Friday, March 25, 2016

Greater love has no one than this

1 John 3:16 By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.   

Unlike the current day farmers and their practices that we are used to, the Israelite shepherds were nomadic. They went in groups from pasture to pasture. They didn’t have permanent structures to protect even their vulnerable out in the open and so each shepherd, will make a temporary sheepfold or fence made out of thorn bushes or rude bowers for his flock at night, also to ensure that theirs isn’t mixed and lost with the rest of the other shepherds’ flocks. And the shepherd himself will lie down at the entrance – no big red barn doors out there in the wild. If a coyote or a mountain lion or a thief were to come in, they would have to cross the shepherd first.

The flock can only be touched at the dead body of the shepherd. And that’s what Christ did for us – He laid down His life for the sheep, that’s how we know what love is.

John 15:13-14 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

  • He gave His life so that we might live - so that we might have eternal life.
  • In other words, Christ giving His life is not just something to be admired, “Oh what a great man He was – He gave His own life”.
  • Christ loved us with a greater love that no one had to lay down His life for us. We literally and spiritually reap the benefit of Christ’s loving sacrifice.

All of humanity is in a state of forever death without Lord Jesus Christ.

You can only pass into eternal life by believing in the finished work of Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

What does it mean to believe in the finished work of Jesus on the cross?

  • Jesus Christ, the God in human flesh atoned for our sins upon the cross.
  • He died in our place.
  • The only acceptable state before God is to be holy and blameless.
  • None of us are, even though we might seem like good people in our own sight than somebody else.
  • We can never attain the holy and blameless state on our own ever.
  • When we believe that Jesus is Lord, that His sacrifice of Himself upon the cross is the only acceptable sacrifice to be reconciled to God, that His shed blood is our only hope for the forgiveness of our sins and rebellion – we receive the cloak of Christ’s righteousness to stand approved before God.

If you believe:

  • Immerse yourself in the word of God. Live by it. Abide by it. Fear God and hate all evil.
  • Find a Church that abides by the word of God and join yourself to that local body of fellow believers. Grow with them. Be a servant like our Servant Lord Jesus Christ.
  • None or Nothing can take you away from His hands.

What Christ had done is an unmatchable supreme example of greater love. His love transforms our lives – from death to life – from darkness into light.

That my dear friends, is the message of Good Friday!

To God be all glory!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Inspired & Indispensible

I have never been successful in blogging. I tried to revive and cultivate that habit in vain. I took an overview of my blog posts over the last couple of years; it had some variety and I could find no common thread in them.

  • Bible on the other hand, was written over a span of 1400 years, and more than 40 authors had a hand in composing its content.
  • These writers came from all walks of life-from kings to peasants-and they wrote in every conceivable condition.
  • Some were in love, some were in jail, some were in trouble, and some occupied positions of wealth and power.
  • Some were poets; others preachers. Some were historians; others history makers.
  • These authors wrote on three continents and in three languages.
  • They covered hundreds of controversial subjects in 66 unique writings. Their writings were compiled at various stages along the way not all at the same time.
  • Yet when we pick up this book, we hold in our hands one unified volume with a logical beginning, a climatic ending, a story that comes a full circle. It doesn’t contradict itself.
  • It’s content answers the questions of our minds and satisfies the longings of our hearts.
  • This is the wonder of God’s word which has not only passed the test of time-it puts to test and demands the respect of all the ages.
  • It begins with the “In the beginning” in Genesis 1:1 and ends with a resounding “Amen” in Revelation 22:21.

AT Pierson great man of God from the past generation once said, if we collect 66 books on any given subject, let us say on the subject of “love” even if we restrict it to one century, the same language and even in the same genre. The resulting compilation might become a prized collection but it will still remain non-unified and contradictory.

The Holy Scriptures on the other hand, remain unified and non-contradictory. There’s a common theme “salvation”….common enemy “Satan”….frequent warning against the danger of “falling into sin”…and only one way out…through our Lord and Savior “Jesus Christ – the unblemished ram”.

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God

Because the Scripture is inspired, it is indispensible.

One of the corner-stones beliefs of our Christian life is that “The Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God”.

Here's a test of that last statement: Do you believe in the first 11 chapters of the book of Genesis as written? Why? or why not?


Heavenly Father, a man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. Your word is life to us. The Psalmist says in 119:93 I will never forget your precepts for by them you have given me life. Proverbs 4:2 says, For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh.

Give us this day our daily bread. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans!

My prayer for our country:

Thank you Lord for this freedom. Thank you for the brave men and women who paid by their very lives for this freedom. Thank you for inspiring our nations founders to found this nation under God by Biblical principles. May our leaders draw strength and counsel from your you. May your written word be our guiding light. Thank you that in spite of all the bleak economic conditions, Americans are at the top of the world in their sacrificial giving. Please help the nations that hate us to see this sacrificial giving. Father, my heart goes out to the Americans who have not experienced yet the true and lasting freedom in Jesus Christ. Please help them come to saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Use us for your glory for this end according to your will. We pray in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sufferolgy - Suffering Saints

The Book of Genesis has 50 chapters. The life of Joseph, son of Jacob is captured from chapters 37 through the end of the book. 13 chapters had been dedicated for this single man. Yes. His fore fathers, Abraham, Issac & his own father Jacob had their shares of trouble in their lives but what Joseph went through is far beyond any one could have imagined.

Hated by his own brothers to extent of them considering murdering him, sold as a slave, wrongly accused by his master’s wife, forgotten in the prison. Even after being so wronged and even after the death of his father, Joseph, the man of God who was refined by God as gold purified in fire was able to say to his brothers, Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.21So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones. (Genesis 50:19-21).

From one of the last statements of Jesus prior to the cross (See John 16:33), we know, we are going to be in tribulation, persecution and suffering.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Suffering in Christian life is inevitable. In one degree or the other every one of us has gone through and going through and will go through in our lives. James, the half—brother of Jesus when he wrote to the suffering saints said:

James 5:13 Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray

The Scriptural antidote to the suffering caused by evil treatment or persecution is seeking God’s comfort through prayer.

Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5, while admonishing the believers not to repay evil, rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I think a clarification must be made. The verse says, we are to give thanks “in everything, in all circumstances NOT for everything.” “In” the experience of trials and trouble, joy can still be found because we know that every experience has a purpose and place in God's plan for our lives.

Going back to James 5, he encourages the suffering saints to be patient, be strengthened by the fact that the coming of the Lord is near

8You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.

That is the secret of endurance. Be patient. Hang in there. Stay put. When the going gets tough: “God is producing a harvest in our lives”. Instead of growing impatient with God and with ourselves, we must yield to the Lord and permit the fruit to grow.

Peter also when hr wrote to suffering saints said:

1 Peter 1:6-7 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

To paraphrase those verses, trials and suffering must come to prove that our faith we cling to, is the real thing and that God is honored by it .

If you are experiencing a painful moment in your life right now, you don't have to fake having joy "for" the pain. Your joy is to be in the knowledge that God is in control and your faith in Him is unshakeable.

Exactly 130 years before on this very day June 26 1881, Spurgeon preached on 1 Samuel 30 and quoted David’s song from Psalm 42

Why so downcast O my soul put your hope

In his sermon, he encouraged them to write down the blessings of the Lord and do self-talking to their souls. I agree with him. Men and women of God with good intentions may weep with us but in the end, they cannot change our attitude or circumstance it is up to us to count the blessings and aids from God in the past, encourage our souls and get up from the ashes.

Let’s pray.


Father, thank you for the clouds of witnesses before us, the joyfully suffered saints looking forward to the future from Stephen to the disciples who rejoiced at their suffering because God considered them worthy to suffer. Please give us that mind set. Father, I pray for my brothers and sisters whose suffering I cannot even begin to fathom. I pray for your divine strength for them. Help them to understand it is not just Sam encouraging them to be patient, be strong, and be prayerful. It is the Word of God admonishing us to do so irrespective of my understanding of their suffering. As a Church, we also pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith, for their walk with you. Father, please convert their persecutors by the witness and joy of your persecuted children. I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Overcome evil with good

Growing up in a Christian family and knowing some Scriptures helped my brother and I to use those Scriptures use those whenever we fought with each other.

When we were so mad at each other, I would say God bless you and hoped God would bring fire from heaven on my brother or I’d say I love you so I can heap burning coals on his head.

So glad God forgave those improper Scripture applications and kept my brother alive.

Unlike me, this beautiful woman who was born in 1892 was imprisoned by Nazis for protecting the Jews. She was imprisoned in Holland and was shifted to rah vens brook concentration camp in Germany. Went through unspeakable atrocities there. Due to a clerical error, Corrie was released from Ravensbruck one week before all women her age were killed. Shortly after, she traveled tirelessly over the world and shared her story of forgiveness.

During one of those forgiveness-proclaiming trips in 1947, in Munich, Germany this heavy-set man walked towards her at the end of service.

She says, And that's when I saw him, working his way forward against the others. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones. It came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister's frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin. Betsie, how thin you were!

"You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk," his voice brought her back to the reality in front of her. "I was a guard in there” I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein (little woman in German), ..." his hand came out, ... "will you forgive me?"

Corrie Ten Boom says, And I stood there — I whose sins had every day to be forgiven — and could not. Betsie had died in that place — could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do. And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is not an emotion — I knew that too. Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. "Jesus, help me!" I prayed silently. "I can lift my hand, I can do that much. You supply the feeling." And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes. "I forgive you, brother!" I cried. "With all my heart!"

For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then.

Corrie died on April 15, 1983 in Orange County, California, on her ninety-first birthday. Corrie was a frail human being just like you and me. She modeled Christ. She lived out Romans 12:21 for us

21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Let’s pray:

Father, help us to love one another in brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. The only way we know to have fun is by bringing down somebody. Please forgive us. We have allowed the society to the teach the morals to us instead of drawing values from your word. When we are wronged, when we are persecuted, please help us to pray for our persecutors and forgive them. Help us not to be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. We realize our inability to do that on our own. May the Spirit of the Lord fill our hearts and minds with your word and strengthen us to do so. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

Here is a free advice from the Karl brotherhood: Always love your enemies, nothing annoys them so much. :-)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father of Fathers

Happy Father’s day to all the Fathers out there! The one day of the year, the Fathers "supposedly" get the limelight from the mothers :-). Enjoy while you can men.

I did some research on the few world religions and how each of them viewed their god. Their gods besides being little flirtatious are portrayed as mighty warriors. Being man-made to provide them false security, as the Lord stated through prophet Isaiah they are like those who made ‘em.

Their gods were created to ward off evil so they look terrifying with muted bodies or they don’t have any shape.

The Ya-weh God whom we worship, Yes He is to be feared. Yes there’s thunder in his footsteps and lightening in his fists as Psalm 18 claims. Yes No one has ever seen God and lived. Yet, as the Scripture consistently portrays from Genesis until Revelation with various stories, events and prophesies, our God who is the creator and sustainer of life is our FATHER. God’s Father-ship is not a brand new NT concept introduced by the NT writers. Let me quote couple of verses from innumerous references.

Deuteronomy 32:6 6Do you thus repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?

Isaiah 64:8 8But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand

There are scores of references in Psalms and other books of OT. In the New Testament, He’s referenced many times as, Father in Heaven. And our favorite term ABBA Father is used 3 times in NT.

'Abba, Father,' he said, 'everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.'" (Mark 14:36)

"For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.'" (Romans 8:15)

"Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, 'Abba, Father.'" (Galatians 4:6)

ABBA is a loaded Aramaic word. When we say ABBA Father, it’s pretty much like saying Father, Father or if we can add some respectful endearment to it could be “Dear Father”. He is our ABBA Father.

Knowing our creator God as our ABBA Father is only the beginning. Now what is expected of us in reference to our ABBA Father? Jesus made this Mount Everest kinda statement in Matthew 5:48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Who can be as perfect as God, our ABBA Father?

Ø No one can be as perfect as God.

Ø Is Jesus calling us for an exercise of futility?

No. The Greek word used there is teleios. That word perfect implies completion or maturity, something more than sinless perfection though it does include that as well.

Men, here are some areas of our lives we can strive to attain perfection:

1. In Character

2. In Holiness

3. In Maturity

4. In love


ABBA Father, Father of Fathers & Father of Fatherless, please help us to strive to attain perfection in our character, in holiness, in maturity and in love between this Father’s day and next Father’s day between next Father’s day to the end of our lives. We cannot do it on our own. Help us to rely you. May we draw strength from you to live for you. In the name of your only Begotten Son and our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Joy of the Lord

We are doing an in depth study on the book of James in our Adult Bible Fellowship (Adult Sunday class in many other churches). We are currently in James 3. Wow! There's so much God's teaching me from this book. I have put them all together in docs for my personal study and whatever I shared with the class. I've been trying to share a thought or two here in my blog but time doesn't allow me to do it. Here's a thought snippet on couple verses from James 1

James 1:2-3 (NASB)

2Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials,

3knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

Count it all joy: The Greek work for “consider” may also be translated “count” or “evaluate”. The natural human response to trials is not to rejoice; therefore the believer must make a conscious commitment to face them with joy.

However, this joy is “in the Lord”. In the Lord is the sphere in which a believer’s joy exists- a sphere unrelated to the circumstances of life, but related to unassailable, unchanging relationship to the sovereign Lord. The joy doesn’t define the relationship. The relationship defines the joy. This is a call to understand suffering from the vantage point of confidence in God’s sovereignty.

Trials: This Greek word connotes trouble, or something that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy, and happiness in some one’s life. The verb form of this word means “to put someone or something to the test”, with the purpose of discovering that person’s nature or that thing’s quality. God brings such tests to prove and increase the strength and quality of one’s faith and to demonstrate its validity. Every trial becomes a test of faith designed to strengthen. If the believer fails the test by wrongly responding that test then becomes a temptation, or a solicitation to evil.

Trials can be considered pure joy only when there’s a knowledge that they are designed by God for a purpose.

Testing: This means “proof” or “proving”.

Endurance: Through the tests, a Christian will learn to withstand tenaciously the pressure of a trial until God removes it at His appointed time and even cherish and benefit.

Let the joy of the be your leader/guide. May the joy of the Lord distinguish your life from the past!

Courtesy: Holy Spirit :-), John MacArthur, RC Sproul and good Christian buddies.