Sunday, December 10, 2017

'Lord we have come.'

Today the preaching was on the ten virgins,five with and five without oil.
The Jewish tradition of marriage goes something like this.
The groom travels to the bride's house where they have the main ceremony and then they wend their way back to the groom's house .However there is no telling how long it is going to be before they return with the bride.So the people at the groom's house have a long wait.In the parable we see them returning at midnight.One can visualise in the mind's eye the tiredness of the groom's family awaiting the arrival of the groom with the bride.The ten virgin's are likewise awaiting the groom ,five are actually ready with the oil in their lamps full whereas five are not.
One can imagine when the groom comes back all of them fumbling to receive him ,out of their slumber.The one's who have oil will light their lamps and happily go forward to greet the groom but the ones who do not have the oil will be begging the ones who are ready but are unable to give them their portion because they need it themselves.So the ones who do not have the oil go out for the oil and then the door closes.Frightening to say the least.
The question asked was how do we keep the oil intact and ready?
There were three aspects discussed-
1)Being internally ready with fresh supply of oil.'You have forsaken your first love' should not be the reprimand we get.We need spiritual food on a regular basis.We need to keep growing in the Lord.
The ways we can do it is-
Reading christian books,biographies of great christian personalities,
We need to keep each other burning brightly till Christ comes.
2) Ready on the outside-
Invest and help build His kingdom.
Greatest job in the world is 'Jesus business'.When Jesus hires you you are in the business of changing people's lives forever ,for all eternity.
We need to have engine rooms,where we go back to from time to time to strategise,to pray,to seek direction and keep an account of where we are.
3)Caring for the weakest and the most vulnerable.
Jesus spent disproportionate amount of time with the people in the fringes,we are called to do what Jesus did.
We are invited to resubmit ourselves to God's business.
On a poignant note,I was watching a national geagraphy's documentary on Jerusalem.
They were talking about the likelihood of one of the burial place in the cave below being the place where Jesus was burried after His crucification.On the wall is a scribble made by a sharp object with a picture of a boat and a writing which says,'Lord we have come'.The archeologists attribute this writing to about fifteen hundred years ago.To me it was a poignoint reminder of beleivers through generations who have said the same thing over and over again and have been there till they have been taken up in glory.
'Lord I have come.'May that be my life.Amen.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

How come you never told me?

'You shall know the truth and truth shall set you free.'(John 8 vs 32)
I remember the first few week into my job I met a second generation indian foundation year student.As I got talking she suddenly blurted out that she was from a hindu background in Gujarat but she was a christian and had accepted Christ as her Lord and savior.
I was taken aback because west is not necessarily conducive with a roaring evangelical bent,especially in England, where people are by nature 'stiff upper lip'.However,though believing christians are few and far between they are comitted,now only if they would open up a bit more!,love a little more.
She further added that she reads her bible everyday and prays.I asked her why?
She told me in so many words,'Because it is the truth'.Isn't it?She asked me.I was taken aback a little by what she said.
I have with age learnt not to come to quick conclusion.I have by God's grace learnt to hugely respect and stand back in awe at the way our God works beyond the simple logic and common sense of the finite human mind.
At this stage in our lives ,before our Lord Jesus comes back the most important thing I think is the direction we are heading towards everyday.
Sitting down with a few believers after dinner,we were sharing our walk in August of this year and there was a lady from a christian background who was not a believer but seemed to be searching.As she expressed her beliefs which sounded like a mixture of confused new age...the mature christians listened to her respectfully because anyone could see she was genuine in her search and as she shared she mentioned her mother and the sunday school where she had been taught the bible stories.For me,a God fearing ,praying mother is a powerful tool God uses to bring her children to Him.One of the ladies in the room said in so many words,'christianity is the truth' and that was it.I saw a fleeting shadow pass through the struggling lady's face.
I shared the thought that came to my mind just then.That was how important it was to 'know our God'.
I did not say anything more then that because I did not want to sound preachy.
Jesus prays in John 17 vs 3-'..Now this is eternal life,that they know you,the only true God ,and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.'
How do we get to know our God?
1)We search for Him in earnestness.Jeremiah 29:13-'You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.'
2)We ask,knock ...our God is a living God who answers if you open your heart and ask.Mathew 7:7'Ask and it will be given you,seek and you will find,knock and the door shall be opened onto you.'
3)We read His Word because 'he is the bread of life'.'In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.'-John 1 vs 1.
That brought to mind the series of bible studies we used to have in lakhnadon sunday evening in my place with a host of youngsters in the campus.
One series we did was on the gospel.
Week after week we would study the word with the help of an expositionary book.
As the weeks unfolded the author unfolded beautifully a pattern in the new testament.
There are two times when God directly introduces Jesus.Starting from the beginning of Christ's ministry when John the baptist baptizes Jesus in river Jordan and when the heavens open and a voice from heaven says,'This is my Son whom I love ;with Him I am well pleased.'Mathew 3:17 and in the mount of transfiguration(Luke 9 v35) ' A voice came from the cloud saying,'This is my Son,whom I have chosen,listen to Him.'
The Holy spirit continues this work of God by introducing the true nature of the Son throughout the new testament.
The God of small things-turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana.
The God who forgives our sins.
The lord over nature.
The Lord our healer.
The Lord our provider.
The Lord over death and life,
The Lord over evil spirits,
The Lamb of God,
The True Vine,
The Good Shepherd,
The Cornerstone,'
The Resurrection and Life,
Our peace,
The Redeemer.
The Rock of ages,
The Messiah

and the list goes on and on till in revelation He is the
'Lion of the tribe of Judah',
'the Victorious one',
'The Lord of Lords and the King of Kings'
before whom every knee will bow and every tongue will confess,that Jesus Christ is Lord.
The Lord our God continues to introduce us to His son through the deposit He has made in us ,the Holy spirit.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Jerusalem ,a city in waiting.

Church was mourning the passing away of a fellow member.One could not miss the sadness and yet the preaching was a powerful one on second coming.
The pastor observed that all our celebration was in commemoration of events of the past which had a great implication for the future.What about celebration and an alligning of our lives in anticipation of the things to come?
Today the advent begins and the latin word adventus is the greek word parousia commonly used to refer to the second coming of Christ.
We looked at the city of jerusalem today.
Jew perspective-There are graves of the jews on the Mount of Olives,an expensive space to be burried in .Amidst the tombstones we find the graves of the prophets also.According to the prophecy in Zechariah 4 and 5,it talks of the Messiahs feet being on the Mount of Olives and how the elect will come up with Him.The Jews anticipate the coming of the Messiah first to the Mount of Olive and thus believe that they will be the first to rise up from dead to be with their messiah.
Muslim perspective-There is a golden gate in the wall of Jerusalem.Suleman the magnificent ,a muslim ruler has sealed the golden gate because according to their prophecy the messiah of the Jews will enter through the golden gate and establish the kingdom of God.We find a lot of cemetries right outside the golden gate , Elijah is to come before the messiah so idea was to defile the entry of the Jewish predecesser of the messiah.
Christian perspective-Christ's second coming for His bride.
In all those tombstone ,there is no tomb for Jesus,because' He is not here,He has risen!'.
Jerusalem ,a city waiting in anticipation for the messiah.People of three different faiths all waiting for the messiah.
Are we like Jerusalem waiting and alligning our lives to the second coming of the King?
Why do we live in this anticipation?
Angels said it.
Jesus said it.
There is a deposit of His promise,God's gaurantee -the Holy spirit.
2 Corinthians 5 vs 5
'Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God,who has given us the Spirit as a deposit,gauranteeing what is to come.'

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Deliver us from evil.

Church was at Dominion today because I was to lunch out with my friends Anu,Dinesh and Ojasvi in London.
We changed lunch to early dinner due to the weekened train snags and Ojasvi's music lessons.The worship was beautifully touching.I felt lead to pray for the kids on the stage even as I worshipped that they would be trailblazers for our Lord Jesus.
Pastor Gary took a session on forgiveness.I was not sure why?
Jesus' way being 'Love armed with forgiveness' as the author puts it in 'Radical forgiveness'.The example of Jesus, as He showed us the way on the cross.
He reiterated the story of Joseph.The importance of forgiveness in taking hold of our inheritance.He talked about how we make a room for the evil when we take offence.
I asked the Lord,why this sermon today?Am I holding onto any offence?
I realise everyday is a new day with challenges,we need to be on our knees in humility and pray for God's infinate grace that He will protect us from the evil one and help us to stay clear from being offended .What mammoth fallouts being offended can have!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Ekla Cholo Re - Kishore Kumar

Beautiful folkish rendition of Tagore's ekla chalo by Kishore Kumar.This is a poetry that has inspired generations and is one of the golden legacy of India that was .

Some thoughts along the way..

I picked up 'Lean in' at random from the kindle store because I wanted to read a good book which would perhaps challenge me to an extent.I am not sure my choice was right.The author has written a very down to earth account of balancing work life and family life for women.After sometime It became my bathroom read and I thought I heard a lady ramble on and on about a topic which in the male bastion could be concluded in a single sentence.
I don't mean to shortsell the book.For women with children and pregnancy to balance with a demanding job there might be a point and the point is one must lean in especially during those times and not make your carrier secondary with examples of how women have done it.
I just picked up the wrong book it seems.
In 2005 ,when I attended the Haggai seminar in Singapore ,we were made to draw a point diagram depicting the various areas of my life and I was taken aback to see that my diagram looked like a propeller jet heading towards one direction.I had to literally stand back and rearrange a few things.I am mighty glad that I have the luxury to do it from time to time.Almost ten years hence I find the jet blunted and has put on some flab on the sides and it has become more rounded but has a long way to go.
Sometimes I surprise myself.
I was telling a colleague the other day.that if I had not come to England when I did last year,I was at the verge of giving up my medical carrier.For me the whole thing was beginning to feel like a noose around my neck.The joy had gone out of it.I had some time to just sit at home and ponder under the cool shelter of my family's unconditional love.My parents are allright with whatever decision I make and when I asked my mother if I could just stay at home she seemed at absolute peace about it but I have to live with my decisions so I tread carefully.
My seniors at work keep asking me if I would like to specialise in something.What they mean in Indian context is 'superspecialise' in something.The answer I gave them would have flummoxed them so I just said a simple ,'not in their speciality ',the correct answer I guess would have been 'my thoughts are more along the lines of how I can contribute towards a community especially the younger generation in the times to come.I have some ideas in my head,prayer in my heart,and a faith in my soul that the Lord will guide me to my destiny in Him,by His grace and in His strenght,if it is the Lord's will.
As the winter sets in ,for the first time in my life I am beginning to appreciate daylight,I have always taken it for granted ,it seems.Everyday when I get out into the open after work ,the night sky greets me.It is not uncommon to see me sitting out in the bench eating my lunch in the afternoon.At times ,it is freezing cold but I still covet the daylight so I enjoy the time and I do get a few strange looks from people passing by.I enjoy the nip in the air,the autumn colour of the sky and the paraphenalia ,just the unpolluted ,clean air and I like to walk...thank God for these simple but precious joys of life.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The time of refreshing.

Today the preaching at the church was from ACTS 3 vs 1-9,one of my favourite anecdote in all of the bible.Whenever I read this episode it strangely touches me.Apart from the fact that it has some connection to my early childhood in my hometown where the sunday school teacher used to teach us this song and we as little children in all innocence used to sing these songs at the top of our voices,whether in the sunday school or otherwise.
The event goes that Peter and John are walking into the temple to preach the word of God and as they cross the gate called 'beautiful'to the temple a lame beggar eyes them and asks them for alms.Peter and John walk upto him and say,'Silver and Gold have I none,what I have I give to you,in the name of Jesus of Nazereth,stand up and walk.'The text says ,the beggar not only stood up and started walking but started jumping and praising the Lord.Further more it says that he clung to Peter and John and all the Jews there started looking at them in awe and that is when they say,'Ye men of Israel why do you marvel at this and why do you look at us like as though by our power and holiness we have made this man walk......' and they continue to preach Christ.
This anecdote speaks the very basis of what we are for and where we stand and what we ought to be doing.There is such a thin margin between being a beggar in the gate beautiful and being Peter and John.This question is valid in the lives of all humanity unfortunately for some of us believers included.
The portion the pastor stressed on was the need for repentance and conversion so that 'the times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord'.
For the beggar in the gate beautiful and the people of that town in Israel,'the time of refreshing'came because Peter and Paul stepped out in faith and the Lord honoured it.