Cut the umbilical cord

As I sat in the operating room awaiting the birth of our second son, Ittai Aidan Paul, the similarilities of physical and spiritual birth dawned on me.

When a child is born in the physical sense, the umbilical cord that was the means of sustenance for the baby while the baby is in the womb needs to be cut once the baby is born.

This is not any different than how it ought to be when it comes to our spiritual birth; when one is born again by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior of their soul. When one is born again, in Christ, they are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). The old means of sustenance that is provided by the world needs to be cut and severed completely. Jesus himself said, that in order to be his disciples, we must forsake (cut) all that we have, take up the cross and follow him (Luke 14:33; Matthew 16:24).

Points to ponder:
Imagine this that as an adult, you still had your umbilical cord attached to your mother. That would be awkward and weird, isn’t it. Why is it then not weird to be tied to the world when we are born again in Christ? Have you/I cut the umbilical cord with the world and all the things that conflict with God? (Titus 2:12)

Titus 2:11-15 (KJV)
11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

In life or in death, holding the Fire

It is the first day of Spring in the year of the Lord 2012 and as Spring assures in life, so has the Lord assured in my family’s life, the gift of another life that we have named Ittai Aidan Paul.

The name Ittai comes from the Biblical character, Ittai the Gittite, who swore loyalty to be alongside king David, demonstrating faith and faithfulness, in life or in death, even though he was a Philistine from the land of Gath. Goliath the Gittite was a giant by physical stature, while Ittai the Gittite was a giant in spiritual stature. In Hebrew, Ittai means “the Lord is with me”.
The name Aidan was chosen after the Irish missionary, Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne, who is purportedly the Apostle of the English. Aidan is the Anglicised form of the original Old Irish Aodhán which in Gaelic means ‘Fire’ and he is attributed to being the monk holding a flaming torch. A Christian missionary to the English, Aidan is credited for restoring Christianity to Northumbria (which is now NE England and SE Scotland) in the 7th Century. The Venerable Bede, the scholar and historian as well as another 7th century Northumbrian monk, wrote of Aidan: “He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men. (Legend has it that he gave away the horse which was gifted to him by King Oswald to a passing beggar, because he felt that it would prevent him from talking to the ordinary people.) He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever on his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, he sought to strengthen them in their faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works.”

Now as Sangeetha, Reuben and I celebrate the birth our second son, Ittai Aidan Paul, our prayer is that He grows up to be loyal to Jesus Christ, his giver, in life or in death, always holding the Fire of the Holy Spirit high, proving to the world that “The LORD” indeed is with him, and that his acts of good works would be seen by those around him and they may glorify God the Father, who is in heaven.

2 Samuel 15:19-21 (KJV)
19 Then said the king to Ittai the Gittite, Wherefore goest thou also with us? return to thy place, and abide with the king: for thou art a stranger, and also an exile.
20 Whereas thou camest but yesterday, should I this day make thee go up and down with us? seeing I go whither I may, return thou, and take back thy brethren: mercy and truth be with thee.
21 And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.

Reference: for Aidan: The Independent; April 23, 2008

Why not go to the Father?

After I read to our six year old son, Reuben, the story of Isaac’s twins; Esau and Jacob, and how the firstborn of the twins, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob in order to satisfy his hunger, from Genesis 25:29-34), Reuben, inquisitively and innocently asked, “Why did Esau not think about going directly to his Father, if he was hungry?” As usual, dumbfounded by his question and the simple child-like analysis of the story, I responded, “Good question!”. Later it dawned on me that many a times, we are like Esau. We go to our fellow men and are willing to trade our spiritual birthright blessings in Jesus Christ for mere beggarly elements of this world (such as position, power, pride, popularity, pleasures, etc), instead of going to God our Father, who can satisfy all our hunger; both spiritual and physical.

Points to ponder:
Why not go directly to God, our Father, who can give us this day our daily bread (and satisfy all our needs)?

John 6:32 (KJV)
32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven

Mission 3:16

It is the 16th day of the third month March (3/16) and as I pondered on what to write, I realized that one of the most common and quoted verses in the Bible is John 3:16 which avers the greatest love story of all; For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
I was also reminded of a song, I used to listen growing up, which was entitled “Mission 3:16” by Carman and as I searched the Bible, the Holy Spirit of God taught me that besides the famous John 3:16 verse, we ought to look at verse 16 of the 3rd chapter of the first book (Genesis) and the last book (Revelation) of the Bible, as well.

Genesis 3:16 is the first curse being proclaimed on sinful man for their willful disobedience.
John 3:16  is the only cure for the curse, which we find in Jesus Christ.
But once we are cured/saved from death, by our belief in Jesus Christ,
Revelation 3:16 is the counsel by which we must live;  i.e., we must not be lukewarm in our lives toward God; we must do or die.

Carman aptly put the Revelation 3:16 mission in his song, ‘Mission 3:16’ as he sings:
We’re on, we’re on, we’re on a mission and we’ll go, where the brave dare to fly
We’re on, we’re on a mission, and we know, it’s a race, Do or die
To know Him and make Him known is our creed
Letting the fire be freed, Mission 3:16
We don’t know what we will find
Deep behind enemy lines
We are the called, We are the few
Ready to serve Him and willing to do

Genesis 3:16 is the result of man’s mission to be like God.
John 3:16 is God’s mission to save mankind.
Revelation 3:16 is man’s mission on earth after salvation; to not be lukewarm.

Points to ponder:
On this day (3/16), let us reflect on whether you/I are still under the curse of mankind, or have you/I believed in Jesus and are saved and if so are you/I lukewarm or not in our service to God.

Genesis 3:16 (KJV)
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

John 3:16 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life

Revelation 3:16 (KJV)
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Preaching without preaching

In the western world, mainly in North America, there is no dearth of opportunities to hear a Christian message today. From the pulpits on a Sunday morning to Bible studies in small groups and televangelism in several media channels and the Radio, we are bombarded with Christian preaching, day in and day out. But interestingly, for the most part, preachers employ “words” as the primary tool to communicate the love, mercy, sacrifice and glory of Jesus Christ and I am guilty of the same. Seldom are these words backed up by a lifestyle that not only communicates but also showcases the love, mercy, sacrifice and glory of Jesus Christ. We preach, but in reality are not really preaching.

Mother Teresa is attributed to have said, “Let us preach you, Dear Jesus, without preaching….not by words but by our example.” How very true? We must be preaching without preaching; preaching with our lives and not our lips. Closer scrutiny of Mother Teresa’s statement reflects that she was merely paraphrasing what Jesus himself had said, i.e., Let your light so shine before men, that they may SEE (not hear) your good works and glorify God our Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Points to ponder:
Ask yourself: Am I preaching without preaching? In other words, am I preaching with my life and not just my lips? Any other kind of preaching is in essence abominable, disobedient, reprobate and a denial of God according to Titus 1:16 which states “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him.

Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Titus 1:16 (KJV)
16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

Titles with God

We are sinners (enemies of God) by our personality (Romans 5:19), sons (children) of God by Jesus’ purchase of our lives with his own blood (Galatians 4:4,5; Acts 20:28), and servants by the provisions (gifts) that God has given unto each one of us (Romans 12:6).

Point to ponder:
What title best describes you and me today? A sinner, a son/daughter or a servant?
If you are an unrepented sinner, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ today. If you have believed i.e., you are a son/daughter, then live life like your life does not belong to you because it has been purchased by God (Jesus Christ) for God and this means that we live as servants according to the proportion of our faith.

Romans 5:19 (KJV)
19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

Galatians 4:4,5 (KJV)
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

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 with his own blood. 

Romans 12:6 (KJV)
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 

Timeline with God

Before I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Savior, what I was then (past) by nature is a child of wrath, fulfilling the desires and lust of my flesh (Ephesians 2:3).
After I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Lord and my Savior, what I am now (present), is a child of God (Romans 8:14-16)
And if I am a child now, then later (future), I shall be an heir; heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ Jesus (Romans 8:17)

Behold what manner of love the father (God) has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1)

Points to ponder:
Where are you in your timeline with God?
Are you still in the past as a child of wrath or in the present as a child of God looking forward to the future with him?

Ephesians 2:3 (KJV)
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Romans 8:14-16 (KJV)
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

Romans 8:17 (KJV)
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.