Dubious Authority

Satan tempting Jesus with the Lure of Authority

Satan tempting Jesus with the Lure of Authority

“I will give you all authority and splendor” Luke 4: 6

Here we see Satan tempting Jesus with the privilege of authority. After leading Jesus to a high place and showing him all the kingdoms of the world, Satan is telling Jesus that if Jesus worshiped him he would give ‘all authority and splendor’.

Satan claims that that authority was given to him and he could give it to anyone he wants. This is a false claim because Psalm 24: 1 says that “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it”. God is the only one who has the ultimate and genuine authority. He is on the throne and only He can give authority to anyone.

But with a false claim, Satan is trying to deceive the Son of God. Jesus, knowing the truth, merely answers saying, “It is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (Luke 4: 8).

In our lives also, Satan deceivingly tempts us with the lure of authority. If we do something which would please the devil, we may get temporary power and authority. But it would not last.

We may cherish authority and long to gain it through any means, but true authority is given by God alone. So let us stop manipulating, scheming and politicking to gain authority and power.

Let us remember the word of Jesus to Pilate. “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above” (John 19: 11).

Let us reject the attempts of Satan to show us shortcut to gain temporal authority but humble before God so that he would give us authority according to his own good will which would last for a long time.

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Source of our Success

God: the giver of seeds

God: the giver of seeds

“He who supplies seed to the sower… will supply and increase your store of seed” 2 Cor 9: 10

A farmer would be proud of his produce. When he is harvesting, especially when the harvest is plenty, he has the right to be proud. He had worked hard by sowing the seed and tending the field with utmost care. Day after day he had toiled to remove the weeds and provide the right type of manure and exact amount of water needed for the growth. Now he has rightly earned his reward.

But Paul is pointing to another factor in the farmer’s success story: God.

What part he has played in this success story?

God is the source of this success. He provided the farmer with the seed he needed to bring out the product.  Seed is the basic thing for the whole story of success. But which farmer remembers the seed and thanks God for it!

It is same with our success stories. We strive, toil and reap success. We are proud of our achievements. If anyone asks the secret of our success, we boast about the strategy we used, hours of hard work we put on the task, people who supported our work etc. When talking to a Christian we may even mention the name of God and use the phrase: “By the grace of God, I did it”.

But do we fully understand that God is the source of our success? Because he is the one who gave us the wisdom to do the task. He had given us the health, without which we would never be able to work. If we probe deeper, God is the one who put us in the right circumstances to be what we are today. If we had been born in another family, we would not have achieved what we have achieved today. If we had studied in another school, we would not have gained these experiences.

We should be thankful to God for these sources which he gave to build our successes on.

Moses reminds Israelites of God’s words in Deuteronomy 8: 18, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth”.

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Good Shepherd

Good Shephred

Good Shephred

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” – John 10: 14

Jesus proclaims himself as a good shepherd who knows his sheep. He has intimate knowledge of his sheep. This is an encouraging fact for the believers who consider Jesus as their shepherd. This means that there is no need for a Christian to be downcast about being misunderstood and unloved in this hostile world.

Our Shepherd knows us!

How much does he know us?

Isaiah says that “He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. He gently leads those that have young” (Is 40: 11).

This verse shows us that He knows us individually. He knows our weaknesses and strengths. He knows when we are to be carried and when we should be walked slowly.

When we feel that we are at the end of the rope, may be God is watching us like a shepherd and says to himself that we can go little longer. Or when we feel that we are too tired to make another effort in life, God knows that we have strength to make that last effort which would bring success. When we are jealous of someone who sails in life smoothly, God is allowing you to walk with the flock because he knows you have the strength.

Whatever is our situation, this fact that God knows us should be a great consolation for us. It should encourage us to be bold in life. It should strengthen us to face life with courage.

This is the fact which made David sing, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23: 1).

Rev. John Jebaseelan

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Insults in – Blessings out

“Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with a blessing, because to this you were called, so that you may inherit a blessing” – 1 Peter 3: 9

Insults in - Blessings out

Insults in – Blessings out

When we encounter insult, our natural response is to give back equally or little more than what we received. But against this natural inclination, Peter is advising Christians to repay evil and insult with a blessing.

This is a strange advice. It is also hard to follow.

Why it should be like this? Will not the person who insults think that I am too weak and I am a coward to respond? Or Will I not become a punching bag for people like this, if I let this one go without a fight?

Yes, it is a genuine fear and it is possible.

But as Christians we are to bless.

Why we are to bless? It is because of the following reasons:

  1. We are to bless because we are called for this. Peter says that ‘because to this you were called’ (1 Peter 3: 9). Our calling is to bless those who are insulting us. We need to learn to accept our calling and do accordingly. I should not respond to insult with insult as I am called to bless others.
  2. We are to bless because Jesus lived this kind of life. Peter says in 1 Peter 2: 23, “When they hurled insults at him he did not retaliate, when he suffered he made no threats”. If our Lord and Master passively took the insult, we should also follow his example.
  3. We are to bless because we trust in God’s judgement. Peter tells, in the same verse quoted above, that Jesus did not retaliate because ‘he entrusted himself to him who judges justly’. The confidence that God will judge justly and he will take care of justice will make us calm in hostile environment.
  4. Finally, we are to bless because we will be inheriting a blessing (1 Peter 3: 9). The satisfaction of giving back what you have received will last only for some time. But when you give up the insult in God’s hand, God will replace it with a blessing.

So what are we going to do when we face insult? Will we succumb to pressure and our natural inclination or we will try to live according to the WORD?

Rev. John Jebaseelan

8080202273

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Fruitless Deeds

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness” – Ephesians 5: 11

Warrior

Warrior

Satan is ever trying to destroy the purpose of God. He is especially delighted to wreck the plans God has for His children. One of the best weapons he uses is distracting them from the path God has set for them. The devil targets the individual productivity which brings them closer to the purpose God had set for their lives – the dream given to them by God like Joseph’s.

Satan does not counter productivity by laziness but by fruitless deeds. They will be busy as always. But their deeds will not produce any fruit. It will be useless at the end.

“Deeds of Darkness,” Paul is referring to in this passage, is the bait Satan uses to derail the purposeful journey of the Christians towards the dream God has given them. They are sinful things which produce fruitlessness in a believer’s life. Striving hard to live a God-pleasing life and yet failing to produce fruit is the worst failure one can face in the Christian life! It ultimately destroys the dreams.

As a result failure sets in and sense of fulfilment becomes rare in life. In this way a man can exist but fail to live a fulfilling life. By achieving this, Satan produces more dead men who walks yet fails to do anything which brings glory to God.

What is the solution?

Paul advises Romans to ‘put aside the deeds of darkness’ and ‘put on the armour of light’ (Rom 13: 12). To overcome the fruitlessness in life and to gain victory over the deeds of darkness, we ought to put on the armour of light. The spiritual weapons Paul prescribes in Ephesians 6: 10 – 20 is a comprehensive check list for Christians against the deception of Satan.

Let us rely on the grace of God in each and every step of our lives. By His grace we can reclaim our shattered dreams. By putting on the armour of God we can destroy the deceptive schemes of the devil. We can be victorious and lead a fulfilling life.

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God of Surprises

We preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles

1 Corinthians 1: 23

God is full of surprises. He sprung a great surprise in Jesus Christ that both Jews and Gentiles (Greeks) were equally taken aback. Jesus was a complete contrast to the expectation of both the groups regarding the salvation of men. Jews longed for a Messiah – a Messiah with power to overthrow the Romans. The Greeks expected an emergence of a revolutionary philosophy from the saviour which could supplant all the great philosophies of ancient time. Only through that kind of knowledge, men could be saved.

But both groups were disappointed with Jesus and what He did to save the mankind. What Jews got was a Messiah who suffered and died at the hands of the Romans. What Greeks got was the ‘message of the crucified Christ’ which in content was not appealing to their speculative mind.

If Jesus had been an astute leader who mobilised the masses against the Romans, Jews would have accepted him as Messiah. In the same way, if Jesus would have saved men through a philosophical system which provides answers to all the questions raised by philosophers, it would have made all the difference for the hungry minds of Greeks. But God surprised both the groups.

God is full of surprises!

This fact is true in our lives also. When we pray over a problem, God chooses a unique way which we never thought of or expected to bring solution. God is God only because He is full of surprises. If He works things according to our expectations and will, His power would appear to be limited. But he always surprises us.

So when we expect a miracle from God, we should remember the words spoken through Isaiah, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” (Is 55: 8).

When we see no way out of our problems, we should rely on him to surprise us. He used a shameful symbol of the Roman Empire – the cross – to carry out his redeeming work. He can use any insignificant thing to bring answer to our problems.

Each problem is an opportunity for us to see how God can surprise us.

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Honoring God with our Wealth

Honor the Lord with your wealth” – Proverbs 3: 9

We can honor God in so many ways – by giving our time, talent and ourselves to Him. Here the word of God talks about yet another way to honor God – through our wealth.

It is true! Our material possessions could be used to worship God.

Only one thing we need to understand for this type of worship is the concept of stewardship. Whatever we have in our lives is because of God and He is the real owner of our possessions.

How?

Bible says, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Deut 3: 18).

Whatever we earn is because of the strength God gives.

Though ‘honoring God through wealth’ sounds simple, it is one of the most difficult things to do. Wealth brings with it a spirit of possessiveness and reluctance to part with it. That is why the rich young man could not accept the instruction of Jesus to sell his wealth and give it to poor (Luke 18: 18 – 23). This is the same reason for Paul’s warning to Timothy – “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim 6: 10)

Our wealth is what we possess whether big or small. We need to honor God with it.

This act shows that we have accepted God as our Lord and He is indeed Lord of all the areas of our lives. This also shows that we are ready to obey Him by giving everything to Him.

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