[ecko_quote source=" 2 Kings 19:19"]“Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone”[/ecko_quote]
For most English speaking people the acronym ASAP means, “As Soon As Possible” or immediately. But for the Christians, it can also mean “Always Say A Prayer”.
King Hezekiah was one of Judah’s best kings. He restored the worship of God to his nation after his father Ahaz’s evil reign (2 Kings 18:3-4). Yet when the Assyrian king attacked Judah, Hezekiah surrendered to the king and stripped off the gold from the temple in Jerusalem to pacify him (vv 13-16).
That did not satisfy the Assyrian king, However, who returned to issue another threat. It was then that Hezekiah turned to the Lord. He prayed, “You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth …. save us from his hand that all of the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God. You alone” (19:15-19). When Hezekiah prayed, God answered him in a remarkable way and delivered him from his enemies (vv 35-37).
You may be facing a problem that leaves you feeling helpless. It may be the loss of a job and seeking a job, a difficult family or work situation, or health struggles. We have a powerful God to whom we can bring our concerns. So, before you do anything else, remember to ASAP - Always Say A Prayer. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16)
Prayer should be our first response rather than our last resort.
[Image Source: http://www.jasonisaacs.me/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/praying-man.jpg]
Pastor Jonah Ravinder - United Telugu Church
[ecko_quote source=" Luke 3:5"]“ The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth”[/ecko_quote]
I love the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in the new cars. A voice constantly tells me how far I have to go and when to turn. However, sometimes I get off course and the voice says: "Recalculating route" or 'Rerouting' The GPS specifies to me that I have gone off course and it is now recalculating the route based on my wrong turn.
Likewise, at times we can make wrong turns in our spiritual lives too. We think we are going in the right direction only to discover it was never God's will to enter into that relationship, make that business deal, hire that person or fellowship with certain individuals- the examples are limitless.
An amazing thing about God is that He can make our crooked places straight. He has an ability to make whatever blunder you make to turn out right. It may mean there might be some consequences to those decisions, but He will always allow your actions to work together for good for those that are called according to His purposes (Roman 8:28) if we repent and seek Him fully to make things right. These lessons can even contribute to greater wisdom in our lives if we learn from our mistakes.
God's omnipotence is always one step ahead of our incompetence. Do you think He knew you would make that misstep? Absolutely. Do you think your life was planned even with that misstep figured in it? Absolutely!
Isn't it comforting to know you cannot plan God out of the equation no matter how bad you mess it up? He will always turn crooked places into straight places for those who are humble and contrite. What a wonderful Heavenly Father we have. Prophet Jonah said, “For I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm” ( Jonah 4:2), How true that is!
Do you need a crooked place of your life straightened out today? Ask Him to straighten the course so you can flow in His perfect will for your life. Be cheerful my dear ones because we are blessed and our sins have been taken care of by our saviour Jesus. “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered (Psalm 32:1)
Pastor Jonah Ravinder- United Telugu Church and Os Hillman
[ecko_quote source=" Luke 18:8"]“ Nevertheless, when the Son of Man (Jesus) comes, will He really find faith on the earth? ”[/ecko_quote]
Wish you a Happy and blessed New Year in Jesus to all my brothers and sisters. Welcome back from your long enjoyable holiday break. I was really busy in God's business during this holiday season and I will update you my forthcoming programmes and activities shortly. However, please accept my sincere apologies for not attending the matters related to our daily devotions. I will try to post as many devotions as possible during the week.
While we continue our pilgrim's journey towards our Lord, it is paramount to encourage each other through our faith in Jesus. In this incredible journey, all we need is "FAITH". Because only through faith and patience we inherit what has been promised to us(Hebrew 6:12)
Coming to our today’s reading Jesus after concluding the parable he put a question to the people that when He returns will He really find faith on the earth. He did not give an answer to this question and also a couple of other questions too in the Bible (Matthew 16:26). It is evident from the question that when He comes, He is certainly looking for faith, not our possessions, buildings, bank balances, popularity or even our education. During Jesus earthly ministry, He always used stories, illustrations and asking questions when He spoke to the crowds. In fact, He never spoke to them without using parables. His teachings are simple yet profound. Most learned men found difficult to understand His saying. However, uneducated people were able to appreciate what He had to say. The reason appears to be simple; the uneducated people received Jesus sayings with childlike faith. Others applied their human reasoning. Their heads refused to accept the simple engrafted Word.
The increase in knowledge and advancement of technology produced a negative effect in receiving the Word of God. The world says “seeing is believing and believing is seeing”. In contrast, the Bible states, “see not to understand that you may believe but believe that you may understand”. Further, "to have mountain moving faith, submission to God’s Word must be a lifestyle".
Have you ever wondered why some people have so much faith, others have weak faith and some have no faith at all? Is God unfair? God is no respecter of persons (2 Chronicles 19:7). He has given to every man a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). And so, what is faith? Let me first say what it is not.
Faith is not positive thinking or optimism. It is not a feeling that you can do something. It is not a hunch or looking on the sunny side of the street.
Faith is getting a word from God and acting on it. Acting on the Word of God is what we call faith. You see, you can get a Word from God and believe that Word. That is belief. We believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and they tremble in fear. The demons believe, but they are reluctant to act upon it. My dear ones when you act upon it (on what you believe), that is faith. Faith is belief with legs. Sadly, so many of us are in 'belief' realm and are reluctant to act upon it. Consequently, we could see so many unanswered prayers and people falling from their Christian journey.
God will give you a word as you are waiting on Him, but then you should go out there and act on it. If Peter had not gone out of the boat and walked on water, Jesus could never have helped him. Peter had to physically get out of the boat and actually walk towards Jesus. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
Today is the day that you put your foot of faith upon the promises of God and say, “That promise is mine!”. Faith is a doing word
[Image Source: http://kingofwallpapers.com/believe/believe-017.jpg]
Pastor Jonah Ravinder- United Telugu Church
[ecko_quote source=" John 20:24-29"]Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples, therefore, said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So, he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” ….. “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed[/ecko_quote]
So many people say, “when I see it, or when I feel it, then I will know that I have it”. However, that is not Bible faith. That is natural human faith. Moreover, that kind of natural faith already exists in any sinner. But the Real faith is based upon the Word. Real faith in the Word says, “if God says it is true then it is “. Believing God is believing His Word!
I like what Smith Wigglesworth said, “I cannot understand God by feeling. I cannot understand the Lord Jesus Christ by feeling. I can understand God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, only through what the Word says about them”. Then he went on to say, “We need to get acquainted with God the Father through the Word. He is everything the Word says He is. We need to get acquainted with the Lord Jesus Christ through the Word. He is everything the Word says He is”.
Too many people try to get acquainted with God through feelings. When they feel well, they think God heard them. If they do not feel well, they think He is not hearing them. Their faith is based on their feelings. However, our faith must be based on God’s Word. If God’s Word says He hears me, then I know He hears me- because He said so and His Word is not a lie. If my faith were to be based on my feelings, then I would be using natural human faith. I would be trying to get spiritual results with natural human faith, and I cannot do it. I must use scriptural faith, Bible faith before God works. Moreover, if my faith is based upon the Word of God, I will believe in the Word regardless of any evidence which would satisfy my physical senses. Too many folks are trying to get Abraham’s blessings with Thomas’ faith, and it just won’t work.
Notice Thomas’ faith. His faith was not based on what God said. Thomas’ faith was based on his own physical senses, feelings. He said he would not believe unless he could see.
Here is a little formula of faith, patterned after Abraham’s faith, which you can implement in your life to make it work for you. First, he had God’s word for it. Second, he believed in God’s Word. Third, he did not consider any of the contradictory circumstances. Fourth, he gave praise to God. Follow those four steps, and you will always get through to God. These are the four steps to certain deliverances, healing, prayer, and whatever it is that you are seeking.
Our faith too often is based on the physical feelings and what our physical sense tells us. Now I certainly believe in feelings, but I put it last. God’s Word comes first, faith in God’s Word comes second, and feeling/feelings come last. Too many people turn it around and stick their feeling up in the front. That kind of faith will never make a success of anything.
We who are believers have Abraham kind of faith, because Galatians 3:29 says, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise”. Galatians 3:7 says, “Know you therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham”. Well, we have the Abraham kind of faith then. We are not trying to get it, but we have it.
Source: Jonah Ravinder, UEC Ministries ; Kenneth Hagan Sr
[ecko_quote source="హెబ్రీయులకు 11:6"]విశ్వాసములేకుండ దేవునికి ఇష్టుడైయుండుట అసాధ్యము; దేవునియొద్దకు వచ్చువాడు ఆయన యున్నాడనియు, తన్ను వెదకువారికి ఫలము దయచేయువాడనియు నమ్మవలెను గదా [/ecko_quote]
క్రైస్తవ జీవితములో విశ్వాసము అనునది మూల స్తంభము. విశ్వాసములేకుండ దేవునికి ఇష్టుడైయుండుట అసాధ్యము. విశ్వాసము మన మనసుయందు ఏర్పడు ప్రగాడ భావన. ఈ మనసునందు దేవుడు యున్నాడనియు మరియు తన్ను వెదకువారికి ఫలము దయచేయువాడనియు నమ్మవలెను. అపుడే మనము దేవునికి ఇష్టుడైయుండుటకు సాధ్యము. దేవుడు మన మనసుకు అనంత శక్తి మరియు ముఖ్యముగా ఉహించే శక్తి ప్రసాదించినాడు.ఈ ప్రపంచం కంటే, మన మనసు సృష్టించే ప్రపంచమే గొప్పదని అనిపిస్తుంది. వాస్తవం కంటే, వూహే గొప్పదిగా ఉంటుంది’ అనేవారు ప్రఖ్యాత శాస్త్రవేత్త ఐన్స్టీన్. ‘భావించు. కల కను. అది ఏనాటికైనా నిజమవుతుంది. కోరుకున్నది నువ్వు ఎంత స్పష్టంగా మనోఫలకం మీద చూస్తావో, అంతే త్వరగా అది వాస్తవమవుతుంది’ అని అబ్దుల్ కలామ్ చెబుతుండేవారు. మనకు మాత్రము అపొస్తలుడైన పౌలు ఎఫెసీయులకు ౩:20 లో ఈ విధముగా బలపర్చుచున్నాడు “మనలో కార్యసాధకమైన తన శక్తి చొప్పున (అనగా మన విశ్వాసము చొప్పున) మనము అడుగువాటన్నిటికంటెను, ఊహించువాటన్నిటికంటెను అత్యధికముగా చేయ శక్తిగల దేవునికి, క్రీస్తుయేసు మూలముగా సంఘములో తరతరములు సదాకాలము మహిమ కలుగునుగాక. ఆమేన్. మన క్రీస్తు మనము అడుగువాటన్నిటికంటెను, ఊహించువాటన్నిటికంటెను అత్యధికముగా మనకు ఇవ్వగల సమర్థుడు.
అత్యంత శక్తిమంతమైన భావన అంత సులువుగా రాదు, కలగదు. దానికి కారణం- మనసు. మనసుకు అటువంటి శిక్షణ లేదు. దానికి భావనాపూర్వకమైన జ్ఞానం కావాలి. విశ్వాసం కావాలి. తగినంత సాధన కావాలి. విశ్వాసము కేవలము దేవుని వాక్యము వినుట ద్వార మరియు వినిన దానిని నమ్మి జీవితములో ఆచరణలో పెట్టుట ద్వార సాధ్యము అవుతుంది. లేనియెడల కేవలము మనము వినువారామే మరియు మనలను మనము మోసపుచ్చు కొనువారము. విశ్వాసులు భావనతోనే బతుకుతారంటారు. భావన లేనిదే అనుభూతి కలగదు. భావించకుండా మనిషి ఏ కలనూ సాకారం చేసుకోలేడు. తర్క వితర్కాల మధ్య వూగుతుంది మనసు. అది తెల్లగా ఉంటే పాలుగా, నల్లగా ఉంటే నీళ్లుగా నమ్ముతుంది. మనం ఎంత లోతుగా నమ్మకంలో విలీనమవుతామో, అంత తొందరగా ఆ విషయానికి చేరుకుంటాం. నిజం చేసుకుంటాం. అందువలన క్రైస్తవులు తమ మనసును దేవుని వాక్యముతో నింపి అ వాక్య ప్రకారము జీవించుట ద్వార, దేవునికి ఇష్టుడైయుండుట సాధ్యము మరియు తద్వారా విశ్వాసములో పరిపక్వము పొందగలరు.
అన్నింటికీ విశ్వాసమే పునాది. ఆ విశ్వాసానికి మరియు నమ్మకానికి దృశ్యమే ఆధారం. దృశ్యానికి భావనే ఆధారం. భావనకు జ్ఞానమే కారణం. జ్ఞానానికి కారణం- తెలిసికొనవలెనను కుతూహలము మరియు జిజ్ఞాస. దానికి ‘నేను’ కారణం. ‘నేను’ అనేది లేకుంటే జగత్తు లేదు.సర్వ జగత్తు యెహోవా సృష్టి. ఆయనే “ నేను”. The great “I am”. ‘నేనే’ మూలం. ఇదంతా ఒక వలయం.కళ్లు మూస్తే భావం. కళ్లు తెరిస్తే భావం. ఆ భావాల పరంపరతోనే బతుకు సాగుతుంది. ఎక్కువ తక్కువలంటూ విచారించకూడదు. నలుపు తెలుపులుగా విడగొట్టకూడదు. వైరుధ్య, వైవిధ్యాల మధ్య మనసును పరుగెత్తించకూడదు. అలాంటివారు గొప్ప భావాలు పొందలేరు.
అద్భుతమైన ప్రపంచాన్ని మన ప్రభువు మన ముందుంచాడు. బుద్ధికి ప్రేరణ ఇచ్చి ముందుకు నడిపించే లోతైన భావం ఎప్పుడూ పరిశుద్ధాత్మ దేవుడు మనకు అనుగ్రహించగలడు. దేవుడు ఎప్పుడు తన యందు విశావసిoచెవారికీ తన యొక్క ప్రేమ లోతును కనుక్కోమని సెలవించుచున్నాడు . విశ్వాసి దాన్ని కనుగొనాలి. ఒడిసి పట్టుకోవాలి. అలా అన్వేషణ సాగిస్తే, సత్యం తెలుస్తుంది. అలాంటి సత్యాలన్నీ ఒక మహా సత్యానికి అనుసంధానమై ఉంటాయి. ఆ సత్యమే యేసు ప్రభువు.భక్తిభావంతో సర్వమూ సాధించగలం. ప్రేమభావంతో, ఇక ఏదీ మిగలకుండా చేయగలం. ప్రపంచాన్ని దేవుని మనసు సృష్టించింది. అందుకే మనిషి- ప్రేమ అనే భావాన్ని దైవభావంగా స్వీకరించాలి. అప్పుడు ప్రతి భావమూ ఆనందమే!
దైవభావంలోనే దైవం ఉన్నాడు. విశ్వసి ఎలా భావిస్తే అలా, ఆయన అనుభవమిస్తాడు. హృదయపూర్వకమైన ప్రతి భావనా విశ్వాసిని దైవానికి దగ్గర చేస్తుంది. దైవ భావమే మనిషి. మనిషిలోని భావమే దైవం. అంటే, భావం లేకుండా మనిషి లేడు. ఆ భావ సంపదనే మరియు విశ్వాస జీవితమే బైబిల్ ఆధ్యాత్మికత జీవితముగా (spiritual life) వర్ణించాయి
ప్రత్యేక అబినందనులు: జొన్నలగడ్డ రవీందర్ మరియు ఆనంద స్వామి
[ecko_quote source=" Psalm 41:9 "]“Even my close friends, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” [/ecko_quote]
The spiritual journey is not the one that we are meant to walk alone. God intends us to travel in the company of other believers. It appears that for some this is a wonderful arrangement while for others, it may not seem so pleasant. People can be helpful, or hurtful; they can bless us, or harm us.
Over the years I have met a countless number of Christian people who have been hurt by other Christians. People have admitted to me that they have received more hurt from the fellowships/Churches/Cell groups than they have ever been by the world. Of course, there is some truth in it. I admit that I also have gone through some similar experiences in my Christian journey, in fact, it happened to me right after I accepted our Lord Jesus. As we see from the above Scripture, King David knew this pain, and even Jesus quoted this verse when He said, “He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me – John 13:18.
What's the solution then? The question we need to start thinking about is that how do we deal with relationships? It is because the way we deal with difficult relationships will determine whether we advance or withdraw in the Christian journey. God does not call us to live in distrust, but to live by faith in Jesus Christ. We are disciples of the One who knows what it is to be betrayed. Moreover, through His Grace/Power, we can be victors and not victims. Therefore, do not dwell on those hurts but instead move on by looking unto the Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrew 12:2). Satan always keeps our focus on the problems and people but not on the Lord Jesus. I consider this is the great trap and many people in it.
God commands us not to judge others, but He does want us to be discerning. Jesus said we would know people’s spiritual condition by the fruit of their lives (Matthew 7:16). He said,” Thorn bushes do not produce grapes”. If a person’s life produces thorns, we can assume that the person is not a grapevine! Are we judgmental? No, we are discerning. Scripture commands us to avoid associating with mockers or fools (Proverb 22:10; 17:12). Unless we can identify mockers and fools, we cannot obey God’s command. As Christians, we have been instructed to observe the lives of others so that we can help them while avoiding any sinful influence.
God is not interested in how right you are. He is interested in how obedient you are. God’s command is not that you win arguments, but that you are kind and forgiving when others mistreat you. You bring God no honour by winning a dispute, but you reflect a Christ-like character when you demonstrate patience to those who mistreat you or misunderstand your motives. Arguing may never win people to your view, but loving them just how Christ does will win you many friends over time!
Many offences could be immediately resolved by confronting the offending party and hearing their explanation. You would be surprised how many people are so immature that they do not even bother to investigate the facts or hear the other side of the story. Don't ever forget, "There are always two sides to a story," and never assume you know the entire truth of a matter until you have heard both sides.
I can guarantee that there would be far fewer misunderstandings in the body of Christ if people would be firmly devoted to love for their brethren. Love for the brethren gives us a desire to believe the best in our brother, giving him the "benefit of the doubt," instead of jumping to conclusions and always expecting the worst. The Bible says "If you love someone... you will always believe in him, always expect the best of him" (1 Cor. 13:7 TLB).
Note that the scripture says "if your brother has something against you." In other words, you might not feel that you have legitimately violated your brother or sister. However, if you are aware that "they" harbour an offence against you, you still are obligated to go and try to resolve the issue. Be willing to be humble and submissive to others, even when you do not consider yourself to be at fault. Don't be so rigid and self-righteous that you stand in the way of a brother or sister's reconciliation with you or with God (Rom. 15:1-3). Offer your humble, sincere apology for any unintentional offence and make every effort to reconcile, so that your relationship with God will not be hindered. Whether or not they pardon you, you have done your part and released your soul from blame
Source: Pastor Jonah Ravinder from blessings or blisters; Henry T Blackberry and Dr Dale A. Robbins
[ecko_quote source="Mark 5:36"]Do not be afraid; only believe[/ecko_quote]
One day when Jesus was surrounded by a multitude, a distressed ruler of the synagogue named Jairus pushed his way through the crowd and fell at His feet. With great urgency, he pleaded with the Lord to come to his house. His little daughter was dying, and he knew that the Lord could heal her.
Jesus, who was full of compassion, immediately went with him. But on the way, a woman with a chronic disease " came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment (Mark 5: 27). Recognising her touch of faith, He stopped to heal her. Just then Jairus received the sad news that his daughter was dead. Jesus, sensing his deep disappointment, said to him, " Do not be afraid; only believe" (v36).
Sometimes in our own trials of faith, we experience disappointment and despair. It appears useless to continue to believe. We may feel the need to take things into our own hands. We wonder, what's the use of believing any longer?. This is the point at which we are often defeated, yet this is also the time when victory is at the threshold.
Are you discouraged today and ready to give up? Jesus would say to you, "Don't despair. I won't fail you. Only believe!" Your faith will be rewarded.