Blessed are the Peacemakers

I just completed another year of God’s faithfulness in my life on October 2, 2014 and I praise Almighty God for I experienced His mercies thus far which were new every morning. As I dwell in this blessed thought, I wish to share some of the thoughts the Lord Almighty inspired me contemplating in my mind. These thoughts are already present in the God’s Word, the holy Bible, and I share with you with some fresh insights that He blessed me with as I meditated on them.

Lord Jesus in His sermon on the mount pronounced around eight Beatitudes, each of with starts with the word “Blessed” (in Latin, Beatus, which means ‘blessed’). One of these says, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9). In other words, God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called children of God.

We live in a world which is full of violence. The violence is nothing new to the mankind. In one of the other posts, I have already mentioned that we read of earliest wars in humans recorded history as early as circa 3500-2200 BC between Sumer and Akkad in Mesopotamia. The Bible records a prophecy of God dealing ruthlessly with a great city called Nineveh of Assyrian Empire which was known for its violence. This came true in sixth century B.C. when Nineveh was utterly destroyed, not to be found up to around nineteenth century A.D.  One of the prophets in Bible, Habakkuk in late 7th century B.C., cried out to God, in Habakkuk 1:2-4,

How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but You do not listen?
Or cry out to You, “Violence!”
but You do not save?
Why do You make me look at injustice?
Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted.

If you read the lines above carefully, I can say with confidence that it might have been your cry too some or other time in your life thus far. Habakkuk was privileged to directly receive a reply from God Almighty regarding this complaint. He recorded it in his book in the Bible. We however, come back to the theme of ‘peacemakers’.

The word ‘children of God’ is a very special phrase in the Bible used for selected (but indistinguishable) privileged people. John, in his gospel writes about the children of God, like this, in John 1:9-13,

The true light [Jesus Christ] that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own [Jews], but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John, in his letter, further writes in 1 John 3:1,

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

These references above therefore mandate us to look deeper into these phrases, the peacemakers, and the children of God, as they may be interchangeably used in certain contexts.

Bible refers to God as “Jehovah-Shalom” which literally means, “The LORD is Peace”. A distinguished title given to Lord Jesus in the Bible is “The Prince of Peace”. Before Lord Jesus was crucified, He promised His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you …” Lord Jesus often blessed His disciples with blessing phrase “Peace be upon you.” We also read of the concept of “World Peace” in the Bible when Lord Jesus will return to the Earth in what is called “Second Coming”. Some glimpses are given in the Bible, as we read from 8th century B.C. prophet Isaiah, in 11:6-9.

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling together;
and a little child will lead them.
The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

Many of us might have started wondering if something like this can really happen! The great news is that anything that has been written in the Bible came into reality in God’s own time. Therefore, rather than dwelling on the possibility of fact, let us dwell on the ‘fact’ itself. What is God’s intention when He wants us to be peacemakers? What would constitute a man [or woman] to be called a peacemaker?

The first and foremost thing for being peacemakers is to reflect the character of God in our lives. What does this mean? This means to do what God does. What is it that God is [still] doing? He is bringing back people from violence to peace. The Bible talks about very simple demands that God requires of from the mankind. Micah, another 8th Century B.C. prophet, revealed God’s will,

He has told you, O man, what is good,
and what the Lord really wants from you:
He wants you to promote justice, to be faithful,
and to live obediently before your God.
Listen! The Lord is calling to the city!
It is wise to respect your authority, O Lord!
Listen, O nation, and those assembled in the city!
“I will not overlook, O sinful house, the dishonest gain you have hoarded away,
or the smaller-than-standard measure I hate so much.
I do not condone the use of rigged scales,
or a bag of deceptive weights.
The city’s rich men think nothing of resorting to violence;
her inhabitants lie,
their tongues speak deceptive words.
I will strike you brutally
and destroy you because of your sin.
You will eat, but not be satisfied.
Even if you have the strength to overtake some prey,
you will not be able to carry it away;
if you do happen to carry away something,
I will deliver it over to the sword.
You will plant crops, but will not harvest them;
you will squeeze oil from the olives, but you will have no oil to rub on your bodies;
you will squeeze juice from the grapes, but you will have no wine to drink.

The 11th century B.C. king David wrote in one of his praise songs [psalms] for God,

LORD, who may enter Your Holy Tent?
Who may live on Your holy mountain?

Only those who are innocent
and who do what is right.

The act of peace-making is bringing the world back to God’s order. In a rebellious generation where people are quick to resort to violence, God has a great plan for us to be His peacemakers. The final thought on His subject of peace-making is from an act of God Himself as the peacemaker. This is about a true story of a Canadian messenger of God, Don Richardson (born 1935), who worked among the tribal people ‘Sawi’ of Western New Guinea, Indonesia circa 1962. To paraphrase a historian’s words about Richardson’s work,

As he learned the [Sawi] language and lived with the people, he became more aware of the gulf that separated his [Biblical] worldview from the worldview of the Sawi: “In their eyes, Judas [Iscariot], was the hero of the Gospels, not Jesus who was someone that they laughed at.”

The Sawi’s believed, much like many in the world today, that evil is good [and desirable]. On my journey back home yesterday from office, when I stopped at a traffic signal showing red, a white colour bus driver behind me on the road who had to stop because of me, became so restless that he started yelling loudly that I cross the signal while it had many seconds left to turn into green. I, however, ignored him and waited for the signal to show green before I started. I feel sad often to learn that we live in a country where people love violence. It is so engrained in the lives of people around us that we see glimpses of the same in almost anything that observe: our festivities, our travel, our protests, hunger-strikes and dharnas, our movies and television soaps, our buses, metros and trains, our offices, the speeches of many of our political and spiritual leaders, and in our divisive outlooks of society! Sawi people probably shared the same spirit as this bus driver.

As the time passed, Richardson observed that three tribal villages were in constant battle at that time. The Richardson with his wife were considering leaving the area, so to keep them there [due to their medical help to the tribes], the Sawi people in the embattled villages came together and decided that they would make peace with their hated enemies. Ceremonies commenced that saw young children being exchanged between opposing villages. One man in particular ran toward his enemy’s camp and literally gave his son to his hated foe. As long as the child from opposing group is safe under one community’s custody, there was peace between those tribes.

Richardson used the above picture to share good news of “Peace-Child” of God. The Bible says, in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Dear friends, Jesus Christ is the picture of the “Peace-Child” of God. God in His Son has made peace with the world that we may be reconciled to Him. The choice, of course, rests with us whether we accept His offer or not.

It is my prayer to Almighty God that each person, man or woman, on this Earth may become an instrument of His peace-making. May we experience the peace that God gives – the peace that transcends human understanding!

May God’s peace rest upon you!

Leave a comment

Filed under Peace

God and friendship

Today is September 15, 2014 (IST) and birthday of a friend who is no more with us on the earth. This little note is dedicated to the topic of friendship, how we as humans can have meaningful friendship with friends, and how we can learn from the ultimate friend of us all, Almighty God, to be the best friend to one or all of our friends.

The best model of human friendship is portrayed in the Bible in friendship of David and Jonathan. About these two friends, it is written, “…the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” (1 Samuel 18:1). Another friendship, knit within the relationship of daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, was that of Ruth and Naomi. When Naomi asked her to leave after her son’s death, Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16). Beyond exemplary human friendships, Bible talks of friendship between man and God. About Moses it is written, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” (Exodus 33:11) We read Lord Jesus saying to His disciples, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15).

We read in the Bible that friendship is divine. The statement means that friendship is a quality (or instinct) that we inherit from God. We are born with the fact of who are our siblings. We, however, choose who can be our friends. No wonder then, when we read in Bible, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24). Often a true friend is the next closest person than one’s wife or husband. The friendship therefore demands God’s grace and character to make it a true friendship.

In Bible, we read of a man named Paul of Tarsus. This man was once enemy of anyone who believed in Lord Jesus. God touched Paul’s life, and he became a disciple of Jesus Christ. He had never met Jesus personally while He lived on the earth but God revealed Paul the mysteries of God in a manner so unique that anyone who read Paul’s writings will immediately know that his message was from God. Before he was martyred for Christ, Paul wrote to Timothy, a young man, like these about God’s nature:

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;

If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us;

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

(2 Timothy 2:11-13)

God has declared you and me His friend. We have a choice to reject His friendship. If we deny Him, He will deny us because He does not force human beings to become His friends. But that does not end the story. While we remain alien to Him, He DOES NOT remain alien to us, because He cannot deny Himself.

The above is summarized in this love statement of Bible:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

(John 3:16)

The friend who is no more with us today accepted the friendship of Lord Jesus while she lived on this earth. She has left an example for us that we too can find that ultimate friendship!

Leave a comment

Filed under Love

What is love?

Dear friends,

The word ‘love’ indeed is a wonderful word and makes us feel happy when we hear it being expressed or talked about. This word has its parallel in almost all languages of the world. Many of us think that it relates to our hearts. Those in genre of philosophers can write volumes of treatise about what love is; what love is not and what it ought to be. In this writing, I wish to express some of my feelings on this beautiful subject and address some of the issues that I feel that trouble some of us, especially the youth of our country.

I wish I could define the word ‘love’ but actually I do not have any definition or I should say, that there is hardly any definition that would actually capture the essence of this word. During my school days, our respected principal would say, to love is, to care. An ardent follower of philosophy of Rajneesh, indeed, he was very close to the essence of this beautiful word ‘love’. This understanding does address the essential element of ‘loving’ which must at the core have an attitude and action of ‘caring’. We love our parents, we love our siblings and we love our friends. However, many a times we extend our care to someone when at heart we really don’t love him or her. To bring such an example into discussion is of course, of no profit. We conclude therefore that an act of caring may not also be an act based on love.

The most important and most discussed aspect of love has been the love between a man and a woman, often in the relationship of husband and wife through the covenant of marriage. This love between a husband and a wife is culmination of one of the deepest innate needs of mankind. That need is the universal need of being loved.

The contemporary science, the Biology to be specific, teaches adolescent boys and girls that this need of being loved is largely an outcome of some chemical reactions in human body. There are certain urges in the body due to hormonal activities and they teach that these urges need to be addressed just as other biological stimuli are addressed. The love, then, is a physiological phenomenon as understood in contemporary science. What else are we taught? They teach safe physical relationships, how to avoid certain diseases and infections and how to channel these ‘energies’ in other physiological realms like sports or physical exercises. The parents who are in love with each other and conversant with children teach many other aspects of love to their children as they understand. The spiritual leaders, men and women, teach spiritual discipline as they understand are relevant to universal human need of love. The cinemas, theatres, soap opera in televisions, documentaries, newspapers, tabloids, magazines and other media kinds often mistake to depict the prevailing practices as love when nothing of the content of same may actually reflect what love is all about. You may now be wondering, then, what is this love I wanted to talk about?

The love as I understand is the fact that brings the feeling of completeness to a man or a woman. Here, I restrict myself to the aspect to love that is romantic in nature and often consummates in marriage. I have often seen friends anxiously waiting or trying to find a boy-friend or a girl-friend. There is nothing wrong in this desire, morally or physiologically. However, what I feel saddening about the matter is that people have a narrow outlook when they find a boy-friend or a girl-friend. Some of them find them as a result of peer-pressure. I am a boy, and my other friend has a girl-friend, Shouldn’t I have a girl-friend too? A similar feeling often reels in the minds of the girls. Sometimes this desire emanates out of insecurity. The question that needs to be asked at this juncture is most important: Will this person make me complete?

The concept of completeness through love is not an outcome of my imagination or musings. This concept comes from the first man Adam and his wife Eve. When God created Adam and wanted to find a suitable companion (helper) for him, there was none found on the whole earth. So God created the woman Eve out of the man Adam. As she was a part of Adam, he was incomplete without Eve. And so was Eve incomplete without Adam because without Adam, Eve had no existence.

We talk of three areas of this love between a man and a woman, which must be addressed before committing oneself in love to the other. There three areas are often called three ‘C’ – companionship, complementing and covenant. Let’s begin with companionship. We live a world of brokenness, and a learned man Eliphaz, probably about four thousand years ago, said “Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” From the time we start taking cognizance of the world around us, most of us are faced with heart-breaks, pains, troubles, suffering, abuse and tears. A friend of mine once confided with me that she felt that her mother is often happy when her father was not around at home. This constant feeling of alienation between her parents troubled her from her childhood. There are many not so fortunate ones who did not have friends, or companions, to talk about their deepest pains and hurts. When they talk about it to someone, they feel relieved and light. When we have a shoulder to cry, the burden that our heart and conscience have carried for ages, so suddenly disappears. That is the mark of true companionship. A love relationship is a total myth if the truth cannot be spoken to the beloved. A true love is beyond the limits of our mental faculties and reaches the deepest corners of our spoken and unspoken selves. How pitiful would be a love relationship where the lovers have to hide even their material means of expressions like sms in cell-phones! To a young boy or girl, I would ask, does your love in consideration read beyond your eyes to reach your heart and mind?

The next identification element of true love is in complementing. To complement means to add to make perfect or complete. This may appear to be an obvious challenge for many who are or willing to ‘fall’ in love. As I have often seen, like attracts (or sometimes repels) like. In a country like India, parents have expressed or assumed demands from their children that they ought to find their life-partners of the same ‘status’ as they belong to. You will be amused and amazed to see matrimonial ads as published in Indian newspapers. However, true love is not about equality but complementing. If love was all about looks and brains, I wonder, if we would have known about many legendary love stories like that of Laila and Majnu. This lady, as many would know, was reportedly dark in complexion yet the queen of her beloved’s imagination. There are God-given gifts, some to a man and others to a woman. When they come together in love, these gifts multiply through synergy and make these individually imperfect personalities a beautiful perfect whole. When in love, we often ignore the beloved’s wrongs as it is written “love covers over a multitude of sins.” So, my question is again to a young boy or girl considering commitment to love, what makes you click in the person you wish to consider your beloved?

The final and most unfortunate element of true love is covenant – a solemn promise of faithfulness. This is the fundamental element which is often ignored in consideration of love and has often resulted in ruining lives, homes, families, careers and characters. Hardly any day would pass that newspapers do not have memoir of any failed relationship, betrayal, depression, revenge or suicide. In our pursuit of lust, often depicted as love in contemporary society, we bring disaster on lives, families and societies. Why is covenant so very important in a love relationship? The reason finds its origin in God. In Bible, God has expressed His relationship to His precious children like that of love of a groom for his bride. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Jesus loved the church and gave himself up for her.” It is a man’s fundamental duty to love his beloved to the extent that even if he has to sacrifice his very life for her, he must not hold back from doing so. Many of the friends, young boys and girls, and sometimes even married people, do not take this matter seriously. God hates adulterers. Therefore, a love relationship calls for complete devotion and nothing less. This is one area in love, where one cannot backtrack. This is because all promises are made before God (who is present everywhere) as the Witness. When we break the covenant of love, we break not just the heart of our beloved but we undermine God’s Witness. The trail of this undermining God’s sovereignty results in devastated selves, lives, families, societies and countries. Therefore, think thousands of times and pray before Almighty God before you commit to someone in love. And if you make the covenant of love, honor it as you get married and live your life of love with that person as your spouse all through your life.

So love is not just about feelings. It is also not about an evil Cupid hard-pressed to yield you go astray. It is God’s way of making you a complete self through your beloved. May God make you complete in His own appointed time through His wonderful way!

Leave a comment

Filed under Love

“But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’

The human life is full of questions. We ask many hard questions in life. A child of average intellect who is facing board-exams may ask, “Why do I have to face these exams?” A college undergraduate student is often perplexed with the question of will she or he be getting job just after the college? In our relationships and friendships, we sometimes ask difficult questions, often to ourselves, whether someone really cares for us or not? In the same manner, about two-thousand and four hundred years ago, people asked God a question, “How have you loved us?1

Prophet Malachi was given a very tough task. He lived among people whom God Almighty had often said, “I have loved you.2 These very words were written time and again in the Books they considered God-given. Just about two-hundred years ago, their prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.3 The prophet they considered greatest among prophets, Moses, wrote, “But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.4 Through prophet Hosea, in eighth-century BC, God sent His word, “I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.5 The people however asked the same question, “How have you loved us?1

Many of us may not be vocal about how we feel about God and what questions do we ask Him. There is a commonplace idiom used by people around us: “Where is the God of justice?6 And we often affirm it by saying nothing in response. God reminded His people through Prophet Malachi that by saying or affirming such things we actually weary God. Today in our new age understanding of world affairs, we bring God to same treatment as we do to things created by God. We argue scientific hypothesis. And so we argue of things about God. As we write theses on black holes we had never seen, we make judgements about things of God which are beyond our human faculties.

Dr. Harry Kilbride, author of “When the road is rough and steep” notes that there is a right way to approach God. That way is none other than the way of humility. He recalls prophet Elijah’s encounter with God7. Prophet Elijah, running to save his life, after a journey of about forty and two days, reaching mount Horeb [Sinai], was confronted by God, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” The prophet immediately replied to God, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty… I am the only one left…” God, in response to Elijah’s statement, however told him that He will display Elijah God’s great glory which will pass in front to him. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD God was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD God was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?

Why God had to ask the same question to Elijah again? Because there is a right way to approach God and Lord wanted Elijah to learn the same. The act of pulling his cloak over his face by Elijah was an act of humility – an essential requirement to face God. Now that the approach was set right, God asked the same question to Elijah. Why prophet Elijah was immediately realized of the need of humility? Because He saw the glory of God!

Friends, we are all faced with many spoken and unspoken challenges of life. Many of those challenges lead us to questions. And many of those questions are directed towards Lord Jesus Christ. And often we wonder why there is no reply from God. Is our way to approach God right?

‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD.8

1 Malachi 1:2

2 Malachi 1:2

3 Jeremiah 31:3

4 Deuteronomy 7:8

5 Hosea 11:4

6 Malachi 2:17

7 1 Kings 19:9-14

8 Jeremiah 29:12-14

Leave a comment

Filed under Love

God and You

In a world of perplexity, we all come across scores of people from various arena of life. We, however, remember only few of them limited by vicissitudes of life. I recently came across a friend in another city whom I had requested for helping a friend who was in bad health and admitted to hospital. To my own surprise, I had forgotten the name of this friend of mine who was sick!

Not so with God. He knows you by name and remembers every detail of your life. I take this opportunity to share with you a precious verse that I came across in Bible:

वह [परमेश्वर] जो ऊँचा और सर्वोपरि है,   वह जो अमर है, वह जिसका नाम पवित्र है, वह यह कहता है,

“मैं एक ऊँचे और पवित्र स्थान पर रहता हूँ, किन्तु मैं उन लोगों के बीच भी रहता हूँ जो दु:खी और विनम्र हैं

ताकि जो मन से विनम्र हैं उनकी आत्मा को उठाऊँ  और उनके दु:खी हृदय को पुनर्जीवित करूँ”|

– यशायाह 57:15

For this is what the high and exalted One [God] says—

He who lives forever, whose name is holy:

“I live in a high and holy place,  but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,

to revive the spirit of the lowly  and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

– Isaiah 57:15

In a vast country like India, which represents one of every sixth person on the earth, we read newspapers or watch television news to learn that no one cares for others. We see the same thing often in our relationships and friendships. Yet, the Bible reminds us that God is our friend and He is not out-there but in-here. How He longs to revive our spirits when we feel low and brings cheer to our heart when we hit the rock!

Lord Jesus Christ, after nearly 700 years later, shared the same sentiments for the people of His time. He lamented the unbelief of two cities named Chroazin and Bethsaida

“ओ खुराजीन, ओ बैतसैदा, तुम्हें धिक्कार है, क्योंकि जो आश्चर्यकर्म तुममें किये गए, यदि उन्हें सूर और सैदा में किया जाता, तो न जाने वे कब के टाट के शोक-वस्त्र धारण कर और राख में बैठ कर मन फिरा लेते। कुछ भी हो न्याय के दिन सूर और सैदा की स्थिति तुमसे कहीं अच्छी होगी।”

– लूका 10:13-14

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.  But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you.”

-Luke 10:13-14

Jesus also wept for Jerusalem where He was finally crucified. We read it like this:

“ओ यरूशलेम, यरूशलेम! तू वह है जो नबियों की हत्या करता है और परमेश्वर के भेजे दूतों को पत्थर मारता है। मैंने कितनी बार चाहा है कि जैसे कोई मुर्गी अपने चूज़ों को अपने पंखों के नीचे इकट्ठा कर लेती है वैसे ही मैं तेरे बच्चों को एकत्र कर लूँ। किन्तु तुम लोगों ने नहीं चाहा। अब तेरा मन्दिर पूरी तरह उजड़ जायेगा। सचमुच मैं तुम्हें बताता हूँ तुम मुझे तब तक फिर नहीं देखोगे जब तक तुम यह नहीं कहोगे: ‘धन्य है वह जो प्रभु के नाम पर आ रहा है!’

-मत्ती 23:37-39

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

-Matthew 23:37-39

At another place in Bible we read of similar sentiments of God:

जब उसने [यीशु ने] पास आकर नगर को देखा तो वह उस पर रो पड़ा। और बोला, “यदि तू बस आज यह जानता कि शान्ति तुझे किस से मिलेगी किन्तु वह अभी तेरी आँखों से ओझल है। वे दिन तुझ पर आयेंगे जब तेरे शत्रु चारों ओर बाधाएँ खड़ी कर देंगे। वे तुझे घेर लेंगे और चारों ओर से तुझ पर दबाव डालेंगे। वे तुझे धूल में मिला देंगे-तुझे और तेरे भीतर रहने वाले तेरे बच्चों को। तेरी चारदीवारी के भीतर वे एक पत्थर पर दूसरा पत्थर नहीं रहने देंगे। क्योंकि जब परमेश्वर तेरे पास आया, तूने उस घड़ी को नहीं पहचाना।”

As he [Jesus] approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Dear friends, today we have this opportunity to see the heart of God. He is just by your side. If you so wish, you can share your heart with him today!

*|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||*||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||*|||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||*

Leave a comment

Filed under Love

My Life and Life of Jesus Christ – My Experience with Jesus

MY EXPERIENCE OF JESUS CHRIST

I praise God for giving me this opportunity to write about my personal experience of Lord Jesus Christ. I was born in 1979 at Rishikesh (Uttranchal) in India on the bank of river Ganga (Ganges) and was brought-up in Faridabad (Haryana). I have been knowing to pray to Jesus from 1989 when my father was very seriously ill and was in ICU of Faridabad ESI hospital for about a month due to chest infection. One aunty in our neighborhood where my mother used to work told her that praying to Jesus makes a difference. That time my mother taught us to pray to God in the name of Jesus. However, we did not know how to pronounce the word Jesus because we had heard it for the first time. So we would pray, “Jai Jises!” I opened my life for God from that time itself, knowing not much, except to pray to Jesus in the morning and in the evening before going to bed. We prayed regularly, and my father got recovered from his illness within a month. I have been a special child of God because He has given me a body with some elements of deformity. The kind of deformities that I have is called multiple-exostosis at all joints. Nothing of it really hurts, neither cause much of discomfort, as it has been from my childhood, from age of one year itself. I praise God for my body, because it was due to infirmities that I came closer to Him. Before joining Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, I was asked to get medical examination done at AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), New Delhi, and that time, in August 1998, doctors at Neurology Centre said that there is a critical problem with C1 part of my spinal cord, and problem was diagnosed as “cervical myalopathy”. One of the leading surgeons in Neurology Department was Dr. Anupam Jindal, a great Neurosurgeon, who was in-charge of my case. The Doctors told me that there will be a major surgery, the result of which might be uncertain. After surgery, you might awake with all your senses alright or might end up into being in the bed for the rest of your life due to paralysis. If you don’t get the surgery done, then also the same problem may happen in future, and at that time we will not be able to do anything…

I have been almost perfectly normal in every aspect of my life and always lived an independent life, and tried my best never to be a burden on my family in any regard, especially financially. Even the thought of being on the bed for the rest of my life was completely unimaginable. Although not willing much, I surrendered to the decision of the doctors. Before going to the operation theatre on Aug 18, 1998 morning, my father was walking with me to operation theatre, I being on a stretcher after taking an anaesthesia tablet. I don’t know something happened to me, and I felt overwhelmed in my heart. My mother was on her way to AIIMS from Faridabad and was caught in traffic jam. I was missing her also very much. The result was uncertain and still I was going ahead with surgery. Finally, I could not resist the revolting tears of my eyes and they started flowing. I felt very much sweating as well probably due to that anaesthia tablet, and felt like going into trance. Before closing my eyes finally, whatever little I had read from Bible by that time, I told to my father that God says in the Bible, “If My people would have but listened to Me, if they would have walked in My ways… I would have fed them with the finest of wheat, and with the honey from the rock, I would have satisfied them.” (Psalm 81).  No one expects honey from the rock but when trust in Him, He is able to satisfy us with honey from the rock. I experienced His love when I committed my mind, spirit, body and soul to Him that moment as I closed my eyes that morning, while my father still standing by my side. I tasted God’s honey from the rock when I came out from the operation theatre same day after 8 hours. The nurse told me, “Move your left leg.” I moved it up. Then she asked me to do the same for my right leg, left hand and right hand. I was able to move them all. The operation was successful. Then called my parents and the doctor also moved in. He asked how was I feeling and I said that I was feeling very light, as if some burden (weight) had been taken away from me. The tears again started flowing when I saw my parent. I felt so much overwhelmed when I saw how God was so gracious to me. I committed my life to Jesus completely the same year in 1998 when one of my Christian friends, and my best friend of all times, asked me whether I would follow Jesus or the world. I was little disturbed by that question but I finally chose to follow Jesus the same night. From that time onwards I have been walking everyday with Jesus. I don’t want to get away from Him. In my personal homepage of IIT website which is no more now, there was a song titled: “Like a bird that flies…” That song is my testimony song, the song which has been true in my life. Whenever I get away or try to get away from Jesus, it is only by His grace (undeserving favour on me) that I still abide in Him. My calling I see in the verse where Jesus said that I have not chosen Him but Jesus has chosen me. I have just allowed Him in my life with a sincere and open heart.

“I am weak but Thou are strong,

 Jesus keep me from all wrong,

 I’ll be satisfied as long,

 as I walk, let me walk,

 close with Thee

 

 Just a closer walk with Thee,

 grant it Jesus ’tis my plea,

 Walking daily close with Thee,

 let it be, dear Lord, let it be…”

After I accepted Jesus in 1998, there had been series of problems in my life, some of which still cling to me. In June 2002, when I was going through probably a most depressing period in my life that I can recall thus far, I wrote this paragraph to a friend. I am quoting that text here.  In the last two months, in your absence, I spent lot of time knowing God and His love, His strength and His joy. It was a time of healing, time of peace, time of leaning on Him, time to look to His face, time to realize that I can do nothing without Him and also to realize that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. More than anything else, I learned to smile. And smiled not because there was anything visible in my life for which I could smile, but smiled just because it was and it is the will of the Father concerning me in Christ Jesus. And as I allowed Jesus to live His life more and more through me, I got the things I have been longing for: the joy of God being in my life. It was in summer 2000 when I decided I will not smile, and I said I will not be happy. I said that there was nothing in life to be happy about because everything went on the side I had never imagined. I questioned everything in my life – and I said I will not be happy till the happiness comes on my way. The days, months and years passed, but the happiness never came in life except the hope that my life is in the hands of the One who is able to keep what is committed to Him. And struggling with everything in my life,  still “I kept the faith”, I chose to believe that God is in control, and absolutely nothing happens without His knowledge and permission. I said, Lord, You know that I love you. The knowledge that Jesus loves me was, and still is, the only purpose of my living and I live because I have not chosen Jesus but Jesus has chosen me and has ordained me. Thus far I had lived and am living by faith – not by sight, not by fears but by hope. I knew that everyone or everything may forsake me sometime or the other, but Jesus will always receive me. And He did it just as He had promised. When I remember how unfaithful I have been to Him, I cannot stop my tears. He loved me as I was, whether faithful or unfaithful. When I said I will follow Him, He loved me. And when I said I will not follow Him, then also He loved me. I cannot imagine how wide, how long, how vast and how deep is the love of God which is in Christ Jesus… just as I was, He loved me.  And this is love: not that I loved Him first, but He loved me, and gave His Son for me as an atoning sacrifice for my sins. I don’t deserve this amazing love – but because He loves me, I received His love. His love – the reason that I still live – endures forever, His mercies never end, they are new every morning. As I “reduced myself” more and more, He took hold of my life deeper and deeper, and gave me smile when nothing was to smile about, and my smile was no more a pretence, nor an outward expression, but was fruit of genuine inner joy and peace…  and that was the time when I realized that “If anyone is free in Christ, then he is free indeed.” First time I felt that yes, there is something different with Christ… I am free… Praise be to Jesus to whom belongs all glory, honour, praise and power now and forever. Amen.

 Before accepting Jesus, I had the psycho-life (life of mind), the soma-life (life of body), but I did not have Zoe (The Life of Jesus Christ)… and this is the life which Jesus promised us when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” And when He said, “…I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.I today have that Zoe, the life of Christ, and I wish to share with you that this life is wonderful. Indeed, righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit is the kingdom of God where we live from the moment we invite Jesus in our heart and accept Him as our Saviour.

So this is the little story of my life as to why and how I believe in Jesus Christ.

———————————————————————

“My ears had heard of You but now my eyes have seen You…” (Job 42:5)

Leave a comment

Filed under Joy

Today salvation has come to this house..

Not all of us are born tall. Anyone of short stature will immediately realize how difficult it becomes at time when one has to see through a crowd. Hundreds and thousands of people, everyone is so curious to see Jesus walking along the city roads of Jericho (in present day Palestine), and here comes a man Zacchaeus, the chief tax collector of the city, wanting to have a glimpse of Jesus. But the crowd will not let him `coz he was of short height. But Zacchaeus would not give-in. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see Him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’”

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

In today’s world of celebrities, VIPs and VVIPs, many of us may feel like Zacchaeus, not necessary due to someone’s short height or stature but because we may find ourselves so ordinary in the limelight and glitz that we see around. Those who read Page-3 or watch celebrity soaps in CBS channels may wonder what it takes to make life meaningiful and relevant to others.  Do I have any worth that someone significant should think of me?

Zacchaeus was probably a man hated for the profession that he was into it. The tax collectors of his time were hated and despised by Jews because they were usually fellow Jews who worked for Roman government. It was similar story for Indian beaurocrats working for British government in pre-Independent India. Some patriots like Subhash Chandra Bose would renounce an IAS seat for the same reason of not working for a foreign government against the fellow Indian brothers and sisters. A Jewish tax-collector like Zacchaeus was often considered synonymous with ‘sinners’ as they called them. In a community of own people, with riches and a government job, Zacchaeus was lonely at heart and therefore probably wanted to see the One who was often called a ‘friend’ of sinners and tax-collectors.

Jesus did not only see Zacchaeus but He also saw the vacuum in his heart. Jesus saw a man who was willing to repent (change his mind from evil) and believe (turn to God). So Jesus offered to dine with him.

We see two things happening in Zacchaeus’ life.  According to the Law of Moses, Zacchaeus was required to make restitution in full and add a fifth of the value to it to pay back the person whom he might have cheated. But Zacchaeus’ declaration of four times was going to be far beyond what the Law demanded. This was a sign of true repentence (turning one’s mind and action from evil ways). When Jesus saw a man repenting of his past and turning to God, the second and most important thing happened in Zacchaeus’ life – the God’s gift of eternal life was given to Zacchaeus and his family.

Jesus’ declaration, “Today salvation has come to this house…”, is not just for Zacchaeus who lived 2000 years ago but also to anyone of us who would repent and believe in the good news of Jesus. Zacchaeus was just someone out there for  the crowd but to Jesus he was  a very special person. Today Jesus is thinking about you and me. He knows us and calls us by name just as He called Zacchaeus from below the tree.

Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

1 Comment

Filed under Joy

Jesus loves India

About 2750 years ago from now, God sent a prophet named Jonah to great city of Assyria of Mesopotamian culture in present day Iraq. The prophet prophesied,  Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned. (Jonah 3:4 Bible). In a great turn of events, we see that the city of Nineveh repented of the evil ways that were prevalent in the city. The king of Nineveh decreed,

By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.

The Bible records that when God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.

But the LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”

But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

This story is a true depiction of God’s loving heart for a land which was not Jewish but was in the centre of God’s care. God was concerned for Nineveh. We can say without a doubt that God is concerned for India.

Jesus loves India. He loves each person living in this land- man, woman, old, young, children, live-stock, flora and fauna. He loves this country to His core and He wants each person in this nation to repent of their evil ways if their conscience convicts them of the same.

“The time has come,” Jesus said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”

1 Comment

Filed under Love