Communion with God


Genesis 18:33 reads “And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

A few things that we can see from this verse is: First that the Lord went his way. Second, it was as soon as he had finished communing with Abraham. Third Abraham returned to his place.

Abraham is one of the few who you can say bargained with God as a intercessor for not only his loved one (Lot) but also for the righteous among the lost (the people of Sodom and Gomorrah). Such conversation and communion with the Lord is a testament to the closeness and communion (fellowship) that Abraham had with the Lord. When the Lord left, Abraham could have taken matters into his own hands and gone towards Sodom and Gomorrah to warn his nephew Lot and others there, but we see that Abraham simply returned to his place, leaving matters of God for God to deal with.

Points to ponder:
God ways shall always be fulfilled for his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways not our ways (Isaiah 55:8). If we want to have our ways, the best thing to do would be to seek God’s ways and follow his lead – making our ways his – in which case, it shall always come to pass. Just as Jesus said, that his will was to finish the work of God the Father (John 4:34) and fulfill his will (John 6:38) – so should our prayer be.
Are you and I a close friend of God? Are we in his family so that he would take the time to commune with us as he did with Abraham, bargaining for the salvation of the righteous.
Finally, do we take matters into our own hands or do we let God’s sovereign will be – returning to where we belong and not an impediment to his plans? We must commune with God and know our place in his plan (will and way).

Genesis 18:33 (KJV)
33 And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.

The Giver (not the gift)


At the dawn of another year,
Lord, help us to be bold and not fear,
seeking not the approval of men,
but laboring for your harvest, counting suffering gain.

To and through our first-born, your word came:
To trade the old for the new,
and we pray, that you are always in our view,
and that, we experience your faithfulness & mercy, each morn as dew
and be counted, not among the many, but the few.

To and through our second-born, you promised:
Leveling the mountains before you will I go,
breaking the gates of brass and cutting asunder iron, so that you will know
that you summon us by our name, to give us hidden treasures
May you, Oh Lord, may you always be our sole pleasure.

To and through my beloved, you assured:
That we are your delight, and the humble, you crown with salvation
as we work in your vineyard, declaring to all nations,
that to believe in Jesus calls for a (heavenly) celebration;
so may this be, not merely our aspiration, but truly our vocation.

To me and through me you declared:
That your favor around us will always be like a shield;
as we co-labor for your harvest in this temporary field
with your Word in our hearts; the sword of the Spirit we can wield
and totally to you, Oh Lord, our lives we yield.

When from your way, we are lured to drift
force us with your love to remember, repent and return our lives to you, as our gift
so that we may correctly and aptly, your name lift
For Lord God, it is all about you, the Giver (not the gift).

From the Author’s/Poet’s Desk:
As we arrived at the beginning of a new year, thinking about the year gone past and looking forward to the year ahead, this poem is an expressions of our hearts, that in the coming year, my family (Sangeetha, Reuben, Ittai and me), focus solely on the Lord God, The Giver of all good things and not on ourselves or our gifts (children, talents, etc). During the watchnight service on December 31st, at the Austin Christian Fellowship of India (ACFI), my wife and I picked promise cards for each one in the family. The poem is written by compiling the verses from our promise cards, as a personal reminder to us, but we pray that you personalize this for yourself by replaced the pronouns and words like “our” with “me” or “my” and any personal pronoun with your name or “I”.

The promise  cards picked for 2015.
For Reuben (our first-born): 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
For Ittai (our second-born): I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 3 I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. (Isaiah 45:2,3)
For Sangeetha (my beloved): For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvatiom. (Psalm 149:4)
For Mano: Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield. (Psalm 5:12) 

A line-by-line exegesis of the poem [in square brackets] is given below:

At the dawn of another year,
[January 01, 2015]
Lord, help us to be bold and not fear,
[Acts 4:29]
seeking not the approval of men,
[Colossians 3:23 {which is the Church’s theme verse for 2015}]
but laboring for your harvest, counting suffering gain.
[Matthew 9:37; Acts 5:41]

To and through our first-born, your word came:
[Promise verse for Reuben – Ephesians 4:22-24]
To trade the old for the new,
[Ephesians 4:22-24]
and we pray, that you are always in our view,
[Psalm 27:4]
and that, we experience your faithfulness & mercy, each morn as dew
[Lamentations 3:22-23]
and be counted, not among the many, but the few.
[Matthew 22:14]

To and through our second-born, you promised:
[Promise verse for Ittai – Isaiah 45:2,3]
Leveling the mountains before you will I go,
[Isaiah 45:2]
breaking the gates of brass and cutting asunder iron, so that you will know
[Isaiah 45:2]
that you summon us by our name, to give us hidden treasures
[Isaiah 45:3]
May you, Oh Lord, may you always be our sole pleasure.
[Psalm 73:25]

To and through my beloved, you assured:
[Promise verse for Sangeetha – Psalm 149:4]
That we are your delight, and the humble, you crown with salvation
[Psalm 149:4]
as we work in your vineyard, declaring to all nations,
[Matthew 21:28-29; 1 Chronicles 16:24]
that to believe in Jesus calls for a (heavenly) celebration;
[Luke 15:7]
so may this be, not merely our aspiration, but truly our vocation.
[John 6:38 – Jesus’ one-line autobiography should be ours as well]

To me and through me you declared:
[Promise verse for me (Mano Paul) – Psalm 5:12]
That your favor around us will always be like a shield;
[Psalm 5:12]
as we colabor for your harvest in this temporary field
[1 Corinthians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 6:1; Matthew 9:37; 1 John 2:17]
with your Word in our hearts; the sword of the Spirit we can wield
[Psalm 119:11; Ephesians 6:17]
and totally to you, Oh Lord, our lives we yield.
[1 Kings 8:61]

When from your way, we are lured to drift
[Mark 4:19; James 1:14-15]
force us with your love to remember, repent and return our lives to you, as our gift
[Revelation 2:5]
so that we may correctly and aptly, your name lift
[John 3:14-15; John 12:32]
For Lord God, it is all about you, the Giver (not the gift).
[John 3:16; James 1:17]

Put First Things First :: Know


The Apostle Peter records that “Know this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (1 Peter 1:20-21).

Many is the world have attempted and some still continue to attempt to discredit the authority and credibility of the Holy Bible, which is in reality a love story of God unto man. It is the autobiography of Jesus, from the beginning (Genesis) until the final unveiling of him in all of his glory (Revelation). I sometimes wonder how a love story can be hated so much and when vile and baseless words are spoken against the Bible, the followers of Christ need not be discouraged or dejected, but instead take solace in the fact that all Scripture (every word of God in the Holy Bible) is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16) and the holy men who wrote the words of God, wrote not out of their own will, but after being moved by the Holy Spirit of God (1 Peter 1:21).

While this may seem to be a point in an apologetic defense of the Christian faith, what is of importance is to first know that “All Scripture is from God, about God, a blueprint for man to conform into God’s Image and not conform to the patterns of this world” (Romans 8:29; Romans 12:2). This conformance begins with first knowing God and his Son Jesus Christ, and this knowing is eternal life (John 17:3). At the same, this is also a warning for the Christ follower, that the words of God is not for private interpretation, for anyone who adds or subtracts from the scripture will be held accountable (Revelation 22:18-19). Unless, we have the Holy Spirit of God within us, who comes upon our belief in God’s Son, Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we cannot be moved to interpret this love story of God unto man.

Putting First Things First, we must first Know Jesus Christ and upon knowing him, we can be sure that his words (Scripture) are given unto man from God, the Ultimate Authority over all the worlds, to tell us his Love Story, and we can take him at his word.

Points to ponder:
Are you assured of Eternal Life? In other words, do you know God and his Son Jesus Christ, for eternal life is defined as knowing the One Trust God and his Son, Christ Jesus, whom God sent into the world to save sinners (John 3:17). First Know Jesus Christ. Also, know this first, that the Bible is from God and it is about God. It is given unto man as a blueprint for us to conform into God’s Image. It is his Love Story for you and me and he loves us. Do you love him? Do I love him?

1 Peter 1:20-21 (KJV)
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

John 17:3 (KJV)
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Jesus’ Autobiography


Jesus, the author of life itself, beautifully summarized His autobiography in one sentence, when He said For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. (John 6:38)

Jesus’ autobiography, while succinct speaks volumes and throws light on two important facts, viz.

  1. Place – from where Jesus came and the
  2. Purpose – for his coming.

Jesus came from heaven and this is important because no one has gone to heaven except Him who descended from heaven (John 3:13) and this reflects the preexistence of Jesus from the very beginning.

Jesus came to do the will of God the Father who sent Him, and not His own. His purpose in life was to fulfill what God has sent Him for, which is not to lose anyone, but to save all (John 6:39), by raising them all from the condition of death due to sin (Matthew 1:21).

Point(s) to ponder:

  1. Shouldn’t we who belong to heaven as co-heirs with Jesus when we believe in Him, also have the same purpose in our lives? Shouldn’t our life’s goal (purpose) be to do the will of God by saving all, and losing no one, by pointing them to Jesus, the one from heaven who came with the purpose to fulfill the will of God?
  2. What will your (auto)biography be in a sentence?
    I pray that I can say of myself  (auto-)  or that it would be said of me (biography),
    I, Mano, a redeemed sinner, saved by the grace of God alone, came to be a compass to all in darkness so that all may see the glorious beauty of Jesus Christ, the only True Light, my Savior.

John 6:38-39 (KJV)

38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.