“God has a plan for your life.” You’ve heard this over and over again, I’m sure. And the story that follows will convince you that it’s true.
3 trees were selected for being chopped and made into something. The smallest one was unhappy that it was made into a little wooden crib. The middle one unhappy because it was made into a boat. And the biggest one was unhappy as they made a wooden cross from it. Then one day the baby Jesus was put into that wooden crib. He grew up and sat in the boat and went about “fishing” for the Apostles and giving sermons from it. And as you probably know, he later carried the wooden Cross and was nailed to it. The Cross became the means of Man’s Salvation.
Never be upset with what you have or what you are. God takes you as you are and shapes you into something that may look useless or ordinary, but will do great things when His time comes. Allow Jesus to do great things through you! God promises “those who dwell under his shadow,” that:
“They shall be revived like grain,
And grow like the vine,
Their scent shall be like the wine (fresh grape juice) of Lebanon.” (Hosea 14:7)
And, like I quoted the Bible in an earlier post, God’s promises are genuine. As the Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.(Hebrews 13:8)
Truly, Jesus is Lord!
Christians are like jungle trees, said our pastor one evening at a mid-week service. You might think that’s crazy, but it’s not. He went on to show why:
When a fisherman wants to build a boat or a barge, he looks for wood. He chooses a jungle tree and not a tree from his backyard. The jungle tree has weathered many a storm and passed through several tests. It is tough and can survive attacks. But a backyard tree cannot.
If you are a born-again Christian, following the Lord Jesus Christ, you are not like a tree in the backyard, but like that jungle tree, which has survived in spite of forest fires, storms, strong winds attacking it. That’s because your roots are strong, deep and wide, founded on the Word of God – the Bible. You have been exposed to attacks from people, situations, the devil and his army…but you have come out a winner through the Blood of Jesus!
Consider this: out of a total of 6 billion people worldwide, only about 700 million people are born-again Christians. That’s only 11.66% of humanity! God has definitely chosen you to act as a blessing for the other 5.3 billion – or 88.34%; has He not? So your knowledge of the Bible and its application needs to be real strong. As James rightly says, “…be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22; Also read Luke 6:46 and Romans 2:13)
Study the Bible every day – it acts like food for the spirit. Even if your roots are strong, deep and wide, they need to stay that way lifelong! True, sometimes there is not even some time. But try to make at least some time!
Purchase a Study Bible from Christianbook.com, if you do not have one. You can buy a version that suits your needs, but I suggest you buy either the Open Bible (New King James Version) or The Thomson Chain Reference Bible (King James Version). The NASB/NIV versions are good too.
The question we want to ask ourselves before going to bed is:
“Have I opened my Bible today?”
Praise and Worship through music is often underestimated when it comes to prayer and fellowship. If you think (as I used to, once upon a time) that praise and worship music is not for you and the pastor’s message is enough, you will likely change your thinking after reading this post.
Benefits of Worship Music:
- Releases God’s Blessings: Glorifying God is the very purpose of our existence. When you sing His praises, you are actually aligning yourself with God’s plan for your life. This releases His blessings over and into your life.
- Frustrates the Devil: Praising God is something the devil just cannot bear. If you are oppressed by the enemy in any area of your life, your best bet is to stand up (if you can) on your feet and start singing praises to God. The devil will hate it! His survival in your life will become tough and he will feel miserable. Even playing Christian music in your home every day and often will in itself help a lot.
- Advances Kingdom of God: When the pastor preaches, how many people are speaking in favour of God and against the devil? Only 1 – the pastor himself. But when the whole church stands up on its feet and sings, how many people are working for God’s Kingdom? You got it – the entire gathering!
- Edifies You: Worshipping God (aloud or silently) edifies you. Edification means “building up” in the context of strengthening your faith. You literally become what you speak. The Bible says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9, 10) If confessing with your mouth can take you right up to the point of salvation, I think heartfelt praise and worship can do similar things.
There are many more benefits, of course, which can best be experienced than listed. You can experience them by singing or even by listening. Visit Christianbook.com to buy Praise and Worship songs. Whether or not you have a great voice, you must praise Him every day – and open the door to His blessings. So sing aloud and proclaim, “Jesus is Lord!”
Do problems come to an end when you believe in Jesus Christ and repent of your sins? “Yes” and “No.” Let me explain this…
When I believed in Jesus and repented of my sins in May 2001, God delivered me from a mental block where I did not want to do a salaried job. I took up a job and then it led to another and then another. Despite 6 years in the field of music, I did not earn as much as I began earning every month, after I turned to Jesus. I began to get marriage proposals. I got married, my wife delivered our baby (Psalm 128:3)…I could go on. God truly is The Provider. Man did not give me my provisions; God did.
I said I kept getting jobs – this means I had to lose jobs too! And I did. For the next 4-5 jobs, I lost my job either because the company was cutting down on staff or because I was oppressed so severely on the job that I had to quit. I was a born-again, water-baptized, praying Christian and yet this suffering. But then Jesus said when you follow him, you will suffer for his sake. “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:20)
Pick up the Bible (you can purchase one from Christianbook.com) and read Genesis 22:8. When Isaac saw that all preparations were made for the burnt offering but the sacrificial lamb was missing, he asked his father Abraham where it would come from. “And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” And praise the LORD, He did spare Abraham from the agony of sacrificing his innocent son by providing a lamb instead! The place where this sacrifice was made was named Jehovah-jireh, meaning “The LORD Will Provide (for our needs).”
So if you are anxious today about what you will eat, wear or earn tomorrow, take Jesus at his word. He told us in the Bible that our “heavenly Father (God) knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added (given) to you.” (Matthew 6:32, 33) I’ve seen it in my life – it works!
Truly, Jehovah-jireh is our Provider.
The Universe has 100,000,000,000 = 100 billion = 10000,00,00,000 = 10,000 crore galaxies (see Wikipedia: “Galaxy”). Our galaxy is among the smaller ones. And it contains at least 200 billion stars (and possibly up to 400 billion stars – see Wikipedia: “Milky Way”), other than the Sun! Do you wish to calculate how many stars there must be in all the galaxies combined? I don’t, at least! The Bible says, that “the host of heaven cannot be numbered.” (Jeremiah 33:22)
Now…these galaxies, we know, were created. They didn’t just appear out of nowhere. They were created by (obviously) an intelligent Creator who we call God. And if I create a clay model, it belongs to me. If you create a software program, it belongs to you unless and until someone pays a price to buy it from you. God created the universe and everything – every living and non-living being – in it. So naturally, the universe and everything in it – living and non-living – belongs to Him. He can choose to live anywhere. Yet He prefers to live in your heart. Is your heart big enough for Him to gain access? If not, what’s stopping you from trusting such a great Creator and letting Him guide you every moment of your life?
Do you know what a lovely life He has in store for you! Read this post to learn how Gracious and Merciful God is. Get yourself a Bible today from Christianbook.com, start reading from the Gospel of John or Mark and see your life change – for the Best!
All the Best!
Mercy and Grace are 2 sides of the same coin. Mercy is when God does not give us what we deserve, i.e. punishment for our sins against Him and others. Instead He forgives us for our sins. Grace is when He gives us what we don’t deserve, i.e. the assurance of everlasting life in heaven with Him and the strength and wisdom and the heart to pray to Him, to wait upon Him and cooperate with Him so that His plan for our life bears fruit. So actually, it’s not Mercy vs Grace, but Mercy and Grace.
The unique thing about the coin of Mercy and Grace is that it falls with both sides up, making you a winner 2 times over!
Forgiveness of sins is difficult. Forgetting them is even more so. This small but interesting story conveys a significant point:
Two monks were walking down a path when they came to a river. A lady stood there, beautifully dressed. She requested them to carry her on their back so she would not get wet. Immediately, one of the monks lifted her up and began carrying her on his back. The other monk followed them. As soon as they had crossed over to the other side, the monk carrying the lady put her down. She went her way, while the monks went theirs.
After covering some distance, the other monk, who couldn’t contain his inquisitiveness and self-righteousness, asked his buddy: “In our religion, we are not allowed to touch women. So why did you carry her?” Pat replied the first monk, saying “I put down the lady a long time ago; but why are you still carrying her?”
Sometimes, we tend to carry grudges against others long after even God has forgiven them. By sinning against us, they had offended God first and us only next. And if He has forgiven them, who are we to hold it against them!
So, have you put down the lady, or are you still carrying her on your back? If you are, why bear the burden? Hand it over to Jesus. Think about it. Then forgive and forget, God’s way.
“The words of the LORD are pure words,
Like silver tried in a furnace of earth,
Purified seven times.” – Psalm 12:6