Wanna be Satisfied?

In her 1813 acclaimed book, Pride and Prejudice, author Jane Austen writes, “The more I see the world, the more I am dissatisfied with it.” The 1965 song by the English rock band, The Rolling Stones, which got the second spot in The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, is entitled (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, which expresses frustration against commercialism. The world as we know it is seeking to be satisfied, but sadly, it is not looking at the one source by whom it can be satisfied.

The Bible says that God is the Satisfier of the longing soul and he fills the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 107:9). Both author Austen and the musician band got it wrong, for had they seen the incarnate of God in the person of Jesus Christ, they would not have looked at the world or its commercialization, but instead on Him, the God who satisfies with goodness. Jane Austen would have then written “The more I see Jesus Christ, the more I am satisfied with Him” and The Rolling Stones would have sung, (I can get ALL) Satisfaction in Jesus Christ.

If you wanna be satisfied, don’t look to the world for your answer, but to the very one who created this world; look unto Jesus Christ (today) and he will satisfy you.

Psalm 107:8-9 (KJV)
Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
9 For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.

A Christian – Called OUT OF and IN TO

When one believes that Jesus Christ is the Only begotten Son of God, whom God sent for the redemption of all mankind, and accepts Him to be his/her Lord and Master, they are ‘Called’. The world brands (calls) them Christians, meaning belonging to Christ or Christ Ones, but what is a Christian called to?

A Christian is called OUT of and IN to.
A Christian is called OUT of darkness, doom and death IN to light (1 Peter 2:9), liberty (Galatians 5:13) and life (1 Timothy 6:12).

Points to ponder:
Are you still in darkness? Do you feel that you are under the pressures and bondage of this world? Are you afraid to die? If so, acknowledge your need for a Savior and believe in the Lord Jesus and He will call you out of darkness, doom and death into light, liberty and life.
And for those of us who profess to be Christians, let us fight the good fight of faith, laying hold onto eternal life, unto which we have been called! (1 Timothy 6:12).

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

Galatians 5:13 (KJV)
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV)
12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

Jesus’ Prayer :: Unity / Greatest Commandments

After Jesus prayed for himself and the existing believers of his, He takes time to pray for all future believers (followers) who would come to know him through the existing believers and interesting the crux of his prayer for these believers is unity. He first prays that the believer be as one. In other words, Jesus prayed that the believers be UNITED with one another  (John 17:22). Jesus then moves on to pray that the believers are with Him, where He is. In other words, Jesus prayed that the believer be UNITED with Him (John 17:24).

Come to think of this prayer, Jesus was praying that the believers follow the greatest of God’s commandments, which is to Love the Lord thy God with all of your heart, soul, and mind and Love your neighbor as yourself. To love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, one ought to UNITED with Him or when one is united (abiding in) with Christ, they would love the Lord God with all of their heart, soul, and mind. To love your neighbor as yourself, is to be UNITED with one another or when one is in united with each other, they would be in harmony, loving one another as themselves.

Jesus’ prayer for Unity; that all believers fear God and keep his commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13), the greatest of the commandments that sums up all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).

Points to ponder:
How are your and I doing, when it comes to being as what Jesus prayed for you and me? Are we with Christ, where He is? Are we as one, united in love, with each other?

John 17:20-26 (KJV)
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Give Thanks – For enduring mercy

When a prisoner on death row was brought before the judge for trial, he was extremely afraid, regarding the verdict he was to receive. The judge perceiving his anxiety tried to alleviate his fear by saying, “Don’t worry young man, you will be tried fairly and will have justice today!”. To this the prisoner responded, “It is not justice that I need, it is mercy.”

Many of us like this prisoner, who have been in the bondage of sin, and on death row (Romans 6:23), don’t need justice, but Mercy. Thanks be to God, who remembered us in our low estate and redeemed us (Psalm 136:23-24) for His Mercy is everlasting; it endures forever. The vilest offender and the greatest sinner in the world, is not out of the scope of God’s mercy as long as they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, on whom God’s wrath and justice was poured so that we all could receive God’s mercy. It is because of God’s mercy that we don’t get what we rightfully deserve and consumed (Lamentation 3:22).

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer, the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

It is not justice, but mercy we need and we need to Give Thanks to God for His mercy is not only new every morning (Lamentation 3:22-23), but that it endures forever (Psalm 136). O Give thanks to the LORD, for his mercy endures for ever, Give thanks to the God of gods, for his mercy endures forever, Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his mercy endures for ever … (Psalm 136:1-3)

Psalm 136:1-26 (KJV)
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that stretched out the earth above the waters: for his mercy endureth for ever.
To him that made great lights: for his mercy endureth for ever:
The sun to rule by day: for his mercy endureth for ever:
The moon and stars to rule by night: for his mercy endureth for ever.
10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endureth for ever:
11 And brought out Israel from among them: for his mercy endureth for ever:
12 With a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm: for his mercy endureth for ever.
13 To him which divided the Red sea into parts: for his mercy endureth for ever:
14 And made Israel to pass through the midst of it: for his mercy endureth for ever:
15 But overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea: for his mercy endureth for ever.
16 To him which led his people through the wilderness: for his mercy endureth for ever.
17 To him which smote great kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
18 And slew famous kings: for his mercy endureth for ever:
19 Sihon king of the Amorites: for his mercy endureth for ever.
20 And Og the king of Bashan: for his mercy endureth for ever:
21 And gave their land for an heritage: for his mercy endureth for ever:
22 Even an heritage unto Israel his servant: for his mercy endureth for ever.
23 Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever:
24 And hath redeemed us from our enemies: for his mercy endureth for ever.
25 Who giveth food to all flesh: for his mercy endureth for ever.
26 O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Give Thanks – Why and For What?

This thanksgiving season, some of us, take time to reminisce on the reasons as to why we ought to be thankful, while many are caught in the flurry of the season with sales-buster shopping, cooking turkeys and partying with friends, all of which, in and of themselves are okay as long as they don’t become the focus of the season. I was wondering today as to the reasons why I should be thankful and also pondering on what I should be thankful for.

The answer to the ‘Why’ question as to the reason that we should be thankful is pretty straightforward according to the Bible. The Bible tells us that in everything (all circumstances of life), we must give thanks for this is the will of God concerning us (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It also counsels us, that it is a good thing to sing thanks unto the Lord and sing praises to the name of the Most High God (Psalm 92:1).

But what must we be thankful for?
To answer this question, follow along the conversation, that I had with our beloved 5 year old son, Reuben, last afternoon.
Me: Reuben, what are you thankful for?
Reuben: My family and friends, my toys, my brother (to be born in March 2012), my video games.
Me: Who are you missing?
Reuben: Mama’s mama (Gaagi), Gamma (my mom), Mama’s dada (Gaaga), your dada (my dad)
Me:  Who are you missing that should come first?
Reuben: God
Me: God, who?
Reuben: God, Jesus Christ!
Me: Why should you be thankful to Jesus Christ?
Reuben: Because he made us and he did all those things for us.
Me: What things?
Reuben: He made us from dust; He died for us on the Cross; He rose again for us; and that is all I can think of!

Interestingly, what our son, told and taught me as to “What we should be thankful for?” is very scriptural and Biblical. The Bible tells us we must give thanks at the remembrance of God’s holiness (Psalm 30:4). In other words, a remembrance of God’s holiness and purity, brings to mind our own unholiness and impurity (sinfulness) and highlights that our souls were on its way to the grave, because the sting of sin is death (1 Corinthians 15:56), but God has kept us alive,  so that we should not go down to the pit (Psalm 30:3) and given us victory through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57)

So what must we be thankful for?
We must be thankful for Jesus Christ; for the love of God; a love so great that while we were still sinners, Christ died in our stead to keep us alive and from going down to the pit (hell). We must be thankful because He made us (in his own image) and He died for us and rose again to reign, and that is all we should think of!

Psalm 30:3-4 (KJV)
O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.

1 Corinthians 15:56-57 (KJV)
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Psalm 92:1 (KJV)

Jesus’ Prayer :: Shade and Sanctified

John 17:7-19 records the prayer that Jesus prayed for his believers and he makes two requests to God, the Father, for all those who have believed in him..
He prayed that God not take them out of the world, but that He keeps them from the evil (John 17:5). In other words, Jesus prayed for God to be their SHADE (John 17:15).
He also prayed that his believers, are SANCTIFIED (set apart) through the word (John 17:17).

Points to ponder:
Is God the SHADE in your life? Do you allow him to SANCTIFY your life? This was Jesus’ prayer for all his followers and these are things that should certainly not be taken casually.

John 17:15-18 (KJV)
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

Jesus’ Prayer :: Selfish?

The first five verses of what is referred to as Jesus’ Great Prayer or the High Priestly Prayer, that is recorded in John 17, goes on as follows and is unique because it publicly records what Jesus prayed for himself. He prays that God glorifies him now.
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

While on the surface this may seem to be kind of selfish, and seeking self-glorification, close scrutiny of this prayer, reveals certain hidden treasures; treasures of knowledge that reflect, in essence, who Jesus is.

Jesus started his prayer by looking up to the heaven, and addressing God as Father, stating the time had come. To his earthly mother, Jesus had stated that his time had not yet come (John 2:4), but now to His heavenly Father, Jesus is stating that his time had come. He then goes on to express, that it was God’s time to glorify Him, by saying “glorify thy Son that your Son may glorify you.” (John 17:1). Here Jesus expresses the fact that he is indeed the Only begotten beloved Son of God, in whom God was well pleased because his glory was to be a reflection of God’s glory.

Then Jesus states the power that had been granted unto him, by God the Father, who had sent him; power to save and deliver all who know God the Father and Him. Here he defines eternal life by saying that “Knowing God the Father as the one true God and knowing Jesus Christ” is eternal life. What does it mean to know God? The Bible says, whoever loves, knows God and is born of God (1 John 4:7-8) and he that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love. Jesus summed up the law of the prophets in Loving God and Loving Man. Eternal life comes by loving God (i.e., hating sin) above all else and it comes only by Him for there is no other name, under heaven among men, by which one can be saved (Acts 4:12). Here Jesus expresses the fact that He is not only the Son of God, but also the Savior of the world (John 17:3).

Then Jesus states that He had glorified God the Father, and finished the work (of Salvation) that had been entrusted unto him (John 17:4), and reasserts that God the Father now glorifies Him with God’s own glory, which He had with God, before the world began. By using the phrase, “glory which I had with thee before the world began” (John 17:5), Jesus expresses his Sovereignty making himself equal to God, which He rightfully was. Jesus had made himself of no reputation, considering equality with God, as a robbery before he had finished the work, that He had been entrusted to fulfill (Philippians 2:6-7). Now that the time had come, it was time for Jesus to be restored into his heavenly glory and hence his prayer.

Points to ponder:
Do you know Jesus Christ as the Son of God?
Is Jesus Christ your Savior?
Is Jesus Christ your Sovereign King?

John 17:1-5 (KJV)
1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

God in the Lord’s Prayer

If I was to ask a majority of Christians, do you know the Lord’s prayer, the answer is most likely going to be resoundingly affirmative, and some may even go on to tell me that it is recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 and starts with “Our Father, who are in heaven” and ends with “Thy power and the glory, forever and forever.” Now,  for a while, I was under the impression that most Christians had gotten it wrong when it came to knowing what the Lord’s Prayer was. This stemmed from either a message that I had heard or an article that I had read, which stated that the familiar “Our Father which art in heaven” was not the Lord’s Prayer but instead the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, making it “Our Prayer”, while the Lord’s Prayer was the prayer that Jesus prayed for himself,  his followers (disciples) and future believers as recorded in John 17. The John 17 prayer is also known as the High Priestly prayer. But last night, when meditating on the Pater Noster (Our Father) prayer, I realized that there was a fallacy in my understanding; that this prayer, in fact cannot be written off as not being the Lord’s Prayer, because in it, we actually see a glimpse of the characteristics of God. In fact, close scrutiny of each phrase of the “Our Father” prayer, reveals that hidden in it is a treasure; a treasure of knowledge about the characteristic of the God we serve. Now I am of the understanding that referring or not referring to the “Our Father” prayer as the Lord’s Prayer is inconsequential, for what really matters, is whether or not, we see the kind of God, He is, as we read and recount the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray.

Read below, and make your own conclusion.

Our Father which art in heaven,- God, our PATER (Father)
Hallowed be thy name. – God, our PRIORITY and PURITY
Thy kingdom come, – God, our POTENTATE (King)
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. – God, our PURPOSE and PLAN
Give us this day our daily bread. – God, our PROVIDER
And forgive us our debts, – God, our PARDONER
as we forgive our debtors – God, our PATTERN
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: – God, our PROTECTOR
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen – God, our POWER

Points to Ponder:
Do you/I see God as our Pater, our Priority & Purity, our Potentate, our Purpose & Plan, our Provider, our Pardoner, our Pattern, our Protector and our Power. Next time you are asked to pray the Pater Noster, think about who God is, instead of vainly repeating the words.

Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Jade – Sculpted and Sanctified

During our visit to China, on November 10th, 2011, we were fortunate to stop by a Jade Factory, and were amazed by the sculptures and jewelery that were made from Jade. These items were in various shapes ranging from animal forms, vegetables (cabbages mainly), household items and jewelery. They were also of various colors and not just the usual light green, but ranged from different shades of green to white, purple and even black. When going through the tour, behind a glass wall, we observed a man, working on a piece of Jade.  He was shaping that piece into a sculpture. When I pondered about this experience, at a later time, it brought to mind a couple of significant facts from the  Bible.

First, each sculpture had to be made. From the formless structure to the ornate masterpiece, each one had to be carefully and meticulously planned and sculpted. It did not just appear out of thin air with a big bang and somehow found its place in the factory. There was intelligent design behind each item because there was an intelligent creator behind each item. In like manner, each one of us are fearfully and wonderful sculpted by God’s own hands (Psalm 139:14) and even before we were formed in our mother’s womb, God knew us (Jeremiah 1:5) and made us in his very image (Genesis 1:27). He created us. The Intelligent Designer of our being is Jesus Christ, for by him and for him, all things were created (Colossians 1:16).

Second, not all the items in the factory were openly accessible to the public. Some were displayed within glass shelves, kind of set apart. These items were deemed pristine and had a higher price tag. In like manner, we must be set apart by not conforming to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). In other words, we must be sanctified (set apart) by and for Jesus Christ. The important thing is that God’s hands have sculpted us to conform to God’s patterns (Romans 12:2), and that we are sanctified (set apart) by the blood of God’s Only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

Points to ponder:
You and I are God’s masterpiece creation, fashioned according to God’s own design, each to a purpose that He has for us. He has sculpted us; now will you let him sanctify you (if you have not already let Him to)?

Psalm 139:13-18 (KJV)
13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

2 Timothy 2:19-21 (KJV)
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

The Ancient Cypress Woods – Alive or ‘Alive and Dead’

When visiting the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, on November 7, 2011, one of the most idyllic moments of our visit, was  the stroll that we, as a family took, through The Ancient Cypress Woods. Calm, peaceful, and serene, are only few of the words that could describe this experience. As we walked through these woods, we came across a path that was lined on both sides with trees. My beloved wife, Sangeetha, quickly observed and pointed out, that on one side  of the path were evergreen trees (that were lush and alive) while the other side of the path were deciduous trees (that were pale, looking dead, but were alive).

Of course that evergreen trees were more appealing to the eye as God’s creation, and expressed the glory of the Creator more than the deciduous ones. This brought to my mind, a few verses. The evergreen trees sparked in my mind the verse that our five year old son, Reuben often quotes before going to sleep, from Psalm 1 in the Bible. Blessed is the man that is godly for he can be likened to the evergreen trees. In other words, the one who is rooted in Jesus Christ is like a tree that is planted by rivers of water, that yields its fruit in season, and whatever he (she) does prospers (Psalm 1:3). But what if the situations of our life makes us sometimes feel like, we cannot see any rivers/streams of water, but only a desert. This is where I was reminded, to be strong and not fear, and trust in the invisible hand of God that makes waters break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert (Isaiah 35:6). The deciduous trees brought to my mind the counsel that is given to the Church of Sardis, wherein God says, I know that you have a name that thou livest (are alive), and art dead (Revelation 3:1). Note God does not say, you think you are alive, BUT you are dead, He admonishes by saying, you think you are alive, AND you are dead. This is a dead AND alive state, like a deciduous tree that sheds its leaves to go into dormancy, becoming fruitless, though it is alive, it is dead.

Points to ponder:
I found myself wondering as to what kind of tree, I am.
What kind of tree are you? Alive, or ‘Alive and Dead’? Think about it!

Psalm 1: 1-6 (KJV)
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Isaiah 35:4-6 (KJV)
4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Revelation 3:1 (KJV)
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.