|Posted by Mathew Philip on November 26, 2009 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
Today we are celebrating the Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks to God for the harvest and express gratitude in general. It is a holiday celebrated primarily in Canada and the United States. Though the earliest attested Thanksgiving celebration was on September 8, traditional "first Thanksgiving" is venerated as having occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621. The Plymouth celebration occurred early in the history in one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States, and this celebration became an important part of the American myth by the 1800s. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving dinner is held on this day, usually as a gathering of family members and friends.
While I was going through the Psalms in the Bible I found out that Psalm 100 is the only one titled "of thanksgiving.” Psalms are the prayers of the people of God. Psalms of Thanksgiving are expressions of thanks often with reference to celebration with friends or the assembly. The different psalms of Thanksgiving have different connotations and meaning. It was sung by worshipers in the temple as they entered into the gates and went into the temple for the service of thanksgiving. The Psalmist not only invites us to give thanks, but also encourages us to give thanks to God.
Basis of our Thanksgiving
V.3 says, “Know that the Lord is God.”Our knowledge of God is the basis of our thanksgiving. How we worship God and give thanks to Him depends on what we know of Him. We don’t worship an unknown God like the Athenians. So knowledge and understanding play an important part in our worship and thanksgiving. In this Psalm we see how important is our knowledge of God’s goodness which is the basis of our thanksgiving.
Four things about God’s goodness:
1. The Lord is God…
2. The Lord is good…
3. His love endures forever…
4. His faithfulness continues through all generations.
His goodness is demonstrated to us in three Relationships:
God’s goodness is demonstrated to us – Who God is to us.
1. He made us – It is he who made us – He is the creator. What a tragedy to see the self-made man today.
2. We belong to Him – we are his; we are his people – he is the owner
3. The sheep of his pasture – He is our shepherd.
We should never forget the fact that we are living in God's earth. We are breathing God's air. We are drinking God's water. We are eating God's food. We are burning God's oil. We are heating our home with God's gas. We are eating God's cattle, God's fish. "The earth is the Lord's and everything it belongs to him” (Ps. 24:1). We are actually just grazing in His field. Everything that we have, everything that we see, everything that we're surrounded with belongs to God. So v. 4 says, “Let’s enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” In the Old Testament time, people of Israel were allowed to enter only the gates and the outer courts. Only the priests were allowed to enter the holy of holies. Now we as God’s people can come to the presence of God to see his face and worship him without the need of any mediator. That’s the greatest goodness and mercy of God that he has accomplished for us through His Son, Jesus on the Cross of Calvary. So along with the Psalmist, “Let’s shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”Now if we can't worship the Lord with gladness, it's better that we not worship Him. Now if we can't serve the Lord with gladness, it's better that we not serve Him. If we can't give joyfully to the Lord, we're much better off not to give. No one is to be pressured or forced to worship him or serve him. God doesn't want our giving ever to be out of pressure, out of constraint, out of someone pushing us.
So let all people give thanks and praises to God for his protection and provision on our land today. Let’s thank for His goodness, His love, His mercy, and for His truth. May God just cause our day to be filled with thanksgiving and praise unto Him! We should also not confine our thanksgiving to a get together once a year, but every day must be a day of thanksgiving for us as God’s people!
|Posted by Rev. Mathew Philip on March 23, 2008 at 1:55 AM||comments (0)|
Why the Resurrection of Christ is important?
There are things that are important in our lives. A Job is important to make our lively hood, to get the insurance coverage, and to make a good credit history. Marriage is important to build up family, society, relationship and future. Likewise, something very important for a Christian is the fact of resurrection. Why the resurrection of Christ is important in the lives of believers? Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 talks about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is important in our lives because:
1. Our Faith is anchored on the fact of Resurrection (vv. 1-11)
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the central fact of the Christian faith. The entire structure of Christianity ? any hope for eternal life and any meaning to human existence ? stands or falls with Christ?s resurrection. One of the purposes of Paul writing this letter to the Corinthians is to correct false teachings concerning the resurrection of Christ. Paul found some in the Corinthian church who were influenced by Greek philosophy and religion denying the resurrection of the body. He also found some others who were in the line of Sadducees (Matt. 22:23) saying that there was no resurrection. In his answer to these both errors, Paul recalls the resurrection of Jesus. The heart of the gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (vv. 1-4). The gospel is simple and nothing to argue about it. What is the gospel? Paul says in 2 Timothy 2:8, ?Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel.? The gospel is that Jesus died for our sins, that he was buried and that he was raised from the dead. What Paul preached to the Corinthians was that ?Jesus Christ and Him crucified.? The Corinthians received Paul?s message as God?s own Word, by which they are saved, continue in their faith, established and stand firm. They took their stand with God. So the gospel has the power to save us and establish us in our faith in Christ Jesus.
Is the resurrection story a myth or a fact? The fact of the resurrection is impossible for many modern people to accept. But the fact of His resurrection is the most important event of history and therefore, appropriately, is the most certain fact in all history. Paul talks about the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. To prove the resurrection, he had to first of all, establish the fact of Jesus? death. It was because there were people who denied the physical death of Jesus Christ. They say that Jesus died spiritually. Some others say that Jesus did not actually die, but swooned on the Cross because of the weakness and heavy loss of blood (Swoon theory). The coolness of the tomb and the fragrance of the aromatic spices together with the hours of rest revived him. When he came back to his conscience, he emerged from the tomb, appeared to his disciples and led them to believe that he was raised from the dead. Paul brings out two lines of evidences for the death and resurrection of Christ: (1) Firstly he brings out the testimony of the Old Testament (Ps 16: 8-11; Isa 53:5-6). Paul argues that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. Apostle John says in John 19:33 that soldiers made it sure that Jesus was already dead. They did not break his leg. John the apostle was the witness to this incident (19: 35). Then Paul establishes the fact that Jesus was buried ? We see the account of Jesus? burial in Gospels. When Joseph of Aremathea went to Pilate and asked for Jesus? body to bury him, Pilate made it sure that Jesus had already died (Mark 15:43). Paul enunciates the fact that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. The Jews counted parts of days as whole days. Thus three days would include part of Friday afternoon, all of Saturday, and Sunday morning. (2) The second major fact supporting the resurrection is the testimony of eyewitnesses. Six resurrection appearances are listed here: (1) Peter ? The appearance to Peter occurred on Easter Sunday (24:34). (2) The Twelve ? The appearance to the twelve seems to have taken place on Sunday evening Luke 24:36-43; Jn. 20:19-23). (3) More than five hundred ? This appearance may be the one in Galilee (Matt 28:10). (4) James ? He was the half brother of Jesus (Matt 13:55) who became prominent in the Jerusalem church (Acts 15:130). (5) All the apostles ? Probably at the time of his ascension (Acts 1:6-11). (6) To Paul ? Last of all he appeared to me ? this appearance to Paul occurred several years after the resurrection (Acts 9:1-8). The one abnormally born ? it simply means that he was not part of the original group of apostles. He had not lived with Christ as the others had. His entry into the apostolic office was not normal.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is an undeniable fact of history. And that?s not just anyone?s opinion. That was the opinion of Dr. Simon Greenleaf, the greatest authority on legal evidence of the nineteenth century. In fact, he was the famous Royal Professor of law at Harvard and was directly responsible for the school?s rise to eminence among American law schools. After being prompted by his students into examining the evidence for the resurrection, Greenleaf suggested that any cross-examination of the eyewitness testimonies recorded in Scripture would result in ?an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability, and truth.? Dr. Greenleaf not only became a Christian, but in 1846 wrote a defense of the resurrection titled, An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Court of Justice.
2. Our preaching is based on the fact of Resurrection (vv. 12-19).
We preach Christ who died, buried and rose again. There were some in the Corinthian Church who said, ?there is no resurrection of the dead.? He says, ?If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.? He gives seven arguments to show that the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the believer?s body are inseparable truths. Paul argues that if the believer?s body is not to be raised: (1) Then Christ is not risen; (2) All preaching is useless, for there is no Gospel apart from the resurrection of Christ; (3) Paul and all the apostles were false witnesses; (4) Our faith is in vain; (5) We are all still in our sins; (6) The dead in Christ have perished; and (7) Christians are the most miserable people on earth.
Why do we preach the fact of Christ?s resurrection? The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest tour de force in the annals of history. Through the resurrection, Jesus demonstrated that He does not stand in a line of peers with Buddha, Mohammed, or many other founders of a world religion. All of them died and are still dead, but Christ is risen and is still alive. The resurrection is the very capstone in the arch of Christianity. If it is removed, all else crumbles. It is the singular doctrine which elevated Christianity above all the pagan religions of the ancient Mediterranean world.
3. Our future is confirmed on the fact of Resurrection (Vv.20-28)
Resurrection of Christ is a guarantee of the believer?s bodily resurrection. Christ who has been raised is the guarantee of the resurrection of all of God?s redeemed people (1Thess. 4:13-18). 2 Timothy 2:11-12 says, ?If we died with him, we will also live with him; if we endure, we will also reign with him. One of the major facts supporting the resurrection of Christ is the empty tomb. Jesus? tomb was empty because he was resurrected. Various theories have emerged against this fact: one is wrong tomb theory ? The tomb was empty because the disciples went to the wrong tomb. Another one is called fraud theory ? the disciples stole Jesus? body and led the whole world to believe that Jesus was risen. All our evidence goes show that there was no thought of resurrection in the minds of the disciples, and they were men without any hope. They were hiding somewhere out of fear of the Jews on the evening of the first Good Friday. Moreover Matthew tells us that a guard was set over the tomb of Jesus. Even the enemies of Christ admitted that the tomb was empty. The record shows that they even attempted to bribe the guards to say the body had been stolen (Matt 28:11-15). If the Jewish leaders had stolen the body, they could have later openly displayed it to prove that Jesus had not risen from the dead. Although many flawed theories have been formulated over the years, the fact of the empty tomb has never been refuted.
Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. Death came through a man, that is, Adam. The resurrection of the dead comes also through a man, the second Adam, ?the last Adam, that is, Jesus Christ. All who are in Adam suffer death, but all who are in Christ will be made alive at the resurrection. Christ, the first fruit, was raised in his own time in history, and those who are identified with Him by faith will be raised at his second coming. His resurrection is the pledge that ours will follow. At the end Jesus will hand over the Kingdom to God after destroying all dominion, authority and power. Finally Christ will destroy the last enemy-death. We all will be resurrected and there is no more death. The resurrection reminds us of our position in Christ, and refreshes our prospect of being with Him and like Him. Our future hope of resurrection is sure because Jesus has already been resurrected from the dead. We will have a resurrected body ? a glorified body. The resurrected bodies will be visible and tangible, but not subject to the laws of nature like our present bodies. Rather, they will be subject to the laws of the Spirit. It will be like that of Christ?s body after the resurrection (Luke 24:39).
4. Our present life is rooted on the fact of Resurrection (29-34)
Life finds its meaning in the fact of resurrection. People will be able to live in the light of their future resurrection. Paul asks, what is the use of baptism if there is no resurrection? It is because we were baptized in anticipation of the resurrection of the dead. If there is no resurrection, people will not be able to plan for their life. They will be like people who say, ?Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.? If there is no resurrection, why should we suffer persecution and hardship for Christ every day? Doubting or denying the resurrection of Christ is a sin which has a negative effect on the lives of people.
Resurrection brings transformation in the lives of people. Look at Jesus? disciples before his crucifixion? their hopes were shattered and broken. They expected Jesus to establish his earthly kingdom. They never expected their Messiah to suffer and die. They were disappointed and discouraged. Look at them after Jesus? resurrection ? They became different in their lives. There was a confidence and certainty in them about their Messiah. Immediately they were sure Jesus was no longer dead. Something happened that convinced them that Jesus was alive. In spite of intense persecution and even cruel deaths they testified to the truth of the resurrection. Not only did the resurrection of Christ transform the disciples from cowards to lions of the faith, but also His resurrection continues to transform lives today. Apostle Paul, in Phil. 3:10, invites us to share the power of His resurrection. He says, ?I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. Because Christ lives, the Scripture says, we will also live.
The gospel that we received is Christ died, buried, and risen. We take our stand with God on this same gospel.We are dead in our sins, raised with the Lord, and hope for our bodily resurrection. As we live here on earth, let?s continue to experience the power of Christ?s resurrection. Let?s pray that the transforming power of Christ?s resurrection may continue to transform many lives today!
|Posted by Rev. Mathew Philip on January 31, 2008 at 5:09 PM||comments (0)|
Ensure your call
MATHEW PHILIP, Philadelphia, PA.
We do live with certain motives. What are the motives behind our life and service? Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 1: 1-2 talks about one of the motives of Christian life. It is to make sure our calling. We must have the confidence that we are called to live and work for the Lord in the world.
Apostle Paul wrote his letter of 2Corinthians to the Church of God in Corinth together with all the Christians who lived in the region of Achaia. He joins Timothy with himself in writing this epistle. It is not because he needed his assistance, but probably to introduce him with a title called, ?Our brother? to the believers. We see a great humility on the part of this great apostle to recommend this young brother Timothy to the esteem of the Corinthians, and give him a reputation and acceptance among the churches. After the introduction the apostle begins with the description of his troubles and God?s goodness, which he had met with in Asia, by way of thanksgiving to God. From the introduction (vv. 1-2) itself we learn three things as far as our life in Christ is concerned:
1. We are called to do the ministry by the will of God: Paul qualifies himself saying ?an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.? An Apostle is the one specially commissioned by Christ to do the ministry. Apostle means ?sent one,? and not gone out one. If you are the gone out ones, you are going alone. If you are the sent out one, you are not alone, but His authority and presence are with you as you go to live and work for the Lord. Paul claims that he is sent by Christ by the will of God. As God? ministers, our recruitment is a supernatural recruitment. We are the ministers of God and not of any human organizations. In Christian ministry we are prayed by, ordained by and interviewed and recruited by different churches and Spiritual leaders. They are only instruments that God uses as channels of His blessings on us. We need all those things. Actually we are called by God, recruited by God and commissioned by God to do His ministry. As we go for our apostolic ministry, we must go with the same assurance and confidence.
2. We are called to be holy: When he wrote to the church, he addressed them as saints. This shows our position before God. He sanctified us through Christ Jesus. When people accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, God sanctifies them. We will be no more known as sinners, but saints, which is our position. It means that we are set apart as holy to the Lord. But there is another aspect of sanctification that is practical. We need to be holy every day in our lives. So when we start doing God?s ministry, Satan cannot call us any longer a sinner or he cannot accuse us with the old sins that we have committed. As we go for the ministry of the Gospel, we must go with the confidence that it is God who sanctifies us through Christ Jesus.
3. We are called to experience God?s grace and peace: We live and work in the world and this world is not favorable to us. To live in such a hostile world, we need God?s grace and peace. These are Christian qualities that are available only to God?s children. The eternal source of these qualities is God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Let?s continue to live and serve with the assurance of God?s call, with the practice of God?s holiness, and with the experience of God?s grace and peace.
|Posted by Rev. Mathew Philip on January 15, 2008 at 1:19 PM||comments (0)|
All of us like something new - new dress, new house, new vehicles, etc. We are excited about those things in the initial stage. These things become old after sometimes and we want to change them. Paul in Rom 12: 1-8 talks about one thing that will never become old. That is the NEW LIFE that Christ brings. The life that Jesus brings is newer everyday! In order to possess this new life, there must be a total change in our whole life. To be something new, there cannot be anything of old. It is like the old has gone, and the new has come (2 Co.5: 17). Only in Christ we can have this new life. How to possess this new life? Paul talks about four ways that we can possess this new life.
1. We can possess this new life by offering our bodies as living sacrifices (v.1):
We must offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. Here is a decision to glorify God with our body. In the new life that Christ brings, we cannot fulfill the desire of the flesh, but only bear the fruit of the Spirit. By presenting of our bodies to God, we will be able to avoid the sins that are committed with or against the bodies. It will also help us to use our bodies in the service of God so as to glorify God. So we must surrender our bodies to God to possess this new life in Christ. When we offer our bodies to God, His Spirit will start dwelling in us. Thus our body becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Co.3: 16). We are not supposed to defile or abuse our body (1Co.3: 17). Here is a call to live holy.
2. We can possess this new life by renewing our mind (v.2):
We must renew of our mind. One translation says, "Let God change the way you think." This is offering our mind to God. There comes a change in our thinking. We need to think the way God thinks. We must have ?the mind of Christ.? A person with the mind of Christ will see things the way God sees and not the way people see. Then we will be able to see and evaluate everything from God?s perspective. When we perceive our present life and future plans from God?s perspective, specifically in the light of God?s Word, we will be able to know God?s will in it. A change in our thinking is an absolute requirement to possess this new life in Christ.
3. We can possess this new life by offering our self/being to God (v. 3):
V. 3 says, "?Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment?" This is offering our ?self?/ ?being? to God. There occurs a change in our self-understanding. A change in my understanding about myself ? ?Who I am.? Before I accepted Christ, ?I thought I was somebody ? I am better than others.? Now I consider others better than myself (Phil 2:3). We do not think highly of us. Now we do not compare ourselves with others in regards to the amount of faith/number of talents/ use of gifts/ amount of blessings, etc. A self-evaluation/ a self-criticism in daily life is what we need to possess this new life in Christ.
4. We can possess this new life by offering our service to God (vv. 4-8):
We must be aware of our responsibilities in the body of Christ. We must know our function in the body of Christ? There must be a change in our function. All of us do not have the same function in the church. One may do a greater job and the other may do a smaller one. A person who is not transformed to the likeness of Christ will always think of his position highly before others. Such a person thinks his or her role is important and greater than others. Since we received this new life in Christ, we think that all are one in Christ and belong to each other. Functional differences are there, but in our being we are equal in the sight of God. All of us are equally important to God. It is a call for unity and equality (V.5). This is an attitude to serve cheerfully and joyfully. Here we offer our service to God. In the old state of our life, we wanted to be served by others, but in the new life that is brought by Christ, we want to serve one another. Earlier we did it with grumbling and murmuring, but now we do it faithfully, joyfully, cheerfully, humbly and according to the grace given to us. There happens a change in our attitude. We should never think that one gift is greater than the other. We must exercise them in proportion to our faith ? it simply means that we should not expect everyone to do in the same measure, but differently. We must do it according to our enabling ? it simply means that we should do our best, according to one?s capacity. We must do it generously ? simply means liberally, without any reservation and partiality. We must do it diligently ? simply means with hard working and painstaking, and not with carelessness. And finally, we must do it cheerfully ? willingly and joyfully and not with grumbling and murmuring. So we need a change in our attitude in the service of God. May the Lord help us to enjoy this new life every day of this New Year!
|Posted by Rev. Mathew Philip on October 10, 2007 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
How to overcome crisis in life?
By Mathew Philip
All of us go through difficulties and problems in life. Crises are part of every day life. It may be some acute health problem, financial crisis, business lose, employment problem, misunderstanding in the family, and many others. We should fight against them and take victory over those crises that come to defeat us. For example, take the case of physically challenged people. We have heard thrilling stories of people who fought against their physical disablement and won victories in life. Such people are able to envision a future beyond their difficult circumstances. Another example is seen in the sports field. A group of people, as a team do their best in planning and practicing with strict discipline to defeat their rival team. Likewise in our Christian life Satan, our greatest enemy comes quite often to fight with us. Thus we as believers are in a spiritual battlefield. Apostle Paul reminds every Christian of taking his or her stand against the devil?s schemes in Ephesians chapter 6. How can we take victory over Satan when he tries to defeat us?
The Bible has the answer. We read about an interesting story of Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah fighting against his enemies in 2 Chronicles 20:1-23. The lessons that we lean from this narrative are much useful for us in our present spiritual battle against the evils that come to our life. This story teaches us on how to confront enemies of different kinds that come against our life and ministry. How to overcome Crises in life?
1. We can overcome crisis by knowing the fact that it is part of life (vv. 1-2):
What happened here in our text? Jehoshaphat was ruling over Judah. The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because in his early years he walked in the ways of God. The Lord established the kingdom under his control. He had great wealth and honor. His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord and he removed idolatry from Judah. He lived in Jerusalem. Now the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. Some men came and reported to the King that the enemy is so near to him. We must be able to see problems as problems and enemy as enemy. We should never see problems as simple and never ignore our enemies. We should take notice of crises that happens to us as spiritual attack of our enemy. Crisis may be small or big, but it should be taken seriously. We should expect those in our life, and then we will not be taken into surprise. We will be prepared enough to face those evils that come against us. Christian life is not a bed of Roses as someone said. Specially, when we decide to live for the Lord and serve him, spiritual battle will be stronger. It is because Satan, our greatest enemy doesn?t like us to work for the expansion of God?s Kingdom. If we know that problems, crisis, evils and such things are part of our life, we will better be prepared to face them. Those students who know that examination is a part of their study and expect it will not be taken into surprise, but will be ready to face them.
2. We can overcome crisis if we seek the Lord in the midst of crisis (vv. 3-13):
The first thing that the King did was that he resolved to inquire of the Lord (Vv. 4-5). He did not call for his army or enquired of the counsel of his ministers, but sought the face of the Lord. Jehoshaphat did three things when enemy came against him. (1) He proclaimed a fast ? fasting; (2) He gathered all the people ? unity; and (3) He stood up in the assembly of Judah and prayed ? prayer. In his prayer he acknowledged few things: (1) He acknowledged God?s sovereignty; (2) He recognized God?s powerfulness; (3) He remembered God?s deliverance in the past; (4) He assured their loyalty and allegiance to Yahweh; (5) He understood their present problems; (6) He accepted their powerless; (7) He agreed their helplessness; and (8) Finally they trusted in the saving power of God. We find a beautiful illustration of the same case with Queen Esther. When Haman plotted against the Jewish people in the kingdom, Esther sought first the face of God by declaring a fast before she went to seek the favor of the King (Esther 4:15-16). If you and I seek the Lord for His help, He is a well-timed helper in the midst of our crisis.
3. We can overcome crisis by being assured of God?s deliverance (vv. 14- 21):
How can we be assured of God?s deliverance? The Holy Spirit of God is the one who assures us of victory (v.14). The Holy Spirit has a message of courage and boldness. He has the message of deliverance and victory. Why do we have the assurance of victory? It is because the battle belongs to the Lord (v.15). We see that the King and his people got the instructions from the Lord as to how to go against their enemy (v. 16). God said they would not have to fight this battle. He promised, ?Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.? When he got the assurance of victory Jehoshaphat did certain things there. He worshipped God. He bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord (v. 18). Then they praised God with loud voice and gave thanks to Him. In order to have an assurance of victory over our enemies, we must completely rely upon the Holy Spirit. He will empower us for the battle. He will guide us and lead us into all truth. He will comfort us in our struggles. We must learn to worship God and praise him in every circumstance. We must worship God and praise Him even in the midst of our struggles. The more we worship and praise God, the more we are assured or our deliverance. Final victory is ours, because He is victorious and powerful enough to deliver us.
4. We can overcome crisis by experiencing God?s deliverance (vv. 22-30):
Jehoshaphat and all his people began to march against their enemies just as the Lord commanded them. They did not rely upon their own wisdom or armies or their weapons, but completely trusted the living God. How did they go against their enemies? They began to sing and praise God. When they began to sing and praise God, the Lord set ambushes against their enemies. The nature of this ambush is indicated in v.23. This ambush was confusion. The Lord confused their enemies. They began to fight each other. We see a beautiful illustration of the similar victory under Gideon (Judges 7). It is written that their enemies helped to destroy one another. When the Israelites looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. Praise the Lord! There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. They returned joyfully to Jerusalem. The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the Lord had fought for His people. If you and I are willing to fight against our enemies just as the Lord commands, the victory is ours. We don?t need any weapons or a great number of mighty people. We need only to sing and praise God?s victory. The fear of God will fall upon the people around us when they see how the Lord fights for his people. Thus His name will be known to all people
Do you want to live in victory in the year 2007 that is ahead of you? Remember, crisis is a part of life, but final victory is ours. Jesus is victorious for us. In every conflict, be assured of the fact that we are not fighting the enemy for a position of victory, but from the position of victory. Our present battle is not for victory, because Jesus has already won the victory for us on the Cross of Calvary. We must make sure of our stand and firmness before God and see the deliverance the Lord gives us every day in our life. Let us celebrate every day and every moment the victory the Lord has won for us over every evil that comes against our life and ministry. Do you think you need deliverance in life? Is there anything or anybody that bothers you? Is there anything that you want to win victory over? Is there anything in life that you want to get rid of? Do you have fear over your future? Bring that particular thing that bothers you before Jesus. Bring that particular person whom you think stand against your life and ministry. Take to Jesus that particular habit that you want to get rid of. Bring your sickness before Jesus. He is always ready to speak a word to your particular problem. If Jesus speaks a word, you will be healed and delivered!
|Posted by Rev. Mathew Philip on October 8, 2007 at 6:33 PM||comments (0)|
God honors people who honor Him!
by Mathew Philip
Introduction: Usually we honor those who do some favour to us. We like to honor those who honor us. For example, the Kings in olden days honored people who helped their kingdom or protected their lives. If an employee has worked in a company for many years and has been loyal to the company, usually the company honors such a person at the time of his or her retirement. Likewise our God honors those who honor Him when we live here on the earth. We must bring glory and honor to Him because He is our creator and sustainer. We must honor Him as holy before the people. We see a beautiful story of how God honors those who honor Him in the book of Esther chapter 6: 1-14.
Background: The passage talks about how the King Xerxes honored Mordecai, the King?s gate keeper. Mordecai was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin. He brought up his cousin named Hadassah, who was also known as Esther and now she became the queen. The incident of honoring Mordecai happened five years after the elevation of Esther as the queen. In the background we see Haman?s plot to destroy the entire Jews in the Kingdom (Esther 3:8, 9). This happened because Mordecai was not willing to bow down before Haman. It may be because Haman was probably an Amalekite and Jews were in enmity with them for generations, which was also the command of God to the Israelites (Exodus 17: 14-16)). So it was not an act of disobedience to the King?s command on the part of Mordecai when he did not kneel down before Haman, but obedience to the King of Kings, the God of Israel who commanded them to blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven (Deuteronomy. 25:17-19). As a result, we see Haman?s conspiracy to hang Mordecai (Esther 5:14). In the light of all these events, things were not going well with Mordecai and the Jews. But there is a biblical principle: God works out everything for the good of His people? (Romans 8:28). If God opens a door for His people, no one can shut it. God intervenes at the right time because He is a well-timed helper. Here God works for the good of Mordecai. From this story let?s see how God honors His people?
1. God honors His people at the unexpected time (v.1): ?That night the king could not sleep.? God worked for Mordecai at ?that night.? I don?t know whether ?night? has some importance in the lives of God?s people, but I see something special about it from different examples in the Bible. I see God sometimes works at night for His people when everybody sleeps! For example, we read in Genesis 41:1-5 that God worked in the night when He wanted to save Joseph from the prison. We see in Daniel 2 that God worked in the night when he wanted to lift up Daniel in Babylon. We read in Acts 12 how God worked in the night when He wanted to save Peter from imprisonment. Look at Matthew 14 and see Jesus worked in the fourth watch of the night to save his disciples from the storm. Believe me friends, there is going to be a night in your life too that the Lord will work for your needs. Psalm121:4 says, ?Indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.? In our passage, God worked for His servant Mordecai who stood for him and honored him in that heathen land. God will always work for our good if we truly love him and honor him. And He works in a surprising way!
2. God honors His people by working in the hearts of others (vv.2-6): God worked in the heart of the King to do favor for Mordecai. The King found out from the record that Mordecai saved his life by exposing a conspiracy by two of his officials to assassinate the King. This event had actually happened 5 years earlier. In v. 3-6, the King asked, ?What honor and recognition has Mordecai received for this?? ?Nothing has been done for him? his attendants answered. In vv. 4-6, the King asked Haman, ?What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?? We see a God who moved the heart of the King Cyrus to build the temple of the Lord (Ezra 1:1ff.) and also the King Artaxerxes to build the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 2:8). Friends, God works in the hearts of authorities for His people. Especially, if we do something good, it will always be remembered. We may not get a reward immediately, or people may not take notice of it at once, or we may not be even appreciated on the spot. We should not do anything just to please someone, thinking that they will appreciate us. We must do everything as if we do it unto the Lord. There is a God who sees everything in secret. He will never forget to honor the one who honors Him even if we think it is too late! He always works at the right time and even in ways that we sometimes can?t understand!
3. God honors His people in front of their enemies (vv. 7-11): We see in vv. 7-11, the King?s command to Haman to honor Mordecai. As per the King?s command, Haman clothed Mordecai with the royal rob and placed a royal crown on his head. Then he put Mordecai on the King?s horse and led him through City Street, proclaiming before him, ?This is what is done for the man the King delights to honor.? Dear people of God, when God wants to honor you, He will do the best for you. Psalms 23:5 says, ?You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.? That is what exactly happened here. Our honor comes from God. If at all people honor you, know that it is not they, but God who works in their hearts, has honored you in front of your enemies. Our help and blessings come from above (Psalm 121: 1).
4. God honors those who humble themselves before Him (v. 12): There is something very interesting in this verse: ?Afterward Mordecai returned to the King?s gate.? If I were Mordecai, I would not go immediately to the security cabin again. I would hover around the palace and demand my rights and privileges and expect others to honor me. Look at Mordecai. He did not show himself off in any such way. He was a humble man (cf.4:1-2). He returned to his place immediately and began to do his work as closely as he had done before. Look at what Haman did. He rushed back home, his head covered in grief. God always lifts up the humble. He hates the haughty and proud individual. Biblical principle is this: ?Whoever humbles himself will be exalted; whoever exalts himself will be humbled (8:15). Honor is given to those who are not made proud and idle by it, and will not think themselves above their duty.
5. God honors His people by destroying their enemies (v. 13): In v. 13, Haman?s advisers and wife told him this: ?Since Mordecai is of Jewish origin, you can?t stand against him.? They look like miserable comforters. Instead of advising him to repent and ask forgiveness to Mordecai, they were predicting his ruin. It looks like they knew very well about the Jewish people and the God of Israel. Otherwise, his wife would not say, ?you will surely come to ruin.? Friends, be assured of the fact that we are God?s children and of His origin. No one can stand against His people. The biblical principle is this: ?If God is for us, no one can be against us? (Romans 8:31). Let others know that we belong to Christ and we are His people. Let Satan tremble and the fear of the Lord fall upon the people who come against us. The Lord is going to honor you and lift you up for His glory.
Conclusion: God is looking for many Mordecais in today?s churches, government, business, and work places. He wants you to be a Mordecai in the place where you are now. May the good Lord help us to live a life that will bring glory and honor to His name!
|Posted by Rev. Mathew Philip on October 8, 2007 at 6:09 PM||comments (0)|
LET NO ONE DESPISE YOUR YOUTH!
Is it possible for us as young people to live a holy and exemplary life in this post-modern age where we see a lot of crime, corruption, injustice and violence? We live now in a period of godless and wicked generation. Anarchy in Government and chaos in the lives of people are seen all over. The scientists and top statesmen talk openly about the death of civilization, the energy crisis, population explosion and the threat of a nuclear holocaust. Today religious fanaticism is intensifying, terrorism is getting higher, cyber crimes are increasing, moral standard is declining, and we have come to a point where human life has no value. In the words of Apostle Paul ?a crooked and perverse generation? (Philippians 2:15) is on the rise.
I am convinced that our response to this is to live a corporate and individual life that is acceptable to God as well as our fellow beings. Show the whole world through our lives that there is a group of young people who live and work for peace, justice, truth, love and harmony. Rather than conforming to the pattern of this world, let us be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). God wants us to live a blameless and pure life without fault (Philippians 2:15).
Apostle Paul was very sure that it was possible when he wrote to young Timothy about it (1 Timothy 4:12-16). He admonished Timothy that he should not allow anyone to look down on him because he was young. We give an occasion for people to despise our youth if we indulge ourselves in youthful vanities and follies. How to live a young life that will not give any occasion for others to despise? What should we do that others may not look down on our youthfulness? First, we must set an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (v. 12). Our speech must be edifying, love must be expressed in charity, faith must be in action and our purity must be according to the standard of God?s holiness. Second, we must devote ourselves in public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching (v. 13). We must read God?s Word and expound it by teaching others both what to do and what to believe. Third, we should not neglect our gift (v. 14). If we ignore and do not use the gifts of God, they will become weak and we will loose them at the end which will cause others to despise us. As young people, we must use the gifts and talents that we receive from the Lord for his glory and for the benefit of others. Fourth, we should work hard and give ourselves completely to the things of God so that everyone may see our progress (v. 15). When others observe that we as young people are serious in the work of God, working hard and thus progressing well in life, love, faith, and holiness which bring benefits to them, there is no chance for them to despise our young life. Finally, we must watch our life and doctrine closely and preserve in them (v. 16). We are engaged in saving work ? our main responsibility is to snatch many out of fire whether in our schools, colleges, neighborhood, or public places. So we must give heed to ourselves first to practice what we preach. There should not be any disparity between what you preach and how you live. If your life and doctrine go together, you will become an instrument to bring about the salvation of others.
Friends, it is possible for ordinary people like us to live a holy life Him. We have many heroes of faith who had gone before us as examples. Do you still have doubt? Look back to the lives of our forefathers who left their houses, properties, wealth, possessions like gold, silver and other inheritance for the sake of Christ to stand firm in the faith that they professed in Christ Jesus. May the Lord help us to walk in constant fellowship with Him even in hostile environment so that no one may despise our youth!
|Posted by Rev. Mathew Philip on October 5, 2007 at 11:19 AM||comments (0)|
WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERORS!!
Do you want to live in victory throughout the year 2007? Is it possible for us to live a victorious Christian life? The Bible has the answer! Paul in Romans 8: 28-39 says that we are more than conquerors. Why are Christians more than conquerors? Paul gives 6 reasosns: (1) God works for our good (v.28) - We have victory over every evil that comes against us. (2) God predestined us (v.29-30) - We have victory over our destiny/future. (3) God is on our side (v.31) - We have victory over our enemies. (4) God gives all things free (vv.32) - We have victory over every need. (5) Jesus the Son, intercedes for us (vv.33-34) - We have victory over every accusation and condemnation. (6) God loves us (vv.35-39) - We have victory over our present struffles. Friends we are more than conquerors!. May the good Lord help you to celebrate this victory every moment of your lives in this new year