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Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source=" Matthew 14:29-30"]So, Jesus said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

Many believers will go through life missing divine opportunities because they are afraid to live as God intends. Fear can paralyze us into inaction- then our life fills with lost chances to serve, minister, or see the Lord’s work up close. Consider the 11 disciples who stayed in the boat when Peter got out and walked to Jesus. How many time must each man have regretted choosing safety over the intense joy of stepping on water next to the Son of God?

But Andrew, John, and others missed their opportunity. Unfortunately, many Christians stay in the boat all their lives. At the end, these same folks probably wonder why their lives seemed empty.

We easily succumb to fear’s potency when we attempt to endure trouble in our own strength. We weren’t created to live in such a way. God designed us to function best when we allow Jesus Christ’s divine power to supplant our weakness. As He stood on the surface of the Sea of Galilee, Peter looked around at the fierce wind and remembered that no human can walk on water. His own strength was inadequate to keep him afloat, and he quickly sank. Jesus’ greater power was sufficient to lift Peter from the sea and carry them both safely to the boat.

Fear can paralyze the believer and consequently freeze the Lord’s plan. But responding with faith to God’s directions unleashes divine power and sets His work in motion. The moment that we step out of the boat and move away from the familiar boundaries of our limited strength, we walk by faith.

 

[Image Source: http://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/jesus-calms-the-storm-header.jpg

 

Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source="1 Peter 2:5"]Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

Jesus is not only the Cornerstone of the church; He is also the individual building blocks through every believer. Have you ever heard of someone being a “chip off the old block”? That means he shares the nature of his father. In a sense, every child of God is a chip off that Block.

By ourselves, we are not all that much. How many one-brick buildings have you seen? One stone can be easily tossed around, but if you take a lot of them and put them together, there is the strength. We never ever were going to be any worthwhile or useful for His Kingdom with an attitude of disunity.

The current failure of our higher call (the great commission) is truly attributed to disunity and backbiting. We do several things for God from the pulpit including singing and worshiping but have a grudge and ill feeling towards the brothers and sisters who just standing next to us on the pulpit. Remember our worship won’t reach God and we just simply wasting our precious God-given time and becoming true ACTORS and doing DRAMA day by day and further deceiving ourselves.

Therefore, repent and reconcile before your lamp stand taken away from. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. ... Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent, and do the first works (Rev 2:5).

Hard teachings but we should appreciate the truth in it and remember the Word of God will prevail.

What to do Next?

Our Lord is building us together to gain strength from one another. It is amazing what can happen when the body of Christ is unified.

[Image Source: https://static.pexels.com/photos/39279/ship-traffic-jams-rope-dew-cordage-39279.jpeg ]

 

Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source="Romans 8:32"]He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

In the fourth chapter of Philippians, Paul declares that God will “supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (v19). When we read that passage, and apply it our daily lives, we must be careful to interpret it correctly.

For that to happen, it’s imperative that we understand the difference between needs and desires. A need is something that is essential in order for you and me to each become the person God desires us to be or to accomplish the things He called us to do. On the other hand, a desire is something we believe will bring enjoyment, which describes a temporary pleasure, we tend to desire things that will bring us happiness for a season but then fades away.

It is important to note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a desire, as long as it’s within God’s will and is an outflow of a Spirit-filled life. God is a wonderful, loving heavenly Father who loves to shower His grace upon us (Matthew 7:11). However- and this is critical – we must remember that God never promises to supply all of our desires. He surely provides many of them, but only at His discretion and for His own glory. Therefore, your inability to acquire a large-screen television, for example, is not an indication that God is unfaithful.

What to do Next?

What do you need in order to become the person God has called you to be? What do you desire that will help you gain more enjoyment in life? Keep a list of these things, and make both categories a regular part of your prayer life.
[Image Source:http://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/car.jpg

 

Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source=" Luke 24:-49"]"Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high"[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

The power of the Holy Spirit is the dynamic, supernatural control and authority of Almighty. It is the strength by which we are enabled to serve and obey the Lord. Tragically, too many of God’s people attempt to carry out supernatural work in their own human strength.

The Spirit of God indwells all believers. But there is a considerable distinction between having the Holy Spirit within us and the Holy Spirit releasing His power in our life. Consider the difference between a sedan and a race car. Both vehicles run, but what is under the hood of the race car makes it far more powerful than the sedan. When God’s Spirit enables you, your performance will be like that of a race car.

We often think that the power of the Holy Spirit is available only to Pastors and Missionaries. However, the truth is that this power is offered to every person who is willing to serve God and meet the requirements given in Scripture. First, we must be convicted of our inadequacy. This means acknowledging we cannot work for God without the aid of His Spirit.

Next, recognising and admitting our inadequacy grows out of a pure life. Confessing sin and repenting are necessary to maintain fellowship with God. When we allow deliberate sin to enter our life, we short-circuit the power of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, every person who appropriates divine energy has an active prayer life.

When we trust in God to provide the stamina for the work He calls us to do, we are clothed in power. Is your confidence in yourself or in Him?

 

Image source:http://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Holy-Spirit-Inspiration-1.jpg

 

Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source=" Hebrew 11:6"]"And without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him"[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

Some people say faith moves mountains. That is not true. God moves mountains.Faith is no better than its object. Faith in faith is nothing but positive thinking. If you put faith in positive thinking, you are going to become discouraged.There are some who teach that if you will simply believe God for something, He will give you that thing. That is simply not true.If you try to apply that teaching to your life, after awhile when those things don’t fall into your lap, Satan is going to say, “You really don’t have what it takes.”

And don’t get the idea that because your faith is weak, your prayers are not reaching heaven. Weak faith in God is better than the strong faith in anything else. Faith is what counts. It is not the size of your faith. It is the object of your faith that really counts. Every one of us has faith in the natural realm. We believe chairs will hold us up, planes will take us where we need to go, and the food we’re served is safe to eat.

But that’s not the kind of faith to which Paul refers when he says, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). This is Biblical faith, and it occurs in the supernatural realm. You cannot generate that kind of faith. You cannot clench your fist, grit your teeth, and say you are going to believe.

No one can believe in God unless God enables him to believe. And the only way you can believe in God is to hear from His Word. Without a word from God, you have no basis for faith.

Faith is not a leap in the dark. Instead, faith is a step into the light.

Image source: http://biblemesh.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/faith.jpg

 

 Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source=" Genesis 3:19"]" In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread; Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return"[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics and Anglicans although many other Christians observe it too.

The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person's forehead quotes something like what God once said to Adam after he had sinned “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Gen 3:19). This is the bad news of our sinfulness that prepares us to receive the good news of forgiveness in Christ. Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, "Repent and believe in the Gospel."

Ash Wednesday is a Christian holiday (holy day) that is not a biblical requirement (just like Christmas and Easter, which are not commanded in Scripture). Nevertheless, it has been honoured by Christians for well over ten centuries

There is no biblical commandment that requires us to observe Ash Wednesday. Thus, I believe this one of those practices that Christians are free to observe or not to observe. The theological core of Ash Wednesday is, however, shaped by a biblical theology of creation, sin, mortality, death, grace, and salvation. It also enacts biblical injunctions to “weep with those who weep” and to “confess your sins to one another.”

Ash Wednesday is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, however, from Biblical times, sprinkling oneself with ashes has been a mark of sorrow for sin. Several times the Bible mentions people repenting in dust and ashes; for example: Mordecai (Esther 4:1), Job (Job 42:6), the inhabitants of Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-6), and Daniel (Daniel 9:3-4). Repentance in dust and ashes often was accompanied with fasting during Bible times.

What I value most about Ash Wednesday worship services is the chance for us all to openly acknowledge our frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretences and be truly honest with each other about who we are. We all bear the mark of sin, from the youngest babies to the oldest seniors. We all stand guilty before a holy God. We all are mortal and will someday experience bodily death. Thus we all need a Saviour.

And so, it is on Ash Wednesday we can admit our own mortality. We can talk openly about the limits of this life. Why? Because we know that through Christ we have entered into life eternal, the fullness of life that will not end when our bodies give out.

The emotional result of Ash Wednesday observance isn’t depression or gloom, but gratitude and new energy for living. When we realize how desperately we need God, and how God is faithful far beyond our desperation, we can’t help but offering our lives to him in fresh gratitude.

The important fact to remember is that Christians should be ready and willing to repent, fast, and focus on God throughout the year and not just during the Lenten season.

Image source:ttp://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Ash-Wednesday.jpg

Pastor Jonah Ravinder- United Telugu Church - Auckland, New Zealand;

 Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source=" Genesis 3:19"]" In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread; Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return"[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

Ash Wednesday is one of the most popular and important holy days in the liturgical calendar. Ash Wednesday opens Lent, a season of fasting and prayer. Ash Wednesday takes place 46 days before Easter Sunday, and is chiefly observed by Catholics and Anglicans although many other Christians observe it too.

The ashes symbolize the dust from which God made us. As the priest applies the ashes to a person's forehead quotes something like what God once said to Adam after he had sinned “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Gen 3:19). This is the bad news of our sinfulness that prepares us to receive the good news of forgiveness in Christ. Alternatively, the priest may speak the words, "Repent and believe in the Gospel."

Ash Wednesday is a Christian holiday (holy day) that is not a biblical requirement (just like Christmas and Easter, which are not commanded in Scripture). Nevertheless, it has been honoured by Christians for well over ten centuries

There is no biblical commandment that requires us to observe Ash Wednesday. Thus, I believe this one of those practices that Christians are free to observe or not to observe. The theological core of Ash Wednesday is, however, shaped by a biblical theology of creation, sin, mortality, death, grace, and salvation. It also enacts biblical injunctions to “weep with those who weep” and to “confess your sins to one another.”

Ash Wednesday is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, however, from Biblical times, sprinkling oneself with ashes has been a mark of sorrow for sin. Several times the Bible mentions people repenting in dust and ashes; for example: Mordecai (Esther 4:1), Job (Job 42:6), the inhabitants of Nineveh (Jonah 3:5-6), and Daniel (Daniel 9:3-4). Repentance in dust and ashes often was accompanied with fasting during Bible times.

What I value most about Ash Wednesday worship services is the chance for us all to openly acknowledge our frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretences and be truly honest with each other about who we are. We all bear the mark of sin, from the youngest babies to the oldest seniors. We all stand guilty before a holy God. We all are mortal and will someday experience bodily death. Thus we all need a Saviour.

And so, it is on Ash Wednesday we can admit our own mortality. We can talk openly about the limits of this life. Why? Because we know that through Christ we have entered into life eternal, the fullness of life that will not end when our bodies give out.

The emotional result of Ash Wednesday observance isn’t depression or gloom, but gratitude and new energy for living. When we realize how desperately we need God, and how God is faithful far beyond our desperation, we can’t help but offering our lives to him in fresh gratitude.

The important fact to remember is that Christians should be ready and willing to repent, fast, and focus on God throughout the year and not just during the Lenten season.

Image source:ttp://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Ash-Wednesday.jpg

Pastor Jonah Ravinder- United Telugu Church - Auckland, New Zealand;

IJ Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source=" Mark 4:39"]"Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm"[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

Several years ago, the Beatles wrote a song that talks about what to do when we find ourselves in times of trouble - just let it be. This may be a good philosophy in the world, but for the Christian, it can be the kiss of death.

As Christians, if we ignore problems and put our heads in the sand, that means we are not using the authority that was given to us by Jesus. Unless we take authority and speak to the problems of life, they will overpower us. We cannot just "let it be."

Once Jesus and His disciples were on a boat together. Jesus was asleep and resting when a violent storm came. The boat was being tossed by the wind and waves to the extent that the disciples thought they were going to die. In their panic, they woke up Jesus. He could easily see that they did not have the situation under control. Jesus got up, turned toward the storm, and rebuked it. He said, "Peace, be still" (Mark 4:39). Immediately the storm stopped and there was calm.

When we look at this incident that took place with Jesus and His disciples on the boat, we know, of course, that Jesus did not ignore the situation. He spoke to the problem and the problem went away. But why is it that the disciples were unable to solve the problem? The answer is quite simple. They did nothing. They simply "let it be."

Yes, the disciples expended a lot of energy. They panicked. They cried out in fear. They summoned Jesus. They were in despair. They did a lot of things, but they didn't do the right thing. And when you don't do the right thing, it's the same as doing nothing. You cannot overcome the problems in life unless you take proper action using the authority given by Jesus.

Years ago, I worked in an office with a person who was always busy. Every moment of his time was spent doing something. However, this person was extremely unproductive and never really accomplished anything. Why? The reason is that he was always doing something irrelevant that was not a part of his job description. He was active, but it didn't count for anything.

As Christians, we cannot be this way. We must make our actions count. We must act on the Word and we must take authority. We cannot ignore the problems of life, nor can we allow them to put us into panic mode. We must take authority in the name of Jesus and command the storms of life to cease. Only then will there be calm.

 

Image source:http://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/jkl.jpg

Pastor Jonah Ravinder- United Telugu Church - Auckland, New Zealand; Cutting Edge

Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source=" Mark 9:38"]"John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone using your name to cast out demons, but we told him to stop because he wasn’t in our group"[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

At first glance, it appears as a noble thing that Jesus’ disciples kept such careful guard over the orthodoxy of Jesus’ ministry. The disciples of Jesus found someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name who was not a part of their group and not under their control, and they demanded that he stop. Yet Jesus saw through His disciples’ hypocrisy. The disciples themselves had been given power to drive out demons as well (Matthew 10:8), yet they had failed miserably (Mark 9:28) We can see same principles operating in current day Fellowships and Churches who are not rooted correctly in the living Word.

How it must have embarrassed the disciples to have publicly failed to cast out a demon from a young boy. Yet, here was someone successfully exorcising demons. Someone who was not a "regular" with Jesus as the disciples were. They should have been concerned with their own lack of spiritual power and vitality. They should have felt convicted by their Lord’s stinging rebuke at their lack of faith (Matthew 17:20). Instead, they focused on others. Rather than repenting of their sin and grieving over their spiritual impotence, the disciples attempted to hinder someone who was enjoying spiritual success.

Recently, I have experienced similar encounter where some of the fellowship leaders strongly objected and sent some emails not to encourage me nor use me to preach the living Word. One of the Pastors said to his congregation to arrest me and my activities. How shameful? These persecutions from insiders will surely strengthen me even more to proclaim my dear Lord’s saving grace.

I really pity those ignorant people and question myself as to who would reap the loss of not listening to the engrafted word. It’s obvious it would be no one but poor members of the congregation. It’s my humble and sincere request for those in authority not to object/or put hurdles to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But use and honor the Servants of God who bring blessings to the congregation and families.

Coming back to our text for today, at times, it is easier to diminish other’s spiritual victories than to honestly confront our own failures. Jesus’ response to His disciples must have surprised them as He said,” Don’t stop him (Mark 9:39). He assured them that “whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40). Have you learned this vital lesson? Are you able to genuinely rejoice in the spiritual victories of others? Examine and stop yourself falling into the hands of the living God.

Image source:http://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/miracles.jpg

Pastor Jonah Ravinder- United Telugu Church - Auckland, New Zealand; Experiencing God Day By Day

Bible Meditation

[ecko_quote source=" James 2:18"] But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds[/ecko_quote]

Devotional Thought

You don’t have intellectual problems if you don’t believe; you have moral problems. Your problem is not in your head; your problem is in your heart. Hebrews 3:12 says, “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” Psalm 14:1a says, “The fool hath said in his heart, ‘There is no God."

It is not that you cannot believe; it may be that you will not believe, because Christ gives faith to every man, and what you must do is accept it, receive it, and believe it. Christ is that Light; the Light of every man that comes into the world. You can believe, if you will believe. Unbelief is not weak; it is wickedness. It is rebellion. If you want to believe today, God will enable you to believe.

What is faith? Faith is a response to God Himself. You see, true faith is always linked to obedience. You hear the Word, believe the Word, then obey the Word. Faith is not simply saying that you believe and not obeying. Faith that does not lead to obedience is not faith at all. Obedience is the fruit of faith. To obey in New Testament usage, means to give earnest attention to the Word, to submit to its authority, and to carry out its instructions.

Obedience in this sense is almost dead in modern Christianity. The Church of our day has soft-pedalled the doctrine of obedience, either neglecting it altogether or mentioning it only apologetically and without urgency. This results from a fundamental confusion of obedience with works in the minds of preacher and people. To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.

The Bible knows nothing of salvation apart from obedience. Paul testified that he was sent to preach "obedience to the faith among all nations." He reminded the Roman Christians (Romans 1:5) that they had been set free from sin because they had "obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

The weakness in our message today is our overemphasis on faith with a corresponding underemphasize on obedience. This has been carried so far that "believe" has been made to double for "obey" in the minds of millions of religious persons. The result is a host of mental Christians whose characters are malformed and whose lives are all out of proportion. Imagination has been mistaken for faith, and belief has been robbed of its moral content and made to be little more than an acceptance to gospel truth.

Image source: http://jonah.uec.nz/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/obedience.jpg

Pastor Jonah Ravinder- United Telugu Church - Auckland, New Zealand; LMF

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