A Meaningful Christmas

Christmas is here. It’s the 25th of December and I thought I should share with you how I see Christmas. It is as always a great time of the year, a time when families get together in the warmth of a fire under the same roof, to be a part of each other’s lives. In such a beautiful setting,  it is indeed fit to remember that God almighty came to this messy world a little more than two thousand years ago to be a part of our lives and to find his place in our hearts.

It was also a time of unexpected happenings. Mary, a young woman, never expected that she would carry the saviour of the world in her womb. Joseph never expected the woman he was about to marry getting pregnant. The inn-keeper was not expecting visitors, the animals at the stable never expected the living God joining them in their humble abode. The world never expected the Messiah to come as the son of a carpenter. They were expecting a king.

And thus it goes on and on…

But the unexpectedness made it more meaningful.

Imagine the situation if Jesus was born a king. Following a king is definitely more easy than following a carpenter. In the mould of society, the king promises protection and demonstrates authority. But I guess that’s the point. Following Jesus meant going beyond what the society said would be more rewarding. It meant going against the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. It meant going against powerful kings and empires. It required a step of faith. A determined decision. A step that made the relationship more meaningful. And that remains the same today. Being a Christian can be tough and challenging. When a lot of things the world says makes sense, it takes courage and great faith to step into the Jordan. But as it stands proven, the waters never part until your feet get wet.

It is also amazing how God chose the shepherds to be ones who were informed first. A group of people not great by standards of society, living on their own, away from family. Imagine the milieu that surrounded such a character . Why not inform the great nobles and kings? It is notable how the reaction of these shepherds was immediate. How they immediately set out to see their messiah born in a manger. In a time when the picture of the messiah being born as a king was so strong, the way they left the baby Jesus, glorifying God moves us to worship.

And in the middle of all this worship, Mary ponders the things she see in her heart. The angel had said that a sword would pierce her own heart. Imagine how she must have felt. And imagine where Joseph was emotionally as he looked on at the wonder that was there before his eyes. The past few months were not easy for him.

The story of Christmas brings out so many truths. It is beyond anything that we can comprehend. The fact that God came down as a poor man just like you and me, died for us and lives today as our source of help.

One of my favourite songs, ‘He’s been in my shoes’ by Petra goes like this:

‘He been in my shoes

Been down this road before’

‘The union of God in a man

Is a mystery that I can’t understand’

And that’s what is most important. Love came down in the form of a human being and walked on earth as one of us and died a brutal death so that you and I could be a part of an eternal relationship with God.

Let’s thank God for the glorious impossible that happened two thousand years ago and let us share with everyone what it has done to our lives. Before you leave listen to the song ‘Glorious Impossible’ by the Gaither Vocal Band and praise God like I just did.

God bless you!

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He is ‘the’ Perfect One

‘There is no one else for me. None but Jesus. Crucified to set me free. Now I live to give you praise.’

I was listening to ‘None But Jesus’ by Hillsong today. This is one of my favourite songs. It makes me ask myself, every single time I listen to it, why Jesus is the only one I have.

And yes, Jesus is the only person I truly have, above time and space, above my imperfections and my flaws, above my past, present and future. He is unchanging and a thought’s reach away.

Yes have a great family and a few good friends. But Jesus, he is the perfect friend, the perfect lover, the perfect family. He is therefore, the only person I truly have. And that, is something that gives us hope and peace. Whatever happens in our life, we can hold on to him, which is also the reason why we must hold on to him the most. I hope you guys will be blessed by that thought today. God bless….

Psalm 143: What I learnt.

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Hi guys!

It’s been a long time since I wrote on this blog and so today, I thought I would share with you the thoughts that passed through my mind when I read psalm 143.

Verse 1 (NKJV) :

Hear my prayer, O Lord,
Give ear to my supplications!
In Your faithfulness answer me,
And in Your righteousness.

Remember how when you read some verses, you kinda predict the next verse?

When I read this, I thought David must be asking God to avenge him or something. But the next verse surprised me.

Do not enter into judgment with Your servant,
For in Your sight no one living is righteous

I was surprised because it made no sense. David was obviously asking God for mercy. But he is also asking God to answer this prayer in His righteousness. The very righteousness that shows how much he has fallen short and makes him worthy of punishment.

But David is doing the right thing here.

In psalm 143, David asks God for mercy ( v.1-2), laments his present distress ( v.3-4), Looks back and longs for God (v.5-6), and goes on to ask God to help him, give him an answer, teach him, deliver him, and finally ends the psalm by saying that he is His servant.

The more I read it, the more I could see how sincere David was. I could see him, the great man he was from his youth, respected and revered by everyone, falling down on his knees. He is humble here.

Humble.

Do you know what I see here?

I see a David who is throwing away his righteousness and holding on to the righteousness of God. He knew that all the things he did for God, great as they were, were nothing in front of God. As he says and I quote : For in Your sight no one living is righteous. 

He comes to God as a servant, a person for whom, the master is by who he is known. He finishes the psalm by saying, ‘for I am your servant’. He was saying, God I am your servant. I find my value in you. So today, as I ask you to forgive me, show me mercy and change me for the better, I am not going to make the foolish mistake of counting before you all the good things I’ve done. I am going to ask you to answer me in your righteousness.

Today, as Christians, it is easy for us to focus on our love for God. The very perspective that sometimes makes us think why some things happen to us. What did I do to deserve this?

The Christian walk is about God’s love for us, not our love for him. If he had not loved us first, we would never be able to love him back. And everything comes into perspective when you focus on His love for you instead of your love for him. That is where pure freedom exists.

When I read this psalm, I could feel relate in a very special way. There are days I mess up so bad that I fall on my knees and cry out ‘God I’m so sorry. I messed up’. And in the tears that fall on the ground as I lie there crumpled on the floor, I can see the reflection of his love. ‘Son, this is not about your love. You don’t have to cry. I still love you. I love you so bad I sent my Son for you and looked away as he suffered on a cross’

If you go back a few posts, you can find a post called ‘Is God Disappointed in You’. I recommend you read it too.

If God still loves us when we sin, doesn’t that mean we can do what we want?

No! it doesn’t work that way. When you mess up and you go to him and you say, ‘God I am so sorry’, he draws you into his perspective. Repentance does not mean you live a life where you never sin, it means a coming back to the perspective of God, a perspective that helps you see sin for what it really is, which in turn, gives you the strength not to sin.

Maybe, you are on your knees today, asking God to forgive you.

Maybe you are asking why you deserve something bad that is happening in your life.

The Christian life is lived when you fix your eyes on His love and not on your love. Sometimes we don’t know why some things happen in our lives. We feel like we don’t deserve them. We might not, but it may not even be a question of whether we deserve it or not. Since God loves you, he will always love you and he brings things into your life not to destroy you, but to build you. In the end the story could never be any better. And when you focus on his love and not on your love and your righteousness, it helps you to thrive through the pain.

I hope this helped you. I would love to hear from you. God bless!!!

Stefan 🙂

 

 

Is God Selfish?

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Romans 5:6-8 : You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Wow, God is amazing.

In today’s world, where we are getting more and more comfortable and self sufficient each day, we tend to ask a lot of questions.

Can’t we do without God?

The more self sufficient we feel, the more we are prone to bringing God down. So in today’s world, when you read the Bible and you see a God who wants everyone to worship him only and do everything only for His glory, you get the picture of a God who is selfish.

What right does he have to say that?

That’s  selfish!

But in truth, he’s not selfish.

Here’s why.

First of all, the God of the Bible is a God in three persons. That’s right- trinity.

In eternity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit loves each other and has a great relationship with each other. Throughout the Bible, you see how they lift each other up, but never themselves. Jesus always gives glory to the Father, while the Father always gives glory to His Son, Jesus. So when God asks us to do everything for the glory of God, we have to remember that they are never seen glorifying themselves but each other. The Father wants the Son to be glorified and the Son wants the Father to be glorified. So, in this sense it is not their selfishness but their selflessness that is seen.

Furthermore, it’s not like God needs any glory from us. God is fulfilled in himself. The Son gets the most perfect form of respect, love and acceptance from Father and the Holy Spirit. The same goes for the Father and the Holy Spirit. Each person in the Holy Trinity is satisfied by the other two persons.

So why does God ask us to give him glory?

Well the answer lies not in the receiver of the glory, but the giver.

God asks us to give him glory for our benefit.

What? That makes no sense.

We have been made as beings who are wired in a way that makes us want to give back love and compassion shown to us. Somebody forgives you unconditionally. When they do that, it’s like you have to do something in return.

Romans 12:20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Forgiveness is for the person giving it, not the person receiving it. For the forgiver is on a higher road than the person receiving the forgiveness. Now the latter has to do something to get back to that higher road, where what kindness had been just shown to him will be equalized.

God is the real deal. He is the one who is actually deserving of our thanks and exaltation. So once you realise what God has done for you, once you realise that he gave up what made him satisfied, what was the apple of his eye, the one he loved most, his only Son, on the cross, that’s some difference right there between who you are and who God is. That makes a huge difference between what you’ve done for God and what he has done for you. And you will never be satisfied until you fall down on your knees and give God the glory.

God respects your free will and you have the ability to make a choice. This is what drives you to give back love you receive. \

And God shares his glory with us!

Yes?

Yes.

John 1: 14  :  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

God shares with us His glory, the glory of the creator of the universe through His Son, Jesus Christ. The glory that Moses longed to see in Exodus, is now open to us.

2 Corinthians 4:6 : For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

We can now look upon his wonderful face and see His glory and start our everyday with joy through the Word, for it was the Word that became flesh. And he speaks to us and reveals to us His glory

What a gift!!

What an amazing God. He is completely satisfied. He does not need our gifts and our thanks but still he made us and loved us, in eternity.

This is selfless love. Perfect love. Amazing love!

I hope you have been blessed by this post. Comment. Share. God bless you! 🙂

Is God Disappointed in you?

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Hi guys, thanks for dropping by.

Today I am going to talk about a very important topic. This has to do most importantly, with believers. If you are saved, you need to hear this. But even if you are not a Christian or saved, this post could perhaps give you an important picture of the God of the Bible.

The Christian life is not about your love for God, but God’s love for you.

The very focus of Christian life should be God’s love for you, not your love for God. It is when this focus shifts that pride sets in and you lose sight of what’s important.

Why is this post important?

Because there are many Christians out there who think they can make God love them more by doing some more good.

Now, we all know that we are accepted by God through Jesus. But is he pleased with us?

It is the question that haunts every believer. Is God smiling down on me right now?

Now what is my answer?

Once you’ve been saved, God is always happy with you and nothing you can do will make him love you more and nothing you can do will make him love you less. Because if that was possible, even if in the least magnitude, then it would no longer be the grace of God that brings you to God but your works and God will never allow that.

Now first of all, I would like to give a logical explanation for this.

The God of the Bible, as I said in my first post in an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God. Now, God is not bound by time or space. So, that would mean he is not somebody who changes. Which would also mean his attributes and who he is will also be a constant throughout eternity.

So, that would mean the knowledge of God has to remain constant throughout eternity. Because if there was a version of him that had less knowledge at some point, then he would have a past and God is not bound by time. So his knowledge is constant. And he is omnipresent because he is not bound by space or time and he is omniscient. He knows everything about you in eternity. In other words his knowledge about you is constant and therefore his love, if based on his knowledge of you, will also be a constant.

He knows what you are going to do today. He knows what you are going to do next week. He knows it all. And what draws me often to tears is the fact that even after knowing what I was going to do, he still chose me.

He chose us in eternity, knowing how many times we would fail in our Christian walk. 

Does God love some Christians more than other Christians?

No!

Since we who are saved have all been redeemed by the same Jesus, it is through us that he sees us. So, when God looks at each one of us, he sees Jesus. So, since we are all covered by the same Jesus, his love for each one of us is the same. This is also why we are the righteousness of God in Christ.

But why does some people experience more of God’s love?

I am very much reminded here of a scene in the Chronicles of Narnia where Lucy, on seeing Aslan after a long time, comments on how much he has changed. Aslan replies by saying, ‘As you grow, I grow along with you!”

As you dive deep into God’s word, wanting to feel his love, wanting to know him more, he reveals himself to you and he becomes more and more real to you. As God becomes more and more real to you, you are able to see His love in your everyday life. The resources are there. You just have to choose to use them.

The limitless God wants to make himself more real to you. But you have to ‘choose’ with your free will to know him more.

So if God cannot be disappointed in us, does this mean that we can keep on sinning?

No!

When you sin, you will grieve the Holy Spirit within you. Which is bad because he is your guide and helper. But you are able to overcome sin through Christ.

How?

The very realization that God loved us even after knowing the number of times we would fail is what inspires us to live for God. This is the more effective system. For now we do not sin, not because we have to, but because we want to. Because he first loved us………..

Hope you were blessed through this post. If you were, comment and share. I would absolutely love to hear from you. It is a great encouragement. 🙂

 

 

 

 

On Earth As It Is In Heaven

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Hello guys! Hope you are having a great time. First of all I just want to thank you guys for all the support you have shown  me in the very first few days of this blog. I hope these posts make a difference in your lives as it has in mine.

Today, I am going to share with you from my daily devotional entries. It’s long but I hope you read it to the end. 5 mins, that’s all it will take.

Today, I am going to share with you something that has made me grateful for Jesus and His sacrifice. 

Okay. First verse is 2Timothy 1:1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, in keeping with the promise of life that is in Christ Jesus,

When I read this, God took me to the phrase- ‘the promise of life’

What is the promise of life?

After some visits to the concordance and some coincidental page turnings i came to Titus 1:2, another epistle by Paul.

in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time,

Now I understood that the promise of life was the promise of an ‘eternal life’. But aren’t our souls eternal already? Yes, but that was not what Paul is talking about here. I felt God asking me to read it again. The phrases from the two verses- ‘that is in Christ Jesus’ and ‘before the beginning of time’ brought into my mind another verse.

I looked it up. The verse was John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Here we see Jesus talking about how he came so that we may have life and have it to the full. The KJV version goes like this

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Abundantly, I loved the sound of that. Jesus is not talking about living here as in being alive. He is talking eternal ‘life’.

Now put together all those phrases- the beginning of time, that is in Christ Jesus, promise of life, eternal life.

Here is what it means.

God, before time began, that is in eternity(since God is not bound by time), knowing that man would sin in the garden of Eden and lose the connection he once had with God, also made the perfect plan for salvation through Jesus by which we can be reconnected to God, as I explained in my first post.

This ‘life’ is what man really needs. We all have an eternity. But we may or may not have eternal ‘life’. Man has been dead to this connection between God and man since the day he was thrown out of the garden.

And that is why the punishment of sin is death, an eternal death to this connection to God, in other words, hell, where there is no God. But when Jesus came and became sin for us, when he died on that cross and resurrected, he triumphed over sin and the fear of death. You no longer have to die and go to hell.

When you are born again, you can be sure that you will go to heaven. When you are born again, you are now a son of God, born into the kingdom of God. Born again into the connection that was lost when Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil and disobeyed God. Because you chose to accept the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and accept and believe his death on the cross for your sins (applying the free will God gave you and also respects) and confess it, you are no longer blamed for your sin by God. Jesus paid it all!

But what is ‘eternal life’????

Your eternal ‘life’ starts the moment you are born again. The moment you are reconnected to God through Jesus Christ. There is a peace on the inside, Your perspective on everything changes. You are tapped into God’s perspective on things, the way it was meant to be. That is why the Bible says that we are seated in heavenly places. Read Ephesians 2 : 1-10.

When Paul says: in the hope of eternal life in 2Tim 1:1, he is not talking about a life with God after you die, he is talking about the hope in the promise of eternal life, which is based on God’s truthfulness. Since God cannot lie, we can always rely on this eternal life with God everyday from the moment we are saved. We can come to God anytime we want, symbolized perfectly in Matthew 27 : 51. We are now able to come to God directly. No sin keeps us from coming to him, we are able to come to him as we are.

And we are able to bring this heavenly experience into our lives in the way we speak, in the way we do things, through our values. It happens when you are born again, when you are tapped into God’s perspective of things.

We are now able to live on earth as it is heaven! And in this there is abundance!

Praise God!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do I deserve eternal punishment?

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Do I deserve hell?

When most people come across God, they see him as a cruel, unjust God who sends man to hell for ‘eternity’ for such ‘small’ sins.

Today I will try my best to tell you why sin, however small deserves eternal punishment.

As I said in my first post, God is not bound by time. Since he is not bound by time, he is the Alpha and the Omega, he has no beginning and he has no end. He is constant through eternity. This is why the God of the Bible is an unchanging God.

When we sin, it is easy for us to attach it to time frames and numbers since we are bound by time.

God is good and eternal. When you sin, you sin against the one who made you- God. Since the one who made you is eternal, when you sin against him, it has eternal implications. This is why you cannot suffer in Hell for a day and then come back. And further more, your soul never dies. So you are essentially eternal when it comes to your soul.

So the word ‘eternity’ is unavoidable when it comes to judgement of your sin.

But God in his eternal constant love for you, came down in the form of a man in Jesus and died for you- a complete man and complete God, just so that his blood which will have eternal significance(since he is God) will be able to cover you and forgive your sins for eternity. Please read the first post if you want a clearer picture.

When we think about God, we often forget his eternal aspect. It is impossible to imagine how God himself could come down to the form of his own creation and give himself up to their scorn and their mockery. It is humility beyond measure. Yes, ‘eternal’ humility.

Jesus, the Son of God, a part of the trinity, therefore suffered eternally for you. There is forgiveness therefore to all mankind. But you have to choose to accept it. You have to choose to be born again. God did not make a puppet. He created an intelligent being and he respects his choice of giving you free will because he is God.

He will not force himself into your life unless you want him to. He respects your choice. He loves you and cares about your life. Since there is eternal significance to the blood that was shed on the cross, there is no limit to what God can forgive. No a matter who you are, where you’re from and what you did, God is able to and ready to forgive you.

Are you?