November 24, 2007

Will a man rob God?

Can a man rob God? Is it possible for a puny creature like man to rob God from his riches and honor? Will a man rob God? Will you rob God? Can you rob God? Are you robbing God?

God created man for a single purpose, i.e. to have fellowship with him. Funny, but now-a-days man want to do everything else than fellowship with God. Atheism has grown to such a extent that in a couple of years it will have the majority of the population of the world under it's clutches. People are now days beginning to say, "It is vain to serve God. What profit is God to us?" People have begun to call the proud happy, they that do wrong as righteous and they that tempt God are set free. Well the world is reaching its last times as mentioned in the Bible and prophesied years ago. The world is robbing God of what is due to him and that is evident from the present situations we live in the world.

Now, what role do I play in this discussion? Aren't these for the people who do not believe on Christ? I am a Christian and how can I rob God? I am his child and how can a child rob his father of anything? If I am robbing God of something, what is it?

The Israelites were famous for turning to other gods and worshiping them. God hated that and punished them severely. He said his name is Jealous. He is a very possessive God and he hated to see them worshiping other gods which were their own imaginations.
How much do we find ourself in the shoes of these Israelites! We do not worship other gods but do worship so many other things more than god. So what is worship?

Worship according to the dictionary means adoration or attributing worth to something.
Worship is "a performance to show your honor, reverence, adoration, worth or admiration to someone else much more esteemed by you." Worship is a lifestyle. It begins with a right attitude and ends with a right action.
It is something you involve yourself and not an attitude alone.

God looking at the present Christians says that you have cursed me with a curse.
Can we curse God? Curse....?
He further says that you have robbed me even each one of you.
Me...robbing God? Me...?

God wants your offerings and tithes i.e. your worship. He has created man to have fellowship with him, i.e. worship him, talk to him as a child talks to his father. If we don't worship him we are robbing him of what is due to him. We are programmed by God to worship and have fellowship with him and if we don't do that, it would be better that we should be discarded and put in waste. He says that by not worshiping him we are putting him under a curse. Its hard to believe that but that's what he says (Malachi 3: 8,9).

So what does God expect of me? How am I supposed to worship God? Well worship is an expensive affair. When a guy goes out on a date with a girl, its assured that the guy's going to burn a hole in his pocket. It requires a lot of preparation and understanding. How can we worship God without knowing him? It requires one to be in his presence for a quality amount of time. One's offering has to rise up as a sweet smelling savor. Worship is a daily affair and not a Sunday 'prayer'. Its a lifestyle and a pattern of life. Worship is not just saying to God that you love him and adore him but showing the same to the world, practicing the same in one's daily life. Worship is like telling your parents that you love them and proving it to them. God doesn't get flattered by words and offerings that do not prove themselves are a waste to him.

The blessings for a worshiping believer are great. The Lord will continuously purge the believer under the refiner's fire and make him clean that he offer a righteous offering. He will open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings so much that there won't be any more room to contain it. They that fellowshipped with God fellowshipped with each other and God hearkened to them and answered their prayers and wrote it in his book of remembrance. He kept them as his jewels and spared them from his wrath. Then shall the world see the difference between the wicked and the righteous and return back to the living God. All the people shall call you blessed and the church, your house shall be called a delightsome land.

Prove God your worship. God expects each one of us to give him what is due to him. Lets look back to our lives and see whether we are robbing God of what is his, are we putting him under a curse. And lets remember that worship is celebration, celebration for what God has done for us and what he is to us.

November 20, 2007

I minister....but.."Is it enough?"

Two years ago, our church had arranged a child Evangelism Program (CET) for those people who were interested in ministering among children. After months of prayer and preparation, this program was conducted exclusively for 40 trainees for 6 days. Training was intense through sleepless nights and great hard work put in by each trainee, they slowly learned the basics of child evangelism.

The results of this program was seen a couple of months later when few of them who were led by the Lord decide to start a Children's Club (CC) at their local area. A Children's club is a small gathering of children (mainly non-Christians) from a local area. Started with one now has gone up to five and they plan to have a sixth one. The objective of the CC is to teach the Word of God to these non-Christian children through songs, stories, memory verses and games and thus share the gospel of Christ to these young hearts. Put together all the CC, we have around 150 children attending the CC regularly! Praise God for that.

This ministry slowly started growing and this month our church could organize a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for these kids. After much prayer and seeking God's will, this 3 day long VBS was organized for the children from all the 5 CC. Praise God we had an average of 135 children who attended this VBS. Stories were taught from the Bible, new songs were taught, memory verses were taught, games were played, interactive sessions were conducted for these kids and much more, so that the word of God could change the lives of these children

When you look at these children, they come mainly from the poor sector of the society, living in slums and people who can do a little more than live from hand to mouth. However, when you go to pick them up for the VBS, they are out of their bed in a jiffy and hurriedly they will make sure that they be there along with a couple of friends. Even before the song starts they come prepared with a list of their own songs which they have learnt before during the Children's club. They sing their lungs out during the singing sessions which sometimes makes us ashamed because we would never have heard the church sing together so loud. The enthusiasm in them is always vibrant those three hours of learning and fun. By time, they forget about their problems and worries and participate in each activity with a smile coupled with joy which we hardly find in people now-a-days.

Behind the scenes, there were many people labouring hard for these ministries. People volunteering right from the youngest to the eldest. People who took leave from their jobs to make it sure that all go well. People who ensured that the children could be transported safely. People who took the initiative in getting the snacks ready, in getting the various arrangements for gifts and stationary possible. People who spent hours preparing from the Word of God to teach these children. People who ensured all the people be informed so that they can pray regularly for the VBS. People who spent hours in the presence of the Lord in prayer and intersession for this ministry. People who played music and sang songs, did the choreography for the songs.

Only few has been mentioned and a lot left unmentioned. We had around 50 volunteers who actively participated in ensuring the VBS went well. An encouragement to the assembly and a new warmth to the volunteers who were challenged to serve God.
"Its the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes."

"But is it enough?"

"Have all that we have been doing enough? Should our ministry be restricted only to that level? Should we constrain ourselves and contain the love of Christ?"

Certainly no!
A ministry is just a stepping stone to expand it for God at various levels at various fields. The harvest is ready but will the laborers be few? Serving God cannot be just restricted to a mission field. It spreads to and first begins at the church where we have fellowship with our brethren. Its the love of God that motivates each one of us to his service. It manifests itself among the society in which we live and slowly reaches out to this world. It understands the need of the hour and fulfills a humble ministry towards it.

We serve not people but God. Therefore let's glorify God through the ministry. God doesn't look at the amount of stuff that I have done for him, neither looks he at how many people came to know about the service I did for him, nor does he look at the merits I have in church. God, well, just looks at the attitude with which I serve him. He's not bothered about the level of service that I have done for him, but he is worried whether I did it for Christ or not, whether I did it in the right spirit. He calls us to an humble service keeping behind the strength of self.

A parable Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 20:1-16
A well known parable it is. But the message conveyed in the parable is very important. The laborers who had come early in the morning were the selected lot of skilled laborers who boasted in their merits. Hence they argued with the Lord over their wages and settled to a penny. But the people who were hired later weren't the skilled lot of people and bargaining for their wages weren't their cup of tea because they were forced to be happy with whatever the Lord gave; after all they were slaves with no merits. At the end of the day we see the Lord giving each one of them equal wages from the last to the first.

The Lord wasn't worried about how much they served him but was looking at their heart to see whether they did it actually for him. The skilled lot of people boasted about their art in labouring while the other lot didn't have anything to boast about. At the end of the day, the fellow who worked for 12 hours earned the same wages as that fellow who worked for 1 hour.

Lot more to learn from the parable but time suffices me. Denying your self by surrendering yourself to the Master's will as his slaves, not expecting anything from him, laboring for him with a humble heart and with the right attitude is what service can be defined as.

At the end of the day, one who has served the Lord sincerely should say,
"We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." (Luke 17:10)

God has blessed each one of us with so many talents and spiritual gifts. Let's identify them and use them for his service, for his ministry, for his glory.

I am really keen on knowing what are the different ways you have served God and what are the different ways in which we can serve God and thus reach out to the church, the believers, friends and the world as a whole. Please comment

November 02, 2007

Could you spare me some time?

It all started when Satan seemed rather happy and pleased, came to God wanting to tell him something. God looked at Satan and saw the gleam on his face and asked him what the matter was. Satan told him, “Lord, you have failed. I was going to and fro the earth only to find all the so called modern servants of Christ failing in the areas where their ancestors stood firm.” So God sent out Michael to go and see whether the report was true or not.

Michael found Noah sitting all alone in his study room. So he asked him, “Noah could you spare some time for God?”

Noah said, “Shh! don’t disturb me. I am working on a project. It’s a huge ark. Its got to carry 10,000 odd passengers…lots of efforts needed to be put in it…Maybe, some other time.”

So Michael went to Abraham. Abraham was sitting under the moonlight looking up to the sky quite worried and while he kept uttering something to himself. Michael asked him, “Abraham, could you spare some time for God?”

Abraham lost in his own thoughts said, “I wonder what God might have meant by saying that my seed will be as the stars of the heaven. You know it’s kind of weird; I don’t even have a son. Well if it is going to be true, I’d at least have to know how many children I will have. Yea, so don’t bother me now…1005, 1006, 1007…1200, 1201, 1202…”

Disappointed Michael went to Joshua. He was sharpening his sword near the river Jordan. He asked him, “Joshua, could you spare some time for God?”

Joshua rather busy said, “Lots of planning to be done. Jericho is a big city. To bring it down by just marching silently around it…ehhh…that’s going to be difficult. These people…these people you know, they are never silent. Maybe because of them the wall will never fall down...then, I’ll chop their heads and feed it to the caterpillars. Why, how come you could only find me…isn’t there anyone else? I’m busy and tensed too…”

Silently after receiving a mouthful from Joshua, Michael went to Job. “Well he is God’s most respected servant, maybe, he will listen to God.” So he asked Job, “Job, could you spare some time for God?” Job was on the top of a mountain preparing an altar.

Job all frustrated said, “My children…they are so useless. They have to keep sinning. Well am not I the righteous man and I got to do all the sacrifices for them? Now I don’t have any cattle left for sacrifice. I’ll pray to God that my children too perish with the cattle…less talk about my wife. Don’t bother me now. I am all irritated or you know what will happen…”

So Michael went to and fro, here and there to each of God’s so called modern servants who failed to live up to the expectations of God, but couldn’t even find one who could spare some time for God. Disappointed he went back to God and gave him the report. God told him, “Michael, you haven’t yet asked one person. Go to the person who is reading this article and ask him the same question. Let’s see whether he will be able to spare me some time.”