He came to give us Peace

He came to give us Peace

Christmas is a time of fellowship, joy, giving and even taking gifts or for some demanding gifts. 😀

It is often easy to give materialistic things but not so easy to give peace. Why is that? Because we ourselves don’t have peace in life. As a result, we struggle with sadness, depression, and addictions.

Two thousand years ago. The world at that time,  specifically world of the Jewish people were going through the dark ages. This was called as the “Intertestamental Period” or “Silent Years”. It lasted for 400 Years.

During those times there was no prophetic word from God. Everything seemed to be dark and dull. It was at this time Jesus was born into the world bringing joy and gladness and putting an end to the silent period. He was born in a manger as a king. He split time. The years before him were called as BC, i.e. “Before Christ” and the ones after him as AD, a latin word called as “Anno Domini” means “After Christ.”

When he was born the Angels brought news to the shepherds, “They said, We bring you good news of Great Joy that will be for all people.” So when Jesus was born, there was a joy for the whole world, and there was peace for all mankind.

Later when Jesus began his ministry, He said these words, and it is recorded in John 10:10, “I have come so that you may have life and life in abundance.”

Quite often, I get to meet young people and counsel them. I was talking to a young boy a few days ago. He is in the early twenties. He called me to ask for prayers, He was saying, that he tried to kill himself but somehow survived. He made a few decisions that changed the course of his life, and it took away the peace from him. And for the past few weeks, he has been battling with suicidal thoughts.

The World Health Organisation, released a statistics many years ago saying, that around the world, one person dies every six seconds.

I’m not sure if you are following the news in our country(India). There are people, who are asking our Government to make suicide legal. As of now, Suicide is illegal in our country but there are people who are asking to make it legal, saying that they have the rights to take their own life.

It is estimated that more will die in the next 10 years out of depression than anyone has ever died of cancer in the last 10 years.

You may be reading this and thinking, come on man, this is the season of Christmas, why are you writing about suicide and depression.

The truth is this, we make the mistakes of seeing Christmas only as a time of Celebration..i.e. sing a few songs, party a bit, enjoy the festival season, hang out with friends late night, do what you want and enjoy life to the fullest.
And quite often, we miss the message of Christmas.

The Message of Christmas is this, that Jesus came down into this world to give peace, hope, and Joy to all mankind.

John 3:16, For God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but will have everlasting life.

Often times, we miss this message. That is why we end up in a bad state of life.

There are people who borrow money just to enjoy the Christmas in a glamorous way; at the end of the festival season, the lenders will come knocking at their door to get their money back. But, by then, they are totally out of all our resources. Some try to indulge themselves in drinking and partying so that they can forget all their worries and sadness.

I tell you this, worries and sadness are like your money lenders, they will come looking for you everyday…if they don’t find you or if they are not able to attack you that day…they will come back another day to attack and eventually Kill you.

Now the Question is this, How can I get this peace?

If we read the scriptures we see time and time again, God promises peace. In the Old Testament, Jesus has been given a name that is “Immanuel” which means “God with us”.

Many of us feel lonely at times. We feel like we need people to happy. We want someone to be around us always so that we can feel like, Yes I have someone. And when we don’t have anyone around us, we begin to feel lonely and depressed. We feel like we need someone to keep us happy.

Some of us try to live lives so that they can be accepted by others or accepted by their group of friends. So they do all it takes to fit into the lifestyle that others prefer. Even if it’s good or bad they are ready to embrace it because they want to be around people and not alone.

Lecrae, a gospel artist said like, “If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die of their rejection.”

Truth is, A person who has never learned to be happy alone can never be happy when he is in a group.

People suffer from sadness.

A Man when to Psychiatrist, to get himself treated for depression. He was depressed. The doctor looked at him said, instead of taking medicines, I suggest you go to this circus and watch this clown.. probably he will make you happy. When this man heard those words from the doctor. He put his head down. The Doctor asked what happened. He said I am the clown from the circus that you spoke about.
A Man who made everyone laugh with his tricks was never happy himself.

So the Bible clearly says, Jesus is Immanuel, that is, he is “God with us” and goes on to say,
In Isaiah 9:6, He will be called wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, Prince of Peace.
I want you to keep this word in your mind, “Prince of Peace”.
You see, the Immanuel, “God with us,” came down to be with us, and “because he came, we have peace”

We try to look for peace and happiness in relationships, in people, in movies, in songs, in our work and in everything we do. But we have failed to look unto Jesus for our peace.

He was called the “Prince of Peace” and an “Everlasting father”. There is no God like him. He gives peace to people who seek him and is a father to the fatherless and the orphans.

When Jesus said I have come so that you may have life and life in Abundance. That means. When you believe in Him. You won’t get to live life on a day-to-day basis or fight for survival but live life to the fullest and even continue to live in eternity with him.

Your life will be happy, joyful and peaceful. And also you will be able to give that peace to others.

In our celebrations of Christmas, we have failed to identify that one true God who came down to this earth to Give us peace.

I want to end this blog with few more real life examples of How God can give us peace.

I live today as a testimony of what God can do in our life. I was born into a Christian family. My parents have been in the ministry even before I was born. So, I was basically brought up in a church. I thought because I was born into a Christian family, I am saved. But truth be told, I wasn’t saved. I was highly guarded and protected as a kid. Didn’t know what the world was like. My family moved from one city another, that is when I found something that caught my attention on the internet. It was the dark side of the internet. Before I completely realized, I was addicted to pornography. I was heavily depressed. I was a short-tempered. I tried to run out of the home. I tried to cut myself with a knife. You see, one habit led me to another and to greater depths of depression and darkness.

The reality hit me when I went to college. I was in the third of Theology studies. I realized one day that I wasn’t saved. In other words, Jesus wasn’t the God of my life. I lived life the way I want and went to him when I needed him. I used him as a crutch.

I gave myself to God and he slowly began to work in my life and set me free from addictions to pornography and made me a happy person.

One day, I struggled with suicide. I heard this voice in my mind that said, “You are worthless. There is no reason to live. God has rejected you and now go kill yourself. This voice that was talking to me, gave me instructions as to how to kill myself.” I remember that night clearly. But God saved me. If it wasn’t for God, I wouldn’t be alive today.

I write this as a testimony, It’s been almost 5 years since I visited any of those sites on the internet. God has kept me safe and has made me happy. Now if you ask me, what depression feels like, I honestly don’t know. God has put his peace in my heart that works beyond all understanding. He has kept me joyful in him and because of that, I am able to share this joy with others.

And if God can do that in my life. He can do that in your life also.

You may be suffering from depression, sadness, broken relationship, suicidal thoughts, and might be worried about your future. I want you to know something, only God; only Jesus can give you peace, happiness, can remove all your worries and can give you a hope for the future.

Augustine of Hippo, who lived around 400 AD wrote these beautiful words,

He writes this in a book called “Confessions of Augustine”. And I’m paraphrasing it, He writes, “You have created us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they can find it’s rest in you”

Some of you may be trying to find God, you have been to several places and tried to find peace but haven’t found any peace and meaning for your life. I would say to you, Jesus is the only one that can give you peace. He is the Prince of Peace. He gives what he promises and never fails in his word. Come to Jesus and He will transform your life.

Some of you have given up all hopes on God, and have turned into an atheist thinking that this is a comfortable way. Because I can live life the way I want and do the things that I want to do. No one will or should question me or ask me anything. The Bible says, in Ecclesiastes 11:9, Rejoice O, young man, let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes.

But, “Here’s the important thing”, know that for all these things God will bring you to judgment. Although you may not believe in God. Time will come when you stand before God in Judgement. He will call all things to account.

And the scripture also says, “Remember your creator in the days of your Youth”
I tell you this, one day, you will run out of all the reserves of happiness you have. People who are with you will leave and then you will realize that you need God in your life. I Hope that stage does not come when you are too old and have when you have lost all the vigor in your body. Turn back to God before it’s too late.

Some of you faithfully follow God. You trust in him but still struggle with depression and short-tempered behavior. This is what I say to you, Hold on to Jesus.

Many times in our Christian life, we begin to expect too much of blessings, promises, and prophecies to be fulfilled. But often times we miss the point. We hold on to the blessings, promises, and prophecies and leave Jesus. You have to understand that Jesus is the greatest blessing in your life, He is the promised one, and the prophesied one. You hold on to him and you will have everything.

I want to leave you with one last thing, As you celebrate Christmas, remember this, Jesus is the God who came to give what we needed the most. Often times we have a big list for Christmas. We have a lot of wants. But keep all that aside and ask Jesus for what you need the most. Ask God to fill you with peace. Because when you have peace you have him. When you have him in your life, you have everything.

God bless you. Have a wonderful Christmas Season.

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Bad habits master us. Good habits don’t

Bad habits master us. Good habits don’t

Paul writes this statements to the church at Corinth,

1 Corinthians 6:12
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

Background
Paul is writing these words in the context of sexual immorality. Some of the believers at the church in Corinth took the liberty of indulging themselves in sexual pleasures that were against God’s design for mankind.

What we can learn
The simple message we can learn is this. “Right habits don’t master you. Only bad habits will master you.”

It’s time to check our habits.
It’s time to check whether we have become slaves to our habits.

I have started a new blog for Media & Tech teams at Churches

I have started a new blog for Media & Tech teams at Churches

Hello there,

I have started a new blog.

I started this blog to write help manuals, guides, tech reviews and media and tech updates for churches. So this is going to be a blog exclusively for media and tech teams working at churches.

If you are interested in learning more about media and tech for churches. You can follow me there. I’ll be writing twice a week.

Here’s the blog.

https://churchproductiontools.wordpress.com/

See you there.

Joshua Paul

Bearing with the Weak

Bearing with the Weak

Romans 15:1-2;

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.

Met any weak people?
Have you got frustrated?
Have you lost patience?
Have you lost your relationship?

Perhaps it could have been a good relationship if you had maintained but you didn’t maintain the relationship because they had too many weaknesses to deal with.

So, in my blog today. I’m going to write about How to bear with weak people.

 

It’s easy to hang out with a strong person because they seem to be more mentally stable and less prone to starting an argument. But it is not easy to stick around the weak because they complain, find faults in almost everything, gossip, fight, argue, think high of themselves and do many more things…

Paul writes an important advice to the Church to asking them to bear with failings of the weak.

I am going to write about two common characteristics of weak person and how you can deal with them

Two common characteristics

  1. Pride
  2. Gossiping

Pride
You can find a weak person by just noticing how they like to show themselves.

Almost everyone does show off but some do it to a greater extent. And those who try to show off many times do so to find praise and approval from other people. Such people survive on other words of praise and appreciation.

They also tend to put down, talk low or negative about others. Sometimes they can even put down their own friends for the sake of personal gain.

The worse thing is that they think they are the strongest and the coolest but in reality, they are the ones that need help.

Gossip
Gossiping is a sign of weakness. If you want to know how weak a person. Measure their level of gossip. Notice how much time they spend gossiping. (I wish there was a gossip measuring apparatus. 😀 )

Some are occasional gossipers, some are habitual ones, but some have to gossip to live.!

As wonderful as they may seem on the outside, they are actually the ones who suffer from the problem of double standards, telling lies and trying to live up other people’s standards. In other words, they are trying to live based on people’s opinions on how to live.

So, these people need help. Don’t pray that a miracle will happen in their life that they will stop being proud or stop gossiping. No.! That won’t happen. But you go and show them how to live a normal life; a life without pride and gossip.

 

How do we bear with such people

  1. Understand their weakness
  2. Help them understand the reality
  3. Please them

 

  1. Understand their weakness

People who are weak fail to come out of their weakness because they themselves haven’t identified their weakness. But you have to help them identify their weakness. They may not agree in one day but eventually they will. Help them understand in a way where you carefully explain and tell them where they are wrong. Never point them out in Public but always talk to them in private and help them.

 

  1. Help them understand the reality

Lecrae, a Christian artist said, “If you live for people’s acceptance, you will die of their rejection.”

People who are proud and gossip live in a false reality that this is all there is to life. Show off. Have some swag and live up to people’s standards. But those human standards change. They are never the same. Today you will be accepted and tomorrow you will be thrown out the window.

They have to be taught in being self-sufficient in who God created them to be.

Sadly, our world today is influenced by celebrities and celebrities kids. Anything they do becomes a big thing or anything they speak becomes the norm of the society.

There are millions of girls and boys who suffer from anorexia. They dream of becoming a size zero model that the world will vouch for.

We have to help them understand that we are made in the image of our creator and we have to live only up to his standards of life. That is to have the fruits of the spirit prevalent and working in our life.

 

  1. Please them

You may wonder what kind of an advice is this. Please them ? Seriously ?
Yes, Please them. That is what the Bible teaches us to do.

Rom 15:2 says, Each of us should please their neighbor for their good, to build them up.

Please them. In other words be nice to them. Be nice to them in such a way that they will be delighted to see you. If you were to go on correcting them every time they speak or do something, they won’t like it. But rather please them by being nice to them. Know when to speak, understand when and how to treat them. Keep them closer to you.

The goal of pleasing them is to build them up. It is for their good. Sometimes you may feel it’s better not to maintain a relationship with such people. But stick to them. Do it sacrificially so that their attitude may be changed into the way God wants it to be. That is why it says in the next verse.

Rom 5:4 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”

The bible teaches us clearly to bear with the failings of the weak. Honestly, it’s hard to stick around such people but at the end, it’s worth the effort when they finally realize their weakness and work towards becoming stronger. When you do that you will reflect Jesus to the weak ones around you.

Let us show Jesus through our lives.

Better is one day in your courts

Better is one day in your courts

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house
of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Psalm 84:10

The Psalmist expresses his love for the temple of the Lord by saying it is better to live in the courts of the Lord than in the be in the tents of the wicked.

Jerusalem was an important city to the Jews. For David, it was the City of God. The City where God dwelt. For the kind of person, David was, it was important for him to be in the tabernacle of God.

The Psalmist, David, was undoubtedly a man of Praise. If I had to describe him, I would describe him as a man of Praise and worship more than a king or a warrior. He delighted in the presence of God. He delighted in the house of God He was a man who built his life on Praise, worship, and adoration to God.

v.10 of Psalm 84 begins with saying.
Better is one day in your courts,
     than a thousand elsewhere

The First part of the saying explicitly expresses the Psalmist desires to be in the courts of the Lord. Historically at this time the temple wasn’t built. The place of worship was still a tabernacle, it was a temporary place of worship.

The Psalmist describes his longing by making a strong comparison. That is, one day in Lord’s courts and thousand days in another place. The kind of fulfillment, satisfaction, joy and peace that you get by going to the house of Lord is something you won’t get when you go anywhere else.

There can always be things that can please us. Things we can do that delight us. We can meet friends and family or people whom we love. That can delight us. But those things can never be fulfilling or make our hearts be satisfied.

Psalmist continues to say,
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house
     of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

The psalmist goes on to show the desperateness of being in the presence of God. He shows how much he values the house of God. All he has to do is just be there to receive the fulfillment and satisfaction that comes out being in the house of God. He continues to make his clear distinctions by saying he can never find that fulfillment in the tents of the wicked. Let me put it this way, there might be merry in the tent of the wicked but never a fulfilled or satisfied life.

I believe, we have to make this Psalm the anthem of our life. We have to find our fulfillment and satisfaction in being in the house of the Lord than try to find it anywhere else. Nothing can give us more fulfillment and satisfaction like the house of God where is presence dwells.

So, Let us find our fulfillment and satisfaction in the house of God.

The power of forgiveness

The power of forgiveness

There is a power in saying, “I forgive you”

In the Hebrew language the sentence “I forgive” meant, “I will not talk about it again.”

So when God says, I forgive you, He means that “I will not talk about your sin anymore.” Satan will remind you of your past sins but God will never remind nor remember them anymore.

Jesus while he was on this earth. He delivered one of the greatest sermons of all times. The Sermon on the mount. Those sermons are recorded in Matthew chapter 5 through 7.

David Guzik, in his commentary on the sermon on the mount writes like this,

It has been said if you took all the good advice for how to live ever uttered by any philosopher or psychiatrist or counsellor, took out the foolishness and boiled it all down to the real essentials, you would be left with a poor imitation of this great message by Jesus.

That statement is true. Many philosophies in the world today imitate the sermon on the mount. Many non-Christians follow it too. But quiet sadly, many Christians including me have failed to follow teachings of the sermon on the Mount.

I am going to write on single principle from the sermon on the mount.

Matthew 5:43-48 KJV

Mat 5:43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
Mat 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Mat 5:46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
Mat 5:47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Historical Context
Jesus is dealing here with the age old problem of people hating their enemy. The Jewish teachers of those times started twisting the laws and the commands to their own benefit. In Leviticus 19:18, a command is given to “Love thy neighbour as thyself.”

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law had interpreted the word “neighbour” according to their own interests. They limited the word “neighbour” to people whom they loved and they showed enmity to people whom they hated. In other words, they chose who their neighbour should be.

The word neighbour in Hebrew is “ray’-ah” which means, an associate either close or not so close to you: a brother, companion, fellow, friend, husband, lover, neighbour or any other.

 

In simple terms, the word “neighbour” covers a span of all relationship that you and I will build throughout our life on this earth.

Jesus is now speaking to such a audience who were influenced by this misapplied teaching. He beings with saying, “You have heard that it was said,” and begins his discourse of loving your neighbour

Applications/Implications
There are several applications that can be understood from this passage. Now, based on the title that I am writing i.e. The power of forgiveness. I will be limiting the applications to the title.

Although we’ve lived the Christian life. We haven’t experienced the power of forgiveness. Why? Because we always find it difficult to forgive people who wronged us, hurt us or used us for their personal benefit. It is a struggle to say, “I forgive you” and quite easy to hold a grudge against such people.

But Jesus commands us to forgive. it’s not a request or a something to consider but a command.

On reading these verses there are three applications that can be drawn from this passage.

  1. Forgive so that you will receive your reward. v.44 – 45a
  2. Do not hold a grudge after you’ve forgiven them. v.45b – 47
  3. Set your eyes on being perfect. v.48

 

  1. Forgive so that you will receive you reward. v.44 – 45a

Jesus gives this stern command saying “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:”

Jesus here is dealing with a few issues.

  • Love people who are your enemies.
  • Bless people that curse you
  • Do good to those that hate you.
  • Pray for them that despitefully use you.
  • Pray for them that persecute you.

 

The moment you read this, you may be like… No! How can I forgive that person.! He/she might be one of those terrible people on this earth and they might be your greatest enemy. When you pass by them your blood pressure shoots up, you don’t spare a chance to mock them, gossip about them and turn your face away when you see them coming opposite to you.

But, this is what Jesus said.!

Love people who are your enemies
When Jesus said love your enemies…it goes more than just saying, “I forgive you.” When you show love to people who have become enemies to you. You begin to set a new standard of loving people. It is easy to love people who love you but hard to love people who hate you.

Here’s something important to understand. People who generally hurt others…are the people who are deeply hurt. Because of their hurt or wounds in their own life… it is easier for them to hurt others with their words. All the positivity, happiness, and joyfulness in their life is clouded by all the hurt that they have been through.

So when you show love to them despite their enmity towards you…they will be surprised to see the unconditional love that you show to them. When you do. Their hearts will be transformed. They will be interested to know how you can love them in spite of their enmity towards you. And by doing so you will show the unconditional love of God to them. You will show that you are the citizens of the kingdom of God.

Bless those who curse you
Bless those who pronounce curse on you. People will hate you and can misunderstand you easily which can lead them to cursing you for no reason. You do the opposite. Bless them. Do not return curse for a curse but bless them. Do the opposite. By doing that you will reveal the unconditional blessings of God in their life. Because, Romans 6:23 says, our sins deserved death. We deserved to be cursed but Jesus did the opposite. He came down to die for our sins. At a point when we deserved to be cursed we were given blessings beyond measure. Now it is our responsibility to speak blessings into lives of people who curse us.

By doing this you will prove yourself to be the citizens of the kingdom of God.

Do good to those who hate you
Those who hate you are going to do the worst things to you. They will work against your promotion in office. Inform lies about you to your superiors. They will tell all people who come to your office about how bad person you are. But you, you, treat them well.

There was man who would give a box of sweets to anyone who would talk bad or gossip about him. The secret behind this, I believe is this, the moment you do good when they show bad behaviour to you. They will stop doing bad to you. They will begin to wonder. I did wrong to them but they returned me with a good thing and how can I even now do anything bad against them.

Proverbs states this well on how to treat your enemy.
Pro 25:21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:
Pro 25:22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

Pray for them that despitefully use you
Oh well, we’ve all been there. We’ve been through times when people have used us for their personal benefits. We know we are being used but we feel powerless and weak to get out of such situation. We are trapped. But Jesus said, Pray for them that use you…not just use.. “despitefully use” the word despiteful means, contemptuous treatment. Imagine that!. Jesus is saying, pray for those who contemptuously treat you and use you for their personal benefit. In other words, they hate you…so they use you even more ruthlessly with hatred in their heart.!

Pray for such people. Why does Jesus say Pray instead of Love or bless them?
Yes, if you notice the previous points, Loving and blessing is already part of the whole package but Jesus adds one more to the list.. saying “Pray for them”. For such people the only transforming power can be the work of God.

What does prayer mean at this point? Why did Jesus use the word pray instead of love or blessing?
When Jesus said “Pray”. He said, don’t take the matters into your own hands but pray and allow God to work.
By praying you will show that you have father in heaven that listens to your prayers and petitions. You belong to the kingdom of heaven.

Pray for them that Persecute you
Ever been through persecution? Then you may know how difficult it is to pray for them at that point? Like a Prayer of blessing?

Perhaps if we were asked to pray so that the fire would come consume them alive…we may gladly pray…

And If we were asked them to sue them in court we would find the best Christian lawyer to get the punishment they deserve for persecuting you.

Persecution is not just limited to being tortured for the name of Christ. It can also mean a physical abuse or harm caused to you.

Matthew 5:38-42 talks on these lines about a persecution, i.e., someone who slaps you or abuses you. Jesus said, if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. Generally, when someone slaps you on one cheek they will slap with the palm of their hand but when Jesus said show the other cheek also…that means when they slap you again they will use the other part of your hand to slap you – which is actually considered disgraceful in Israel.

Jesus says it clearly. Don’t return evil for evil but good for an evil act. The easiest way to do good for an evil act is pray for them. Don’t take matters into your own hands but pray and allow God to work in their lives.

The Reward
The point of forgiveness is this… that you may be called the children of God. Forgiveness is a virtue we have to master. Jesus forgave people who brought him to trial and hung him on the cross saying.. “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34) We ought to say the same thing. People who commit acts of evil against us, actually are not fully aware of what they do. Because sin blinds their eyes.. So we have to ask God to forgive them. When we do. We will be called the children of God. Because we imitate what God does. We forgive others just as He forgave our sins.

 

  1. Do not Hold a grudge after you’ve forgiven them.

We’ve heard people say. I forgive you but I don’t want to see your face again.! That’s not forgiveness at all…! That is only partial forgiveness. Partial forgiveness causes partiality or favouritism to creep into our life

If there were two people standing before you. One who is loving towards you and another who caused problems but you’ve forgiven…more like partial forgiveness!

Who will you be favourable to? To one who loves you or the one whom you’ve forgiven but still hold a grudge?

Usually, you will be favourable to the one who loves you and not so favourable to the one you forgave. Because past memories can haunt you and so you have not forgiven completely. So now, partiality creeps in. No matter what that person tries to do to.! You will always look on them with a bit of dislike. You will favour the one who loves you and treats you well.

The Bible clearly says in James 2:1, to not show partiality
Even in our passage, Mat 5:45, it goes on to say God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain both on the righteous and the unrighteousness

If we call ourselves the children of God but practice partiality, then we are deceiving ourselves. The verses goes on to say, If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even tax collectors doing that?

Returning love for love gets you nowhere. You get no reward for such a action. Tax collectors, during those times, were considered as people who cheat people of their money. The repentance of Zacchaeus speaks for itself. How he repented and paid back all money he had charged double. Tax collectors were filthy rich and made money out of charging double or triple the amount of money that was required to be collected. Jewish people regarded them as the highest of sinners. They also practiced the same, Loving people who loved them. So Jesus said, if you love only those who love you… then you are practicing what the tax collectors practice. He gives them stern call for repentance from a life of double standards.

The verse continues, “And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even the pagans do that?”

In a fellowship, in a church setting we like to greet people whom we like to greet. We like to talk to people whom we like to talk to. We keep the rest away, ignore them or don’t even go to a place where they are. Jesus gives them a stern call saying… By doing so, aren’t you practicing what the pagans do? To the Jewish community, they considered pagans as someone outside their own Jewish community. They wouldn’t associate with such people easily but Jesus points out saying, Hey, You are practicing what they pagans are doing although you claim to be God’s chosen one.

 

  1. Set your eyes on being perfect

Here’s the cream of the whole passage. Jesus ends this portion of the command to love and forgive by saying this. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The greek work for “perfect” actually means “Complete”. Jesus is actually saying, “Be complete.”

Forgiving people who hurt you makes you a complete person.

James 1:2 Count it all joy my brethren when you fall into various temptations. Knowing this, that the trying of faith produces patience. But let patience have it’s perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

In other translations it says, so that you may be complete.!

God desires for us to complete, to be perfect. He wants us to grow to a point where our self is dead and he begins to live in our life. Even if anybody hurt us. We will be ready to forgive more than argue. When we reach that point of self-death and Christ living is us. We will be perfect, in other words complete, just as the heavenly father is complete.

That’s the power of forgiveness. It makes you a complete person. Lacking nothing. The beautiful thing is, when you are complete. It is hard for the enemy to shake you. The sorrows of the world will not put you down. No work of the enemy can harm you.

In Mat 5:20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. (NKJV)

Do you know which righteousness exceeded the righteousness of the Pharisee? The righteousness of loving people who hate you. Forgiving people that worked against you. That is a righteous act.

Pharisees were undoubtedly the most righteous people. They were evangelistic in nature. They were good at winning souls. But what they lacked was that they never forgave people so easily.

Maimonides one of their writers said, (Source: John Gill exposition of the Bible)

“A disciple of a wise man, or a scholar, whom a man despises and reproaches publicly, it is forbidden him to forgive him, because of his honour; and if he forgives him, he is to be punished, for this is a contempt of the law; but “he must revenge, and keep the thing as a serpent”, until the other asks pardon of him, and then he may forgive him.”

They were too self-righteous to see the forgiveness of God and understand what it means to love their enemy.!

The power of forgiveness is this…
You will only reach a Perfection in your life only when love your enemies and forgive those who hurt you.

Jesus said, be perfect just as your heavenly father is perfect. That is our goal. Be perfect just as your father is perfect.

Let’s us strive towards to attain that perfection so that we may become people who lack nothing.

Why do we exist ?

Why do we exist ?

Psalm 8 makes one statement clear that is, “We were made to worship our Creator”

If someone were to ask you a question. Why do you exist?

You might say because God in his foreknowledge knew me and that I had a purpose so I exist.

Someone who does not believe in God might say, that they were just a formation of chemicals or something that would have collided to form the humans that are alive today.

All of us have different opinions, whether a Christian or an Atheist, we have opinions or reasons for why we exist.

So, there is an important thing to know about How God created and made everything that is alive and functional on this earth today.

God created the galaxies, stars, heavenly bodies, the animals; the crawling, creeping, and swimming animals.

But God made man.! Genesis 1:26, God says, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… Notice the use of word make instead of the word create. The word MAKE has a different meaning from the word CREATE.

God created the world with the word of his mouth but when it came to Man, He made him out of the dust of the ground. In other words, God handcrafted you and me. He took mud just as a porter would take clay and make something useful out of it.

The psalmist begins with the declaration saying, O God our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth. and talks about the creation in v.3 and finally talks about the worth of man in verse 4.

There are two things that the Psalmist points out for our everyday life.

  • Never stop declaring the name of God
  • Understand your worth. — Understand who you are made to be.

So First,

Never stop declaring the name of God. 

In other words, never stop declaring the name of God. Philippians chapter 2, Christological chapter of the bible, talks about the power of the name of God. There is power in that name. In any situation of our life, we have to declare the name of God because it has the power to change our life.

Second,

Understand your worth

Psalmist brings in a revelation that God is mindful of man. God who created the heavens and the earth has now made man also. And if there’s one thing that we need to do, that is, we have to Worship our God.

The word Worship speaks for itself. It’s clear enough.

Coming back to the central question. Why do we exist?

It’s because we are called to worship

If we do not worship, we cease to exist.

In other words, our bodies will live and keep on surviving but our inner man will cease to live.

So then, Let us remember to begin our day with worship and live a lifestyle of worship.