• Category Archives Pastor’s Corner
  • Seeds For the Minds » Pastor's Corner
  • Redeeming an Eternal Time

    An important question to be asked in order to define what true blessing is. “Do you have to be rich to be blessed?” “DO you have to have everything going right in your life to be blessed?” Not really! We are blessed because we are in Christ. We are blessed because we are saved. We are blessed because we are meeting God one day. Ephesians 5:14 commands, “Redeem the time.” Time is eternity’s investment in this world. We as believers are always making choices. The spiritual is also practical. As you live in this world, walk as a wise person. Your time is important.

    Our works cannot satisfy the demands of Holy God. They can only tire us more. And you come to Christ and you receive Grace. Jesus says, “Take my Yoke upon you”. That means I am going to give you new purpose in life. That means I am going to use you. That means your life is no more vanity. That means you are not going to live directionless. That means you are going to be productive. That means there would be a new kind of order. Jesus says “Follow Me.” Jesus is going somewhere. The person who is not going somewhere cannot validly say to someone “Follow Me.” If you are looking for a leader, teacher, or guru, you are looking for somebody whom you can look upto all your life. Yes, that’s who Christ is.

    In Matthew 5-7, the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke some amazing things. When we follow Christ, things happen in our life. Changes occur, and the transformation is real. This is a shift of a kingdom. This sermon moves from external to internal. These things are possible when there is an inner relationship with God which we are growing in. We all are called to have a relationship personally with Christ. We enjoy each other’s personal relationship with God as we gather together. Just because it happens on the inside, it doesn’t mean it won’t affect your world.

    One of the summary verses in the Sermon on the Mount is Matthew 5:20. “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” The study of usage of Greek terms in original language points to the word ‘exceed’ to carry the idea of not only exceeding in quantity but also in quality. Jesus admires Great Faith. However the issue of greatness of faith is not of quantity, but of quality as illustrated by comparisons with mustard seed.

    We need to seek the things which are above, despite our situations and circumstances. ‘Redeeming the time’ carries idea of quality. We have a fellowship with God and we are listening to Him and we are speaking to Him. We are believing Him. That is quality and then there can be quantity. We can learn to meditate on the word of God day and night. In 1 Peter2:2 we are meditating on word of God because we are hungering and thirsting for righteousness. His word tastes like honey because of that quality. The work that we do for God qualitatively speaking is to walk with God. Our primary work is to have personal relationship with God. In Psalm 26:12, there is an even place? Even place is where I don’t have to strive. Where there is a fellowship in the spontaneity in the moment. It is a Place of rest. It is a Place where we are convinced that there is love. It is Place where there is peace.

    In Exodus 3, Amazing conversation between God and Moses has been recorded. It appears in the story that Moses was looking for something more, and very hungry for God. He went to the back side of the desert looking for God. Normally, backside of the desert wouldn’t be the most appropriate place to take sheep to. Similarly, in our life God leads us. His words are loving and personal. The effect of Moses entering into the tabernacle is seen on the people around him. Our walk with God with other people influences our personal walk with God. One complements the other. In Matthew 6, Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave an indication that our life at the altar affects our life around the altar. They are both intermingled, yet so independent.

    In Exodus 20:25-26, God is not interested in shape of altar, but in the essence of altar. External are not as important as the internal. But often external can be the product of internal. In context of our relationship with God, we need to focus on the internal. God doesn’t want the noise of flesh in our relationship with Him. Altar was not be high enough that if one climbed, people would be able to see one’s nakedness. In church, we don’t relate to people based on their personality, but we are blessed because they are in Christ. God does not like the sweat. We should protect ourselves from striving. God taught Moses how to fellowship with Him. We are responsible for worshiping God in our Tents. Yet our tents are together. I want more of God in my life. We learn Bible in Grace. If there is sound of chisel and hammer in the message, it doesn’t make clear sound of Grace.

    Devotionally speaking, our mornings can be more productive. In the Bible, men of God rose up early in the morning to meet God. Joshua woke up early in the morning, Moses woke up early in the morning. We can practice rising early in the morning to meet God, knowing that the time is evil. For those who struggle to discipline themselves in rising early, must discover this secret. Often they need a simple thing as night alarm to make their morning alarm fruitful. There is an enemy to be faced in the day. The kingdom of God provides opportunities to experience its victories. By seeking the kingdom first, we are able to redeem the time. The returns are eternal.


  • What is so Great about Faith?

    What is Faith after all? In Mark 11:22-26, Jesus encouraged us to pray in faith, and this promise has been misinterpreted by many. I would like to claim that every time I pray, answers come right away. But, I can’t claim that unless i pretend. Great faith is not the issue of quantity, but of quality. Jesus, in the gospel accounts, often looked for faith when He was ready to perform a miracle or a healing. He drew out faith from people. Every man has potential of believing in God. God is interested in a man’s belief in Him, as it is good for him.

    The book of Hebrews is about faith. Chapter 11 of this book celebrates faith. The Glory of our faith is not based on the one who has faith, but glory of our faith is based upon the One on whom we have faith. The value of faith is not on faith itself, but on the object of that faith. Our faith is great faith because it is upon Christ. In verse 6, we see the definition of faith. Great faith trusts the nature and character of God. “God is a rewarder….” God is a good God, a caring God, a loving God. So, what is Faith? I believe that God exists. But that is not enough. I also believe that God is a rewarder.

    There is a mountain mentioned in Jesus’ statement. We have mountains of various kinds which need to be cast down by prayer – sickness, troubles, pain, closed doors, demons etc. The mountain seems to pose questions to you,

    “Does God love me?”

    I need to speak to the mountain, “Yes, God loves me.”

    “Does He care?”

    “Yes, He cares.”

     You pray to God, not to the mountain. This was not meant to be a lesson on will power or positive thinking, neither about having blind faith or complete knowledge of an upcoming healing. What if I don’t have the determination? God will provide the determination.
    Faith is not the same as feeling of faith. There is difference between the two.  Many people think that having great faith involves having great feelings. Your faith is amazing because it is faith upon Jesus. In Matthew 8:23-27, the storm came while Jesus is in the Boat. Yes, challenges can come to faithful believers. Bad things can happen to good people and good things can happen to bad people. We don’t need form formula out of Bible. Sometimes, the storm may be the evidence that Jesus is in the boat. If God is for us, then we are no more neutral. Anybody who is God’s enemy is now our enemy now. Satan is our enemy now.
    Faith brings us to a place of vulnerability. If the trial was supposed to be within your limits, then it is not a test. It is so because Faith means leaning on someone else’s (God’s) strength. Faith is that i am not going to depend on myself. I am going to depend on God’s strength. FOR EVERYTHING. When i am weak, He is my strength. That is why Salvation is not by works. Jesus does not require any good works for salvation, but only faith – Not before, nor at the time of nor after salvation.  that.
    Is great faith assurance about my future? No, not necessarily! Mountain is asking you,

    “Does Jesus care?”

    “Yes. I know He does.”

    “Will He change everything in my life here?”

    “I don’t know. I would like Him to.”

    Expressing your pain, or uncertainty, is not lack of faith. Answers, or no answers -both ways, Jesus cares for me. Jesus often admired people of great faith and challenged people of little faith. Great faith is not working up of certain kind of emotions which seem to be sure of a future deliverance. I may doubt my future but i don’t doubt my God. In any case, i have an eternal future. LITTLE faith questions the character of God. The difference between little faith and great faith is of single eye and a divided heart (Hebrews 11:13, 10:22).
    In 2 Corinthians 11:3, there is a warning that demons try to corrupt our minds from simple things. ‘Make the simple complicated,’ The devil roars in darkness. Our recent encounters with some demon possessed individuals have been very illuminating. Ministers are not supposed to focus on elaborate exercises trying to cast out demons. Only God casts demons out, we pray simple prayers of faith. And we love the people. Our ministry is not towards the demonic realm, but the suffering humanity. Believers are responsible to be a Bible-believing and Bible-centered Christians. Faith is a simple thing. Behind the focus on the miraculous and the sensational, even within the Church, is the most common work demons are performing in these last days. False doctrines are demon’s primary work. Demons are liars. They are lying in churches too. They are taking believers away from simplicity of the great faith – faith upon Christ, leaning on His strength, learning of Him, embracing His promises without receiving them.

    Have a Great Faith!

  • A Battle of Images in the Chambers of Imagery

    We as people carry images in our minds. Many of these images are influenced by factors outside us. Once I stood in a chamber in an amusement park which comprised mirrors of various designs on its walls. These mirrors reflected on me my own picture in a great variety of amusing shapes. We laughed as we saw each other in unimaginable length, breadth and slenderness. However, we also knew that none of these images were the real person, who we actually were. Thank God, in a little while we were out of the chamber and did not even consider making our residence in a chamber like that.

    However, spiritually speaking we live in a world which is bombarded by similar images in people’s minds. In the Bible, prophet Ezekiel was led by the Holy Spirit into an inner chamber between the walls within the temple, where the prophet saw the elders of the people bowing before many false images which were not supposed to legitimately be in that place. Our world and often our minds tend to be intruded by similar distortions. It is unfortunate how often a believer can get caught in such a contradicting battle of images in his own mind. Here are some of the images we see in the emotional and spiritual realm.

    First, image the man received was from his Creator Himself. It is the most bonafide of all, in which he was expected to dwell upon. In Genesis 1:26, the Bible informs that God created man in His own image and likeness. Man was created as crown of God’s creation, to rule, to create, to design, to protect, to have meaningful relationships, to know God and to worship Him. He was called good. He was not designed to live in guilt, shame, fear, rebellion, sin, revenge, reaction and such. Even though man failed in the garden of Eden, God did not ever take this image back from man. He still has those capacities. He can still exercise his free will and live victoriously.

    However, in the garden of Eden, was introduced another image in man. Satan suggested, “You will become like god.” Actually Bible tells us in Isaiah 14, that it was the good old devil who originally had that desire. “I will be like the Most High.” By receiving his suggestion, man forever succumbed to this false concept of himself. He was created to live a blessed life under the submission of the Sovereign One. But now, and for centuries man has tried to live his life like demi-god, a life of independence, wanting to be in control of things. It has frustrated him. The joy so easily vaporizes. Yet he needs to have his own wishes met. He has in him an image – the image of sinful and the evil one.

    Not much afterwards, man found another pursuit. He started making God in his own image. A. W. Tozer once said that man and his society can never rise above their concept of God. In the world of man made religions, philosophies, idols and concepts of God, man has also lost meaning and purpose. I like challenging my listeners often with questions like this, “How big is your God?” or “What’s the size of the box in which you tend to fit God?” In Isaiah 55:8-9, God challenged man’s idea by informing, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth,  So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

    Life is challenging for a believer if makes a habit of living in such distorted image. His self efforts to be good and godly often frustrate him. His attempt to religiously define and follow God takes his joy away. In a life of that kind one is always evaluating, judging and striving. But God has answered man’s image problems with another image. Apostle Paul describes God’s work in a believer’s life in these terms. In Romans 8:30, he guarantees us that we are being conformed to the image of Lord Jesus Christ. It’s a glorious reality of the life of a person who has been redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb. His burden is light and yoke is easy. All he needs to do in his life is to learn to behold the glory (nature) of God in the face of Christ as in a mirror (2 Corinthians 3:18), and he finds a new image. He grows from glory to glory. He no more hears the voice of condemnation or self determination. He hears with clarity how God thinks of him. Instead of withdrawing from the presence of God into religious activities, he should learn that God loves him as he is. The battle is already won in God’s mind. He is never to be separated from the love of God. He should recognize that any ideas which mar his image enough to make him run from the presence of God, are being drawn from the false images in the chambers of imagery of his fallen mind.

    The man with the marred face (Isaiah 52:14), Jesus Christ on the Cross has loved us enough. He took our image upon Himself. The Glorious One became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), the Beautiful One became uncomely that we may become His righteousness. He entered the chambers of imagery and has spoken clearly. May we hear it as clearly as He has said it,

    “The King’s Daughter is all glorious within.”

    “Your are black, but comely.”

    O thou believer, hear that voice, be drawn to Him, face Him as you are, let His light shine upon you, until you can see the image of Christ in you. If your life seems marred with marks of sins, remember it is not in your acts that you will find His image within you but it is in being face to face with Him beholding in His mirror. More you want to run far, more you need to be before Him. Stop trying, just behold and hear. He is in us, we in Him. Just stare at Him long enough, you will know when the image of Christ starts rising within you, by the hunger and joy you will experience in His presence. It will not matter any more what the other voices may be suggesting.

    What an intercourse of Glory!


  • Discovering the Face of God in Darkness

    In Genesis 32, a man of God who spent years running from himself and God, had an encounter when the night was possibly at its darkest. Man can be very typical in the hours of darkness and fall. We have all known the feelings like insecurity, fear, shame, anxiety and discouragement and ask the questions in such hours.
    “Where is God in my life?”
    “Does He really love me?”
    “Am I accepted?”
    “Will He ever leave me?”
    “How long will He be silent?”
    These questions are very familiar to human mind – believers and unbelievers alike. Such feelings produce a response in our lives. A man trying to see in dark makes too much effort. That effort doesn’t help because in His darkness he needs to find something else. Critical spirit, lack of forgiveness, gracelessness, insecurity tend to incapacitate man further in this situation.

    A. W. Tozer made a statement in ‘The Knowledge of the Holy.’ “The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us… The decline of the knowledge of the holy has brought on our troubles. A rediscovery of the majesty of God will go a long way toward curing them.”

    Old Testament states that no one has ever seen God and lived. The New Testament counter-explained that verse by saying that Jesus Christ is the express image of God. I may say that Jesus Christ is the face of God. Many Old Testament saints cried out to God, “Make Your face shine upon us.” On that great night in Peniel, Jacob said, “I was face to face with God. Still I am alive.” How could that happen? How would he explain that to his peers. I believe he would say something like this :

    “It was a dark night. I saw the silhouette of a man. I thought maybe its an enemy. I fought with him. I thought I will defeat him and have my way into some more profits and wealth. He confronted me in that deep, still darkness. But he was very gentle. He would bring me to the points of collapse and then I felt as if he held me. He wouldn’t let me fall, yet he would let me fight. Oh! it took me so long to understand. I saw moments of glory on his face. It seemed like a bush burning. I thought so much exhaustion is causing me to lose my mind. I seemed to hear angelic songs some moments. He seemed to look into my soul through the piercing darkness. He seemed to strangely love me through the pain I caused him. And then slowly but surely it struck me. No, I am not just talking about his hand on my thigh. A blow came upon my heart. I was fighting my God whom I worshipped. I was bringing him to the level of man in my mind. But He loved me through all this. He called me a prince. He went away very fast. Fast enough to leave me with only an option to believe in Him. I saw His heart in His face in the dark. I am no more Jacob. I am Israel.”

    God reveals Himself in most unusual occasions and ways. He is much higher than we think. We need to adjust in our mindset about who He really is to us. Jesus Christ came to show us His face. Even though Jacob still surrounded himself with the gifts to please Esau out of his own fear. The sequence of gifts in Genesis 32-33 is interesting. First came the least important ones and after many layers came the most important one. But God is different. He gave us His best gift first. His own Son on the Cross and through Him, an eternal salvation. And then comes a life of discovery. Discovering the love and grace of God in the darkness and troubles of life. Our theology must accommodate pain, darkness and confusion and many failures. This doesn’t leave an option of insecurity and selfishness in Christian life. It brings in choices of making a sacrifice of praise and service to our fellows. Vengeance is no option, because there is a higher vengeance – blessing those who curse you.

    Truly a person may say, “I have seen Him face to face. No, let me correct it – I have become His face for you. I can pour it out until it hurts. Yet it doesn’t hurt because His face is shining upon me, even in utter darkness.”