If He has promised, He will fulfill it!

God works differently in the life of each person and he has a unique purpose for each of us. And some things that God does in our lives are beyond our understanding and we can only stand in awe of His wonders. In life, we might sometimes take some small decisions for God, but the leading of God is so amazing that He takes the tiny steps to a different level of honour in our life.

A recent experience in my life goes along the same lines. In my school days, in one of the youth camps, I took a decision to serve God as he calls me even if he sends to the deepest corner of the world. Probably, I couldn’t comprehend at that time the gravity of the decision that I made in the camp. The youth leader asked a simple question, “Who would go out to serve God if He calls you?” I had nothing much to think that day and with tears in my eyes, I committed myself to the will of God. And even years later, God still remembered my decision and gave me many opportunities, even though I forgot about it many times. Recently, God gave me the privilege to be in a remote village in Sikkim for 2-months as part of the research work of my M.Tech curriculum in IIT Bombay and surprisingly it was again a reminder of the decision I made as a school girl.


Sanghanath Village in South Sikkim district is a very remote village located on a hilly terrain in Sikkim with lots of hardship. The village faces a lot of mobility issues and road connectivity in the area is very poor. The households were very sparsely populated up and down the hill and visiting households for the survey was a hard task. The food habits of the people were so different as they consumed only breakfast and dinner. It was a difficult task to adjust with the new food timings but eventually, we managed with small snacks. Communicating with the tribal community in Nepali was a challenge but we could manage with Hindi with some of the people and some of the local people supported us as interpreters. But beyond all these facts, the most beautiful thing in the village was that there were churches in that very remote village. I was so surprised and happy to find that gospel is spreading even into the remote regions of the country. The experience was totally new to me but at the same time, I could experience the caring hand of God upon me all throughout the two-month stay. I also got opportunities to share my testimony with them and speak the word of God and I could literally stand in awe at the ways God was leading me in such a strange place.


Figure 1: Sanghanath Village captured in the morning 

I felt it was really amazing that God brought me from a faraway land to be in the midst of saints and testify His holy name. And I praise God for all the apostles and missionaries reaching out to the unreached to share the gospel and I think we should be really thankful to all the workers of God because of whom we are in Christ. It is only the grace of God that leads us amazingly every day!

Romans 8:28 says,
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose.”


Video 1: An evening in Sanghanath singing songs of joy

Sometimes, we don’t even understand what is happening around us. And in such desperate situations, we might ask God a lot of questions. Everyone would have one such low point in life where we would ask God a lot of questions. But in His perfect time, God answers all our questions. And even if any answer is still in ‘pending’ status, we don’t need to be worried about it because the perfect time is also in ‘pending’ status.
The life of Joseph is a perfect example of this context. Joseph was a faithful man and God gave him a big and amazing dream. It was God who gave him the vision that his father and brothers would bow down before him as we read in Genesis chapter 37.

Genesis 37: 9-12

“9 Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” 11 His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.”

 

But the immediate events in his life after the dream were a stark opposite to the vision he got from God. Following are the events that took place in his life:

• The brothers stripped him of his beautiful tunic (Genesis 37:23)

• He was sold by his brothers to Midianite merchants (Genesis 37:23)

• The Midianites sold Joseph in Egypt to Potiphar (Genesis 37:36)

• Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison (Genesis 39:20)

• The chief cupbearer whom Joseph helped forgot him (Genesis 40:23)


Figure 2: Life line of Joseph (Source: https://goo.gl/images/nmbn26 )

At this point of time, Joseph might have had a lot of questions because his dreams didn’t much match with the reality of incidents happening in his life. But looking closely at all these portions in the bible, one thing is very clear, ‘God was with Joseph wherever he was…”. Genesis 39:2,3 says, “The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant.” He was sent to jail but wherever he was Joseph found favour in the eyes of jail warden. The warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did (Genesis 39:20-22). So basically it was not as if God left Joseph to suffer alone but God was in control of whatever was happening in Joseph’s life. And eventually, as time unveiled the mystery God led Joseph to be in charge of the whole of Egypt and God literally fulfilled the vision he gave to Joseph Genesis 41: 41-44).

 

God knows what he is doing with each of our lives and sometimes the immediate events of our life may not go hand in hand with the promises we have got from God. But in these circumstances, we shouldn’t fear anything because He is still in control. However low the situation might be, God can still raise us to be in control over the things as He is by our side. Let us trust God blindly!
The one who gave the promise is powerful enough to fulfill it!


Figure 2: A beautiful evening view from Sanghanath 

Have a blessed Sunday! 
Author : Feba Varghese 

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Sickness of Comparison 

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭15:41, 57-58‬ 
41 The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.

57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

The universe consists of different heavenly bodies and each of them are defined by their own spectral signatures making each of them unique. Spectral signature is the variation of reflectance or emittance of a material with respect to wavelengths (i.e.,reflectance/emittance as a function of wavelength). The spectral signature of stars indicates the composition of the stellar atmosphere. The spectral signature of an object is a function of the incidental EM wavelengthand material interaction with that section of the electromagnetic spectrum. No star is similar to another nor is one moon similar to another. We often listen to statements like “earth-like” planet is discovered by scientists. But the scientists and all the readers would understand that it is merely “like” and not equivalent to earth! Because earth is only one and the other planets have their own signatures that defines their specific properties. 

So, basically every creation of God has a very special and specific role as designed by God. The moon cannot decide on one day that my glory should be like the sun because it by itself cannot produce any light and it merely reflects the light from Sun. Now this basic truth is applicable to humans as well. No two humans are completely equal. Even if they look alike, their characters, talents, personality, and what more, even physical features like finger print and cornea signatures will be different! 

But man is often crippled by the “sickness of Comparison”. We feel sad looking at someone else when we realise he is doing something in a better way than us. We forget that our call and signature of life is different from the person with whom we are comparing ourselves. No ‘sickness of comparison’ needs to hold us back from doing something if God is backing us on it. You may not become as famous as A.R Rahman but if God has given you a talent to sing however big or small, use it for the glory of God! You may not become a best seller like J K Rowling but if God has blessed you with a talent to write, use it for the glory of God! Even if one person gets touched by what you write/sing/etc, then it is certainly an achievement before God. Jesus Christ is the good Shepherd who goes in search for a single lost sheep leaving the rest ninety-nine sheeps in the open pasture (Luke 15:1-7). So he values even the little things that we give for His kingdom in love.

God has created each of us uniquely and specially with important roles in life but we ought to do them well. Imagine what would happen if the Earth decided to take rest for a week and it stops revolving? Probably that’s enough to topple the whole solar system. We humans who are created in the likeness and image of God have even more greater roles to play for the kingdom of God.

But we are often slack or lazy in the works allotted to us and we do things in the way that we want to do it rather than what God expects of us. The non-living heavenly bodies are following the same motion and not even their path-line has shifted from the way God designed it for them. But we exercise our free wills and often move away from God. 

The question for us today is are we faithful in building God’s kingdom? Paul in verse 58 tells the believers of Corinth to “give yourselves full to the work of the Lord”. Yes! The day of the Lord is getting nearer and we have lesser time. We need to love God beyond everything…

Yes, we are weak! And we often get tired and frustrated in life. Sometimes when our questions go unanswered we lose all hope and even feel like giving up on life. But again Paul gives a good reminder here, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”.

I am weak but He is strong! 

And He will carry me forever…

Author: Feba Varghese
 

Stepping out in His love

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:19, 2219 “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.

22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”

Change is inevitable in life but accepting it is one of the hardest things in life. It is always easy to continue with whatever we are right now than to step out of the comfort zone and venture into new things. And for most of us, it is a too difficult task to push ourselves out into experiencing new things that we are not used to in life. It also requires us to humble down and to discipline our attitudes towards life.

Paul here says that to win the souls he tried to be like them. He says that he has become all things to all people so that by all possible means he might save some. And it is God’s love that was prompting strongly and helping him to humble so much before the people. 

It is quite easy to stand out and make a statement but it is also necessary to stand in the shoes of others to understand them. And that is exactly what Jesus did for the mankind. In heaven, He was all in glory and honour but He humbled Himself to be like on of us. No man can point a finger at Jesus and say that he (the man) has faced more difficulty than Jesus. Because the way Jesus Christ humbled itself is so amazing and He suffered till the cross to give us eternal life.

Probably, each of us needs to pray to God that He will give us the courage to humble down and embrace the people and win souls for Christ. It isn’t an easy task to put down what you love the most but it is worth giving up for the one who loves the most. Jesus Christ loved us to the point of shedding His last drop of blood for our sins. But many more needs to know it… And some specific experiences which we found as the hardest in our life could be the way that God might use us in future/present to share to people about the love of Jesus Christ.

May God give us the courage and strength to endure whatever God has kept in store for us.
God bless you…

Wait Till God’s Time

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:5, 115 

“So you should not pass judgement on anyone before the right time comes. Final judgement must wait until the Lord comes; he will bring to light the dark secrets and expose the hidden purposes of people’s minds. And then all will receive from God the praise they deserve.
11 To this very moment we go hungry and thirsty; we are clothed in rags; we are beaten; we wander from place to place;”

Most of the time we are quick to pass judgments on people and we easily condemn the works by neither realising the real motives nor by understanding the circumstances. But Paul here gives an interesting instruction to the believers of Corinth. He tells them that they have to wait until the Lord comes to pass a judgment! Now that is too long in our eyes (Although it can occur even at this very moment). 

Probably, the instruction may sound a bit weird to us. The instruction is almost equivalent to telling us not to pass judgment over anything. Paul also gives the reason for his instruction. He says that when the Lord comes, he will bring to light the dark secrets and expose the hidden purposes of people’s minds. And then all will receive from God the praise they deserve. So what more can we need? And why should we condemn someone else because God will do it at the right time! And I can never understand the hidden things until God himself reveals it to me.

Matthew 7:1-2

1 ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Jesus also gives instruction to the people on similar lines. Jesus strictly tells us not to judge others because we also will be judged with the same measure.

After Paul tells all these instruction, he goes on to tell them something very touching in verse 11, “To this very moment we go hungry and thirsty; we are clothed in rags; we are beaten; we wander from place to place;”. Paul was a learned man and was proficient in His subject. He has no reason to go hungry and thirsty or to be clothed in rags. And we can be sure many people may have mocked and condemned Paul for his new decision to serve God. He was beaten and had to run away from places. He would have suffered a lot of judgment from people who may have thought that God has punished Paul for his new decision. But Paul rightly believes and as he shares, “then each man’s praise will come to him from God”


Yes! That is our hope in Christ. Whatever difficulty that we may face in life today because of standing for His word may be condemned, judged and mocked by people. But a day will come when Christ will reward us…😊

And let us also make sure that we also don’t condemn or judge others!
God bless you….

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Trusting God’s Power in Life

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:3-5“I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

It is natural for all of us to wish that things were smooth and simple for us. We would all wish at least one time for life to be just like a dream, where all things fell into its correct places in a glimpse. The greatest flaw of such a case probably is that in such a circumstance we may not truly seek God or we may not experience the depth of God’s love in those very smooth transitions.

It is easier for us to trust something to happen if we feel we are capable of doing it. For example, imagine that i am asked to lift a cup and place it somewhere else. My brain knows that I am capable of doing it and it is easy for me to trust that I can complete the task. But what if i am asked to move a mountain and keep it else where? Then I know that I am not capable enough to do it and I may not move an inch from my position even to try!

So, the point is that we find it difficult to trust the completion of tasks beyond our capabilities. And that is exactly where the role of ‘faith’ comes in life. Hebrew 11:1 says, “To have faith is to be sure of the things we hope for, to be certain of the things we cannot see.”


Looking around us, things may seem very difficult and disappointing but if we can still place our faith on Jesus then He will certainly pull us out of all our problems.

Now, Paul here says an interesting phrase in 1 Corinthians 2:4, “so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power”. If I move a cup from one place to another there is very little chance for me to give glory to God for that task. But with God’s mercy even if I partially transfer some sand from the mountain to elsewhere I will be very thankful to God. Because I know that I was never capable of it but it is the faith in God that helped me to even try the task. God doesn’t want us to trust in our humanly wisdom/capability but he wants us to place our faith on God’s power in our life. 

Today you may be weak and disappointed in life. You may be approaching life with much trembling and fear than Paul but place your trust on God. He is the one who will equip us in our journey. He will provide for us and will never ever leave hold of us. 

Jesus lives and He loves you…

God bless you…

Contributor: Feba Varghese 

My chases ending in VAIN

At many instances in life, even after having done a ‘lot of things” in the day, at the end of the day, I have felt empty and useless.  By the end of the day I feel all lost and my life out of grip even after doing assignments, reading research papers, submissions, classes etc. I often feel desperate and put down when all my manual works doesn’t produce the required fruit. Then I have this random habit of forcing myself to sleep for some time. But it can only refresh my mind until the turmoil of life hits me again as I regain my heavy feelings. Then I have to stop all my business and really think, ‘What is wrong with my life?’

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In these moments of life, there is a verse that God often reminds me,

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” – Colossians 3:23

So, this kept me thinking, what is the root cause of all these emptiness?

Then I realized that the main issue is that I am doing my work for the sake of completion, to please my professors or boss, to seek material blessings, promotions etc.  I am not doing it for the Lord! So this new perception of doing everything for the Lord totally changed the idea of the situation. And on understanding further I realized that this new perception comes with an extra baggage of gift hamper which says that nothing I do for the Lord is ever useless.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”- 1 Corinthians 15:58

 So, I don’t have to feel lost and useless anymore because Christ has promised me that if I do anything for the Lord it is never in vain! All I have to do is just let Jesus climb into my boat. This same feeling of getting nothing even after a lot of work was experienced by the disciples as we read in John 21:1-14.

John 21:1-14

’ 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.”

They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then Jesus said to them, “Children, have you any food?”

They answered Him, “No.”

And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.”

After Jesus started directing their work,, there was an instant change in their situation from nothingness to a ‘big catch’. So, the key factor is letting Jesus into your boat and following His advice. He knows our day’s efforts and He will guide us exactly where to throw the net and what to do at the right time.

So often we feel lost because we don’t let Jesus into our boat on all our fishing exercises and sometimes we try to do it alone. And that’s exactly when I feel my work heavy on me. But the moment I realize that Jesus is in my boat and that He will take care of my boat no matter how strong the winds and waves lash against me, I can sleep peacefully with content in my heart about the day.

But sometimes we may not be able to see the fruit of our efforts at a fast rate. That’s when ‘faith’ comes into action and we see the fruits in faith and keep rowing the boat because the one has promised that nothing will go useless is faithful and He will never ever fail us.

Let us let Jesus into our boat and do everything as for the Lord and experience the change in our life.

Keep rowing your boat with Jesus beside you…

God bless you…

Do-You-Have-Jesus-in-Your-Boat

Contributor:

Feba Varghese

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Am I religious?

James‬ ‭1:26-27‬ 26 “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”


‘Religion’ is a term that seen with both positive and negative attitudes by the people around us. The meaning as given by oxford dictionary is,

Belief in or acknowledgement of some superhuman power or powers (esp. a god or gods) which is typically manifested in obedience, reverence, and worship; such a belief as part of a system defining a code of living, esp. as a means of achieving spiritual or material improvement.”
Now, oxford may tell us how the world views ‘religion’. But James presents a very different picture of ‘religion’ as required by God our Father and surprisingly none of those elements seems to be covered in this meaning given by Oxford. The scripture portion gives us the following important attributes of a religious person :

  •  One who keeps a tight rein on his tongue: We need to speak our words with care and make sure that we are speaking in accordance with the word of God. The word of God says that we should be quick to hear and slow to speak (James1:19).
  • One who looks after orphans and widows in their distress: How many of us really associate with some good will activities? Do we even talk to our next door lady who lives alone? We often are so busy with our life that we don’t have time to do such things. Interestingly the word used in scripture is to “look after” and not even ‘support’ or ‘visit’. Indeed, we have a bigger call than what we think of ourselves!
  • One who keep oneself from being polluted by the world: God don’t want us to ape the pagan culture and embrace their activities. Instead He wants us to live a life of holiness and worthy to be called a ‘child of God’.

In general, as it is observed, we don’t usually associate these characteristics with religion. But the scripture is a strong warning against this thinking of ignorance. We ought to be gracious in helping the needy, we have to careful in what we speak and we need to maintain a holy nature.

Of course, Christianity is an enduring and strong relationship with God born out of love. We are not a ‘cult’ or ‘sect’ but we have a ‘relationship’ with God, our Father in heaven. And ‘love’ is the leading factor for each of the believers. So everything we do should be in love. Even the elements as told by James ought to be practiced in true love rather than doing to ‘maintain your religion and posture’ in society.

May God be gracious to us, help us to overcome all temptations and lead a life worthy of our call!

God bless you…

Contributors: Nutan, Karen & Feba

Stars Forevermore 

Daniel 12:3″Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament,And those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.”

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The word ‘wise’ and the ‘stars’ are two interesting nodes in the verse.

Whom do we usually consider as wise?

In general, we think of individuals who get credit for what they achieved in life as wise people.😌 But in this context, angel is talking about another group of people as wise !! (Time to make a guess!)🤔

Those who teach the word of God to others are considered wise in this verse or in simple words the term ‘wise’ here means a ‘teacher’.

It reminds me of the verse – Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom !!

“They will shine like clear sky.”
Why firmament/sky?

Sky is evident from all corners of the earth and those who teach the truth will be exalted in such a way that is evident to everybody else !!
Like Stars⭐

That is the reward for those who turn many to Christ..

We all love to watch the sky at night and just imagine each of those stars as men of God honoured for their toil and sacrifice. 😊

Now, not all stars are alike, they vary in their shape, size and brightness. And the more distinguished one seems to lead the others stars. This brings up a question as to whether you want to be a small star or brighter star ?? Undoubtedly, everybody wants to be on the brighter side and to achieve that, we need to turn many to Christ.

The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. God is looking for faithful servants who can contribute for the great harvest !!

God bless u😊

Contributor : Dr. Sheeba Johnson

Faith Can Move Mountains

Daniel‬ ‭3:22-25

    “Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.””

    Daniel chapter 3 describes about how three young men transformed a King by their decision..

    Even when they were threatened to be killed, they didn’t stumble in what they believed. Their future role as province leaders in the kingdom itself was threatened.

    (How will we react if our job security is afftected? What if we are holding a quite high and powerful position and our ‘faith in God’ puts it at stake? Can we stand for faith in front of our boss!) 😓

    The verse 3:22 says the mighty men of Valour were consumed by the flame when they took up Shradrach, Meshach and Abed- Nego towards the furnace, but no harm occurred to the Jewish boys. 
    In verse 25, it says king noticed a fourth person along with them, they were all loose and were walking in the midst of fire. (Walking in the fire ..Unimaginable!)😳
    But the point of miracle again occurs! 

    The king was transformed into their faith, he even made a decree to worship the Most High, and declared everyone to follow it. 


    (Deep rooted faith and their action transformed the king)😊

    When they stood firm and experienced brutal situation because of faith, God send His help from Heaven for them..
    If we are willing to be a faithful servant of God in all situations of life, God himself will come down to rescue us..
    And in those fierce situations..don’t worry..it’s time for God to act !!😊

    God bless u..

    Contributor: Dr Sheeba Sara Varghese

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