Ezekiel 33: 11
Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!…..
The Lord has no pleasure in seeing the wicked perish in their sins. He does not wish for them to be destroyed in their ways. And that’s probably why He has time and again given warnings for all to return to Him, to forsake their evil ways and return to God. There is always a second chance. You are never too far from His grace and forgiveness, if only you would return to Him.
The most quoted and well know Bible verse has to be John 3:16.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
There is no distinction or demarcation mentioned here. He died for all. He died so that “whoever” believes in Him will be given eternal life. He died for you and me. He has no desire for any of His children to go astray. I say, children, because we are all His children and we belong to Him. But the Word is specific. As much as He doesn’t desire for anyone to perish, there is also the clause that you need to believe in Him and live for Him in order to get hold of the eternal life He has in store for you and me.
As I stated earlier, you are not too late or too far out of reach from His grace. Turn to Him, focus on Him alone in your journey on this earth. Everything else you see in this world will fade away. Only His Word remains.
“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
The above passage speaks of the church of Ephesus. The former portion of the verses speak about the good works of the church, of the mighty deeds with which they perform for the Lord. Yet, as the portion ends, we see God judging them for a grave mistake – they have forsaken their first love. An often quoted verse from the Bible but how much thought have we actually given to it. As we read more from the Word, we realize the way God sees and the way we see things are so different. It’s no wonder that He says in Isaiah 55: 8, 9, that His ways and thoughts are so much higher than ours.
As a Christian, we consider works, labor, patience, spirit of discernment to be of so much importance, we would never have thought anything was lacking. But the Lord who sees and knows everything does not make judgments based on the outward appearance alone. He knew the heart and soul of the church and found them lacking in their first love.
God has placed so much importance to love that an entire chapter in the Bible is dedicated to this topic alone (1 Corinthians 13). This chapter goes on to speak about the different manifestations of the Holy Spirit – speaking in tongues, prophesying and so on. But it ends on an astounding note.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
It’s almost difficult to comprehend that you can have all these spiritual gifts and yet not have love. You can prophesy without love, you can speak in tongues without having love, you can give to the poor without having any love – the list goes on. But God sees the intentions of the hearts, He sees us for who we are. There can be nothing fake before him, a counterfeit Christian is not not who He needs. He needs His child to act out of love. Are you that one? Do you feel you have been running behind the wrong things and missed out on one of the most importance characteristic which God desires? Ask Him to fill you with love for Him and others.
Genesis 21: 13Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed.
We enjoy God’s mercies and blessings in our life- be it spiritual or material. The first generation Christians- our forefathers- had a very different outlook on the meaning of blessings. They knew the pain of sleeping without food, of not having a vehicle for transport, not having electricity, etc. But they still kept their hope and trust in God. They were able to look to God as the supplier of all their needs. They had a joy inspite of their hardships – a joy that was founded in Christ.
Fast forward to 2 or 3 generations later and we find the fervour and passion which our forefathers had for Christ has reduced drastically. It isn’t absent completely but definitely diminished. And we don’t know when the trend shifted but today material blessings is seen as a sign of God’s favour to a Christian. We see the family with 3 kids driving a 4 wheeled vehicle, living in a plush bungalow and we automatically presume he is highly favoured by God. How the early Christians would have laughed if they saw the world like it is today.
What many don’t realise is that our God remembers the faithful, He remembers the prayers prayed by the early Christians and He has indeed blessed their future generations.
Ishmael was not the son God intended for Abraham. Abraham took a drastic step and took matters into his own hands – and Ishmael was born. But God promised a future for Ishmael ONLY because of Abraham. Towards the later parts of the book, we see no mention of Ishmael or how his end was. But yes, God was true to His word. He indeed made Ishmael into a great nation, not because of any deed of his own but his father’s.
You may be a 2nd or 3rd or even a 4th generation Christian, the faithfulness shown by your great grandparents and your grandparents may be the source to your seemingly happy life and material blessings. But don’t fool yourself if you count it as a pass for living the way you want. Your personal relation with God alone will get you to heaven. Do not focus on what you see on earth. Look to Him and lead your life in a way that you are assured of the eternity to spend with Jesus.
Genesis 1: 10….And God saw that it was good.
The Bible begins with the book of Genesis, which means “origin”. In the first chapter, there is a detailed description of the creation of the universe and everything in it. Several times (verses 4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31), we see God reviewing what He did and it says “He saw that it was good”.
Did God view his creations as only “good”? In the world we live today, everything is described in superlatives – the biggest, the tallest, the best, the tastiest, etc. etc. Wasn’t His creations the “best”? Even from a very young age, it is drilled into kids to be the best at sports, the best singer, the best dancer and so on. There are awards given in schools, companies and other organizations for the best student or the best employee.
John 2: 10
And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”
In the above passage, again we see the use of the word “good”. Would we describe the new wine as good or the best? Somehow, when we see the label “good” on something, there is a feeling that something is incomplete, that there could be something better. In this strife to do everything better than good, maybe we have forgotten what God’s definitions mean. God saying His creations are “good” does not in any way reduce the magnitude of the wonders He has made.
Let’s try to see the way God sees it. It was good in His sight and that is enough.
Luke 15 has three parables in it – parable of the lost sheep, lost coin and the lost son. Each speaks of how something precious was lost for a little while and the joy that followed in finding them again.
We too were once lost, but Jesus found us and saved us and gave us new life. How precious we are to Him can be seen in these verses. If anyone reading this has somehow strayed away from Him and if your life feels meaningless, look to the lost son in the parable (verse 11-32). He went away and got lost in the pleasures of the world but he realised his mistake and came back (verse 18-19). Instead of being angry and showing any form of hatred, the father welcomed him with open arms (verse 20).
Our Father too is compassionate toward His children and ready to welcome you with open arms if only you will turn back to Him. Don’t wait for another day for it’s not ours. Do it today and enjoy the peace which only He can give you.