Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Just joined Ping.fm and I hope it's going to be a cool experience.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Paul's Letter to Philemon

This personal letter is unique, not only for the elegance of its style, but for the depth of the truths it teaches. We have been told about imputation, as revealed in verse 18: 'But if he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge that to my account.' So also all our sins have been reckoned to the account of 'Jesus Christ and Him crucified', for He bore all my sins on the cross of Calvary. The Lord Jesus Christ is 'the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world', 1 John 2.2.

But what struck me when I went through this Letter was the phrase: 'Yet for love's sake I rather appeal to you.' That is grace. Grace points us to the love of God, the mercy of God, the forgiveness of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul says, "I have enough confidence?to order you to do what is proper." But he does not order Philemon. The law orders; grace appeals.

'For love's sake...' Love should be the motive force. Whatever we do has to be done in love. The Father chastens us out of love. Our preaching has to magnify the love of God. We cannot frighten anyone into the kingdom of God. No doubt the terrors of hell are real, but God's mighty love is greater than the terror of judgment. In fact, the Bible declares: 'Mercy triumphs over judgment.' Jas 2.13. The great gospel story of the Prodigal Son is in fact the story of the Father's love. 'I have loved you with an everlasting love?' Jer 31.3

Behind all this, however, is the crucial issue of forgiveness. Will Philemon forgive Onesimus who has done him great wrong? Will I be able to forgive someone who has done me great wrong? It's so hard to forgive; nay, it is impossible to forgive. But God forgives, and we must pray: 'Lord, help me forgive. I cannot forgive, until I am so full of Christ and His Calvary love. And I have such a long way to go!'

Forgiving love is the greatest love of all. God tests us on that point. Even in the family we are so hurt by one another, and sometimes we don't talk to each other for days. In our jobs, we have enemies, and what they have done to us rankles in our hearts for years. In the church, perhaps, we have those who hurt us the most. And yet we must forgive! Philemon, I believe, forgave; and so Onesimus went on to become a great shepherd in God's church.

God has great expectations of us. See Paul's great expectation regarding Philemon: "I know that you will do even more than what I say." 21. But we continue to live petty lives, with petty resentments, and often fall short of the grace of God. It's been a long time since we have refreshed the hearts of our fellow-saints, 7. And when have we last refreshed the heart of God?

My Brief Testimony - How I was Born Again

I was born again through the power of prayer. My wife prayed for me for 10 years, and one day in a marvellous way God came into my life. The date: October 24th, 1990.

I was in a Sabbatarian cult, somewhat like the Seventh Day Adventists. But there was a mixture of Jehovah Witness theology also. I concentrated more on the Old Testament. The Sabbath was a burden to me. I never knew what joy was.

But God in His marvellous grace and mercy, heard the prayers of my wife, and one day when I was going through a severe crisis in my life, God not only opened my eyes but He also gave me great victory in that crisis. So I know what it is to come out of darkness into God's marvellous light. I know what it is to come out of bondage into God's glorious liberty. I know what it is to be dead in sin and then experience eternal life.

I believe strongly in the born again experience. There is a time in your life when Christ comes in, and then you see, you know, and there is 'joy unspeakable and full of glory'.

But those early days do not last. God deepens our faith. He takes us through painful experiences of the cross. Each time we go through a severe trial, we come out on to 'higher ground'. God wants us to experience Him, through the power of resurrection. But death has to take place. So we die to ourselves, our desires, our ambitions, our will -- and we come to realise that God's will is the best for us in our life. There is a verse in Psalm 66.12 which speaks to us:

You made men to ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water,
Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance.

God's ways are mysterious and baffling, but His steady hand keeps holding us and bringing us through. And heaven opens, spiritual things become very real, and the Bible becomes our staple food and we obtain last-minute answers to our prayers

Monday, March 26, 2007

Isaiah 40

The Lord is dealing with His people. Chapter 40 begins with the word, ‘Comfort, O comfort, my people!’ Comfort is a word linked with afflictions. [See 2nd Corinthians chapter 1:3-7.] Then follows the statement that Jerusalem has received double for all her sins; which is very strong and painful. Even the New Testament maintains parity; ‘as a man sows, so shall he reap’ [Gal 6.7]. But here Israel [God's people] have sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind! They have gone into exile. They are dead and buried; read Ezekiel chapter 37. They are forsaken and forgotten [Isa 49.14].

But the Lord says He will save His people [40.10] and He will shepherd them [40.11] He is a God of infinite power, and all the nations are nothing before Him [40.17]. There is an indictment of idolatry. Oh, how we limit God! How we reduce Him to our earthly level! We create God in our own image. We are unable to comprehend His mighty power. He sustains the whole universe; every star He knows by name and not one of them is missing. The New Testament says He has counted the hairs on your head. Can we really grasp God? His understanding is infinite. He is the God who has all the power and wisdom. Let us bow down before Him. You are the Almighty God, and the Only Wise God!

And then come those wonderful words: ‘He gives power to the weak.’ This is what the Lord told Paul: ‘My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ [2 Cor 12.9]. Those who wait on the Lord shall gain new strength [resurrection power?]. They shall mount up with wings like eagles [the power of ascension?]. They shall run and not be weary [divine energy, as seen in the cherubim in Ezekiel chapter 1]. They shall walk and not faint [the power of endurance, the capacity to bear heavy load and stress]. They shall stand and yet withstand. They are like pillars in the house of God. But do we have the strength to 'wait upon Him'? Only when we are
utterly weak can we do so.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Girl with Drawing


Girl with Drawing
Originally uploaded by prolix6x.
I like the pose of this little girl displaying her drawing. Part of a children's drawing contest photos that I took 8 months ago in Delhi.
The girl is cramped for space, which explains part of her facial expression. Otherwise, notice her lovely black eyes.