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Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding. Proverbs 23:23

Truth here means Jesus Christ.  We read in John 14:6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Salvation is the ultimate gift God has made available for all those who believe in His Son Jesus Christ! It is God's master plan to reunite with man since his fall at Eden. Yet, many don't want anything to do with it. That's because they are deceived by the father of all lies to believe in lies instead of the Truth.

In Matthew 13:44 we read, "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field."

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary explains it further in very simple words:
Buy the truth, and sell it not; be willing to part with any thing for it. Do not part with it for pleasures, honours, riches, or any thing in this world.
Jesus Himself said these words, as Apostle John notes, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32

So, those of us who have found the Truth, let us not sell it for anything or anybody; and those who have not, please buy it at all cost.  Whatever you loss in order to gain Him, you will receive it in many folds.

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33
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'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:23

 I am sure we all hope to hear our Master say, "Well done, good and faithful servant!.... Come and share your master's happiness!" someday. The condition seems to be simple - to be faithful with a few things.

What would those few things be? I guess one would be how we spend our time, another would be how we use our resources, it could be our talents, our finances, our dealings, our attitudes, our conversations... simple things really...

In Luke 16:10 we read, "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."

Let us assess each area in our lives and make a conscious effort to become faithful with the few things; then our Master will surely say, "Well done!"

On a different note, if any of you are interested in sharing your testimony with the rest of us, please contact me at starlh at hotmail dot com I will gladly publish it for a Tuesday or Thursday post... Thank you!
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No weapon forged against you will prevail. Isaiah 54:17

Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. Psalm 91:3-6

Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

Some of  us might be overwhelmed by the thought of a constant "Spiritual warfare" at hand. The war against our flesh, the war against sin, the war against the fallen world. By war I mean the conflicts, a constant repelling force which makes our faith walk all the more harder.

Today's message comes as a reminder that we can find solace in His presence where we can rest. As we start loving Him more, as we start enjoying His presence, the journey gets better. We will truly cherish His company rather than be afraid of the attacks on the way.

We can be confident that the One with us is mightier than the army with them. How so? Because the Bible tells us so! Amen!

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Happy Thursday!

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* Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

* It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. 1 Thessalonians 4:3

* For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 1 Peter 2:15

* Those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. 1 Peter 4:19

* It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:17

* Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

We often wonder what God's will is in our lives. We believe waiting passively for His will is what is expected of us -forgetting that we have an active role doing God's will. We kind of 'throw the ball in His court' expecting God to work out His will.

From the above Scriptures we can clearly understand 'the ball is very much in our court'. The list we need to actively work on to make sure God's will is done in our lives includes but not limited to:

Giving thanks, being sanctified, doing good, committing ourselves to our faithful Creator, not conforming to the pattern of this world, being transformed by the renewing of our mind, etc.

Then we will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will - for our lives...
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It pleased the Lord to bless Israel. Numbers 24:1

Seeing the Israelites camped at the plains of Moab and knowing what they did to the Amorites, Balak the king of Moab was terrified. He sends in his counsel men to bring Balaam - a well known sorcerer of that time, to curse the Israelites.

The king takes Balaam to a nearby mount from where they could see the encampment and curse them. But as it turns out Balaam only blesses them because God did not allow him to curse his children. Balak tries again from two different locations but all the time there was only blessing instead of cursing.

In fact he blesses, "There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel" (Numbers 23:23) which extends to any future attempt to curse them by anyone else.

Let us hold on to this verse as our promise. Nobody can do us any harm intentionally or unintentionally. No evil spirit can come near our tents. No divination against us will work. Never fear any black magic or witchcraft or anything related.

We are not commoners or the ordinary folks. We are the children of the Most High. As Apostle Peter reminds us in I Peter 2:9, "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light."

Amen! We are called out of darkness into His wonderful light. It pleases the Lord to bless us. Amen!
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Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. Isaiah 54:2

Isaiah 54th chapter is titled 'The fertility of Zion' and is full of blessings for Zion which is the Church; or in other words you and me who make up the church! If you have some time this morning you may click here to read the entire chapter.

I can't help but relate to the Prayer of Jabez as I read these Scriptures, the words of which are posted here: Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.1 Chronicles 4:10

* Jabez cried to the Lord to enlarge his territory; Zion is being asked to enlarge her territory.
* Jabez prayed for expansion; Zion has received the blessing already and therefore has to expand. 

I believe for those of us here at the coffee table, the same message as that was given to Zion by Prophet Isaiah holds true this morning: Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

Let us free our hearts from hurt, ill feeling, envy, pride and the likes to make room for joy, peace, love, humility and the likes. Let us not hold grudges on things of past, completely overlooking the here and now. Let us not turn back to look at our Sodom or Egypt when God has already led us out of it to our Promised Land.

Let us open up, share, invite in and be prepared to spread out and expand to be able to hold in our blessings!

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

Happy Monday all and a blessed week ahead!

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Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. Psalm 96:9

It is such a privilege we enjoy to be able to freely worship the Lord. I say privilege because most are denied the fellowship of believers and some are even persecuted and killed for coming together and worshipping the Lord!

Even those of us who live in a free country must consider it a privilege and thank the Lord for the good health and transportation which enable us to go and worship the Lord.

True! We can worship Him everyday within the confines of our homes by ourselves; but it is nowhere close to the sheer joy of worshipping the Lord in the fellowship of believers. When we come together as a Church to worship Him we are made complete - as we are one body - His bride!

Let us be mindful of that as we go on to worship the Lord today. Let us go into His presence with singing, dancing and a heart full of praise. Let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker!
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Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23

Our heart is the precious of all organs - vital for our survival. No wonder the scripture says we need to guard it with all diligence. While looking up this verse I came across a sermon by Rev. Adrian Dieleman.

Thought of sharing the highlights with you for today's coffee...

What does the Bible say what heart is:
* Heart is a physical organ and food & drink strengthens it
* The heart is the focus of intellectual life. The heart is connected with thinking
* Acts of the will are considered to arise in the heart
* Heart is closely connected to the feelings and affections of a person: joy, fear, discouragement, sorrow, hate, love.
* The heart is spoken of as the conscience.
* The heart represents a person's true nature or character.
* The heart is the place where God does His work in the individual.
* The heart is the dwelling place of God.

Who can attack our heart?:
* Sin & Satan - God lives in our heart. But so does sin and Satan. The two cannot coexist. This means our heart is a battleground between God and Satan. Both lay claim to our heart. Both want to be master of our heart. Both want the allegiance of our heart.
* World - The world hates Jesus along with His followers.
* The acts of our sinful nature
The devil is our opponent who attacks us from the outside. The world is the hostile environment in which we live. And our own "flesh" is the enemy within us.

How do we guard our heart?:
* To "guard our heart" our heart needs to belong to God.
* We need to listen to the Word of God if we want to guard our heart
* Be part of a church in the fellowship of believers
* Steer clear of sin.

Our heart is precious. Our heart is under attack. Let's guard it with all diligence!

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“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full.

But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:32-36

These Scriptures are spoken by our Lord Jesus Himself. He has given us these instructions for dealing with people we do not really love, we are offended by, we do not approve of. The reasoning behind His expectation is given in verse 36 - because He is kind to the ungrateful (that is us) and the wicked (us including!)

Now tell me do we have any say in it one way or another but to follow in His foot steps? When God has forgiven us so much can't we forgive someone who offended us?

How long you want to hold on to a grudge over an insensitive comment a family member some years ago?! How about pick up the phone and call that person sometime today? It might even go straight to voice message; making it easy on you. All you may have to say is, "Hi! It's me! Just wanted to say hi!" That's all.

Try it and see how refreshing you feel afterwards.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. James 1:22
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Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the middle of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the middle of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses.

And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not near here: put off your shoes from off your feet, for the place where on you stand is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look on God.

And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good land and a large, to a land flowing with milk and honey...

Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with you; and this shall be a token to you, that I have sent you: When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain. Exodus 3:1 ~ 12

Today's Scripture portion describes the first encounter of God that Moses experienced.

Once again the same God who had been so far known as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, now reveals Himself as the God of Moses!

The very same message He shared with Moses on that day, is the same message He shares with us this morning. Whatever be your "Egypt", our Lord, in other words, your Lord, is capable of delivering you out of it. He shall be with you certainly. You will see the victory and serve Him gratefully! Amen!

Once again, it is your call whether you trust and obey or go your way. I would love to obey!
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He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers. Malachi 4:6

This was a prophetic message about John the Baptist who came before Christ to prepare the way, preaching people to repent and be baptized. The exact words are repeated again in Luke 1:17 while Zachariah - John's father, was serving at the temple, an angel of the Lord appeared to him to foretell the birth of his son who was to be called John.

The same verse, as is, stand alone, out of context, can still do miracles in our lives. That is the power of the Word of God. We will hold on to this very promise for our families today. Even among the so called christian families rifts between parents and grown children and misunderstandings between adult siblings are not uncommon. Some of us who think we have figured it all out, can't ignore the frictions from time to time. Pride and selfish agenda are main causes for that. Many of us have given up, saying there is nothing we can do about it.

However, prayer can do wonders. Let us pray over our situation using this Scripture today. The Prince of Peace who rules our hearts will heal the wounds and bind the broken hearts. We will rejoice at the family reunion and praise the name of our Lord! Amen!
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* Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. Isaiah 59:1
* The LORD answered Moses, "Is the LORD's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you." Numbers 11:23
* Was my arm too short to ransom you? Do I lack the strength to rescue you? Isaiah 50:2
* You were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out of there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm Deuteronomy 5:15
* The strong right arm of the LORD is raised in triumph. The strong right arm of the LORD has done glorious things! Psalm 118: 16

Sometimes when our help delays, we wonder if the Lord's arm is too short to save us. We start doubting on the rescue power of the Lord. Knowing these verses will help us through such troubling thoughts, reassuring us that His arms are not too short to save us, nor His ears dull to hear us.

Our Lord does not lack the strength to rescue us, after all it is He who brought the Israelites out of Egypt by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm! Let us be reminded that the strong right arm of the Lord is raised in triumph against all our adversaries and that the strong right arm of the Lord has done glorious things! Amen!
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Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong 1 Kings 3:9

A very interesting conversation goes on between God and King Solomon in the book of I Kings 3rd chapter. Agreed, it was a dream but we all know the dream very much came true.

God tells King Solomon to ask for anything he wants and very clearly, of course very cleverly, King Solomon asks for a discerning heart to govern and to distinguish between right and wrong. What was God's response to that? God gave him what he had asked for plus everything else he didn't dare asking for. Isn't that amazing!

If God is to appear in our dreams tonight, what will be our plea? What do we consider as the most important thing we need?

Are we seeking for a discerning heart to distinguish between right and wrong? Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord. If we have the fear of the Lord in our heart, we already have a 'seed of wisdom' in us. We only need to ask for more to cultivate that 'seed'.

Is asking for wisdom part of our daily prayer? We will discuss the "how to" tomorrow.
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Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

For the explanation of today's Scripture let us read the complete passage - in Jesus's own words:
I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:25-34

It makes perfect sense; does it not? Yet, we run after the wordly things first - putting aside "seeking His kingdom and His righteousness" as the very last item in our day's agenda as if to say, "if we get to it well and good; if not we can skip it, no big deal".

Then we worry why we can't make the ends meet or whatever happened to our joy and toss and turn through sleepless nights, worrying more and more about how to make things work - still forgetting to seek His kingdom and His righteousness.

When all else fail we get back to our senses and come back to Him. But by then our need is so great we can't really seek after His kingdom but only beg and plead for our rescue. That's why our prayers are always like, "give me, give me, give me" rather than "thank you! thank you! thank you!"

Now, let me challenge you all - for the next couple of days, as soon as you wake up, before you even do anything I want you to sit at His feet - seeking His face, His kingdom and His righteousness. When you have raised up enough thank you's remember your needs, submit it at His feet and go about your day's business. Do this for a week and let me know if indeed the promise worked in your life or not...

God bless you! Happy Sunday!
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* My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek. Psalm 27:8
* I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8
* Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. Psalm 105:4

King David sets us a good example of seeking the Lord continually, not just on Sundays's not just on mornings but continually - all the days of the week, every hour of each day, every second of each hour...

What does it mean to seek?

The following definintions are given in the dictionary:

1. Attempt to find (something)
2. Attempt or desire to obtain or achieve (something)
3. Ask for (something) from someone
4. Search for and find someone or something
5. Go to (a place)

Now, how do we seek the Lord?

Based on the definition of the word 'seek' we can say,

1. Find out more of the Lord
2. Desire more time with the Lord
3. Pray
4. Search the Scriptures more for hidden treasures.
5. Go to His feet more often.

The Scripture assures, those who seek Him will find Him... (Proverbs 8:17)

Hope you will start seeking from now on... Let's start this morning!
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I sought the LORD, and He answered me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces will never be ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him And saved him out of all his troubles. Psalm 34:4-6

Often times when we are in need we look up to someone. We look up to our spouses, our friends, family, Church, Pastors, bosses, etc. More often than not we are shamed from this experience because our help does not come from them. Instead they would add fuel to fire, such as contempt, ridicule, slander, spreading gossip, reprimanding us etc.

However, whenever we look up to the Lord for guidance, deliverance, wisdom, support, we will be beaming with joy. We are not put to shame; instead we are made to rejoice. He comforts us with His loving presence. He guides us through His scriptures. He provides a solution for our situation. Praise the Lord.

Anyone here joining at the coffee table this morning has a very specific need and not sure who to turn to, this message is for you! Look up to the Lord. He will make your face shine radiantly. There will be no shame.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains - where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

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* Love one another. As I have loved you. John 13:34
* Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other Ephesians 4:32
* Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Colossians 3:13
* Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Romans 12:10
* Encourage one another and build each other up. I Thessalonians 5:11
* Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21

The Scripture calls for it repeatedly (as we see in the above verses) to be right in our relationships with one another. Doing so however is really tough. Relationships are complicated; no denying that.

May be when we were children it was possible for us to love all unconditionally. But over the years as we get older, day by day there is a subtle change in us; keeping us away from friends/family members/in-laws/neighbors/church members/strangers who are not in tune with us. We make every effort to stay clear of further bonding.

We drift aloof and indifferent from their company, which of course we can justify from every possible angle. But the question is: Are we okay in our relationship with God then?

We would like to answer a beaming "YES!" But won't we be fooling ourselves if we did?! In the coming days over the coffee table let us wait to hear from the Lord to lead us in the paths of righteousness.

Let us look forward to rebuilding our relationships with one another in Christ. Stay tuned. God bless you all!
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For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

We all like to live. Live a happy healthy worry free life. Good. But do we realize this life we so love is only temporary? That we are only passerby's? That we are not of this world?

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ Philippians 3:20

To live is Christ!

What does that mean? It means that the primary focus of our living or the sole purpose of our very existence in this world is to live for Christ.

Now, can we boldly truly make such a statement? For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain?

What is your greatest fear?

Do we fear of losing friends, our reputations, our status in the society?

"For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matthew 16:26

For me to live is Christ! Paul knew all along never to lose sight of what his life was all about. It was all about Jesus. Nothing else!

How about us? Can we refocus the purpose of our lives? Whether we like it or not time is running out; it is about time we start to live for Jesus Christ and Him alone!

It is Wednesday already! Have a wonderful day!

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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 1 Peter 2:12

It is very easy to conform to the pattern of this world; however it takes extra efforts not to conform to the pattern of this world. If we go with the flow, nod to everything we hear around us, feed into every gossip, laugh at every mocking, soon we will be conforming to the world - without even knowing it. 

We as God's children, should be careful to save our integrity in all areas of our lives. How we behave at work vs. home vs. Church - does it all reflect the same characters of us or do we use different masks for each role?

Do we sit with the mockers and stand in the way of sinners which Psalm 1 prohibits us not to? Are we more focused on pleasing our evil desires or are we constantly reminded of godly affairs? Are we ashamed of our faith at work place or willing to share our testimony at the first opportunity?

As I said, it comes easily to conform to the pattern of this world. It takes effort not to. Would you, could you, please try not to? It takes us believers to make Jesus known to the unchurched. Our integrity will bring glory to the Lord; our lack thereof will only shame.

Today and going forward let us give careful attention to our attitude, our thought process, our actions and reactions and see how we can un-conform ourselves from the world. 

God bless you! Have a blessed Tuesday!
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When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13

The Jews there were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having been taught?". John 7:15

Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people. Opposition arose, however, from members of the Synagogue... —who began to argue with Stephen. But they could not stand up against the wisdom the Spirit gave him as he spoke. Acts 6:8 ~ 10

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise. Psalm 111:10

A definite evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit in us is wisdom - wisdom to understand the Scriptures; wisdom to understand the times; wisdom that understands the will of God and excels in the call of duty - to make souls for Christ.

Let us seek for this Wisdom from above, that can only be learnt by spending time with Jesus. Are you willing to try? Say with me, with God's help I will!

God bless you all! Happy Monday!

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* And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5

* Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." Galatians 4:6

First and foremost the gift of the Holy Spirit pours out His love into our hearts - an abundant overflowing love, for Christ our Lord, for the neighbors, for fellow mankind, for the sinners and for all.

This is exactly what Paul writes in I Corinthians 13:1-3, If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

We now have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us that calls out "Abba, Father" thus giving us a renewed  love and a sense of closeness for God.

This love is the spring of all our actions; it is the motive of our obedience; the principle through which we love God, we love him because he first loved us; and we love him with a love worthy of himself, because it springs from him: it is his own; and every flame that rises from this pure and vigorous fire must be pleasing in his sight: it consumes what is unholy; refines every passion and appetite; sublimes the whole, and assimilates all to itself. And we know that this is the love of God; it differs widely from all that is earthly and sensual.

The Holy Ghost comes with it; by his energy it is diffused and pervades every part; and by his light we discover what it is, and know the state of grace in which we stand. Thus we are furnished to every good word and work; have produced in us the mind that was in Christ; are enabled to obey the pure law of our God in its spiritual sense, by loving him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and our neighbor, any and every soul of man, as ourselves. (Clarke's Commentary on the Bible)

So, now you know if you have received the gift or not. If you have the assurance you have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, Congratulations! Continue to abide in His love! If you are not sure, continue to pray for the gift.

God bless you all! Happy Sunday!
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You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

One of the most evident manifestation of the gift of the Holy Spirit is that we will be witnesses for Jesus Christ.

Witness by definition goes:
a. One who can give a firsthand account of something seen, heard, or experienced.
b. One who furnishes evidence.

By witnessing we share our story of how we got saved. Every believer has a story to share; a story of three part:

1. How you were before you met Christ
2. What happened when you met Christ
3. What you have become after you met Christ.

More than us God is interested in reaching souls. He will make every opportunity available for us where we can be a witness for Him just by sharing our story - at work, among friends, with neighbors, over facebook, the possibilities are endless!

Now, are you willing?
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Before going any further, let us clarify the simple question:

How do we receive the Holy Spirit?
By inviting Him into our hearts with a sincere desire for Him. Luke 11:9-10 says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

For those who are not sure, you don't have to take my word for it. Try a simple prayer with an earnest heart and God will reveal it to you.

"Our Father in heaven! We come at your presence this morning with an earnest heart to receive the Holy Spirit Lord. If it is true that there is an experience of infilling of the Holy Spirit, then reveal it to me Lord. Teach me according to the Scriptures Lord. You speak into my heart Lord. You guide me Lord. I too want the same experience of the infilling of the Holy Spirit, Lord. Anoint me Lord; Fill me Lord. Give me the gift of the Holy Spirit Lord! In Jesus's name I pray, amen!"

Good! Now to our discussion: What are the evidences of having received the Holy Spirit?

Can we please discuss that in detail tomorrow? For the rest of the day, repeat the simple prayer above.

God bless you! Happy Friday!

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What we must do to receive the Holy Spirit?

* Jesus told us to wait

On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized witha water, but in a few days you will be baptized withb the Holy Spirit.” Acts 1:4-5

Waiting is not passive or inactive; it is preparation.

* Jesus told us what it was for.

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:7-8

We will be witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Speaking in tongue is the initial physical evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Some ask is it possible to not speak in tongues yet being filled with the Holy Spirit. The best answer is "May be". Because with out tongues there is no physical evidence.

But then, speaking in tongues should not be the only evidence... So, what are the other evidences of Holy Spirit? We will save that for tomorrow.

Have a blessed Thursday!

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Discussion on Holy Spirit infilling continues...

Yesterday we read Acts 2:1-16 which explains the first infilling of Holy Spirit the disciples had experienced.

From these Scriptures we observe the following:

* All of them were together
* Suddenly it happened
* All of them were filled
* The language spoken was unknown to the individuals who spoke
* They spoke as per the utterance given by the Holy Spirit

These were the following responses:

* Some onlookers were amazed that they spoke in languages unknown to them praising the wonders of God Almighty
* Some onlookers mocked them.

The same Holy Spirit is very much in the works today. Jesus Himself promised this blessing for us. Everyone who asks receives! Praise the Lord!

And when we receive the gift, we will have the very same responses as it happened that day - some will be amazed; some will mock. Let it be. What we need for sure is the gift of the Infilling of the Holy Spirit.

More on it tomorrow... God bless you with a fine day ahead!

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When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.

Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel.

Acts 2:1-16
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Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Pentecost is a festival celebrated by the Israelites 50 days after the barley harvest. In the New Testament, it was on a day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first manifested among the disciples.

Jesus's resurrection had given them a renewed spirit and a new hope. Yet they were unsure of what the future had in store for them.

On the day of Pentecost they were gathered in one place, when they experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit - which is recorded by Luke in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2.

Since then millions of people have experienced the infilling of the Holy Spirit. According to statistics, between 1910 thru' 2010 alone more than 614 million people have experienced it - which is 4 times more than the population growth!

It does not matter what our 'label' is. God is not interested in our 'labels'. We could be baptist, methodist, evangelical, pentecost, non-denominational and everything in-between. But the Holy Spirit is very much in the works among us! Praise the Lord!

It is the Holy Spirit who convicts people of their sins. We cannot be a Christian without Holy Spirit. Whether we acknowledge Him or recognize Him or not, it is the Holy Spirit that leads us to salvation. Holy Spirit thereafter resides within us.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit however, is a different experience. This is a gift God has in store for us - for those who wants to receive it and asks for it, He freely gives it. The gift of the Holy Spirit enables us to sanctify ourselves continuously. This is a life long process. It is the Holy Spirit that makes us more like Jesus every day. This is what today's Scripture tells us.

At the start of the New Year it is a good idea to take inventory of our hearts' content. If there is any dross or filth or darkness in us, it is a good idea to get rid off it and be filled with a renewed infilling of the Holy Spirit. For the next couple of days let us discuss a little more in detail of the Holy Spirit. Please stay tuned!

Blessed Monday!
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Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Are we grateful this morning? Let us prove it in our worship service today. Have a blessed 1st Sunday of the year 2015!
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How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,

who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”
Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices;
together they shout for joy.

When the Lord returns to Zion,
they will see it with their own eyes.

Burst into songs of joy together,
you ruins of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.

The Lord will lay bare his holy arm
in the sight of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth will see
the salvation of our God.

Depart, depart, go out from there!
Touch no unclean thing!
Come out from it and be pure,
you who carry the articles of the Lord’s house.

But you will not leave in haste
or go in flight;
for the Lord will go before you,
the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

~ Isaiah 52:7-12
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First of all, what is refuge?

Looking it up in the dictionary we get the definition: "a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble."

So taking refuge in the Lord means finding safety or shelter from pursuit, danger, or trouble in the Lord. Meaning, anytime we are afraid, troubled, pursued we will run to His presence.

King David could relate to being in danger, he was being pursued; he was troubled all the time. Yet he sings constantly, 

* "But the LORD has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge." Psalm 94:22

* The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Psalm 9:9

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2

* I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." Psalm 91:2

* I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge. Psalm 71:7

Just the fact that he keeps on repeating the same idea proves that he was very much in the habit of doing it - taking refuge in the Lord.

How do we fare? When the enemy strikes, how do we react? Do we at least know these Scriptures to give us comfort? Do we fight it ourselves or run to God who is our refuge? 

May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."
Ruth 2:12
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Happy New Year to you all!

New year's promise for us is:

How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. Psalm 31:19

Alright, it sounds more like an exclamation than a promise; but if you pause and read it you will appreciate the promise behind the exclamation.

Indeed the good things God has in store for us who fear Him is abundant! Praise the Lord!

Just as with most promises, what we have to do on our part is to take refuge in Him.

Let us remember this verse all through this new year! More importantly let us learn to take refuge in the Lord. May be we can spend the first few days to understand what it means to take refuge in the Lord. Please stay tuned...

For now, have a blessed 1st day of the brand new year 2015!