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Then the children of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given us only one lot and on share to inherit, since we are a great people, inasmuch as the Lord has blessed us until now?”

So Joshua answered them, “If you are a great people, then go up to the forest country and clear a place for yourself there in the land of the Perizzites and the giants, since the mountains of Ephraim are too confined for you.”

But the children of Joseph said, “The mountain country is not enough for us; and all the Canaanites who dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both those who are of Beth Shean and its towns and those who are of the Valley of Jezreel.”

And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—saying, “You are a great people and have great power; you shall not have only one lot, but the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong.”

~ Joshua 17:14-18

A very interesting passage for our meditation today from the book of Joshua. As you can see the children of Joseph (tribes of Ephraim & Manasseh) were not too happy about the lots they received as inheritance. So they complain to Joshua that they need more land. Joshua gives them an adjacent forest and suggests that they level it up and build cities for them. Again they complain that the current inhabitants of these lands are strong with iron chariots etc. And Joshua assures that they are a great people themselves also, and can surely overcome the inhabitants with God's help because He has already promised so.

So the lesson learnt here is: The only cure for complaining is to bravely go forth against the causes of complaining. 

What is your complain today? Do you want to continue to complain or get over it by accepting your lot and be happy in your part?

Here's a further scripture to help you make the right decision folks:

To accept your lot and be happy in your toil--this is a gift of God. Ecclesiastes 5:19


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…So Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to leave too?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God.”… John 6:67-69

In the preceding scriptures, we read that Jesus loses many of His Jewish following the moment He started talking about the sharing in of His flesh and blood. That's when Jesus asks His own disciples if they want to leave also, and Simon Peter aptly answers, "to whom would we go?"

Clearly, Peter knew there was no hope other than in Christ.

Most people are simply followers and they take sides with the majority when it comes to Godly affairs. If we do not have a strong foundation ourselves, in God and His truth, we can easily be persuaded against a stand for Christ.

The famous preacher C.H. Spurgeon once said, "Apostasy is very contagious. Like sheep who, if one goes wrong, the next will follow.” A true statement for sure.

Jesus wishes/insists His following to be perfectly voluntary. No one can walk truly with Jesus who walks unwillingly.

King David, sings his heart out when he wrote:

Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. Psalm 73:25

Do we have this assurance ourselves? Are we following Jesus voluntarily or unwillingly? When we come across a scripture that doesn't settle well with us, do we take a closer look to understand it better, or call it quits quoting this faith as too difficult?'

Is Jesus our only solace or one of many?

I will leave you pondering over these thoughts for the rest of the day. God bless you all this Wednesday, April 29th!
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He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High

Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the [a]fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and [b]buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lordwho is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall [c]bear you up,
Lest you [d]dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will [e]set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With [f]long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

~Psalm 91
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He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30

This is a statement by John the baptist, of Jesus Christ.

Not that we can undermine the forerunner's works at any rate. He was the voice that called out in the wilderness preparing the way of the Lord. He lived a very basic life, and spent all his time and energy calling out the people to repentance. Jesus Himself testified of John that "among those born of women there is no one greater than John". 

John had many opportunities to take pride in his ministry. He was quite popular. Many indeed heeded to his voice, repented and submitted to the baptism. Many even asked him if he were the Christ. Gracefully he kept denying that he was only the "voice" and not Christ.

He even humbled himself so low, saying: After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. Mark 1:7

I am sure John was eager to see Jesus Himself. After all he was the baby in Elizabeth's womb that leaped with joy when Mary (conceived with Jesus) visited her.

So finally when Jesus Himself appeared publicly to be water baptized by John, he took the opportunity to focus the lime light on Jesus. He was filled with a sense of joy and accomplishment that his purpose in life has been completed. That the Bridegroom has arrived! And work of him as a friend of the Bridegroom is now over.

That's how our lives should be. Let's not be quick to take pride in our ministries but be graceful and humble to always point people's to our Lord Savior, who is the only hero of our story.

When we do that, we will not be focused on the feedback from people but be humble that God used even us to minister. Praise the Lord.

Let's therefore make it our statement too that He must increase, and we must decrease...
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And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Remember Peter & John healing a lame beggar in Jesus's name, saying: “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3) ?

Well, immediately following that miracle, they get arrested and taken to the religious council for trial. The scripture says in verse 2 that the leaders were "greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead." 

Today's scripture is an excerpt from their answer to the council as to in whose name they performed the miracle. In verse 10 onward we read of their bold witnessing to Jesus Christ:

... let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12

Let's pause there for today's study. 

Clearly folks, there is no other name under heaven to save us. Just the fact the disciples were persecuted for preaching / doing miracles in Jesus's name yet they continued to do so shows that we can't deny that truth. 

Let us too pray for such unwavering faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, to stand up as bold witnesses for our God.
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Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its savor, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:11-16

Yesterday we saw that we will have trials in this world, but His peace should get us through it all. Today's scripture portion encourages us more on the same lines that in spite of our persecution we should be the salt and light to those around us.

What it means is that we can not or should not take their insults to heart. We should not mind their accusations and persecutions and mockery, but continue to show them God's love. We can't take it too personal folks, as it is our Lord Jesus Christ they reject and not necessarily us.

Easier said that done I am sure; but with God's help we can...

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"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" John 16:33

In John chapter 13 we read of the Last Supper - the Passover meal Jesus shared with His disciples. Immediately following that He washes their feet and goes on to give them specific instructions, preparing them for His impending suffering/departure, all the way thru' chapter 17. It seems like a continuous dialogue with no interruptions even for some narrations.

In all these Jesus did not promise them a smooth ride; in fact just the opposite - tribulations. But one thing He promises - peace!

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

On hindsight we now know this came true. All His disciples went through extreme tribulations but endured it joyfully holding on to the peace offered by our Lord Jesus Christ.

This morning the same promise is given us. His Peace. Amidst the chaos around us.

Our prayers maybe ridiculed by the world, our friends might mock us for our faith, we can't even gather together to worship the Lord with our fellow brothers and sisters, we do not know when we will see our loved ones back home again... but through it all His peace prevails.


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Don't you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. James 4:4

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters. Matthew 12:30

We were happy to learn yesterday that Jesus is our friend. I am sure most of us take comfort in that.

Today's scripture takes us a little deeper on what it actually means to accept His friend request. The one (and only one) clause or condition is to deny the world.
It is not that hard if you think about it as after all the world hates us anyways. The scripture tells us that:

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. John 15:19

"No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (world). Matthew 6:24

Clearly we can't be friends with both the world and God. We need to let go of one to follow the other.

The question is: what do you consider as the most valuable?

"How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal (world) is God, follow him." 1 Kings 18:21
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You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. John 15:14

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

We all cherish friendship. Friends can be our solace when we are at our lows. They can be our joy when we celebrate our highs. But have we ever thought of God as a friend?

Years ago in my youth, I was met with a serious road accident and God in His mercies had saved my life and healed me completely within months. A visiting acquaintance at that time suggested that I must have done something wrong to have brought God's judgement on me. He prodded more to ask how do I relate to God. I told him point blank, "God is my friend and it was not His judgement but His grace that I had just encountered". He was taken aback with my response which made me understand that he never took God for a friend but a fierce judge. The only problem with that idea is that we would then obey His commands out of fear rather than love.

In today's scripture Jesus Himself says we are His friends. Not His servants. Years ago I didn't know this scripture, but I always knew God is my friend. Indeed He is our best friend. He has our best intention in mind.

He proved His friendship for us by giving His very life.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for his friends. John 15:13

Let us therefore cherish this precious friendship. Be sure to accept His friend request today if not already. Then we can find solace in Him during our lows and joy in Him in our highs.

Praise the Lord!
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Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6

Many people claim that there are many ways to get to heaven, justifying their many different faiths. Some Christians too do not dispute this claim and begin to doubt if it could be true.

However, it is an absolute truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father. Today's scripture confirms that as it is the very words spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ. If there had been multiple ways Jesus would not have claimed to be the only way. Plus, think about it: No other religion claims to be the only way.

In order to enter the presence of the Father God, who is in heaven, we need to be washed by the blood of Jesus Christ (figuratively), which means accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, thus be forgiven of our sins. Period. There is no way around it.

I find it interesting that this simple criteria - to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ - is a show stopper for many. What if there were a different condition - one that is very hard to achieve? I am sure most people would try their best to meet that condition, in spite of anything. But the simple condition of accepting Jesus Christ as Lord is not fathomable for them.

Let us not be like them. Let us with all our heart believe in the only true way of Jesus Christ. Let us passionately stand up for this absolute truth when discussions arise between friends/family. What is our defense? That the Word of God tells us so. Can anyone argue over that? I don't think so.

In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death. Proverbs 12:28

Praise the Lord.
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Our focus today is on how to pray?

The best passage on prayer in my opinion is from the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6, verses 5-14 especially because these words were spoken by Jesus Himself:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"This, then, is how you should pray: "'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.'

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

It is interesting to note that forgiving others is mentioned as part of the prayer. So even if we pray for hours together but have not forgiven our neighbors, our prayer is of no use. A clear conscious is key for effective prayer. Ready?
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* I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Psalm:122:1

* One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.Psalm 27:4

* Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.Psalm 100:4

Happy "Son"day all! It is one day where we can all come together and rejoice in His presence. It is such a privilege.

In countries like China where churches are prohibited, people worship in underground churches. Where there are no buildings, people gather under trees and thatched roof to worship the Lord in Srilanka, India and possibly more countries.

In Saudi Arabia people gather in homes to worship the Lord. My friend tells me they always have a birthday cake with them in case the police knock at their door they would say they were celebrating a birthday.

And here we are today getting ready to worship right in our own living rooms!

One thing is common across the world - the believers are glad when they are told, "Let us go into the house of the Lord"

Com'on! Let us go too!
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Teach me to do your will... Psalm 143:10

I am astonished by the connection King David had with the Lord. He was constantly praying, constantly worshiping, constantly praising, constantly learning, constantly improving, constantly repenting, constantly singing the name of the Lord! Our Lord! There are endless Scriptures pointing us to that, let's look at a few of them today.

Here in Psalm 143, he prays, "Teach me to do your will". In Psalm 25:4 he sings, "Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths". Again in Psalm 119:12 he says, "teach me your decrees". In Psalm 139:24 he asks, "See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting".

As a King he couldn't just say words he did not mean. He was indeed making strong statements here. He was constantly seeking God's will in His life. Sure enough God led his path, even when his foot slipped, he was forgiven and set on solid rock!

Many of us wonder from time to time, "How do we know the will of God?" The simple answer is, when we constantly seek the will of God like King David did, God reveals Himself to us.

God answers us in ways we can not imagine - sometimes very subtle - as if it is a secret between you and Him! But sure you will know it when He speaks to you. Just be keen to listen Him speak!

Thank you for gladly joining us here over the coffee table with fellow believers this morning! Have a blessed day.
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Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

Show me, LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. Psalm 39:4

My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. Job 9:25

My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and they come to an end without hope. Job 7:6

We don't need much proof that our days run faster than ever. We see signs of it everywhere. The mirror gives it away every time we see our reflection in it.

Didn't we just begin the year? Already we are in mid April and before we know it, it will be year end. Even this past week went by in a blink. The days and weeks and months and years seem to roll one into another seamlessly.

Job and King David felt the same way from time to time. We see them mentioning it repeatedly in Scriptures. It is interesting how they both focus their attention back to the Lord amidst their panic.

Let us too do the same. As we become more cautious of our fleeting days let us become more appreciative of the Lord's providence and more aware of His favor on us.

His favor would be a full fountain of our future joys. It would be a sufficient balance to our former griefs. Instead of wasting our precious, fleeting days in pursuing fancies, let us seek the forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance in heaven. Let us pray that the work of the Holy Spirit may appear in converting our hearts, and that the beauty of holiness may be seen in our conduct. (Ref: Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary)

God bless you! Have a blessed weekend!

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Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23

King David has made many meaningful prayers and here's a simple one for us to practice: "Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting..."

Barne's note on the Bible explains,

The prayer denotes great sincerity on the part of the psalmist. It indicates also self-distrust. It is an expression of what all must feel who have any just views of themselves - that the heart is very corrupt; that we are liable to deceive ourselves; and that the most thorough search should be made that we be not deceived and lost.

Don't you agree?

Let us therefore make this our sincere plea today, opening up our hearts for the "search".
If there is any offensive way in us, may the Lord lead us in the everlasting way.

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"What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD" Jonah 2:9

In chapter 2 of the Book of Jonah, we read Jonah's prayer to God from within the belly of a fish. From there he says: "What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD". Let's stop there for today's lesson.

Most of us have gone through similar situation though not exactly the same. In our anguish we have cried out to the Lord and have made vows to Him: Lord, if you give me this job, I will be regular with my tithe. If only you heal me now, I will follow you the rest of my life... etc. But have we fulfilled these vows when the situations improved and we were delivered out of our distress? 'Not always', would be the honest answer.

It comes easy to make a vow, but fulfilling it requires commitment and conscious efforts. With overwhelming demands of life we might even forget our vows. This can't be!

The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 5:4, When you make a vow to God, do not delay in fulfilling it. It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it.

In Deuteronomy we read: If you make a vow to the LORD your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the LORD your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. (23:21)

Take away for today is: Let us fulfill our vows to our Lord!
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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's prayer was simple, yet powerful. Simple because it was short and to the point. Powerful because God granted him his request.

Before we conclude it was the short prayer that did the trick, let us read verse 9 which gives us a glimpse of who Jabez was: "Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain."

The literal meaning of Jabez is sorrowful. In fact, the gist of his prayer was to be free from pain. God saw that he was honorable and granted his request. He was not sorrowful anymore but filled with joy.

If there is someone here unhappy today, please repeat Jabez's prayer with a sincere heart. God will grant the request for each one of us today.
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Today's reading: Proverbs 30 Click here to read online (NIV)

Verse of the day: “Two things I ask of you, O Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God" 30:7-9

These Proverbs were not written by King Solomon. These were sayings of Agur son of Jakeh decalred to Ithiel and to Ucal...

Today's verse of the day, as you see it is a little prayer and these little prayers are my favorite - such as Prayer of JabezPrayer of JonahPrayer of Davidthe Lord's Prayer, and here the Prayer of Agur. Prayer is an important aspect of christian walk and these little snippets of prayers by great men and Jesus Himself give us an idea of how to pray.

I find it necessary to by heart these prayers to add them to my regular prayers too; it only helps improve our prayer experience.

So, let's by-heart these verses today, adding it to our regular prayers. No, we don't want too much that might distract us from our journey towards the cross and at the same time we don't want to go too little and become robbers. Let us only pray for our daily bread. Amen!
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He is not here; he has risen! Luke 24:6

Amen! He is risen! Happy Resurrection Sunday to all who are joined here from all over the world. The only thing that brings us together is His Holy name. 

The only thing that binds us closer is His love! Isn't it anazing how we all can unite under His Holy presence from far off places and still feel so connected!

We have all the more reason to rejoice this morning as we celebrate the resurrected Christ! Our Savior! He is risen! 

Not only that, we  too will be risen one day.  If the Lord tarries and we pass on, at a twinkling of an eye when the trumpet calls we will rise and be caught up with the Lord in the skies.  (I Corinthians 15:52) How awesome is that!

Let us sing Hosanna to our King all the more louder this morning and rejoice in His presence during the worship service. Let us not allow anything or anybody spoil the joy of our salvation this morning.

We will Rejoice! For He has risen!
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* Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. Psalm 43:5
* A man's spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? Proverbs 18:14

What these verses tell us is that mighty kings too felt downcast and crushed at times like the rest of us. Knowingly or unknowingly we get pulled into a broken spirit from time to time; which is hard to avoid.

When things don't work out, when the bills are mounting but resources have dried up, when a loved one's health gets affected, it is only natural to get low.

But what we do about it is what makes us different. Let's see how King David handled it:

* He puts his hope in God.
* He keeps praising the Lord.
* He acknowledges the Lord as his Savior.
* He sings praises for His Holy name

Let us learn from his example. Let us put our hope in our Lord. He will fill us all over again with His joy of salvation in no time. Amen!
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He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

We sometimes tend to forget the essence of the Gospel in our lives. We become less sensitive to the ultimate sacrifice our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ bore for us. This week as we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, we will meditate on His sufferings for us.

Let us read the Scripture above as below:

My Lord Jesus Christ was pierced for my transgressions!
My Lord Jesus Christ was crushed for my iniquities!
My Lord Jesus Christ bore my punishments upon Himself!
My Lord Jesus Christ brought me peace!
My Lord Jesus Christ was wounded for me!
My Lord Jesus Christ healed me!

Gospel is very personal folks! It is not as generic as we tend to think of at times. True He died for the entire human race. But more importantly He died for me! For you! On a personal level. One on one! It is like dying that many times all over again!

Let us not make light of His sufferings for us. Let us not let His blood go wasted. Let us be rinsed all over again, engulfed by His supreme love. Let us be mindful of the fact that He took our place on the cross! Amen!
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Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

All believers have experienced this "voice" leading our way. This is the Holy Spirit or Counselor promised to be sent to us as Jesus was ascending to Heaven.

There are times we would prefer the voice to be a little louder or even audible to know for sure it is Him talking. We expect to hear thunder and lightning or some extravagant display of God at work.

In I Kings 19:11-12 we read about Elijah encountering this voice from the Lord. It says:
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by."

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

However often times we neglect this still small voice or the gentle whisper and continue on our journey as we please. We are quick to be angry, quick to argue, quick to defend ourselves, quick to blame others, quick to take credit, etc.

All the while the Holy Spirit gently directs: "This is the way; walk in it."

Are we listening?
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Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts. Hebrews: 3:7-8

What is meant by hardening of our heart?

Gill's exposition of the entire Bible has a beautiful explanation for it, which I wish to share: (sorry it is one very long sentence, but if you pause and read it you will get it.)
There is a natural hardness of the heart; the heart of man is like a stone, destitute of spiritual life, motion, and activity; it is senseless, stupid, impenitent, stubborn, and inflexible, on which no impressions can be made, but by powerful grace: and there is an acquired, habitual, and voluntary hardness of heart, to which men arrive by various steps; as entertaining pleasing thoughts of sin; an actual commission of it, with frequency, till it becomes customary, and so habitual; an extenuation or justification of it, and so they become hardened against all reproofs and sermons, and to all afflictions and judgments; are insensible and past feeling, and openly declare for sin, and glory in it: and there is a hardness which God's people are liable to, and should guard against; and which is brought on by a neglect of private and public worship, and by keeping bad company, and through the ill examples of others, and by giving way to lesser sins; for all sin is of an hardening nature...
 Is our heart harden today? Have we become insensitive to the Holy Spirit? If we have the slightest doubt we need to work on it.

 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26

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Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

Whether we like it or not, we all have a cross to bear. I have a cross, you have a cross, every one of us have a cross. Believers and non believers alike have their own cross; young and old, rich and poor, every one has a cross. Sure it could vary in dimensions but for each of us our cross seem heavy at times.

I would like to imagine that this cross was laid on us when Adam and Eve were sent out of Eden to toil hard and make a living. Since then I don't think anyone had it easy; one way or another everyone had to/has to/will have to carry their cross.

The question is, are we ready to follow the Lord in-spite of our cross? What would that mean? Are we ready to serve the Lord through thick and also through thin? Do we sing praises only when everything goes well or even otherwise? Does our love for the Lord remain constant no matter what happens around us? Do we continue to trust our Source even when our resources run out?

Carrying the cross and following the Lord means just that we do not turn away from God when our cross gets heavy; but we cling closer to God and take joy in His promises...

The secret is when we take one step towards Him He comes running to receive us and to carry our cross rest of the way... He assures, His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Amen!
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Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

King David often talks to his inner self, which I find quite interesting. Often he is upbeat and tells himself: "Praise the Lord,O my soul!", "Forget not His benefits,O my soul", "Bless the Lord, O my soul". Then there are times his despair is quite evident such as: "Why are you downcast, O my soul?", "Be at rest once more, O my soul", "my soul is troubled exceedingly...", etc.

Here, in Psalm 62: 5 King David reminds his soul to be calm about the prevailing situation and encourages that his help comes from the Lord. He is giving hope to a soul that is ready to give up waiting.

Barne's notes on the Bible explains:
The idea here is, that all that he expected or hoped for must come from God. He did not rely on his fellow men; he did not rely on himself. God alone could deliver him, and he confidently believed that God would do it.

Often are we in such circumstances that we feel that our only "expectation" - our only hope - is in God. All our strength fails; all our resources are exhausted; our fellow-men cannot or will not aid us; our own efforts seem to be vain; our plans are frustrated, and we are shut up to the conclusion that God alone can help us.

So we get the message. We need not panic or despair; but train our souls to be calm. Let us repeat King David's statement to ourselves: "Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him!"
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"Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." Revelation 22:12

I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Revelation 3:11

He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Revelation 22:20

Jesus is coming soon! It is what we as believers look forward to, or do we?

I remember as a child and as a young adult, I have expected His return every day. Going to bed my prayer would be, "Lord, if you return tonight please count me in"; waking up my prayer would be, "Lord if you return today, keep me holy and take me along".

However, I admit over the years, His tarrying has made me lose the expectancy of His return, to a point where for days together I have gone without much thought about it.I am sure, all of you believers can relate to this one way or another.

Today's message comes as a reminder that indeed He is coming soon. We must stay focused, not giving yield to the distractions life throws our way. A child like faith, that fully trusts the Word of God, without any reservation or bias, is what is expected of us.

Being always ready for the imminent return of the Lord, should be our constant state of mind. The assurance of forgiveness of our sins and the joy of salvation is what it takes to make us ready for His return.

If anyone here does not have that assurance, please seek Him today. I guarantee you, you will find Him. Amen!

Jesus is coming soon. Until then, happy waiting!
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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 Sunday'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 definitions 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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The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. Psalm 28:7

One way to learn how to pray is from seeing/listening to people of God pray. It is therefore a good idea to pay special attention to Scriptures that are prayers made by great people of God. Psalm 28 is one of King David's prayers to God Almighty, please take some time to read it today.

Prayer is no pre-written script or memorized portions of text. It comes from the heart spontaneously, revealing our inner most thoughts, correcting us in the process, and making us whole again. Prayer is our means to directly communicate with our God.

We need not have a recommendation by someone to mediate between us and the Lord. No person, animal or thing, living or dead can pass on our requests to God. It has to come from within, by our self, to our Lord. And the best part is His ears are open to our supplications!

We read in I Peter 3:12, For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer. Psalms 145:18 says, The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. What a great promise that is!

Let us call onto Him today for all our needs. Whatever it is that bothers us let us bring it to His presence, even now around this coffee table, let us lift our burdens to Him in one accord and pray for a deliverance from whatever troubling circumstances we are in. Surely He is near to us and His ears are attentive to our prayers. Amen!

God bless you all as you continue to trust in Him.
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This is what the LORD says: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 31:16

Whoever is crying continuously over something, this message comes from the Lord to you: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded".

King David cries out in Psalm 56:8: "You tell my wanderings: put you my tears into your bottle: are they not in your book?" Indeed our every tear drop has been recorded and accounted for by our Lord.

In Revelation 21:4 we read, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

So, the message today comes loud and clear for all of us who need to hear: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded". Amen!
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As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. Psalm 84:6

As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs... Who are they?

In the earlier verses (Psalms 84:4-5) we read in detail about them:

* They are blessed
* They dwell in the house of the Lord
* They are ever praising the Lord
* Their strength is in the Lord
* They have set their hearts on pilgrimage; which means, they have decided to follow the Lord.

So, for the promise above to be true in our lives we need to become them.


As we pass through the Valley of Baca, we  will make it a place of springs...

I am sorry this doesn't sound like a comforting verse for a start of a new month. But this is what the Holy Spirit is prompting to share... Maybe someone here needed to hear these exact words.

Be blessed in the Lord everyone. Please try not to fret about the coronovirus around us. Remember we are homeward bound! Rejoice in His love.

Have a blessed April 2020!