Don’t Take God’s Grace for Granted

Your life is a door – to a house that only you have access to. You have the  liberty to open or close your door – no one else. As every door comes with a keyhole, so does yours. It’s ironic you’d blame your situations and folks or wonder how you ended up in sin, because every time satan knocks, you have that keyhole to know exactly what and whom you’re opening your door to. Every time you let him in, you inevitably let someone out – Jesus.

You give sin an edge to grow up the walls of your house. The more it stays, the worse. Listen carefully, Jesus is knocking too, but you’re so indulged in the sound of satan’s music, those knocks never reach your ears. Yet His knocking never ceases. You see, He paid a heavy price for you. Though you may forget, Jesus never does. And then, there comes that point when you’re snapped back to reality. Realise your visitor has overstayed his welcome. You shouldn’t have let him in to begin with. But how do you do away with one who doesn’t want to be done away with? How do you make someone who doesn’t want to leave, leave? You need help. You call security to forcefully push him out of your house. Yes, you finally remember the One whose knocks you never heard.

Now you need Jesus. You rely on His strength to get him out. You can’t try alone. Your efforts are all in vain. As unrealistic as wanting a building to budge on your push. Jesus comes to your rescue, drags the intruder out. Your door is shut again. Now turn around, my friend. Look at your house. Your intruder has gone and there’s no trace of him, but look what he’s left behind. He’s damaged your precious house. Yes, Jesus will turn your scarlet-stained house back to snow-white. But wait, you knew that all along didn’t you? While you were dancing to Satan’s tunes, you knew it was a wrong song to play, you knew what you were entertaining was not of God, but you thought you’d stop at your own pace, cause Jesus is always there to clean up your mess, isn’t He?

If this is your mentality today, you’re taking the grace of God in vain. Do not bring upon yourself a time when He’s not going to be there to knock your door anymore. Every time you open your door to the devil, you give away part of your house. Were you actually that naive to think those glittery wrapped packages he held were gifts for you? Or did he have to remove the disguise and reveal those guns and swords for you, to not open your door? Sin is like a microbe. Feed it with less than a drop of inoculum and you’ll have enough to replicate over an entire area.

Next time he knocks, run to your phone, dial your security and say, “Lord, I have an unwanted visitor at my door.” Or else, let him in. After he’s gone and the damage is done, turn around again and look. Do you like what you see? Was it worth it? How different would things have been, if you had peeped through that keyhole and just stepped away?

For God took the sinless Christ and poured into Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He poured God’s goodness into us! As God’s partners, we beg you not to toss aside this marvelous message of God’s great kindness. For God says, “Your cry came to Me at a favorable time, when the doors of welcome were wide open. I helped you on a day when salvation was being offered.” Right now God is ready to welcome you. Today He is ready to save you.

  • – 2 Corinthians 5:21, 6:1-2

You Still Have Hope!

Where do you stand today? Are you feeling low and depressed? Do you think you are useless? Do you look at the people around you and wish you were one of them?

Well then, the manna for you today is Genesis 39. A perfect example of a man, out of whom no good could have come, considering his circumstances, is none other than Joseph. Could any of you think of a situation where you were to be sold by your very own family as a slave? What could be more humiliating than that? Joseph was just a young boy when this happened in his life. He was pampered and fed with a silver spoon his entire life by his father. He hadn’t worked a day in his life and in the blink of an eye all that was about to change. Being taken to a foreign land as a prisoner with no way out is no joke. Yet things worked out well for him when he found favour in Potiphar’s eyes. And just when he would’ve thought that everything was settled, here comes Potiphar’s wife and once again Joseph found himself standing at the place where he started – one with no hope.

Yet what’s wonderful behind all this tragedy is stated in Genesis 39

“But the Lord was WITH Joseph and showed him MERCY, and He gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison…

because the Lord was WITH him and WHATEVER he did, the Lord made it PROSPER.Genesis 39:21-23

In most cases, the prisoners have to endure very harsh treatment, yet Joseph had an advantage over the others and that was, that he had God’s favour, and hence he was respected by the prison-keeper. An important point to be noted is that in the midst of all his trials and tribulations Joseph faced, not once is it mentioned that he complained or grumbled against God. He knew His Heavenly Father was mightier than his problems. It is because of this perseverance and steadfastness that Joseph was honoured by Pharaoh and made the ruler of Egypt.

“Then Pharaoh said to Joseph……”there is none as discerning and wise than you.”…..Then Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Joseph’s hand………So he set him over all the land of Egypt” (Genesis 41:39-43)

The simple life of an ordinary Hebrew boy was shattered to pieces when he was turned into a slave for no fault of his own. That shattered life, when placed into the Potter’s hands was molded, refined and transformed into a life little Joseph would never even have dreamed of!

So I ask you again – where do you stand today? Do you feel like you lead a troubled life? Do you wish you were happy? Don’t have everything you desire? Are you thinking that you honoured God yet He doesn’t seem to honour you? This world has its own definition of success, happiness, joy and peace. If your definition of happiness matches that, then you are just mocking your own faith. Having a job, being smart, having the gift of speech, etc. is not what you need to have peace. Why confine yourselves to the standards of the world? So what if you have a low paid job? So what if your boss says you are useless and clumsy? So what if your English is laughed at or if you can’t fare well in your exams? Is not your Father in Heaven the controller of all these things?

 (1 Corinthians 1:27) says “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise…..”

God’s definition of wise and mighty or weak and foolish or happiness and joy are different from what’s written in your dictionary. God created you in His image. From your simplest and tiniest cell to your most complex organ system, God has designed you. Which of you when you design something from scratch would destroy it on purpose? We would care for it as the apple of our eyes. In the same way God cares for you and would never let you endure something way beyond your peak capacity. All you have to do is submit that life you think is a waste into the craftsman’s hands.

But there’s a catch!

You shouldn’t be like Peter who was walking on the water towards Jesus and faltered only when he took his eyes off Jesus and looked at the turbulent waters instead. Let’s stop looking at the turbulent waters in our lives. It will only make us grow weary and dull. Instead let’s look to the author and finisher of our faith.

There are billions of people in this world, yet God chose you to partake in His kingdom. Did you do anything extraordinary BEFORE you were born that God had His eye on you? Absolutely not! But you were chosen for a reason, which may seem unclear and foggy now, but will definitely unfold in time. As (Ecclesiastes 3:1) says “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven”.

This world will never be able to offer us exactly what we want. If it did, we would lose our focus on our goal. But do not get discouraged, because we are a separate group of people set out for a much greater destiny than to just accumulate wealth here. Wealth which is stated as moth and rust that will corrupt in the Bible.

So my dear brothers and sisters, next time you feel like giving up, remember Joseph, who even at the lowest point of his life blindly trusted God. From a slave-boy to the ruler of Egypt! If Joseph didn’t ask “Why”, we definitely are in no position to too.

 

Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11-13

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

Say No to Sin

Genesis 1:28
Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Can you imagine such a situation where we were in control of not just one or two but everything in this world? God had given us this authority once. And let us remember that the entire earth was made by God. It was His creation, the work of His own hands. Whom would we trust to put in charge of something precious we have made after spending time and effort on it? We would only select someone we trust completely and know well. In the same way God had so much trust and faith in man, the man he made in His own image (Gen 1:27) that He left everything He made over to Him. You can only imagine the feeling of betrayal God felt when man disobeyed Him. When you think of it, Adam and Eve had the perfect life- lived in the Garden of Eden, didn’t have to toil or work, were surrounded by lush greenery, they could talk and commune with God, they didn’t have to be afraid of the present wild animals or any of that sort. How foolish of man to give it all up over a single piece of forbidden fruit? (Gen 3:6). It is very easy for us to blame Eve and think that if she hadn’t sinned the world would be a better place. We always look at Eve as the mother of sin, the bad one, the black sheep. But have you ever wondered in these lines? If you were in Eve’s place, can you say with confidence now that you would have been able to resist the serpent?
This is not a case of defending or justifying her actions, but would our reaction have been any different from hers? What about in our daily lives? How many times have we put our faith and all that is written in the Bible to one side and gone in the ways of the world? God had instructed Eve to do something but she didn’t listen. In the same way God has instructed us on how to live in this world through His Word. So anything we do against the word is equal to doing the same sin Eve committed. How many times have we given into our urges to get angry or say a discouraging word, been stubborn or disobedient to our parents? Do we harbour grudges in our hearts? Are we jealous or lustful over something we don’t have?
 Galatians 5:19-21. “Now the works of the flesh …… adultery, fornication, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries…”
We often think of adultery, idolatry, sorcery etc, as the major sins and think of all the rest as the minor and okay sins. But in front of God anything you do against the Bible is a sin and God tolerates no such thing. What about the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22? Are we happy and joyful? Or do we complain always? Do we have love and patience? Are we humble or do we try in small indirect ways to show our fellow friends/believers that we are well to do and prosperous? The Bible clearly states that the Holy Spirit can only enter a heart which is pure from all filth. We can’t define a pure heart according to our own standards or our own ideologies of right and wrong. We have to weigh our hearts against the Bible and its teachings. Many a time we take advantage of God’s kindness. We think we can do certain wrong things for the time-being because God will forgive us anyway. Remember, God has heard these thoughts of yours even before they entered your mind. It is true that we will be forgiven but sometimes we have to pay and suffer consequences for our sins. If we keep doing wrong and keep getting away with it we would never learn. We should remember the example of David. Even though he was forgiven for his sin against Uriah he was punished. A punishment that cost him the life of his son. Remember Eve. A single bite of the fruit cost her the happy and luxurious life she and Adam enjoyed. It cost her the relationship she shared with God and ultimately it led to the fall of mankind as we read
Romans 5:12 “….through One man sin entered the world and death through sin…”
Rom 5:21 But by the eternal mercy of God, we have a Saviour who died for our sins.
But never take this grace for granted and as a means to do whatever you want, thinking that you will be forgiven anyway. God only forgives you when you truly feel guilty for your sins and repent from your heart and ask him to help you turn away from your sins. We must always remember temptation comes before everyone. It’s not that only those who are strong in the Word are not tempted and the others are. The only difference is that if we are strong rooted in the Word and if we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts, we can overcome the temptation compared to those who don’t. Remember the justification of our sins cost Jesus every drop of his blood. So my dear brothers and sisters, let us evaluate ourselves. Our reaction to the diverse temptations we face everyday.
While in school we may have that urge to join in with the crowd and enjoy what they indulge in. Do we act upon and give into those temptations or do we with the help of the Spirit stick to our faith? What about in our work places? Do we sometimes get fed up with the pressure around us that we find wrong means and easy ways to get to our deadline? When we are angry with someone, do we find it easy to just blurt out everything that is in our minds or do we have the mind of Jesus to forgive seventy times seven? What about our tithes? Do we give what is due to God or do we think of how much more we could have brought with that money? And lastly our devotional time. We are so tired sometime after work or school that we think one day without reading the Bible or praying will do no harm. We say there is always a tomorrow so God will understand. There are so many things likewise which we overlook as small and trivial but which make a difference to God. No sin is Big and no sin is Small. No sin is very wrong and no sin is just a little wrong. No sin is the worst and no sin is better than the other sin. Sin is sin. Sin is wrong. Let us ask God these coming days to bring to remembrance all the small things in our lives which may be OK to us but which may hurt God. Let us ask Him to help the Holy Spirit to dwell in our lives so we can lead a life pleasing to Him and attain the holiness God has planned for us.
Lastly, let us thank God for forgiving us. You might be perfect in your eyes and in the eyes of others. You may be doing everything according to the Bible. But just like the rich man in Mark 10:21 who claimed he was doing everything but faltered when Jesus asked him to give his possessions to the poor, you too may have that small sin in your life which seems okay but negates the effect of your other good doings. No matter how difficult it is for you to stay away from some sins, we must realize that we are putting our eternal life at stake. Jesus died for you my friend. The drops of blood shed from His body, the insults, the cries of anguish, they were all for you. Do not make the eternal sacrifice of Jesus as just a story you learn in Sunday school. Honor it. Respect it. He wouldn’t have done it if He didn’t really want you to spend eternity with Him.
 And then one day when all the earth and everything in it passes away and when we live with Jesus in our rightful and heavenly home we will realize that even if now we have to undergo some hard times for turning away from our sins like losing a friend or being made fun of, we will realize then that it was worth it all.