Sent Out



‘These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions… ‘ ~ Matthew 10:5

Jesus saw how harassed and helpless the crowd was and moved with compassion he said to the disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but he workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  And then he called them and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and heal every disease and sickness. Before sending them he gave further instructions – “Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.” They had to depend entirely on the hospitality of the people in whose house they were to stay.

Imagine Matthew the tax collector, who for a major part of his life was surrounded with money, having money bags jingling away, promising of better tomorrows, was now called upon to take up a new mode of living – not even a copper coin was to be taken for the journey. Simon and Andrew along with James and John who gave up being at the helm of their fishing business had to learn humility when they had to stay in homes of those who probably bought fish from them.

This was tough teaching for the disciples. It was more than just having to do without something. Jesus brought them to the point where they had to renew their perception of security, rethink and set right priorities and adopt a new worldview. The same is required from us. May we follow Christ all the way.

Prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father, I submit to your teaching. Renew my mind. Let your word govern my life and all that I do. I really want to live for you. Amen.”

 

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Let another praise you


Let another praise you


“Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.” ~ Proverbs 27:2

We all love to receive praise. When someone praises us, we feel good and so elated. Somehow deep within the human heart is the desire to be recognized and appreciated. We do a lot of things just to get compliments. We talk and show off about the good things in us. Medals, trophies, certificates, laurels, prizes are showcased for all to see. They remind us of our achievements. On the wall or in the showcase, they make us feel good, especially in the presence of others.

During conversations, somehow the ‘I’ will slowly sneak popping up again and again. Its human nature they say. And especially when it comes to introducing oneself, if only we take a look at our hearts….how proud and boastful we could get. How many times have we projected ourselves to be so good, so courteous; how many times have we boasted of our accomplishments be it in the field of sports or academics.  Sometimes we cut through a conversation and insert a statement about ourselves, feeling so good about ourselves and then slowly look around to see the reaction on others’ faces. We want others to know how good we are. We are so good at creating an aura about us that make us look good in others’ eyes.

Boasting leads to an attitude of arrogance and haughtiness. Pride can easily set in. It brings in an attitude of indifference. Others are looked down upon. The Bible encourages not being boastful but humble. A work done well will be noticed and appreciated. We need not trumpet it around. It’s always better to receive praise from others than patting one’s own back.

Prayer

“Dear Jesus, forgive me for the times I’ve been boastful of myself. I acknowledge that whatever I am is because of Your grace working in me. I give You all the praise. Amen.”

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‘I will arise,’ says the Lord


“Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.””  Psalm 12:5

Oppressors need to beware! God may not act against them instantly. In His love and mercy He gives people a long rope… hoping that they would turn and repent from their wrongdoings. However, if they do not, He acts on the cries and groaning of the needy.

Pharaoh and his men learnt about this the hard way. The Israelites had to suffer a lot under his oppression. They lost one generation of children due to his cruel dictates. Though the people cried out to Him, God waited to bring them out of Egypt with a mighty hand that would show His power to the ungodly kingdoms.

A lot of people underestimate God because He is slow to anger and merciful. They don’t fear Him because they know of His unconditional love. They abuse His love and keep going against His commandments and expectations thinking that nothing will happen to them. They couldn’t be farther from the truth!

God gives chances to people but once their time runs out and they have not repented of their evil ways, He swings into action and turns the table around. Just like Pharaoh found much to his dismay as the waters of the Red Sea closed in on him and his men, similarly evil doers will have nowhere to run.

God protects the name and person of the righteous who glorify His name. He promises that He will protect them from those who malign them. He says, ‘No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me.’ Isaiah 54:17

No matter who comes against you, just keeping doing what is right, good and pleasing in God’s sight. When you are on His side He will take care of everyone or everything for you.

Prayer:
“Dear Jesus, thank You for Your assurance that You will take care of all those who come against me. Help me to walk the right path no matter what the cost, Amen.”

The Family – In the Changing Times


‘I cannot live without my family. They are everything to me… my parents, my sisters and brothers, they are the world for me.’ Have you heard someone say this to you recently? There are many who will smirk and roll their eyes if anyone said this to them. There used to be a time when people upheld family values and were willing to sacrifice anything for their family… but that was way back then. There has been a shift in the hearts, minds and attitudes of the people in matters concerning the family in recent times.The present culture has taken the control of families into its hands and we find families crumbling, breaking and falling apart. Marriages are made in a hurry and broken even faster than you can imagine. Live-in relationships are flaunted by celebrities and the elite giving youngsters the idea that living without commitment is the way to be. Parents are so caught up in making two ends meet, managing their career and following their dreams that they don’t have time or energy to share with their children.Gone are the days when a 9 to 5 job would keep the kitchen fires burning and you could return home by about 6 pm. With the rise in Call Centers, youngsters are making a beeline for high paying jobs without considering the price they have to pay. Working in a nightshift often means being cut off from the family you are living with since they are available in the evening or night while you go off to work at that time. Their holidays and your holidays don’t coincide any more. There are no more family unions or time to just sit around and chat. Routines and schedules don’t match at first and soon lifestyles and mindsets too don’t match. Most Call Centers teach employees the culture of the country they are working for. Soon workers get alienated from the culture they are living in because they have no connection with them. They feel the need to move out and be with others who think like them which mostly are the same crowd that they work with.

When a young couple marries they have a tough time starting a family. Mothers who stay at home and look after the children are a rarity these days. There are no doting parents who give up their comforts and preferences to make a life for their children. Mothers leave their tiny tots as early as a few months after birth to get back to work and a grandmother or ayah raises children at home today. Children spend more time with the relatives or baby sitters than their own parents. Though the reasons may be sound – as in getting financial security – these don’t make up for the loss of the building of a bond between the child and his parents, especially his mother.

As the years roll by, the children get used to growing up on their own or relying on a relative or someone else for their needs. They don’t feel the need to connect with their own parents any more. They look around and find their role models from around or on the television which is full of masala characters who don’t have any values or principles in life. On television the good guys always seem to lose out to the bad guys who have all the fun. The little child thinks ‘I like to have fun so the bad guys are the ones to copy!’

It not just growing children who miss their parents, even adults are getting further and further away from their own parents. As a result of this the aged people are getting isolated and lonely without anyone to care for them. Older people cannot manage to live on their own since their meager pension if they have any is not sufficient to run a house or suffice to meet their needs. As children who were raised by parents who made sacrifices for them, this generation of adults have let down their parents in their time of need. Many parents find themselves alone at home or left in an old age home where nobody visits them.

Relationships are strained, resources drained… Families are struggling day after day to meet their needs. Within the family relationships have weakened to the point of breaking, each person is living in an island of his own… feeling lost and lonely without anyone to care for him. Is this the family we dream about? Is this the family that every young girl or boy getting married wants? What is our definition of a family? Is it just an obligation of relating to some people because we were born into it or because we got married? What is the family God wants us to have?

We have a choice to make everyday. We can choose to let how others live, what the media portrays or society expects to become our life or the script for our family life. Or we can choose to make a life for us and our family which is based on the Word of God and godly values and principles. We can choose to look into the hearts of our loved one and see whether they are hurting even if they don’t convey it to us in words. We can be a family that keeps love at the topmost rung of priorities in our lives.

The foundation for our life is built by parents and one’s upbringing. If we want the future of our family to be good, we need to invest more of ourselves into it. We need to nurture and build our family so that it can resist the tides of change and the storms of upheavals in society too.

Be a blessing to others and eternally transform lives by supporting CBN INDIA’s Ministry. Partner with us to reach millions of Indians to share the love of Christ and a message of hope to the needy ones by making an on-line donation today.

Celebrating Love


Valentine’s Day celebration is a recent trend in India but it has caught the fancy of teenagers and adults too. Though some see it as a practice from the western culture and hesitate to celebrate it, a growing number of people love the feeling behind this romantic festival.

The question is why only on 14th February? This could be done throughout the year. Most of the time we have a limited understanding of Valentine’s Day and narrow-minded about how we celebrate love. If you dig the history of this day, it has little to do with love and romance. There are several stories about how it began. However, today Valentine’s Day is associated with love, romance, chocolates, flowers, love, cupid and hearts etc.

It was Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine’s Day with romance around the 14th century. Chaucer composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.”

The feeling behind V- Day is not all that bad, isn’t it? It stands for celebrating a stable and mature romance, it is not about desperately fixing a date with just anybody for the heck of celebrating Valentine’s Day. You don’t have to pair up to celebrate this day. Let’s not limit our celebration to such wrong preceptions of love.

You can celebrate love for what it is. Celebrate God’s love – God, who gives us the sun and moon, mother’s love – a mother, who sees you grow from a sweet toddler to a beautiful person, brother’s love – who sacrifices so much for you, father’s love – who is your motivation, friend’s love –who shares your joys and sorrows – the list can go on and on. Yes all this is about love. Don’t you think we need a day to celebrate these feelings of love? We do!

We celebrate the kind of love that is mentioned in the Bible in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. This Valentine’s Day, celebrate genuine love Throw a surprise party for your friends and family. Exchange gifts. Get together and have some memorable moments. And if you want to give a deeper meaning to your celebration – extend your love to those who are less fortunate. Take your friends and spend your day at orphanage or an old age home. You will experience an altogether different dimension of love.

Here’s to love and to the One who is source of all love, God almighty – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Be a blessing to others and eternally transform lives by supporting CBN INDIA’s Ministry. Partner with us to reach millions of Indians to share the love of Christ and a message of hope to the needy ones by making an on-line donation today.

Serving Christ



‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him’ ~ Colossians 3:17

Its amazing to see the myriad opportunities one can utilize to serve Christ. But the bigger question is are we willing to humble ourselves and do even the most menial of jobs if required? Lets consider the example of Epaphroditus.

The city of Philippi was strategically paced on the east west Ignatian trade route. Named after the father of Alexander the Great, Philip II, the city was surrounded by a range of mountains deposited with silver and gold, which added to its wealth. It was here that Paul planted this young church during his second missionary journey. The church no doubt was deeply grateful to its founder. When they heard that Paul was under house arrest in Jerusalem, they sent two gifts: some money and a person – Epaphroditus. Epaphroditus was sent to help look after Paul by doing basic housekeeping and cooking meals and getting things organized in the house. And he did not mind doing so! Infact the Bible records that Epaphroditus fell ill in Jerusalem and its distressed his heart to know that the church at Philippi had gotten to know about this. 

Epaphroditus belonged to a rare breed of apostles; the kind who focus not on themselves nor find it awkward to cook meals, sweep and mop floors, shop groceries, wash dishes, or scrub pots and pans for fellow Christians, especially those in need of such help. He had no theological degree nor any missionary training to his credit. But he had willingness to do anything, whatever needed to be done for the kingdom of God. When we adopt the attitude of doing whatever we can, whether in word or deed as unto the Lord, we harness the joy of serving Christ, even when it calls for serving fellow Christians.

The word apostle literally means ‘a sent one’. Do you see yourself as an ‘apostle’ – sent by God into this world?

Prayer – “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this encouraging example. I will pay heed to your ways. Open my eyes to see the opportunities you give me to serve you. Help me be willing to do whatever needs to be done for your kingdom. Amen.”

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Divinely Warned


“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household.” Hebrews 11:7

Noah prepared for things not yet seen… In his time there was no need for an ark. Anyone else in his place would have scoffed even at the thought of a flood and the destruction of the world. But Noah didn’t do that. God had not told Noah why he should build an ark and yet Noah did what God told him to do inspite of not knowing everything about it. He didn’t ask any questions, complain or rebel against God, he simply obeyed.

Preparing the ark according to God’s instructions was a laborious, costly, tedious, dangerous and seemingly foolish job to do. Noah lived at a time when nothing had changed for scores of years together and even imagining that there would be such a drastic change was unthinkable. Yet great was Noah’s faith that he held on to every word God said to Him and did as he was told.

God has spoken to men on many occasions. God spoke to Moses, He warned the prophets of what lay ahead in their time, He told Daniel about the dream only the king had seen, He revealed secrets of enemies to His prophet, He spoke to Mary and Zechariah telling them what was going to happen… God warned the wise men who came seeking the child who would be born King – to go by another way. He even warned Joseph to take Mary and baby Jesus out to Egypt because King Herod sought to kill him.

God still speaks His people. The only precondition is a believing heart and faith in Him. When we tune our ears to listen to His voice and get intimate with Him, He gives us the privilege of knowing things that are yet to come. If you would like to hear from the Lord, open your heart and receive His words with faith and obey His commands with humility.

Prayer:

“Dear Jesus, help me to know You intimately so that I can follow You every step of the way. May I never question Your voice but humbly submit as You guide me on, Amen.”

Be a blessing to others and eternally transform lives by supporting CBN INDIA’s Ministry. Partner with us to reach millions of Indians to share the love of Christ and a message of hope to the needy ones by making an on-line donation today.