “…one of these brothers of Mine…”

  1. We must ask here a question, who are these brothers?
  2. Now we have to answer this question, is everyone on this earth His (Jesus) brother and sister?

There are three groups of people who could claim this verse to be talking about them in this passage. The brothers of Jesus who are related to him i.e. his immediate family members and also the Jews who are related to him by way of Jacob. But Jesus was referring to this third group of people. I would like to quote two verses from Mathew. These verses will make it more clear.

And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brothers! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. Mathew 12:49-50

Therefore we can easily conclude that the verse was referring to this group of people. And they are found within the body of Christ. These verses help us to understand the concern of Jesus for his own brothers and sisters- the Church.

Evangelism is reaching people outside the Church of Christ with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But at the same time our social concern should be within the framework of the Church of Christ- the brothers and sisters in Christ.

If this is the case, we must rethink our mission and do it without any confusion. If you do not want to miss your reward then show your concern to the brothers and sisters of Jesus.

Reflection on Galatians 6:10


As we have therefore opportunity, let us do GOOD unto ALL MEN, ESPECIALLY unto them who are of the HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH.  Galatian 6:10 

The first thing is it provides the etymological implication  to do good. As we have ( While we have been given) opportunity (ὡς καιρὸν ἔχωμεν)  –  a time/ season. Somehow there is a sense of urgency is seen here because seasons do not last. You have a season to sow seed. The word here is used by the author is the same word which has been use in NT for season to sow or reap. This means you cannot let it go. The farmer who does not sow in the opportune time loses his reward. One cannot make an excuse, he cannot do it.   We cannot say “NO” when it is in our power to do good. Proverbs 3:27 says, ” Do not withhold good from those whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so.

Secondly there is inbuilt logical implication to do good, that we have also been  given ability or power to do good. Τὸ ἀγαθὸν is, of course, the morally good but includes what is beneficent or kindly.    This implies God demands that we should  do good to All men-whether one belongs to our country or not, whether he is of same race or not, whether he is of same caste or not, whether he is insider or not, whether he belongs to same party or not, whether he belongs to same denomination or not. We are called to do good. Alleviating sorrowful people, Raising those who bowed down, Comforting those who mourn, delivering those who are oppressed, Protecting those who are in fear, Providing those who are in need and preaching the gospel to those who are perishing.  “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17 So no one is excused. We should be thankful to God for giving us privilege to do good.

The third thing is chronological implication of doing good. An application is one must begin doing good at home. Charity begins at home. We are to do good to those who are of the HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH (πρὸς τοὺς οἰκείους τῆς πίστεως). People who share common faith with us in the Lord Jesus Christ. We must not neglect  or forget those who are needy, sick, weak and helpless, widow and orphan belonging to the Church of Christ.

  1. They have the first claim on our resources.
  2. They should be the first who should benefit from our benevolence and liberality.
  3. They ought to be preferred before all the others.
  4. They must be fed before the other hungry people of the world.
  5. They must be clothed before the other naked people of the world.
  6. They must be sheltered before the other homeless people of the world.
  7. They should be shown mercy before the hurting people of the world.

Therfore one must be careful and eager to doing good. “And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Galatians 6:9  We should take care to do good in our life-time, and make this the business of our lives.

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