The Crown

During our visit to the Tower of London, we came across a display of crowns that were worn by the king (and queen) in the early times. There were many different types of crowns, each exquisite with gem  and jewels ornately seated in them. Each was so beautiful that it would not befit anyone less than a king or queen.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the crown signifies the authority of a king and I began to wonder, that if an earthly king’s authority was signified by the type of crown he wore, how much more exquisite the type of Crown, it would be, for the heavenly King of kings, Jesus Christ. But then it quickly dawned on me, that the type of Crown, Jesus Christ wore was not one that would be archived and displayed for generations to see, because it was a crown of thorns, that was ornate with thorns, not gems and jewels. The crown of thorns was one that Jesus willingly wore for you and me. And because Jesus accepted in humility a painful crown in our stead, God crowned Him with glory and honor (Hebrews 2:9).

The King of kings, Jesus Christ, was made to wear  a crown of dishonor by men, but God has now made Him wear a crown of glory and honor; a Crown that you would not find archived and displayed in the tower of any earthly king.

Matthew 27:28-30 (KJV)
And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

Hebrews 2:9-10 (KJV)
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

The Standard of Time

On our visit to London, we had to synchronize our watches to the local time. While doing so, it struck me that with London uses the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) during winter, which is what the other world clocks use as the reference to set their time. The GMT is a standard. Any clock that is not set with it as the reference will show a time that is erroneous.

Jesus Christ does not change and He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8); ever faithful. He is not only the Standard of Time, but Jesus Christ is The Standard Reference by which our lives need to be set (John 14:6). All who are in Him are fixed and error free.

Point(s) to ponder:
Is Jesus Christ the standard of your/mine life?

Thanks giving

Thanks giving is not one word but two words. The word “thank” when used as a transitive verb implies action and it means one of the following – 1. to express gratitude to in acknowledgment of having received something good from another and/or 2. to hold responsible. “Giving” on the other hand, when used as a transitive verb implies “to offer to the action of another”. So the words thanks-giving has two verbs tied to it.

This holiday season what are you and I thankful for? During the Thanksgiving season many of us are thankful for one or more of the following reasons:
1. Faith
2. Family
3. Friends
4. Finance

Let us not forget to give thanks by expressing our gratitude to Jesus in acknowledgment of having received eternal life and salvation from Him. Jesus is the only one who can be held responsible for the salvation of all mankind. We must offer our lives as a living sanctuary to the action on God’s precious son, Jesus Christ as an expression of giving thanks.

Point(s) to ponder:
What are you/I thankful for?

1 Corinthians 1:4 (KJV)
4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;

Being Filled

The Bible counsels us to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). The operative word in this edict, is “filled”. What does it mean to be filled?

Take an empty glass and turn the water on, and let the water flow into the glass. Once the glass is filled, if you continue to let the water run, the water overflows. Also, if we are to put some other object into the glass, the water from within the glass spills outside.  Now try shaking the glass filled with water. Very soon you will realize that the water from within the glass is spilled outside.

To be filled by the Holy Spirit, means

  1. We must first empty ourselves (total surrendered) so that the Holy Spirit can be poured into us, when we believe in Jesus.
  2. Once we are filled, there should be no room left within our lives for any other object (anyone or anything else.)
  3. When the situations of life attempt to shake us, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the obvious outcome would be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit of God.

Point(s) to ponder:
Are/Am you/I “filled” by the Holy Spirit?

Acts 13:52 (KJV)
52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

The tempter’s tricks

The accuser of the brethren and God’s adversary, the devil is known for a few tricks that he has up his sleeve, by which he attempts to beguile and mislead those who belong to Christ Jesus. To understand his schemes, it is best to look at the way he approached to tempt the sinless Jesus Christ. The temptation of Jesus Christ is recorded in the book of Matthew 4:1-10.

The first trick of the devil is that he appeals to the appetite. Jesus was hungry after fasting for forty days and forty nights, and the devil tempted Jesus by appealing to appetite, asking Jesus to turn the stones to bread. Jesus responded from the Scripture, stating that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”. Secondly, the devil tempted Jesus by appealing to avarice, to usurp the throne of God that He had humbly given up, by questioning the position Jesus had (as he did the first time), which was “the Son the God”. When the devil tried to tempt the Jesus by asking Jesus to test the Lord God, Jesus responded by stating, the the Lord God should not be tested. Finally the devil tempted Jesus by appealing to ambition. The third time, note, how the devil does not question Jesus by asking Him if Jesus was the son of God, but instead, shows him all the kingdoms of the earth and attempt to appeal to Jesus’ ambition (quest for power and position).

The devil appeals to our appetite (physical primarily), our avarice (greed for more) and an appeal to our ambition (quest for power and position).  Let us hold fast to the Scripture (as Jesus Christ did) and use the word of God, so that we may not fall into the traps laid for us by the devil.

Love and Fear – Relationship

1 John 5:3 states “Love God and keep His commandments”
Ecclesiastes 12:13 states “Fear God and keep His commandments”

The thing common in both these statements is “keeping God’s commandments”.
When we Love God, we will also Fear Him, not out of a sense of dread, but out of a sense of devotion and in doing so, we will doing what He has commanded us to do, which in other words mean, we will keep His commandments.

We must Love God and Fear God and keep His commandments.

Points to ponder:

  1. Do you/I Love God?
  2. Do you/I Fear God?
  3. Do you/I keep God’s commandments?

Roses and Thorns

Someone said “If GOD gave you roses and then you ask, “Why are there no thorns?”, God would just smile and show His bleeding hands saying…  “I took them away, to save you from pain.”

God is a God who cares. He cares for each one of us individually. The Bible says that He has taken our pain (judgments) away (Zephaniah 3:15).

Point(s) to Ponder:
1 Peter 5:27 (KJV)

7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Contract with God

In the chapel that is beneath Christ the Redeemer statue, there were some who were selling a pendant which said, “I belong to Christ”. When Dr. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ was question “Why did God use and bless your life so much?”, he replied, “When I was a young man I made a contract with God. I literally wrote it out and signed my name at the bottom. It said ‘From this day forward, I am a slave of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately the word “slave” has been used more commonly in a negative light imply subjugation against one’s will, but the World English dictionary defines the word “Slave” as “someone who legally belongs to another.” To be a slave of Christ Jesus is to belong to him, not out of compulsion but out of choice. The Apostle Paul writes, “we belong to Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:23). In other words, we are “owned by Christ”.

What is your/my contract with God?

1 Corinthians 3:23 (KJV)
And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

A Christian’s currency

During our recent visit to the Galleria mall in Campinas, I learned that I was starting to run short on the Brazilian Reals that we had converted from United States Dollars, a few days ago. In my wallet, I had some American dollars as well, but the dollars were of NO use in the shops in Brasil.

The same is the case in our Spiritual life as well. The currency that matters is not the physical kind that we amass, but instead it is faith (belief) in Jesus Christ.

Jesus is asking you and me the same questions that He asked His disciples; “What can a man give in exchange for his soul?” and “What shall it profit a man, if he should gain the whole world and lose his soul?” Don’t leave this question unanswered!

Mark 8: 34-37 (KJV)
And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

Cristo Redentor – A Wonder

Christ the RedeemerWe thank God for giving our family the privilege of being able to see the Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) statue, in Rio de Janeiro, yesterday. It is truly a wonder of the world and as we approached the monument, we were struck with awe just as everyone else around us was. The architectural splendor (art deco) is baffling to the mind as your mind tries to comprehend the colossal 100 feet statue. As we walked up the steps to the monument, from the tram station, we first saw the back of Christ and his arms open wide. Then when we reached the foot of the monument, we were able to go around and see the peaceful face of Christ, the nail-print hands, his heart and his arms open wide.  Both from the back and the front, it seemed like the arms of Christ beckoned us. My loving wife, Sangeetha, explained to our beloved son, Reuben, that if he needed to know how much Jesus loved him, all he had to do was to look at the arms of Jesus Christ spread open wide, which seemingly stretched from horizon to horizon.

As we enjoyed the creature’s creation of the Creator, I pondered on the following thought, “What would the eyes of Jesus be fixed on, if he was in our midst at the foot of the monument?”. And it struck me that while all of us were gazing at this rendered monument of an inexpressible God, Jesus’ eyes would not have been on the monument itself, but on every single person that had come there. As the monument is rightly named, He sacrificed Himself to redeem us. To be redeemed is to be bought back. It cost Jesus His life to redeem us. We are purchased (bought back) with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28) and the payment (wages of sin is death) was paid in full (Tetelastai). Each one of is more precious to Him than any wonder of the world, and that is a wonderful thought. What more can I say, than to simply reassert – Christ, Our Redeemer; Cristo Redentor; Christ THE Redeemer.

Isaiah 44:6 (KJV)
6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Acts 20:28 (KJV)
28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased [REDEEMED] with his own blood.