Friday, November 25, 2011

God's Great Faithfulness!!

I was not sure what I was supposed to write until this evening after waiting the whole day asking God to reveal the word for the blog. I wanted to be impeccably led by the Spirit of God. Finally, Job’s life came to my mind with a few songs related to it. Job’s story speaks of Job’s integrity and God’s blessings to a man of Integrity. But the Spirit of God highlighted the faithfulness of God in Job’s life. God’s faithfulness is amazing. Bible says “Taste and see that the Lord is Good.” We can boldly say that God is good in good times, when we see the blessings in our lives. The truth is He is ALWAYS good. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.
One of the most astounding personality traits of God is His faithfulness. None of us can surpass God in any of His characteristics. For example, we cannot outgive God or we cannot be more truthful to him than He to us. Likewise, we cannot be more faithful than Him and prove that we are more faithful to Him than He to us. The reason is HE ALWAYS EXCELS. He is the ZENITH of every good character and the PINNACLE of every virtue. Psalms 57:10 & Psalms 36:5 Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. He is the fullness of love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control, all the 9 virtues of the Spirit.
Well, let’s get to the story of Job. Job had to go through a time of trials, in which he lost all his wealth, people, and health. He was brought to nothing, but he still had breath in his nostrils. His friends became judgmental and started advising him. His wife was ready to see him die. In such a situation, Job said “Though HE slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” Job 13:15 He kept his integrity before the Lord in word and deed, in attitude and in action. Job chapter 19 describes his pathetic state, in verse 20 we see “I am nothing but skin and bones; I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.” However, in verse 25 he confesses by faith “I know that my Redeemer lives.” He implies that God will surely redeem him.

But do you think Job’s faithfulness was much greater than that of God. No!! When God revealed His faithfulness to Job, it was AWESOME!!! Job got double-fold blessings!! He got back his children, servants, animals, and wealth, all double-fold. Double for all his troubles!! That’s God's faithfulness.

The Lord says in Isaiah 61:8 "For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them."

God’s faithfulness is revealed to give double-portion of blessings. Isaiah 61:7 Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.

God’s faithfulness is revealed to comfort (Isaiah 61:3) all who mourn and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise, instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.

The following song of Marty Nystrom was and is one of my favorites. This has been my confession and I have sung this song umpteen times with tears rolling down my cheeks. I love this song soooo very much. The lyrics are so powerful and have carried me through the tough times. Sharing the lyrics here so that you be blessed as you sing before Him, the ultimate in faithfulness.

God bless you as you celebrate God’s faithfulness this day of Thanksgiving and forever!!
My redeemer lives
And I will see His glory
As He works all things
Together for my good
Whatever things occurred
Of this I can be sure
I know my redeemer lives
I know my redeemer lives

Even though I walk through the valley
I will fear no evil for He is with me
And on the battlefield although the pain is real
My struggle soon will fade as His glory is revealed

My redeemer lives
And I will see His glory
As He works all things
Together for my good
Whatever things occurred
Of this I can be sure
I know my redeemer lives
I know my redeemer lives

Psalm 40:10 - I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.

Written By: Shanta S. Daniel
[Copyright@ Permission is granted to duplicate this article in its entirety, but only without additions, alterations or omissions of any kind, including the author and ministry name at the end]

Friday, November 18, 2011

Like a little child!!

This post revolves around a prayer time with one of my friends. We were talking to each other before we started off with our prayer time. Her little one came to her saying that she did not understand the Scripture portion that she was reading. It looks like twice my friend had sent her child away saying not to disturb, but third time she said “okay, let me explain it to you, and then you’re up on the bed.” The scripture portion was Isaiah 60, the whole chapter. She read out the chapter, verse by verse, and gave explanation in simple words that the child can relate and understand. Once she finished with it, we started praying. As we prayed, we realized that the Lord has actually spoken to us from the Scripture portion. He has reaffirmed what He had spoken to me the previous week. Also, to my joy and surprise, it was a reconfirmation of my personal promises (most of the verses in that Chapter are my personal promise. I received them in 1997, at which time I did not understand the meaning of those verses fully, but I was jumping with joy as I knew it was the Lord’s Rhema Word).
We never expected for such a move by the Holy Spirit. He chose the child to be instrumental in bringing out His Word on the day that Indians celebrate as “Children’s Day” November 14. Jesus said in scriptures, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” Luke 18: 15-17. To be like a little child is to be simple, innocent, completely trusting, submissive, confiding. There is openness, transparency, guilelessness. We have to completely trust the Lord’s word. Many times our analytical intellectual abilities and reasoning skills of the grown-ups will not help our walk in the KINGDOM, because they contradict the KINGDOM BELIEFS. We just need to simply trust the Word of God “like a little child”  and will have to believe 100% that our DADDY GOD is faithful to fulfill His Word in our lives.
Isaiah 35: 8 (AMP) and a highway shall be there, and a way; and it shall be called the Holy Way. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfaring men, yes, the SIMPLE ONES and fools, shall not err in it and lose their way.

Matthew 19:14 (NIV) 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.”

Matthew 18:3-5: And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

Philippians 2:15 so that you may become blameless and pure, "children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation." Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

Dear Child of God be blessed as the Holy Spirit ministers to you!!

Written By: Shanta S. Daniel
[Copyright@ Permission is granted to duplicate this article in its entirety, but only without additions, alterations or omissions of any kind, including the author and ministry name at the end]

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Christian Cop!!

Every Monday morning (IST), my friend/my mentor, Kiruba Stephen and myself pray together for a specific prayer point. This Monday I mentioned a word "police" in our conversation. The very same day, when I happened to see their website, I came across this article. I felt the urge to share this article, but I was not sure if it was God's will. On Wednesday night, there was an incident happened, which has caused me to share this article. This article may not be applicable to all, as this is written for a cop,however, could be informative for all of us who are not "cops."
A couple who are working in my office lost their way to their home on Tuesday evening because of "traffic diversion," they being not familiar with Chennai routes as they are not native of Chennai, and reached home after midnight. The wife (who also works in my office)is in her 8th month of pregnancy. I did not want them to waste much time in the busy traffic like the previous day and I offered to lead them on the way to their home as they have to pass through the area where I live on Wednesday night. I went along with them in my Honda. I rode ahead of them until we reached their familiar route. While I was returning home, I was suddenly hit from behind by rash-riders. The impact was great as I could feel the intensity, but somehow I was not thrown off the vehicle. I could manage to stop my vehicle decently without skidding. There was no damage in any way, but it could have happened!!(Amazing is the Lord protection!!) There was a gentleman, passerby, stopped these speeding miscreants and questioned them. One of the guys, started fighting with that gentleman, while the other left the scene. All of a sudden, a man in civilian clothes came and caught the guy who was fighting and took him a little further up on the road where there was a patrol jeep and a couple of uniformed officers. Near the jeep, another cop was having another guy caught. The cop in civilian clothes questioned me if these were the ones who rear-ended my vehicle. I identified them that one of them was and other was not the one. As soon as I confirmed, they slapped the guy right royally and got him into their patrol van. This is the first time such a thing happened in my life, a person caught by police, the person being identified by me! As a Criminologist, I do know how important is the work of Police Personnel in this crime-filled society. I wonder how much more would be the importance of a Christian Police Personnel!! How much more is their significance in their work place and in society!! Go ahead and read and be blessed!!
Cops. We are the custodians of public safety. At least that's the way society looks upon us for the most part. That's what the local government entrusts us with. We are supposed to be alert to any potential disturbance of the peace, remain calm under great pressure and use professionalism and courage in responding to conflict and crime.

What a great pressure that itself could be sometimes! Peer pressure doesn’t help any either.

For those who would deny the temptations particular to our profession, there is only one logical conclusion. They are either not trying at all to live up to their duties or are living in a fantasy land, where there are no moral absolutes.
(But is there an answer?) One might say, that there are no morals anymore. Evil and wrong seem to be the dominant force in today’s world. Anything goes. Well, that again is a, "copout" from our moral responsibility as human beings first to not harm but help our neighbor. Even more so especially as enforcers of “law and order.”
(But what’s the solution?) Not what, but WHO?
Jesus Christ, God the Son. Well, then what about the cop who knows there is a God. The Christian Cop who knows that the Lord Jesus Christ died at Calvary to redeem fallen people like ourselves all over the world from a life of misery and eternal damnation?
What impact does Jesus have on my professional career? What do I do when I’m around, “the boys” (and “girls” in uniform for that matter)?
Do I get numb after a while from seeing the murders and suicides and so on. Can I use that as an excuse for behaving like the wicked world? Like unsaved fellow officers?
The Christian is still in a fight, that’s for sure. He has to keep his guard up or he will fall. But the Lord says, we have to be holy inspite of an ungodly atmosphere. That’s His demand upon our life and our great privilege. To truly follow Him, by keeping those commandments we know we should keep. He gives us great encouragement and power for living the, “straight and narrow” kind of life in the broad way of hypocrisy and drunkenness that characterize those who are trusting in themselves. The Bible calls them fools, as you know. Why? Because they cannot keep themselves alive even for a millisecond much less save themselves from God’s wrath and Hell and yet they have a macho mindset that they’ll beat the odds somehow and make it ok inspite of living in sin, inspite of rejecting the Almighty God of the Universe.

A police officer faces lies and shameful stories and ungodly speech and arrogance not only on the streets everyday but also “inside” among the ranks as well. Lots and lots of hypocrisy and backstabbing and stepping on shoes to get ahead. Just like in the corporate world; only here, it’s the very people who are supposed to uphold the moral law for all. Some of them are doing the very things (and sometimes worse) that they lock others up for.

What is the Christian Cop to do under such assault from the Devil’s people?
How can this cop who claims to have met the Living Lord cope? Not just cope, but be actually victorious over evil?
Well, he has got to depend upon and seek the Lord. And that means to have a habit of praying always. Pray that God would give him/her the grace to go through the day without presumptuous sin especially. What’s presumptuous sin? It is willful sin.
May God have mercy upon us. Every thing we do for Him, including policing the neighborhood or the government buildings and territories, the hospitals, the violent school districts, the Metro system etc., will be rewarded one Day. Do we realize that?
It’s not just to make that salary and get through that day all beat up. Sure we can have days where we get an extra serving of Satanic opposition, but it’s all in the knowledge of our Father in Heaven Who gives us the opportunity to be victorious inspite of that.
The tough cop, hero image, the TV and movies’ product are all aimed at boosting that ego; the self. A true hero sacrifices yes, but for right reasons. You see, the Christian Cop wants to truly give Jesus the Glory for any acts of heroism that he is able to accomplish. Not just say, “I was just doing my job” as we hear so many times.
If we focus on Christ and His Honor in all we speak and think and do, then we will be a light in that dark district. In that dark precinct for that matter.
Isn’t it ironic that the place that is supposed to deter and punish crime so very often becomes a safe haven for, “uniformed criminals” within?

How can you be that light, dear Christian Police Officer?
The Bible says that law enforcement personnel should not oppress civilians and take advantage of them. This includes not only false arrests and so forth, but also slander and mockery of the ordinary citizens and foreigners too. Those who don’t really have a voice; those who can’t retaliate when a cop treats them unjustly. You know what I mean.
Luke 3:14, “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” {Do violence…: or, Put no man in fear} {wages: or, allowance}
At the same time, we must not wink at sin; that is, not pretend that there is no evil going on. Rather, we must be bold and call sin, sin! Whether it concerns civilians or co-workers (superiors included).
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”{call…: Heb. say concerning evil, It is good, etc}Isaiah 5:20

Conversation, Conduct and Company.
Watch your speech. the words you use should not displease the Lord but be fitting for a Christian. Even under pressure. For you are a born-again soldier in God’s army first and foremost before you are anything else.

Watch your conduct.Restrain yourself from foolish outburst of anger and arrogance. Be noble. Know that God’s eyes are on you all the while you are on your beat (as well as off duty, of course). Be humble. Meekness is not weakness in the eyes of the Lord but rather praiseworthy before His Presence. You are to conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of His Great Name and not to please others who are lost in the filth and folly of this world.

Watch the company you keep. If there are lewd jokes, if there is deceit and fraud occurring to your knowledge among your co-workers, then separate yourself from them. The Bible says that we should not be deceived; evil company corrupts good morals. If you are forced to work with the one(s) who are immoral in their behavior and unethical in the way they work, then you must not participate in the same. As the Holy Spirit leads you must have the courage and concern to object to that unrighteousness. Pray in faith and ask the Lord to lead you to fellowship with other believers who are serious about following the Lordall the way.

A Christian who is not undergoing persecution in some form from their environment for being godly, are probably playing with God and their so-called Christianity. The Lord will say, “I never knew you” on that Great and Terrible Day of Judgment.

Following Sept 11, Police Officers especially here in New York City were suddenly elevated to hero status just by virtue of wearing the uniform it seems. God is the hero. We are zero. Even if we have those coveted stripes or medals or other insignia or the best firearms and latest tactical training and the greatest mental/physical ability. We are still zero. Without saving faith in Jesus, we would all be going straight to Hell.

Christian Cop, are you a living testimony that your fellow officers can see? A testimony of righteousness and holy sobriety? A testimony of kindness and humility?

You may be thinking, well that’s a pretty tall order! Well, God has given us the Holy Spirit to make all that godly statement possible in our lives! So we have to, “grow up and fit into our clothes”; our, “uniform” of righteousness as it were!

Are you a witness of the Lord? Do you look for and avail yourself of the opportunities to, “rescue” souls from falling under God’s final wrath against evil and evil doers and to help those willing to listen from going to Hell?

Pray before you start on your way to work. Pray during roll call. Pray during your tour.Pray during meals. Pray at sign off time. Thank God on the way home. Pray all the time for grace and wisdom and thank God for everything as the Scriptures say and you can’t go wrong. God never let anyone down who asked Him in faith.

If you live holy, you’ll be that light in the darkness indeed and even the people you arrest will know the difference between a Christian Cop and the rest. For the Glory of God, be Blessed today as you Obey Him!

One more thing, just remember please …

In God’s sight right now and on Judgment Day, CPR (courtesy, professionalism and respect won’t keep you safe from destruction and certainly won’t get you that promotion into Heaven (cause even evil men and women can muster up some manners and pride), but only being washed in the HOLY BLOOD of JESUS CHRIST and obeying the three C’s (CCC holy conversation, conduct and company) will.
(Please go back up a little bit and re-read the definitions for those three C’s if you will and live out a life of Power and Love for Jesus, especially on the job! May God Bless you dear reader.)

Written By:
Bro. Pradeep Stephen

Friday, November 04, 2011

Salvation from Sheol!!

This devotion is very deep and thoughts for this devotion kept coming to my mind since early this week. The thoughts/points are immense and I was not sure if all the thoughts could be penned in a crisp and clear manner.

Early this week, the Lord was reminding me of the life of King Saul, the rise and fall of the goodly king. The beginning of this person was good but the end was very unfortunate. There are various reasons for his fall including shifting of his priority from God to post, position, people, and success, leading to disobedience, etc. The one major factor that made him to deviate from walking blameless before God was that his priority shifted from God to people. Holy Spirit gave the following verses as the key to walk blameless before God and to continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12),
Psalm 16:8-11 (Amp) I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved (shaken). Therefore my heart is glad and my glory [my inner self] rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety, For You will not abandon me to Sheol (hell), neither will You suffer Your holy one [Holy One] to see corruption. You will show me the path of life;

This is the Psalm of David, King Saul’s successor. In Psalm 16, David tells us the way to keep oneself from the destruction of one's soul. David says in a simple way that he has kept the Lord before Him continually and therefore, he says that his soul will not go to hell, and God will show him the path of life and utterly save him. Keeping the Lord before oneself is a deep truth to be practiced. The Lord searches our heart (Romans 8:27), therefore nothing can be hidden from Him. PEOPLE JUDGE BY THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE, ACTIONS, BUT THE LORD WEIGHS THE HEART. So, David says in simple words “WHAT MATTERS TO ME IS THAT WHETHER I AM PLEASING JESUS ALWAYS. WHAT MATTERS TO ME IS TO WALK IN SPIRIT AND NOT TO BE LED BY FLESH. I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN IN MY FAITH NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS. THE LORD SHALL SHOW ME THE PATH OF LIFE AND LEAD ME TO SAFETY FROM ETERNAL CORRUPTION.”

King Saul did not keep the Lord always before him and that has led to his downfall. The story of Saul begins with him searching for his father’s lost donkeys and when he is about to give up the search, his servant says to him to go to the seer (prophet) who lives in that town, where they have come, and ask him about the lost donkeys. Meanwhile the Lord says to Samuel the Prophet, "I have found a ruler over Israel who is a Benjamite who will come to you shortly and you will anoint him as king over Israel." When Saul meets Samuel the Prophet, Samuel says that his donkeys have been found and the entire desire or attention of Israel has been turned towards him and his family line. Saul says then “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” Samuel reveals the plan of God to Saul saying that he has been chosen by God to be the King of Israel. When he is anointed, the Spirit of the Lord descends upon Saul and he starts prophesying and people start wondering what has happened to Saul and if Saul also is one of the prophets like Samuel. To cut short the story, when the lot is drawn to select the ruler of Israel, Saul name comes up, and they seek for him to bring him up before people as he is now hiding behind the goods. When he is brought before people, some of the people despise him saying that “is he the ruler over us? Is he going to save us?” The people cannot accept Saul though he is chosen by God.

I Samuel 10:20-27
20 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22 So they inquired further of the LORD, “Has the man come here yet?”
And the LORD said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.” 23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!” 25 Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the LORD. Then Samuel dismissed the people to go to their own homes. 26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.

Let us move on in the life of Saul under the light of the verses I Samuel 13: 7 through 14:Saul remained at Gilgal, and all the troops with him were quaking with fear. 8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.
11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel.
Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. 14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”

I would like to draw your attention to Saul’s reply, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash, 12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.” When he saw the men scattering, when he saw that men were restless because of the delay, when he saw that he would lose people strength, when he saw that he would lose people support or manpower to fight the enemies, he wanted to do something to retain the people on his side and he was compelled to offer the burnt offering, which he was not supposed to do. Although he says that he wanted to seek the Lord's favor, he wanted to fight against the enemies of God, he should have been aware of the ways to win the Lord's favor. Saul did not have a personal relationship with God as David had. He did not love the Lord and did not yearn to learn His Ways. Saul was not justified by his excuses. The prophet rebukes Saul for his action saying that the Lord wants our obedience than our offerings.

When we look into the root cause of this disobedience, deep beneath there has already been a shifting of his priorities from God to his post, his position, people strength and to prove himself as a King.
God chose Saul when he was going behind the donkeys. When he was in obscurity, the Lord brought him out in public and honored him. When he was brought before the public declaring that he was the chosen King, there was unacceptance of the people; some despised him. The Lord established Saul by giving him victories over the battles. The victories and people support made him to deviate from the course before the Lord. We see that many people do well and are applauded of their walk when they are in wilderness, in obscurity, but faltered before God when they are established and "settled."

Let this truth be established in our hearts, people will come to us only when we have something that is appreciative like talents, looks, money, status, etc. But the Lord sought after us when we were nothing and while we were yet sinners God loved us and gave His only son Jesus. THE TRUTH IS WE CAN AFFORD TO BE REJECTED BY MEN; BUT WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE REJECTED BY GOD. WE CAN AFFORD TO BE A FAILURE BEFORE THE EYES OF MEN. BUT WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BE SAID "Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting" BY GOD.

When everything that adorns us is stripped away from us, we are nothing less than the dead; our closest one will abandon us (life of Job). When breath of life is taken away from us, we are no more among the living. God is the giver of life. He makes everything out of nothing. He transforms nobody into somebody. He remembers us in our low estate. He lifts us up from the miry clay and makes us to stand on the Eternal Rock. If this TRUTH is etched in our hearts, we will not fail to set the Lord before our eyes, we will not falter from dying daily to flesh and self. We will work out our salvation with fear and trembling, our soul will not be abandoned in sheol; our soul will not see corruption!!

Dear Lord, thank you for speaking to us a word of caution. Lord give us grace to keep you before our eyes continually. Give us grace to WALK IN SPIRIT continually. Your word is the lamp unto our feet and light unto our path. Help us to walk according to your WORD. Help us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Help us not to be a superficial Christian. Help us not to be shallow in our Christian Walk. Lord give us the grace to have an appreciable ending of our Christian Walk inheriting the Crown of Life. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Written By: Shanta Daniel
[Copyright@ Permission is granted to duplicate this article in its entirety, but only without additions, alterations or omissions of any kind, including the author and ministry name at the end]

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