Come Home My Child

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.

Promise Maker, Keeper

After King David was enthroned, he made a number of successful conquests and began administering over the whole of Israel. The Second Book of Samuel, chapter 9 begins with David remembering his promise to his friend, Jonathan.

Now David said, “Is there still anyone who is left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?”… And Ziba said to the king, “There is still a son of Jonathan who is lame in his feet… he is in the house of Machir…” … Then King David sent and brought him out of the house of Machir… Now when Mephibosheth the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, had come to David, he fell on his face and prostrated himself. Then David said, “Mephibosheth?”… “Do not fear, for I will surely show you kindness for Jonathan your father’s sake, and will restore to you all the land of Saul your grandfather; and you shall eat bread at my table continually.”
2 Samuel 9

So, King David brings Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth, to his palace and restores all that was taken away from that family. He even goes one step more in allowing Mephibosheth to have his meals at David’s table; which is to say that Mephibosheth will have all that he needs to sustain his life at the King’s expense. All this was vested on Mephibosheth not because his grandfather, King Saul, who wanted to kill David and drove him out of the country away from all that was near and dear to David, but because of David’s pledge to his friend Jonathan.

“…but you shall not cut off your kindness from my house forever, no, not when the Lord has cut off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth.” So Jonathan made a covenant with the house of David, saying, “Let the Lord require it at the hand of David’s enemies.” Now Jonathan again caused David to vow, because he loved him; for he loved him as he loved his own soul.
1 Samuel 20:15 -17

When David made this promise to Jonathan, Mephibosheth was probably not born yet. However, even if he was alive, Mephibosheth was not lame when this covenant was made. They had no idea of the gruesome events that were to happen after David promised to show kindness to Jonathan and his children. Years later, Saul and his family were slaughtered, except for Mephibosheth.

Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was lame in his feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel; and his nurse took him up and fled. And it happened, as she made haste to flee, that he fell and became lame. His name was Mephibosheth.
2 Samuel 4:4

Mephibosheth was five years old when he lost the capabilities of both his feet. When David remembered his promise to Jonathan and honored Mephibosheth, he was not five years old, but much older. 2 Samuel 9:12 says that Mephibosheth even had a young son at that time. We are looking at a twenty or even older aged Mephibosheth falling at King David’s feet for mercy. When Jonathan and David formed a covenant, they were young and had no idea about what the future was to hold. When they set out as friends, both of them were unaware of the disaster that was to happen to Jonathan and his family. Many of us are like them.

When we set out to seek God and live according to His will, we heard many promises about our future. Many of us read His promises from His Word and trusted Him when we set out in the path that He had laid for us. We were promised that He would be there and take care of us whenever and wherever we would be. But we didn’t foresee the trials that were to come. We weren’t told about the days which turned to months of hardship when our families forsook us. We didn’t know that we would lose our job. We didn’t know that our children would have to move to a school with much lower fees because we couldn’t afford even a proper meal for them. We didn’t know that our sons and daughters, whose higher education was paid by our countless pains and hours of toil, would remain unemployed and deprived of a living that has any dignity. We didn’t see that accident coming that would drain our family savings and leave us immovable. We didn’t know that our eyes would be weary with sleeplessness and our nights were to be on a bed soaked with our tears. By now, most of us must have doubted all those promises and washed them from our memories before they came to haunt us back with more bruises.

Acts 13:22
“… I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”

King David was a man of flaws. If David were to come to one of our churches, no Pastor or elder would allow him to gain admission. After all, who would want a man who sinned and even made other men sin, to even be a friend. Yet God identifies David as a man after His own heart – a man who did all His will. David’s remembrance of his promise to Jonathan and his compassion on Mephibosheth shows us what our Father’s heart is all about.

Your parents or grandparents must have been one of those people who were belittled and shunned by society for choosing a path that would draw them closer to God. They probably didn’t live to see the promises being fulfilled in their lives. Most of the promises must have been about their children being honored and being blessed. Don’t be disheartened by what has happened in the past. Those promises are still alive and available to you. He will restore to you what He promised and more!

You may be in a position where your future seems to be uncertain. You might have heard volumes of promises yet you have not seen even one of them fulfilled. You might have followed every path God had asked you to tread, but you still are not able to hold your head up high. Let Mephibosheth be a reminder to you today – He has not forgotten you. He will fulfill His word. If a human king could remember his promise to a friend he made years ago, then be assured, God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance for what He has promised. If He has said it, He will do it and make it good.

~ This article was compiled based on a sermon delivered by James Chacko

We Are His Temple

God is to be worshiped in His Holy Temple. David longed to build one for Him but was forbidden from doing so by God Himself (1 Chronicles 28:2, 3). His son, Solomon built His temple (1 Kings 5-8). We have beautiful structures today all over the world which we call churches where people gather together for the purpose of worship. Of course, a church is essential but time and again God has said that He cannot be contained in any man made structure but instead prefers to reside in our hearts. If, indeed, He is to reside in there, how much importance do we give to it? Do we even spend half the time and effort we take to beautify our churches for our hearts?

1 Corinthians 3:16, 17
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

Here, a different kind of temple has been spoken of by Paul – ourselves, our bodies. Something that we often tend to forget. No matter how big or beautiful our physical churches may be, if our hearts are not in the right place, God can’t be kept in there. We are to offer ourselves as a temple for Him to reside in. But is it fit for the King of Kings? It says clearly in verse 17, His temple is Holy for He Himself is Holy and there is no place for filth and dirt to dwell there. And if His temple is defiled, He will destroy it because He shows no tolerance to sin.

What happened when Jesus entered the temple and saw what was going on in there.

Mathew 21: 12, 13
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”

He drove them out. He didn’t tell them that they could sell and do their stuff in one corner and that He would worship God in another corner. NO. He told them in plain words to get out. Why was that? If He tolerated sin, He would have tolerated them. But there is no place even for the tiniest speck of dirt in Him. God loves His children but He never tolerates or ignores the sin they do. This is because He wants us to be faithful and true to Him (sin keeps us separated from Him).

Now, let’s come back to 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, we are the temple of God. God has to reside in our hearts. But is it fit for Him? You cannot expect to store the junk of this world and tell God to stick to a corner of your heart. No. It doesn’t happen that way. He wants to have full access to our hearts. He wants to fully partake in our lives. Make sure to throw away anything which is still sticking onto you which is not worthy to be shown in front of the Lord of Lords. After all, we are His temple and we need to set our hearts and lives in order to receive Jesus into it. God bless.

Rebuild the Broken Walls

Good relationships with people are given to us in our lives to strengthen us at times when we are weak, to encourage us when we are disheartened, to give us hope when the future looks dismal and often just to share a few laughs and lighten our minds. But often no matter how much we strive, relationships always run into problems at some point of time. No relationship can ever boast of being perfect, be it a friendship, a marriage or even between siblings. Those relationships that have stood the test of time can pride themselves on how they managed to make it through the storms and tempests which came tossing their way. Nonetheless, not all relationships are that lucky. Not every relationship can pick up the broken pieces and move on. What happens when important relationships suffer? What happens when our relationship with God is broken? Are we able to come back and make a clean start?

Many broken relationships exist in our society today and that is often the root cause for bigger problems. They exist even in our churches, among Christians. God says that there are many crumbled and broken relationships due to which the Church is unable to move forward. Many so-called “Christian giants” are putting on a show. These destroyed walls exist between husband and wife, parents and children, siblings, friends, fellow Christians, and the most dangerous of all – between God and His people. We can put on an outward appearance of happiness in front our friends and relatives. But God is not fooled. Only He sees the truth behind the closed doors of our homes and hearts. How long will we go on this way? How long will we run away from the naked truth? How long do we pretend like everything is perfect?

In the book of Nehemiah, we read about the broken walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1:3). When Nehemiah heard about it, he was immensely troubled and he wept (v.4). But he didn’t just sit and sulk and mourn all through the time. Instead, he fasted and prayed to GOD (v.5-11). And God helped him to rebuild it inspite of many obstacles and problems. We see 3 things here. First, Nehemiah identified the problem (the broken wall); second, he sought God’s counsel by fasting and praying; and third, under God’s guidance he was able to do something about the problem (by rebuilding it). God doesn’t wish for any broken walls to be present in His Church. He needs all to be of 1 mind so that the power of the Holy Spirit can be manifested among His people.

Just like Nehemiah rebuilt the broken walls of Jerusalem, we too have to be rebuilders. We only need to look at our own lives. Where do you see the problem? Where do the broken walls exist in your life? Is it with your spouse? Your children? Your friend? Or with God? You don’t need to sit and be frustrated. Instead, like Nehemiah we too can ask God to heal those broken relations. He is not only the healer of our physical problems but also the healer of our lives. As somebody once said, God is only a prayer away. Pray to Him and ask Him to mend and rebuild your relationships. Ask Him to restore your relationships. Let this year be seen as the year of restoration of the broken walls in our Church.

Psalm 80:7
Restore us, O God of hosts; … And we shall be saved!

But for that restoration to happen, we need to have that burden and realization of the brokenness and pray earnestly for the unity of the Church. In the coming days, let us be able to sit in His presence and ask Him to reveal those gaps in our relations. Let us be able to pray and ask Him to show us how we are to mend and rebuild them. This healing process should first start in our families. Only then can it move on to a healing of the Church. Only then can we become one as the Church (Body) of Christ. Only then will the Holy Spirit be able to move freely and without constraints. If the Church moves together in this endeavour, in the days to come, we will be able to witness an outpouring of His power on us. And the Church can become the One that will be taken up as His bride when He comes to call His chosen.