Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Promise and the Fulfillment

“And everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or land for the sake of my name will be repaid a hundred times over, and also inherit eternal life.”
(Matthew 19: 29)

Is it possible to leave all these things behind and follow Christ? Yes, of course. Throughout Church history, men and women, married and single have responded to Christ’s call to become missionaries. Many Christians who have not left home as missionaries, still respond to the call to evangelical simplicity and prove that the above challenge and promise are not in vain.

How does Christ fulfill this promise? Missionaries leave their country for the sake of Christ. Wherever they go, they find a new country, a new father, mother, brother, sister and home. When they die, many prefer to be buried in their new homes. Is this not fantastic? This is God’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Extra Baggage

“I tell you solemnly, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, I tell you again, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19: 23 – 24)

A rich man is one who possesses a lot of money and every type of property. He gets whatever he wants that money can buy. Christ says here that it will be difficult for him to enter the kingdom of heaven. Why? Because extraordinary wealth is most probably obtained outside God’s will. Such wealth becomes an alien god. The rich becomes attached to it and comes to rely on it instead of on God. Such wealth poses a grave danger to one’s salvation. What does it profit a man to have all the gold and silver in the world for the few years of life and lose his soul for all eternity?

What is your attitude to riches and wealth? Do you recognize God as the creator of all riches and wealth? Can you become a conduit for God’s riches for the development of God’s government and kingdom on earth? How much extra baggage are you carrying? Christ promises that the kingdom of God belongs to the poor in spirit. The poor in spirit are content because they have everything they need without carrying heavy extra baggage.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Called to Simplicity

“Jesus said, ‘if you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (Matthew 19:21)

What is Christ saying to me in this scripture?
He calls me to a life of service, friendship and companionship. He calls me to a life of perfection. In order to benefit optimally from the call of Christ and enjoy it, I must renounce myself and all attachment to material things. I must have the mind of Christ in all things.

Lord Jesus, how do I obey the command to sell what I have and give the money to the poor? You keep only around you what you need, no extras, and no storage for tomorrow. Sell the extras and give the money to the poor.

Lord Jesus, I have heard your message. You invite me to evangelical simplicity, to poverty in spirit. I accept dear Lord. Grant me the grace to be totally detached from all material things so that I can be attached to you. Teach me to trust you as my ONLY supplier of everything. Lord if you truly call me to a life of evangelical simplicity, I say yes to you. Go ahead and finish the good work you have started.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Wrong Partner?

“This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the 2 become one body. They are no longer two, therefore, but one body. So then, what God has united, man must not divide.” (Matthew 19: 5 – 6).

Marriage is ordained by God for one man and one woman. When a man meets a woman and they get married, God’s unerring direction is at work. In God’s government, there are no accidents. Every action, every event is governed by his love and wisdom. “God is faithful in all his words and LOVING IN All HIS DEEDS,” the psalmist proclaimed. If all God’s deeds are wise, then there is no question of “wrong partner.” Through the apparently “wrong partner”, God is saving us and training us.

Help us Lord to see the truth in your divine providence.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Enough Money

“Keep your lives free from love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, ‘I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.’ Let us be bold, then, and say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?” (Hebrews 13: 5)

I have never thought of faith as boldness. But the above scripture says: “Let us be bold…” which in the context means: Let us have faith. When I looked up the word bold in the Thesaurus, I saw among many words the following: audacious, courageous, daring, fearless, unafraid, etc. The opposite of bold is defined as: afraid, cowardly, fearful, timid, weak, etc.

To enjoy God’s promise on money, we must be fearless in claiming the gift. The love of money creates in us the condition for being fearful of the loss of money. But God’s word says:

Do not worry about money. Have no anxiety whatsoever about money.
Be content with whatever you have.
If you have much, be content with it. If you have little, be equally content.
God promises: I will always support you and be your sufficiency. You will never be embarrassed on account of money.
You will always have what you need.
Trust in Me at all times to provide.

Because God has made the promise and I know that God is true and faithful, I am very bold and confident as I say: “The Lord is my helper in all my financial needs. Why should I be afraid? Nobody can threaten me or embarrass me because of money. This is God’s word and it is true. If I believe it and do not doubt at all, everything becomes possible.” (Matthew 21: 21).

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need.” (Psalm 23: 1)
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; I will fear no one.” (Psalm 27:1)

“Protect me, O God; I trust in you for safety. I say to the Lord, ‘you are my Lord; all the good things I have come from you.” (Psalm 16:1)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Your Debt is cancelled

“You wicked servant,” he said ‘I cancelled all that debt of yours when you appealed to me. Were you not bound, then, to have pity on your fellow servant just as I had pity on you?” (Matthew 18: 32 – 33).

The wicked servant was handed over to be tortured until he could pay all his debt. And Jesus added that our heavenly Father will deal with us in similar manner if we do not forgive each other.

How will you feel if you receive a letter from your bank or Credit Card Company and the content reads like this: “We are happy to inform you that with immediate effect all your credit card debt, your mortgage and all your loans have been cancelled. You are now completely free of debt.” For many of us, the joy might be too much to bear. Yet this is what God has done with our debt of sin. He can also do this with all our debt. But God demands something in return. He demands that we do to others what he does for us. In this parable, we see that what others owe us is miniscule compared to what we have been forgiven.

Thank you Lord, for this lesson. You have forgiven me so much. I pledge to forgive anybody who has offended me in any way.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

How to forgive

“Then Peter went up to him and said, ‘Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as 7 times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not 7, I tell you, but 77 times.” (Matthew 18: 21 – 22)

In this text, Jesus gives us a new standard for forgiving those who wrong us. The standard is God himself. With him, there is no limit to forgiveness. He is infinitely merciful, compassionate and ever-forgiving. Jesus is inviting us to behave like himself, like God.

Whom do we need to forgive? Spouses, children, siblings, relatives, friends; those who cheat us; those who persecute us.

The theme of forgiveness is so important that it is a condition for getting God to grant our requests. Jesus included forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer.

We need the Holy Spirit to be able to forgive completely.

Jesus, I have heard your word today on forgiveness and I accept your teaching. I forgive anybody who might have offended me in any way. I pledge always to forgive. I need your grace to be able to do this well.