No more segregation (from God)

In the article, “The Meaning of The King Holiday”, late Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., succinctly writes “On this holiday, we commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered his revolutionary spirit.” Undoubtedly, Martin Luther King Jr.  rightfully deserves such recognition for his fight against segregation based on color, for we are all made in the image of God and no one man is more superior than the other.

On this day as I pondered over the life of Martin Luther King Jr., I realized that Martin Luther King Jr. emulated in fact the values and virtues of an even greater King, in fact, the greatest of all kings – Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ love is universal and for all for his will is that no one should perish (2 Peter 3:9).
Jesus’ love is unconditional for he died for us even while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).
Jesus’ forgiveness is for all – from the saintliest to the vilest of sinners. Jesus even requested God to forgive those who crucified him (Luke 23:34).
Jesus embodied non-violence for like a lamb led to slaughter, he kept quiet without retaliating against his oppressors (Isaiah 53:7).

Points to ponder:
Do you know Jesus and his love for you? He does not want you to perish i.e., be segregated from God. He unconditionally loves you and me and he will forgive anyone who asks him to with a broken heart and contrite spirit. Does the gentle non-violent Spirit of Jesus draw you to him?
Not only today, but each day of our lives, let us commemorate the universal, unconditional love, forgiveness and nonviolence that empowered Jesus’ redeeming Spirit.
Because of Jesus, man can be reconciled with God and that means because of Jesus, there is no more segregation (from God) to all those who believe in Jesus. Believe in Jesus and accept and receive him.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Luke 23:34
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Isaiah 53:7 
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

Reference: The Meaning of The King Holiday

Peace amongst enemies

Genesis 26:26-31 records to account of the peace treaty that is established between Isaac and Abimelech, the king of Gerar. Isaac had been sent away from the land of Gerar, as the servants of Abimelech quarreled with the servants of Isaac, over the wells that were dug by Abraham. Now after some time, we see Abimelech the king himself, along with one of his friends Ahuzzath,  and the chief captain of his army Phichol come to Isaac, seeking a covenant of peace (verse 26, 28). Isaac who had felt that he was being hated by the king for having been sent away questions the reason as to why Abimelech has come to see him (verse 27). The king’s response is noteworthy. This pagan king recognized that the Lord was with Isaac (verse 28) and that Isaac was blessed of the Lord (verse 29) and sought a covenant of peace with Isaac. Isaac obliges overlooking his feelings and responds with hospitality, making his visitors a feast and letting them rest at his place. The next morning they swore one to another and the prior enemies leave the presence of Isaac in peace (as friends) (verses 29-31).

Points to ponder:
When the Lord is with us and we are blessed of the Lord, even the pagans (enemies) around us, seek to live in peace with us, when they recognize the sovereignty of God over our lives. When they do, despite the hurt that they may have caused us, as followers of Jesus, we ought to forgive and treat them with hospitality, seeking to live in peace amongst enemies. Why, because, this emulates the love of God – for while we were still sinners (i.e., enemies of God), God demonstrated his love for us and gave us his Only begotten Son, who died for our sins (Romans 5:8). For God has turned us, prior enemies of his, into friends of his, by the peace treaty between God and man, signed by the blood of his Son Jesus Christ, that was shed on the Cross, and we must do so likewise.

Let us seek to live in peace with all, even our enemies – and when our enemies seek to live in peace with us, then rejoice for they see how the Lord is with us and how blessed we are. Do your enemies seek to live in peace with you?

Genesis 26:26-31 (KJV)
26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath one of his friends, and Phichol the chief captain of his army.
27 And Isaac said unto them, Wherefore come ye to me, seeing ye hate me, and have sent me away from you?
28 And they said, We saw certainly that the Lord was with thee: and we said, Let there be now an oath betwixt us, even betwixt us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee;
29 That thou wilt do us no hurt, as we have not touched thee, and as we have done unto thee nothing but good, and have sent thee away in peace: thou art now the blessed of the Lord.
30 And he made them a feast, and they did eat and drink.
31 And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Jesus’ fourth saying from the Cross was a question, a question addressed to God (his Father), wherein, he cried with a loud voice saying “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Notice, how Jesus, who addressed God as Father, when he asked him to forgive his murderers and who addressed God as Father, when he commended his Spirit into his Father’s hand, is now addressing God as God and not Father, implying that his sonship was severed due to the sin that he had become (2 Corinthians 5:21), for God the Holy Father could have nothing to do with sin, just as light can have no communion with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).

The question posed was “Why?”
The answer is “Love” and the object of that Love is “You and me”.

Why did God the Father forsake Jesus?
God so loved the world (you and me) that he forsook his only begotten Son, so that we would not have to cry out “Why have you forsaken me?” Instead, Jesus, the Only begotten Son of God cried out, being God forsaken, so that we who are deserve to be God forsaken because of our sinfulness, can be called the sons and daughters of God.

Points to ponder: 
God’s “Love” for you and me is so great that he demonstrated his love for us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8), being forsaken by God. Behold, what manner of “Love” the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God (1 John 3:1) because his very own Son, Jesus Christ, had been forsaken and could not address him as Abba, Father.

Matthew 27:45-47 (KJV)
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.

Love and Marriage

On the 12th day of May, in the year of the Lord 2014, my beloved wife, Sangeetha and I, celebrated thirteen years of a married life and as I reminisced about the evidence of God’s invisible hands in our lives, my heart was filled with a sense of awe and love for God the Father, Christ Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit God.

Even though many a times, I have sought after my selfish desires, Sangeetha’s love has been a constant, for she emulates the love of God, not just in speech but in action and I am still learning, one step at a time, to love as the Triune God in One loved.

For behold what manner of love, God the Father, has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God (1 John 3:1). I am learning that my love in my marriage should be an “adopting” love.
Christ Jesus, God’s Only begotten Son, has demonstrated his love toward us, for while we were still sinners, he died for us (Romans 5:8). I am learning that my love in my marriage should be a “sacrificial” love.
The Holy Spirit is of power, love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7), and the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, the greatest in relation to faith and hope (Galatians 5:22; 1 Corinthians 13:13). I am learning that my love in my marriage should be a “productive” love.

Points to ponder:
Love is the glue that binds a marriage together and so without love, there is no marriage! We are asked to love, for love covers (forgives) a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). Additionally, we are asked to love one another, for love is of God and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He that loves not, knows not God, for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8); and knowing God is eternal life (John 17:3).
Jesus Christ is our bridegroom and one day the marriage of the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) will come and his wife (we , the Church, who believe in him and who walk according to his will and way, after the Holy Spirit) will have made herself ready – by loving God first, and loving others next.
What are some of the attributes you would use to describe your love for God and for men?

Lord God, I pray, that I would love, as you first loved us – with an adopting, sacrificial and productive love, so that I may know you, and in knowing you, been born into your kingdom and have eternal life. Lord, help me to make myself ready for you. Lord, help me to love.

1 John 4:7-21 (KJV)
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

God hates sin, not the sinner (God loved Cain)

Often in Christian circles, we hear the cliche, “Hate the sin, Love the sinner” or a variant of that, which is “God hates sin, not the sinner.” If you searched the Bible for a verse with these words, you would not find one, however, hidden in the Scripture is evidence that supports this meme – God does hate sin, not the sinner. Closer scrutiny of the Scripture reveals that this motif has been in effect since the beginning of time, since Genesis, since Adam and Eve, since Cain and Abel.

Since God hated sin (disobedience) and not Adam & Eve (the sinner); and so Adam & Eve were banished instead of facing the judgment of God, which meant death. (Genesis 3)
Since God hated sin (unacceptable offerings) and not Cain (the sinner); God gives Cain a chance – an opportunity to do what is right (well) and assures him that if Cain did not allow sin to rule over him, God would accept him as well (Genesis 4:7)

In other words, when God asks Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt not thou be accepted?”, what God was expressing is that even though Cain’s sinful (partial) offering was not acceptable, Cain was.

Points to ponder:
Because God hates sin, (and) not the sinner, while we were still sinners, God demonstrated his love for us by sending forth his Only begotten Son, to die for us (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Even if we have lived a life of sin which was unacceptable to the Lord, irrespective of the gravity of our sin, he gives each one of us, a chance – an opportunity to not let sin rule over us, an opportunity to let Jesus rule over us by walking in his Spirit (Romans 8:1). In other words, though God may not have accepted our life offering in the past, we are not outside his reach … He will accept all who do well – all who believe in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:6), who walk not according to the flesh (Romans 8:1). To do well is to believe in Jesus and walk according to his Spirit.

I take solace in the fact, that I, a vile sinner, have a chance, because Got hates sin, and not me, and accepts me for I believe in his Son and know him (John 3:16; John 17:3). God hates sin, not you! Do you believe?

Genesis 4:7 (KJV)
If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.

Romans 5:8 (KJV)
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:1 (KJV)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

7 Steps in Christian Life :: Step 6 – Associate

Christian life begins with Christ and continues with Christ, but as we live for Christ, what are some of the steps one has to take.

The word ‘associate’, has several other words in the Thesaurus to describe it. Some of these words include accessory, accomplice, aid, ally, assistant, accompany, amalgamate, etc., all of which are reflective of “friendship”. To be an associate of someone is to be their friend. Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness and he was called the friend of God (James 2:23). The Bible records that God spoke with Moses face to face as a man speaks with his friend (Exodus 33:11). Moses in faith believed God, esteeming the reproach of Christ to be greater than the treasures of Egypt, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God (Hebrews 11:24-26). He gave up his allegiance and friendship with the world (Egypt) in order to be associated with (be a friend of) God and God spoke with him as a friend.

Step 6 in Christian life is to Associate – be the friend of Jesus Christ. This means that in order to associate with Jesus Christ, we need to have faith in him and we need to be disassociated from the things of this world, for the friendship of the world is enmity with God (James 4:4). Jesus himself said, you are my friends, if you do as you are commanded (love God and love others) and I no longer call you my servants, because a servant does not know what the lord (master) does, but I call you friends, because you are in my Father’s business. From being servants of God, we need to graduate to be friends with God, as was Abraham by faith (believing) and Moses by forsaking (breaking worldly ties), so that God can speak with us and confide with us his matters (the only ones that matter).

Points to ponder:
The Bible says, that there is a friend who sticks closer than his brother (Proverbs 18:24) and this friend is Jesus Christ. Jesus said, greater love has no one than this, that a man lays down his life for his friends (John 15:13) and he demonstrated even greater love than what he expressed us to personify, by dying for us, while we were still sinners and enemies of God (Romans 5:8). We need to graduate from being mere servants to being friends with God, i.e.,be associated with him, having faith in him and forsaking the treasures of this world. In other words, as we mature in our Christian life, we need to be willing to give our life for Jesus, our friend, for there is no greater love than that. Can Jesus call you and me, his friend i.e., to say can he trust you and me to give our life for him as he did for us?

James 2:23 (KJV)
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Exodus 33:11 (KJV)
11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

Hebrews 11:24-26 (KJV)
24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

John 15:12-14 (KJV)
12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

The Vital Stream of Love

Theologian and medical Missionary, Albert Schweitzer, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his Philosophy of  the “Reverence of Life” writes the following about the Love of God. “There is ocean – cold water without motion. In this ocean, however, is the Gulf Stream, hot water flowing from the equator toward the Pole. Inquire of all scientists how it is physically imaginable that a stream of hot water flows between the waters of the ocean, which so to speak, form its banks, the moving within the motionless, the hot within the cold. No scientist can explain it. Similarly, there is the God of love within the gods of the forces of the universe, so totally different. We let ourselves be seized and carried away by that vital stream”.

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God; that we should be seized and carried by Him and His love.

Points to ponder:
Are you carried by the vital stream of the Love of God? The love of God is expressed in (demonstrated by) Jesus Christ, for while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). Do you believe in Jesus, The Vital Stream of Love!

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

Romans 5:8 (NLT)
8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.