All posts by GuruJoseph

Boaz

Boaz is one of the most beautiful characters in the Bible, and he is an unmistakable type of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was the great-grandfather of king David, and his story is told in the book of Ruth-where he is seen as the great redeemer, and then as the loving husband of Ruth. In our present study we shall trace a number of ways in which Boaz depicts our Lord, and we trust we shall be led into a fuller understanding of our own Great Saviour, and a fuller love for Him. We are first introduced to Boaz in Ruth chapter two, where he is described as A MIGHTY MAN OF WEALTH (Ruth 2:1) That is a very suggestive title, and no doubt many Bethlehemites would have held him in very high esteem on that account. While we do not know the exact extent of his holdings, there is much in the story that shows how considerable they were. He evidently employed many reapers to gather in his harvests, and later it seemed no problem to him to purchase the threatened fields of his late relative Elimelech. It is evident also that he loved to share his abundance with others, and many around would have testified, “Of his fullness have all we received” (Cp. John 1: 16).

Having said all that, however, we only need to ask, how much more worthy of that title is our Lord Jesus! He is THE “Mighty Man of Wealth”, and “the cattle upon a thousand hills” belong to Him (Psa. 50:10, 11). The whole universe is actually His estate. He made it; He maintains it; and certainly He holds the title-deeds (See Psa. 89:11; John 1:1-3; Col.1: 16, etc.). What is more important is the fact that all those hidden treasures; -“treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3), are likewise His, and “in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9). Here is wealth that can never be counted, and here are riches compared with which all the so-called “assets” of earth’s millionaires are as nothing. Yes, -Christ is THE “Mighty Man of Wealth”, and Boaz is just a faint reflection of Him. How amazing that HE has called us His “friends” (John 15:15), -and how wonderful when we can sing with the hymnwriter: “Why should I charge my soul with care, The wealth in every mine Belongs to Christ; -God’s Son and Heir, AND HE’S A FRIEND OF MINE”.

The next glimpse we have of Boaz is of one who is A BELOVED MASTER TO HIS WILLING SERVANTS This, we would say, is particularly beautiful. When Boaz went out to his fields he greeted his happy reapers with, “The Lord be with you”, and they answered him, “The Lord bless thee” (Ruth 2:4). The verses that then follow illuminate still further the loving “relationship binding them together. Those reapers had a loving master, and they loved him in return. Here, most certainly, was a master-servant relationship seldom seen in our days, and the very thought of something like this existing in the fields of Boaz is itself elevating, and also challenging. Boaz certainly loved his reapers, and they loved him.

And how true is this again of our own Far Greater Boaz, -the Lord Jesus Christ! We read, “…one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren”, -truly a love-relationship! (Matt23:8). Those who labor in Christ’s fields do so for love of Christ, and with the ever-deepening assurance that He loves them! We well remember a large missionary gathering in Central London where, amongst many others, a bent and Grey haired missionary-lady was being commissioned for yet another term of service in China.

When asked before the whole throng why he was going again, she rose to her feet, and in a feeble voice (but what a heavenly smile!), declared to the thousands present “I love, I love my Master; I will not go out free” (see Exo. 21: 5). Personal devotion to her Heavenly Master was her compelling secret, -stemming from many years of proving His love to her!

The early apostles of Christ gave similar testimonies in relation to the service they rendered. Paul said, “For the love of Christ constraineth us” (2 Cor. 5:14), and that, surely, was the secret behind all those labors described in such pas- sages as 2 Cor. 6:4-10 and 2 Cor. 11: 23-31. And Peter was just the same. Behind his labors would have lain his avowed confession of John 21: 15-17, -“Lord, thou knowest that I love thee”. As for John, he revealed his motivations when he wrote, “We love him, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). All those labored for Christ because they loved Christ; -and having learned His great love for them! And this has been the story of all Christ’s reapers down through the centuries; it has been a’ service rooted in a love-relationship. While the picture of Boaz and his reapers is captivatingly beautiful, -all will agree that it was but a faint fore view of the love-relationship that exists between Christ and all who are sent to gather in His sheaves. The love of the Master constrains them all! Boaz was a much-beloved master to his servants, and so is Christ to those who serve Him.

The next picture we have of Boaz is actually central and basic to the whole story we are now considering. It begins to appear in chapter two where Boaz is seen as: ONE WHO HAS COMPASSION ON THESTRANGER (Ruth 2:5-17). The scene here is extremely beautiful. Boaz, coming out to his fields, sees the stranger who is gleaning behind his reapers, and he enquires as to who she is (v.5). He is told, she is “the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab”(v.6); -in other words, one who would normally be a very despised foreigner!

Perhaps we need to pause here and recall some of the early history of the Moabites, for it is a particularly dark one; -so much so that Moabites were permanently banned from entering into the congregation of the Lord, -“even to the tenth generation” (See Deut.23: 3; Neh.13: 1 etc.).

Boaz would certainly have known this history, and yet we hear him addressing the timid outcast as “My daughter” (v. 8), and then proceeding further to make every provision for her welfare! He even offered her a place among his own chosen reapers (v.14); -something deeply significant in itself! Ruth herself was quite taken aback by this wholly unexpected favor, and could only fall on her face and say, “Why have I found grace in thine eyes that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger” (v.10). This surely touches deep chords within us all, and takes our thoughts back immediately to our Greater Boaz, the Lord Jesus, of Whom it is written that He “can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way” (Heb.5: 2). Here, very clearly is Christ our Lord, Who reaches out even to us! We feel we should say here that this particular aspect of our story is one that goes right to the heart of ALL Biblical revelation. All through the Bible we are being shown a Living God Whose inmost nature is one of compassion on “strangers”; – strangers in every sense! The God Who made us is a God Who is spontaneously and inexplicably gracious to the totally disqualified and undeserving; -a God Whose heart and hands (literally) are stretched out to rescue and restore.

This, we say, is the God of the whole Bible, and we are, moreover, explicitly told that the matter of strangers like ourselves being brought into His favor, and being lifted into fellowship with Him, is His ordained method of the manifestation eternally of His own/ incomparable character (See Eph.2: 4-7).

How we should thank God that He and His Christ (our Greater Boaz) do have compassion on “strangers”! On the day of Pentecost, Peter declared, “For the promise is to you, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). And it was because of that great fact that Paul could later write to the Gentile converts at Ephesus and say, “at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: BUT NOW, in Christ Jesus ye who some times were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. …Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (See Eph.2: 12, 13, 19).

All this was clearly prefigured in Boaz, and in his gracious dealings with Ruth. And how appropriate to our story is the word in Deut. 10:18, “He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and LOVETH THE STRANGER, in giving him (her) food and raiment”.

Thank God, the Gospel invitation is for “all who labor and are heavy laden” (Matt.11: 28). How we should rejoice that throughout Christ’s public ministry, Gentile strangers, as well as privileged Jews, were welcomed into His embrace, and ALL could be renewed and be made part of God’s eternal purpose! Even Peter could not, at first, understand this greatness of God’s heart, and the wideness of this embrace (Acts 10:14,28). He might have known something of the depth of Christ’s love, but he did not yet know its BREADTH! (See Eph.3: 18,19). To such matters he himself was but a “stranger”! But later, Peter, too, was enlarged, and began to love as God loves, and to welcome “strangers” as God welcomes them (See Acts 10:34,43; 15:7-11). Thank God, then, for our own Great Boaz Who still welcomes “strangers”!

We now approach a further development in our story, -depicting Boaz as THE QUALIFIED REDEEMER This new phase is introduced to us by what Naomi said to Ruth, when Ruth returned home from her time of gleaning in the fields of Boaz. Ruth told her mother- in -law of her happy experiences amongst the reapers and of the kindness of Boaz himself. It was at that point that Naomi said to Ruth, “The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen”, or, as the margin renders it, “He is one that hath the right to redeem” (Ruth 2:20). Now; to realize the significance of what Naomi said, we need to be reminded of certain legal procedures, which operated within Israel at that time. We read about these procedures in Leviticus 25, and they had to do, basically, with the retention of properties within the families to which they had been originally allocated. We read “If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem (buy back) that which his brother sold” (Lev.25: 25). Also, in verse 49, “Either his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him”. All this throws light on what Naomi had in mind when she said to Ruth, “He is near of kin to us”. The inference was that Boaz was legally qualified to act as their “redeemer”, and secure to the family that which it seemed they must lose. It is interesting to note that, in the Hebrew language, the single word “GAAL” signifies both a relation (kinsman) (eg.Num.5:8) and a Redeemer (e.g. Job 19:25). The reason is that God wanted to keep before His human creatures the important fact that only a true “relation” of men could ever bring “redemption” to men!

All this, of course, carries over to our need of “redemption”, or, shall we say, our need of spiritual rescue or release. Because we are sinners (“sold under sin” – Rom.7: 14), there is so much that has been lost by us, and so much that needs to be restored to us. In fact, we ourselves are lost to our Original Divine Owner, and we need to be “bought back”. But who can do that for us? Only a “close relation” can qualify. And, thank God, a Close Relation Indeed HAS DONE IT! -“The Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim.2: 5).

Here, we would say, lies the importance of all those references to Christ as “Son of Man”, -a title which our Lord Jesus loved to use of Himself, as, for instance, in Luke 19: 10, “the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”. And, how meaningful that word in Hebrews, -”…as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy…the devil, And deliver them who…were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb.2: 14,15). Wonderful it is indeed that our Almighty Lord Jesus, Son of God, should humble Himself to be “made in the likeness of men”, and all in order that He might be man’s Qualified Redeemer (See Phil.2: 6-8). We suggest that when Pilate exclaimed, “Behold THE MAN” (John 19:5), he was touching on one of the greatest marvels and mysteries of the ages, -“God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim.3: 16), -in order to redeem! If only Pilate himself had realized that truth! We have to realize that neither angels nor archangels could ever have wrought redemption for us, -they are not our “relatives”. But Christ can, AND CHRIST HAS, in view of His embraced humanity. We could go further and say that, at Calvary, that Blessed One, in yet another sense, became our kinsman indeed, for we read He was “made sin for us” (2 Cor.5:21). How we should thank God, then, for our Complete “Relative – Redeemer”, far greater than Boaz, Who, “by his own blood…obtained eternal redemption for us” (Heb.9: 12).

The next thought that is emphasized about Boaz is similar to what we have just been saying, but by no means identical. The narrative goes on to show (and very carefully) that Boaz was not only a qualified redeemer, but also A WILLING REDEEMER

We note that Boaz says to Ruth, “Fear not; I WILL do to thee all that thou requirest; …then WILL I do the part of a kinsman (redeemer) to thee” (Ruth 3:11, 13). And it is clear he spoke with a studied and full understanding of the great personal cost that would be involved (See ch. 4:5). Already qualified, he was also WILLING. It is very important for us to notice the great difference between “qualified” and “willing”, -something carefully brought out in the unfolding events of our story. We are told that, in this particular case, there was another “kinsman” who was equally qualified, and who was, in fact, given the first option to exercise his right. For certain reasons, however, he declined the opportunity, and left the door open to Boaz. His words were, “I CANNOT redeem… lest I mar mine own inheritance” (Ruth 4:6). Much, perhaps, might be said about that (and Rom. 8:3, 4 might give us a safe clue!), but our simple point, for the moment, is to show that there is a world of difference between “qualified redeemer” and “willing redeemer”; – and only Boaz was both qualified AND willing. We read how he stood before the elders of the city and formally declared this; -stating, in fact, his complete readiness to fulfill all the associated responsibilities. He was prepared to proceed whatever might be the cost.

This, surely, brings our own Glorious Redeemer into clearest light. As Perfect Man He was qualified to redeem, but the marvel is, HE WAS ALSO WILLING! Boaz took a costly way, no doubt, (involving marriage to a despised daughter of Moab!), but what was that compared with the costly way which OUR Redeemer took for us? With awe and gratitude, we recall the words of Peter, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, …But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Pet.1: 18,19). O, thank God for Christ our WILLING Redeemer! When fallen men so desperately needed a Redeemer, and when God in Heaven was saying” Who will go for us”, the ready answer of our Saviour was, “Here am I; send me” (lsa.6:8)! The Scriptures make it so plain that our Lord went willingly to the Cross-for our sakes. He Himself said, “I lay down my life… No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” (John 10:17,18). We read in Isaiah, “He… is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth” (lsa.53: 7). Indeed, each one of us can say, He “loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2: 20). It all reminds us of that old familiar song: “There was one who was willing to die in my stead That a soul so unworthy might live; And the path to the Cross He was willing to tread All the sins of my life to forgive”. O, thank God for that Willing Redeemer We now move on to what must be the most precious thought concerning Boaz, and where we see him as THE LOVING BRIDEGROOM The text reads very simply;-“So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife” (Ruth 4:13). We have no details of any special celebrations that would have marked the occasion, but, in one way or another, it would have been a memorable time indeed for the whole Bethlehem community. Even back in verse 11, where but a few of the citizens were witnessing Boaz give his legal consent to the union, there was an outburst of happiness, and we read, ” And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thy house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel”. That was perhaps an indication of the rejoicing that later marked the marriage day itself. Be that as it may, it was certainly a marriage made in heaven-God had planned it, and God had done it, and that is always the secret of highest happiness. It was all a part of God’s ongoing purpose. Boaz the redeemer was now Boaz the bridegroom.

Here, without a doubt, we have a beautiful picture of Christ and His Church; – a “great mystery” (Eph. 5:25-27, 32) woven deep into the texture of both Old and New Testaments. It is God’s eternal purpose that His Son should be both the Redeemer and the Husband of His people, unfathomable mystery indeed! The final pages of our Bibles are taken up with what is called “the marriage-supper of the Lamb” (Rev.. 19:9), and we read, “Let us be glad and rejoice,… for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7). The language there is necessarily pictorial, and only the Holy Spirit can unfold the glorious meaning to us. We only know that God’s redeemed people are destined for splendor unimaginable, and satisfactions beyond all telling.

Much of that, no doubt, belongs to the future and we gladly wait for it. We dare to say, however, that there are blessed foretastes of it, which we may know inwardly, as Christ becomes everything to us in spiritual experience. Already He is prepared to share with us all He has and all He is. This is holy ground, indeed, but at least we can begin to love Him as He deserves, and to show that love without restraint. Once we have tasted redemption, we shall find ourselves led on into an ever-increasing adoration of our Dear Redeemer. Our Maker will be our Husband,- even now! Our Boaz will marry us! (See Isa. 54:5).

We now come to our final thought concerning Boaz. In Ruth 4:15 we have the words, “He shall be unto thee “A RESTORER OF THY LIFE AND A NOURISHER OF THINE OLD AGE” Those words, we know, referred primarily to Obed, who was later born to Boaz and Ruth, but we suggest they can apply equally to Boaz himself. After all, the little baby Obed was but anew expression of Boaz his father, and, what is more, Boaz had already shown himself to be a “restorer” and a “nourisher” to many, -not least to Naomi and Ruth, when they returned in their sorrow from the land of Moab. And, most certainly, he would continue to do so, right till the end.

All this reflects the continuing and never ending care which our Lord Jesus bestows on those who are His own. Having loved them, He loves them “to the end” (John 13: 1). And He has said, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). We remember how the Lord promised. His disciples that He would NOT leave them comfortless, but would come to them, and be in them; and be in them forever(John 14:18,16). He is our Greater than Boaz, and He is prepared to be the Nourisher of our Old Age! As we read in Isaiah, “Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you” {Isa. 46:4). We would say it is one of the glories of the Christian Gospel that believers may not only know Christ as their personal Saviour, but also as their perpetual Strength. He is the Real Manna, and He sustains us till the end.

That phrase, “Nourisher of thine old age” (Ruth 4:15), has always been a comfort to those who have served long in the battles of the Lord. “Paul the aged” (Philem.9) was one such, and we recall that, when he was in prison in Rome, and when he knew that his earthly “course” was finished, and the time of his “departure” was at hand, he was able to say to Timothy, “the Lord stood with me and strengthened me” (2 Tim. 4:6, 17. Earlier in the chapter (vs. 10′ 16), he had told with sorrow how human helpers had failed him; -but not so his faithful Risen Lord! Some who read these lines may not be old in years but we have learned that, in one way or another, our Dear Lord sees to it that all His people are brought to some kind of weakness, or, shall we say, some form of dependence upon Himself. This, we are sure, is the ordained way for real Christian living;-we have to “learn to lean”, and to trust Jesus for everything (See Rom. 1 :17 etc.). It is God’s own plan that Christ’s strength be made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). No wonder the Psalmist says, “He weakened my strength in the way” (Psa. 102:23). One of the strangest principles of heaven is that it is “the lame” who “take the prey”! (See Isa. 33:23). But we may be sure that our GREATER THAN BOAZ will always see us through, and in all our personal helplessness, He will “nourish” us. As the hymn-writer puts it, Every need so fully met in Jesus, Not a longing that He will not fill, Not a burden but His grace will lighten, Not a storm but His own peace will still.

Praise God, then, for our own Far Greater Boaz;- Mighty Man of Wealth; Glorious Redeemer; Heavenly Husband! He will surely nourish us RIGHT TILL THE END!

secret of effective service by BROTHER BAKHT SINGH

Scripture portion: Exodus 3

In this well-known story from God’s Word, we are being made to see how each and everyone of us as God’s witness can become fruitful and even abundantly fruitful in God’s service. All of us as fellow -believers are called by God to a high heavenly calling. He not only forgives our sins but He also wants us to serve Him as His co-workers. In two places in the Scriptures we are called God’s co -workers. “For we are laborers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain”(1Cor.3: 9; 2 Cor.6: 1). That privilege is not given to angels even though they are mighty angels, and that is why nowhere in the Bible do we read of angels as God’s co -workers. God has called us not only with a heavenly calling but also with a high heavenly calling, to build for Him His glorious, everlasting, heavenly Sanctuary. That mystery cannot be understood by us, by any kind of worldly knowledge, or wisdom. By faith we accept it, and by the same faith we want to be prepared for our part in it. God wants us to be filled with His fullness and become His everlasting Habitation in return.

From the story of Moses we see how God prepares us for His ministry. First of all, we see that our human zeal cannot make us useful for God. Moses tried to serve God with his zeal and met with failure. Even though he made a great sacrifice in refusing to be called Pharaoh’s daughters son, and showed much zeal to serve the people of God and help them, he came across failure. He had to .run away and hides himself in a desert with his father -in -law for forty years. During that period of forty years, he forgot what all he learned in Egypt. Even though the man of God was so mightily taught in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and in deeds, God could not use him. To make him forget all what he learnt in Egypt, God had to take him away from Egypt. Thus he became empty, before God could use him mightily and fruitfully.

Then God gave him a definite personal experience of his holiness. That is how the story begins in Exodus chapter 3. None of us can be useful to God by our human qualifications, wisdom, or cleverness. First of all we need to have a personal experience of the loving and the living God. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst 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 unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, here am I” (Exodus 3:2-4). By living in the desert with his father -in – law for forty years, Moses became like a dry bush. Everything that he learned from the great teachers of Egypt was forgotten by him completely. Only then he could become entirely dependent upon God and God’s word to serve Him and follow Him.

Then he saw the fire in the bush, and that bush was not consumed. He was made to see how God is holy. God wants us to be indwelt by Him. In a symbolic way it speaks of the experience of new birth. We know that in our flesh dwelleth no good thing (Rom.7: 18). According to God’s standard, He wants us to have everlasting righteousness. Only then we can become His co -workers for eternity in His heavenly kingdom. This burning bush and the divine fire, speak of the righteousness of God – God’s own righteousness. According to Rom.1 0:3,4 there is God’s righteousness and there is our righteousness. Moses tried to become righteous before God by his own wisdom and zeal for his people. No one could find any fault in his life at that time. He was a man of great sacrifice. Always he had some way to help his people. That way he became self -righteous. What we do in self -righteousness cannot please God. When Moses saw the fire, he understood how he had to become righteous before God.

Now the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our righteousness, not our Bible knowledge, nor the rituals in which we take part. “But of him are ye in, Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption”(1 Cor.1: 30). By that righteousness alone we can stand before God for eternity.

Now, having become righteous, Moses heard God’s voice (Exo.3: 4). After we become righteous by God’s righteousness, we have to receive heavenly, definite commission to serve God in some capacity. Many believers think of salvation only as coming to meetings and going back home, or having their family prayers morning and evening or giving some money for God’s service. They are satisfied with these things but do not make any inquiry from God or find out His purpose in saving them. The very fact that the Lord Jesus Christ gave all that He had to be our Savior, is proof to us that He had a high purpose in doing so. According to Col.1: 16 the Lord Jesus Christ is the creator of the whole universe. He created it by one word. He created it from nothing (Psa.33: 6 and Heb.11: 3). But to be our Savior and Redeemer He had to empty Himself as we read in 2 Cor.8: 9. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich”.

my peace i give unto you by bakht singh

Prophet Isaiah had prophesied in minute detail about the birth, life, suffering, death, resurrection and the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Among many names given to the Lord Jesus in Isaiah 9:6, one is the Prince of Peace. It means, only in Him, by Him and through Him, people can find true peace. Then we find that the same message was brought to the earth at His birth in Bethlehem. That message was brought from heaven by a multitude of heavenly host. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). These words are sung by many Christians at Christmas. They go out for carol singing, singing the same songs the whole night. But they sing for the sake of cake, coffee or tea. They are not after real peace. They are concerned much more about cakes and other things.

Now let us see how necessary it is to make sure that we have found true peace. “Peace be unto you” (John 20:19-21), was the first message our Lord Jesus gave to His disciples after His resurrection. These disciples were filled with fear, and they were hiding themselves with doors and windows closed. All of a sudden, the Lord Jesus Christ came inside, and the first words He spoke were “Peace be unto you”. What He had said in John 14, was now being repeated. Now those disciples had seen many miracles for three and a half years. Also they had heard His sermons. For His sake, they forsook all and followed Him. They were good people. They were familiar with the words of the Lord Jesus. But that day they did not have real peace. So our Lord said, “Peace be unto you.” In other words, He told them, ” I had to suffer for your sake so that peace might come into you”. You may be familiar with the whole Bible and perhaps you have seen some miracles being performed here and there in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, either through you or others around you. But tell me, have you found true peace? Can you say truthfully and sincerely that real peace has come into you?

We find Paul the apostle repeating the words grace and peace in every epistle in the beginning itself.”… Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom.1: 7). Also please see 1 Cor.1: 3, 2 Cor.1: 2, Gal.1: 3, Eph.1: 2, Phil. 1: 2, Col. 1: 2, 1 Thess. 1: 1,2 Thess. 1: 2, 1 Tim. 1: 2, 2 Tim. 1: 2, Titus 1: 4. This shows that the grace of God, and the peace of God must go together. The more grace you have, the more peace you will enjoy. The more peace you have, the more grace you will enjoy. You cannot have God’s grace without having true peace. That is why you must make sure that you have found true peace. Many are deceived by worldly peace. Our Lord said, “…my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27).

Further, we read in Rom. 16:20, and the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. We do not defeat Satan by Bible knowledge or long prayers or by seeing dreams or miracles. Scripture says that the God of peace shall bruise Satan under our feet. That is why the devil tries to disturb our peace. He has many devices to disturb our peace, because it is only then he can come inside. Kindly make sure that you have found true peace, otherwise remember you are going to be defeated by the devil by some trick or device.

Again in Rom. 14:17 we read, “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost”. Your share in God’s Kingdom also depends upon your peace.

In the same way, we read in Isa. 32:17,”And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever”. If you want to become more righteous or holy, then you must have more peace. Just by good works you are not going to become righteous or good. Even though outwardly you may look good, inwardly the throne of Satan is in your heart.

Further in Rom.15: 13 we read, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost”. God’s power can work fully in you when you find true peace. If you have not found true peace, you cannot pray properly. If you have not found true peace, you cannot defeat Satan easily. It is only by inward peace that you can hear the voice of God.

Again in Heb.13: 20,21 it says, “Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well -pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” It is only by inward peace that we can be sure and clear about God’s perfect will. Without that peace, we cannot find God’s will. There is one question, which is put to us again and again everywhere, not only by young believers, but also by mature believers, and even God’s servants, “How to make sure of God’s will?” When people do not know how to find God’s will, they make many mistakes in their business, marriages and plans in their lives, and they pay a heavy price afterwards for many years. Thus we have seen how necessary it is. To make sure that our peace is genuine and real, and not false.

Now let us see what kind of peace our Lord Jesus Christ gives us. First of all, it is the peace of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). It is not by any good deeds that we can receive this peace. It is as He says, His own peace, He Himself, the living Person becomes our peace: That is why He died and rose again. He died that we may die to our old nature. Then only, our Lord Himself can come and live in us by the power of His resurrection. Till then, you cannot find that peace. That peace does not depend upon Bible knowledge, or any human qualifications. He cannot live in us unless we are inwardly purified, cleansed and washed. No one can purify himself by his own efforts. The Lord Jesus Christ undertakes to cleanse us from every inward defilement with His own blood. Then He says, “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. He began the message with the same words as we read in John 14: 1. That true peace will deliver you from all your fears; fear of the past, fear of the future, fear of the enemy, fear of sickness, fear of death, fear of war and other calamities, fear of men and fear of loneliness. All these fears are driven away when the Lord Jesus Christ comes into us. No human activity can make you free from these fears. The Scripture says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment” (1 John 4:18).

Fear will make you restless and take away your sleep and hunger. Fear is much more painful than any painful sickness. It affects all your nerves and the entire system of your body, and the whole body starts trembling. When fear comes in, the heart starts beating fast. You begin to think, “What is going to happen? What is going to happen?” That fear in you makes you to say that. No man can take away your fear, but the Lord Jesus Christ. He says, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1). All these fears will be removed one by one when you have the peace of the loving Savior in you. This is the first kind of peace that the Lord gives, His own peace.

Secondly, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful” (Col. 3:15). This peace will make you feel one with every one else. No more Tamilians or Punjabis, no more rich or poor, no more white or black, no more Telangana or Andhra, no more Komati or any other caste. All differences are removed. That is what the Scripture says. We are called in one body. No man can bring that oneness. People have tried, but they have failed. But in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can be perfectly one with everyone, anywhere everywhere.

I had the privilege to visit many countries have never felt a stranger in any country. I did not know the language, but I could feel one with the believers there. No question of difference amongst us. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can make us one like this. Also the verse says, be ye thankful (Col. 3:15). Real peace will make you thankful. There will be a note of praise and thanks- giving all the time. Otherwise, you are never satisfied. You begin the day murmuring and end the day murmuring. Always you find something wrong somewhere, either in the coffee, or rice, or rasam, or someone speaking about your head, nose, etc. But if you have real peace the Lord will teach you to be thankful in everything, in all situations, circumstances and conditions in life. We can thank God for His love, grace and mercy. Eventually everything turns out for our good.

Thirdly, this peace is for all the time. Now the Lord of peace himself gives you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all (2 Thess. 3:16). God Himself will give you peace, and He Himself will be with you always. This peace will make you and keep you conscious of His very presence with you at all times. There are some people who cannot sleep at night alone. They are terrified by loneliness. If there is someone at home, they are happy. They are so afraid that they must have a little bulb burning all night. They are afraid of darkness. Do not think that these things will give you sleep. The Lord says, I am with you, don’t be afraid. That consciousness of His presence is a wonderful thing.

Fourthly, in Phil. 4:7 we read, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. This peace will keep you strong within. It is like a strong army around you. You are safe inside. God’s peace will garrison you like a big army with weapons. Let there be famine, calamity, earthquake or war, you are safe and secure. Scripture says, “But the very hairs of your Head are all numbered” (Matt.10: 30) and your tears are bottled up (Psa.56:8). You are safe in Him. Let there be any change in the world around us, we are safe in our Lord, entirely and perfectly safe.

The fifth kind of peace is healing peace. “Behold, I will bring it health and cure, and I will cure them, and will reveal unto them the abundance of peace and truth” (Jer.33: 6). True peace will heal all your wounds. There are some wounds, which cannot be healed by ointment or medicine. They are inside. These wounds are caused by friends, relations, and strangers. When friends betray us, it causes very deep and painful wounds. In the same way, when children are unfaithful, it leaves a deep wound. When our enemies hurt us by words, they cause wounds and these wounds cannot be healed easily. They cannot be healed by any medicine. But God’s peace heals every kind of wound caused by friends and enemies.

Sixthly, “Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them” (Psa. 119: 165). It is great peace. It gives you love for God’s Word and says, “Nothing shall offend them”. Many believers are offended very easily even over a cup of tea or coffee. If someone does not smile at them, they get offended. They keep away from meetings for many, many months. They say, “I will not go to Hebron, because that brother never spoke to me. I am not going there at all”. Their peace has gone away. That is worldly peace. But here it says, “Nothing shall offend them” (Psa. 119: 165). Whether anyone gives us a cup of tea or not, it will not offend us. It is great peace.

Seventhly, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (lsa.26: 3). This is perfect peace. It, gives you strong faith in all situations. You can trust God’s Word and His promises. Now please tell me, “Have you got that peace?” You may ask, “How to find that peace?” Eph. 2:14 says, “…he is our peace”. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our peace. Also “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Rom.8: 6). When you are spiritually minded you find true peace. By dying to your old nature, you find true peace. By receiving divine nature, you find true peace. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ died, so that you may die to your old nature. He died to take away your punishment, and rose again to give you divine nature. And that nature gives you true peace. Then by hearkening unto His voice and obeying God, your peace will be multiplied. “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea” (lsa.48: 18).

May our Lord speak to you and give you that “, peace. If you have not received that peace ask for it’ do not remain without it, you can have it right now.

secret of a happy home by bhagat singh

Scripture Reading: Eph. 5: 22,28; 6:17 1 Pet. 3: 1-7

In these verses from Ephesians and 1 Peter, Apostles Paul and Peter reveal the great secret of a very happy home for those who are joined by God. If God’s Word is followed as it is, then all those who are joined by Him can enjoy God’s favor in fullness. Many people want to marry only for the sake of happiness and honor. They have no real interest in the Word of God. They are more concerned about their own ideas than God’s Word. In many cases marriages are a failure, because they depend upon their cleverness, wisdom, family or pr0perty. Howsoever clever one may be, one can be blessed only by obeying the Word of God. God knows the end from the beginning. “Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (lsa.46: 10). That is why we are given God’s Word for instruction, inspiration and guidance. Knowing beforehand all the problems, which we have to face upon the earth, God has given His Word to us. He knows us from the very beginning of our lives. He knows us before we were conceived. “Before I formed thee in the belly, J knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jer.1: 5). He knows all about us. He knows our past and He knows our future. He knows our name and He knows exactly what we are. Our safety is in being governed by Him by His Spirit and by His Word. We will never know what will happen tomorrow. But He knows exactly what will happen tomorrow. That is why we are given the Word of God to guide us day by day and help us in every situation.

Marriages are arranged by God from the beginning of the creation. That is why to God marriages are very sacred. “And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him”(Gen.2: 18). God gave to the first man dominion, power and authority over the whole creation and also gave him a very healthy body. At that time, there was no sin, sickness or curse. Though God had given health, wisdom, strength and all things, yet there was something lacking in Adam’s life. His joy was not full. So God wanted to give him help meet for companionship, friendship and fellowship. God had planned that whatsoever He had given to Adam he might enjoy it through his companion and through his life-partner. That is why we find; to God marriage is a very sacred relationship. Those who want a happy married life must be governed by the Word of God, and not by their own wisdom or cleverness or talents or qualification. We are given this wonderful Book to solve all our problems, and meet all our needs. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the Word of God. We need heavenly wisdom to understand heavenly things, not worldly wisdom. Before we can understand the Word of God we must have the Spirit of God. See 1Cor.2: 14. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolish ness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned”. That means, by our natural wisdom we cannot understand or enjoy the Word of God. Though we may be very highly qualified in worldly knowledge, yet we can be a failure. I met a man some years ago who had traveled round the world seven times.

He wrote about 32 books. He built a nice house with every kind of high-class furniture. Going by his testimony, his marriage was a failure. Anyone could see from his face that he and his wife were not happy. With all the knowledge of 32 books he never knew how to have a happy home. The same thing happens with others also. With all their knowledge and fame, their home is an unhappy one. They may be clever in earning money and multiplying it, but we find that their homes are unhappy. There is no oneness between husband and wife and no real happiness between them. We see this in many parts of the world.

We see from God’s Word that He is a living God and wants us to have full joy and happiness. That is the purpose of God and that is why the Lord Jesus came into this world. See John 16:24 and 15:7. “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”. God’s desire is to make our joy full. We know clearly from God’s Word that our loving and living God wants us to have full joy, abundant joy and great joy. That is the very same message, which was brought to the earth at the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people”(Luke 2:10). That goes to show that God wants us all, whoso ever we are to have great joy all the time. “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice”. Even in poverty and in our earthly trials we can have joy. To make Adam’s joy full, the Lord gave him a wife who was his companion, friend, and partner.

We find from the verses quoted above, the secret of a very happy married life. First of all, we read in Eph, 5:17, “Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is”.

Scripture Reading: Eph. 5: 22,28; 6:17 1 Pet. 3: 1-7

The first secret of a happy married life is given in Eph. 5:17. “…Be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is”. That is a simple Scripture verse, which can be remembered or learned by experience. If you want success in your home, job, business, or any other activity, that verse should be remembered; understand what God’s will is. If anyone questions you, “Do you know how to find God’s will?” what will you say? Can you prove that you have found God’s will? Just saying, “Let Thy will be done” is not sufficient. God’s Word says, you have to understand what God’s will is. That is why we should have the gift of the Holy Spirit to help us to find God’s will; otherwise, we will be wasting our money and energy on things of naught.

In 1932 many times I wasted my time, energy and money on shameful things. But thank God, one day He taught me that I am not my own and He taught me also to find His perfect will in every matter. We are told in Rom. 8:14, how we can find God’s will. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”. We must be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. To be indwelt by the Holy Spirit we must be pure and holy. God is holy. He says, “Be ye holy; for I am holy”(1 Pet.1: 16). That is why we have to’ have our sins forgiven before we can receive into us the Holy Spirit. To those who come to us and ask us to help them in arranging their marriages, our first question is, “Are your sins forgiven”? We are not concerned about their family, wealth, property or education. We are only concerned about their experience of new birth and whether they have received the gift of eternal life. Then we ask them, “Do you know how to find God’s will? Did you pray to find God’s will before consenting to this marriage?” That is the first foundational condition to be fulfilled for a happy home. We thank God, He is willing to forgive any sinner and give him the gift of eternal life.

The second condition for a happy home is given in Eph.5: 18, “…be filled with the Spirit”. For a happy home, you should be willing to be led by the Spirit not only for the marriage but also for every step of your life. In all things you should be led by the Spirit. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way”(Psa.37: 23). Every step you take before going anywhere, taking up any business or making any plan for building a house, you should find God’s will, and do all things in accordance with God’s will. That is the result of being filled with the Spirit. As believers we have the privilege of going to the Lord Jesus to find everything from Him. He is the living God Who rose again and we as believers in Him have the right to go to Him, to be led by Him every day for every matter. We have the great joy of going to Him because He is our Creator.

Thirdly, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord”(Eph.5: 19). The third condition for a happy home is to express your thanksgiving by songs. But some people are filled with murmurings and complaints. If you are really happy, there will be a song in your heart throughout the day; whether you are walking, sitting, or working, your heart will be filled with songs of praise and songs of thanksgiving. According to Psa.40: 3 we have a new song of thanks giving which enables us to thank God for all that we receive from Him. Some people thank God for lunch but not for breakfast or tea. Some thank Him only for good things but not for all things. If you know God by experience, you will praise Him for everything, for His love, mercy, kindness, favor, gifts and guidance. Thank Him for the way He sought you and saved you. Thank Him for every thing. Usually we say “Thank you” to people for every thing. In one hour we say “Thank you” forty five times. For everything we say, “Thank you, thank you”. Some parents before giving anything to their children tell them to say, “Thank you” and if they do not say “Thank you”, they are beaten. Such a “Thank you” has no value. It is not from the heart. Those who have received God’s grace will have a song of praise in their hearts all the time. We can thank God even for every trial and temptation. It is only the song of praise and thanksgiving, which will give you heavenly joy. “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”(Eph.5: 20). Note the words, “always for all things”. Begin the day with thanksgiving. Before you have your tea or coffee or anything else, spend some time in thanksgiving, and end your day with thanksgiving. Remember what you have received from God’s loving hands in so many ways and thank Him from the very depth of your heart.

Scripture Reading: Eph. 5: 22,28; 6:17 1 Pet. 3: 1-7

The fourth Condition for a happy home is given in Eph.5: 21. “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God”. Maintain divine order in your home. Those who should be respected must be respected. Those who should be honored must be honored. Elders must be honored. That is God’s order. If you do not respect elders, you will not enjoy divine favor. Wife should be in subjection to her husband. “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” (Eph.5: 22). It is a simple thing but many wives find it hard to obey their husbands. We cannot change God’s order. Your husband may be P.U.C. failed or B.A. failed, yet he is your husband. You must obey him, whether he is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, you must obey him in the Lord. You cannot go against the Word of God. But if the husband asks you to go with him to cinema you should not obey him. Obedience is only in the Lord. This is a simple lesson to learn. We cannot twist the Word of God. Some wives change God’s order and His Word. That is why, they are unhappy in their married lives. “Therefore as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing”(Eph.5: 24). Wives, be in subjection. Divine order must be maintained. In some homes wives earn As.700/- while the husband earns only As.120/-. So the wife may say, “You have to obey me, because you are earning only As.120/-. You wash the baby’s napkins and I will go to the office”. That is not divine order. Husband must be given the right place. He is responsible for the family. He must bear the family burden as a man. In these days many young men marry workingwomen for the sake of money. They want to be in the house to wash vessels and napkins. That is not divine order; it is man’s order. They change God’s order. Husband must bear the burden of the family. Then, there will be subjection and divine order.

The fifth condition is, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph.5: 25). This is a very important principle for a happy home. It is repeated four times in these few verses (Eph.5: 25,28,33). God knows beforehand that many husbands are selfish. They want good food, every comfort, every convenience and especially they want obedience from the wife but no love. They say, “You must obey, you must obey”. That is all they want. They are hard-hearted husbands. They only demand certain things. Again and again Scripture says, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church”. How did He love us? Not because we deserved it. We had no virtue in us. We were totally ruined by sin and defilement, yet He loved us. By grace we are saved. As we came to Him, He loved us. When we humbled ourselves, He forgave all our sins and goes on loving us. His love will never change as it says in Jer.31: 3. “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee”. Many husbands regard lust as love. They call it love. Do not be deceived. Do not let your lustful desires deceive you. God wants pure love coming from heaven. It does not depend upon physical beauty or qualification or position or property. It is the gift of God. The Lord Jesus Christ loved me and gave Himself for me. I can feel His presence. When I go to Him He receives me. Such a love is necessary. But I am sad to say; very few husbands have such a love. They regard lust as love. They live for lustful pleasures. That is why they do not know the meaning of companionship and friendship. “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies”(Eph.5: 28). We take much care of our bodies, especially when we are sick or have some pain in the body. Also we spend much time and take much care to keep the body clean and healthy. Even so, husband must be equally concerned about his wife. Then there will be oneness.

The sixth condition is, “For we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones” (Eph.5: 30). Do all things with one mind. True spiritual oneness must be maintained by the husband and wife to enjoy divine favor in married life. There is no need to argue about anything. By praying together, you can come to one mind for all family problems. No need to waste your time in arguments for hours together. Go upon your knees and find God’s will for all your family matters and problems. “That he might present it to himself a glorious church”(v.26). The Lord Jesus Christ sought us and saved us, to make us glorious like Himself. We were ruined by sin with no virtue in us. But by coming to Him and receiving Him, we receive His life for eternity. One day we shall be like Him, having glorious, immortal and heavenly bodies. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself transfers all His virtues into us. His glory and beauty will be given to us, in the same way; in married life you can transfer all your virtues to your life -partner. By such a fellowship you can come to one mind. The seventh condition for a happy home is given in Eph.5: 31. “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh”. This is a very, very important principle.

When you are married, live separately from your parents, whosoever you are, otherwise there will be quarrels between daughter-in-Law and mother-in-law. Before marriage, the mother-in-law said, “That girl is the best girl in the whole world”. But after marriage it is different. Now the mother-in-law says, “She is the worst girl”. They quarrel with each other. The mother-in-law waits till her son comes home. When he comes home, she takes him aside, and tells him that his wife said this or that and so many things. The same thing happens the next day. Then the husband takes action against his wife. Live separately whosoever you are, if you want a happy home. Even though you have to live in a small room, it will avoid quarrels between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-Law. Otherwise, there is bound to be quarrels. The mother-in-law is bound to be jealous. If her son brings a large mango to his wife and a small mango to her, she will feel jealous. Divine law cannot be changed. Live separately. You will be happy. Then you will be saved from all unhappiness.

Many wives depend upon gold, silver and expensive garments to look beautiful. All these things cannot give true beauty. It cannot bring true satisfaction. But learning to serve others with all humility and love, gives more beauty. “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price”(1 Pet.3: 4). Do not use worldly means to look more beautiful, in the same way, according to 1 Pet.3: 6, all the burdens must be borne by the husband. That is how they can show love and respect to each other and thus become true joint- heirs of the grace of life. Then they call share together all their spiritual experiences. That makes a happy home. May the Lord make it so to all those who are joined by Him.

preaching the cross by BROTHER BAKHT SINGH

For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified (1Cor.2: 2).

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was taken to the Corinthians through Paul, with great power and authority as we read in 1 Cor.2: 4,5. Yet the believers there remained babes for a long time. With a heavy heart he wrote to them saying, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (1 Cor.3: 1-2). He had to speak to them as little children and could not teach them the deeper truths of salvation. Even though they heard the word with power and authority, yet they remained babes in the spirit. As a result they not only had strife, confusion, contention and divisions among them but sin also. Then came the wrong teaching and false doctrines. The main reason for all that was, they had not experienced the power of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of us fail to grow spiritually because we do not understand the meaning of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not appropriate it in our lives.

Over the centuries, the cross is being used as a sign or a symbol. Many people bow before it or wear a small cross in the neck or keep it in their homes. Some think of it by repeatedly saying, “He died, He died”. But there is no power in their lives. Apostle Paul says in 1 Cor.1: 18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness: but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”. The power of God comes into us in fullness and abundance by appropriating the power of the cross of Christ in us. There is no other way, and no other plan by which that power will come into us. Some people try to get that power by wrong means like dreams and visions. Apostle Paul saw many visions but he did not depend on them for this power. According to Phil.3: 10, he longed to know the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection. He had the privilege of seeing not one but many visions and miracles in his life. He even had the privilege of being caught up into third heaven and sees many wonderful things (2 Cor.12: 2-5). He did not glory in those visions and miracles but longed to know how to identify with the death of Christ and to enjoy the power of His resurrection.

Now the cross means, the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many people think of hardship as their cross. Any difficulty, any trial, any persecution or even an unhappy home, they call it their cross. Some say their wife is their cross. But the cross means the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord. He never died as a martyr or by force. He gave Himself willingly. He is not asking for any sympathy or tears from us. Some people think that by shedding tears on Good Friday or by fasting for three days, they show sympathy. But in John 1 a: 18 we read that He gave His life willingly. He died so that we may receive into us this powerfully. That is why we should experience it in our lives. All of our teaching and preaching should be centered on the cross of Christ. As we saw earlier, Paul saw the Lord personally, did many miracles and great works, yet he did not glory in all that. He gloried in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal.6: 14). We have to learn that by experience. The power and the secret of the cross is not one day’s experience. It should be our daily experience to claim the power of the cross by faith.

Christian life is warfare, a life -long warfare (Eph.6: 12). Do not be satisfied because you got victory over a few temptations. That is no proof that you will not face any more temptations or fall into sin. None of us who overcame in the past can say, “I am safe”. The devil makes us fall by simple things. Unknowingly you may put your foot on a piece of soap, fall down and break your leg. It is not done intentionally but a very small thing causes you to slip and fall and break the leg. Then you have to be in bandage for some months. None ” of us can say, “I will never fall”. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ says, “Watch”. We may not know but it is possible to be overtaken in sin. The devil can come as an angel of light, or as a roaring lion, a flood or as a grievous wolf. Whenever we are not watchful, the devil comes in a subtle way to deceive us. That is why we have to learn the secret of getting victory by the power of the cross. It is not attained in one day, but as we appropriate that power day by day we get strength to defeat the devil.

In Corinth, believers were divided. Some said they belonged to Paul, some to Apollos, some to Cephas and some to Christ (1 Cor. 1: 12). They were full of hatred and jealousy. That is why Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:2, “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. He also told them about the great things God had purposed to give them. “… Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Cor. 2:9). There was no need for them to glory in the miracles done by the apostles in the past. We can also have the same weakness of glorying about the past. We should rather enter into the great purpose of God as revealed in 1 Cor. 2:9. God wants to do so much for us, far beyond our understanding. But these great mysteries can be understood only by the deeper work of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why the apostle had such a burden to know among the Corinthians nothing but Christ crucified (1 Cor .2:2).

The believers at Corinth gloried in their Bible knowledge, because they had plenty of knowledge. They gloried in their utterance also (1 Cor. 1: 5- 7). They believed in and waited for the second coming of the Lord Jesus. They had more gifts than other people. In spite of all these advantages they remained babes. It is quite possible to be like that. That is the sad condition of many believers even to day. With all the preaching and knowledge, there is no depth in their spiritual life. They live a life of defeat, and are dry spiritually. There is no spiritual oneness among them, whether they are God’s servants or believers. There is no understanding of deep spiritual matters; they know only repentance and salvation. But Paul says, God wants to give great things, and for that we need to understand the deeper meaning of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The power of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ helps us to die with Him as Paul testifies in Gal. 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which r now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”. Before we can die with Him, we have to understand how He died for our sins. He became our Substitute. He did no sin; He knew no sin, yet He died for us. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin: that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Pet. 2:23, 24). “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). We must remember this fact day by day, not just think about it now and then. It will take our whole life, even eternity to know this unchanging, divine love of the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, we must know that He died for our sins (Rom. 6:23). God is just. He must punish us for the sins, which we committed by word, deed and thought. We think that the sins of deeds only are great sins. But before our God, ” any thing that breaks our contact with Him is sin. A few drops of water in a switch, causes all lights and fans to go off. Once in a big building we found that lights were going off very often. When one of us went to see the cause, he found few ants running in and out of the switch. Small ants only, but because of them fuse was going off and the whole building was in darkness. Even so, a sinful thought or deed breaks our contact with God.

Now who can count evil thoughts? In Mark 7:21-22 we read, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries. Fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness.,… an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness”. Though we do not want, thoughts of hatred and jealousy often come into us. In the same way, all our idle words will be counted. “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the Day of Judgment”(Matt.12: 36). We have to be punished for our sinful deeds, words and also thoughts. If we can count our bad thoughts of one day, they are more than the number of our hairs. If that is true of one day, what about every day? If we put all our thoughts together, our punishment will be very great. Our sins are so many, that we deserve eternal death. But our Lord Jesus Christ as our loving Creator bore all our punishment on the cross. His love is very great! Many parents pay the debts of their children. Some children throw stones and break the neighbor’s windowpanes. Then the parents will pay the cost of the glass. Similarly, the Lord Jesus Christ our Creator paid the penalty of all our sins. That is why He allowed people to do to Him whatever they wanted. If He wanted, He would have brought fire from heaven, as the disciples wanted to do in Luke 9:52-54. But He rebuked them and said, “…the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (v.56). As our loving Savior He bore all our sins in His own body. He gave His hands and feet to be pierced, face to be spat upon, hair to be plucked, and back to be scourged. Every joint of His body became loose. When He was scourged His whole body was bruised, for the scourges were made of steel pieces. He gave all as the Scripture says. That is why it will take us eternity to thank Him sufficiently. Do you thank Him for dying for your sins? How many times do you thank Him? You may take hardly a minute. Many thank Him only as a routine, and not from their hearts.

See the Lord Jesus taking your place, bearing your punishment, your curse and your condemnation upon Him and you will know that He is so loving, holy and perfect. Wicked people mocked Him, reviled Him, and pulled His hair, but He did not say one word. He gave Himself fully. In the world, even if one has committed murder, he will not be punished unless his crime is proved by two or three witnesses. Without witnesses there cannot be any punishment. But in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ there were no witnesses, yet He was punished. He has full record of all our sins. We may forget what we have done, but He says, “My dear child, I know how many sins you have committed. I have paid the price for all your sins”. So we have to go on thanking Him. It must be from the heart. For the power of the cross to come into our lives, we must spend much time in thanking the Lord for dying for our sins.

If any one pays our debts we will be very grateful to them. In my school days I was once traveling by train to go to my hostel. I slept and went beyond the station where I had to get down. Only at the next station I woke up and realized what had happened. I got down there, went to the stationmaster and said to him, “Sir, I overslept, which I should not have done, and so did not get down at the right station”. He was a kind man. He gave me food and put me in the next train. Even today, I am grateful to him. The Lord Jesus did so much for us; how much more should we be thankful to Him! That is why our worship round the Lord’s Table is so important. If we take part in the Lord’s Table worthily and thank Him for the very fact that He paid all our debt and saved us, the power of resurrection will come into us. If we thank Him day by day for dying in our stead, sin becomes very sinful to us. Then we begin to hate sin and say, “How can I grieve the Lord again and again?” There were two brothers who were always quarrelling. One day as they were having food, they started quarrelling again. One of them threw a knife at the other in anger. Then the mother put forth her hand to protect the other brother. Her hand was cut. They both felt very much ashamed for hurting her. Thereafter whenever they quarreled, the mother would say. “My dear boys, I get hurt whenever you quarrel”, and she would show her hand. That is how every time we commit sin, we grieve our Lord. We must remember how much He suffered for our sins and thank Him adequately and sufficiently and learn to hate sin. We must love Him for His great love, which no one else can ever show; love which constrained Him to die for us.

He died not only to forgive our sins but also that we might die to our sinful nature. Many people stop at the first stage. They confess their sins, receive forgiveness and stop there. Through the power of His death we can die to our sinful nature with which we were born. Sin is like a serpent or a scorpion. No amount of milk can change their nature. Supposing a man takes a serpent and feeds it with milk everyday for some months. Then one day he puts his hand in its mouth. It will surely bite him. Then that man may say, “Mr. Serpent, how much milk I gave you and looked after you? Why did you bite me?” Then the serpent will say, “Sir, I am born like that, I cannot help because it is my nature”. So also, we have inherited from our first parents Adam and Eve, their sinful nature. Many scholars and great men have tried to overcome their sinful nature, but all have failed. That nature must die. Cancer cannot be cured by any medicine or injections. The diseased part must die. That disease is too horrible. People who have suffered from cancer may think that they are all right, but after a short time they find that they were wrong. We also may think, “I have conquered this sin, I have conquered that sin”, but the very next day we will fall into the same sin again. Every day you say, “I won’t fall, I won’t fall”, but you will be surprised to see how you fall again and again. We are defeated, either by word, thought or deed. We have to appropriate the power of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ daily and go on dying to our sinful nature. By faith we must pray saying, “Lord, I don’t depend upon my will-power or strength. You help me to die to my sinful nature”. None of us should be careless about this; otherwise we are liable to be deceived. We must ask the Lord Jesus Christ for His thoughts and His desires, saying, “I am.. troubled with sinful thoughts and desires. Lord, please help me to die to these sins”. It is a daily warfare. There are wicked, evil and unseen powers coming upon us. Because of that so many times you are full of fear and evil thoughts. You must die to all these. Do not depend upon your own strength or will power. Ask the Lord to pour His power of death into you that you may die. This is how we have to die daily and receive the power of Christ into us.

Apostle Paul says in Gal. 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”. We have to give complete charge of our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the purpose of having morning quiet time. His life should control us the whole day.

Thirdly, the Lord Jesus Christ died that we may die to the world. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal.6: 14). Not only should we be delivered from our sinful nature but also be delivered from worldly attractions, such as honor, fame, fashions, glitter and glory of the world. We are easily attracted by earthly glory, but the Lord Jesus Christ put an end to all these by His death. We must not imitate worldly people in our conversation, deeds, dress and manners. “For our conversation is in heaven” (Phil.3: 20). We see many believers imitating worldly people in dress, hairstyle etc. All these show that they are; living in darkness, If we follow worldly people In conversation, dress, music etc, we become spiritually weak. We- must die to all the things of the world. It is only possible by the power of the cross of our lord Jesus Christ. Whenever a temptation comes to you to imitate worldly people, pray, “Lord, have mercy upon me; I am tempted to follow the world in my ways and dress. Please help me to follow Your; ways”. We have to live as pilgrims and strangers in this world, as God’s peculiar people. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy. But now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet.2: 9, 10). It should be seen in our dress, conversation, and ways. And everything else that we are really a heavenly people. But sad to say. Many believers become worldly. That is why they are dry spiritually; they have knowledge but no power only by a deep work of the cross, can one be delivered from these attractions.

See for instance, Joseph was the wealthiest man in the whole of Egypt. He was next to Pharaoh. But he was never deceived by the glory of Egypt. Before he died he said to his people, “Carry up my bones from hence” (Gen.50: 25; Exo..13:19; Josh.24: 32). If you go to Palestine, even today you can see Jacob’s well, and Joseph’s tomb side by side. Even though his brothers deceived him because of jealousy, he felt more one with them than with the Egyptians. He identified himself with Abraham and his people but not with the people of Egypt. This is possible only by the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. We should not be deceived by worldly methods, worldly fame, worldly glory, worldly honor, and worldly ways. It is a great temptation in the West. But the working of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ can deliver us from all these and we can enjoy the things, which are kept for us in heaven.

Thus, the power of the cross of the Lord Jesus works in a threefold manner, First of all, the Lord Jesus died in our stead that our sins may be forgiven. Secondly, He died that we may also die to our old sinful nature and live as new people, for the new nature only will qualify us for Heaven. Thirdly, He died that we may die to the world, that is, we may be delivered from worldly attractions and live as pilgrims and strangers in this world.

May the Lord give us all a full experience of this power of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ.

She required nothing by Bro.Bakht Singh

In this fragment “She required nothing”, (Esther 2: 15) we see the secret of divine favor. Those who are going to be joined together as life partners in the presence of God and before His people have a longing to be blessed by God. The very fact that they want to be joined in the House of God shows their longing that the Lord may bless their union. They know somehow, unless God blesses their union, whatever they may do or possess will not bring true happiness in their lives. But God also wants His own divine laws to be fulfilled before He can bless them. He is the God of blessing, and He desires to bless us as He says in Heb.6: 14, “Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee”. That means, as far as God is concerned He is willing to bless us throughout eternity. It also means, He goes on adding blessing-to-blessing everyday, every month, every year and throughout the ages. There is no end to it. What a promise and what a blessing, and that blessing are upon all those who call upon God.

God is not a respecter of persons. Whatever He offers to one He offers to all, provided you are willing to abide by the divine laws. Whatever He gives is for eternity and in abundance. He wants to give us everything in fullness and abundance as we read in John 16:24. “Ask..That your joy may be full”. These words were spoken to those disciples who were with Him for three and a half years. During those years, they saw many miracles performed by our Lord Jesus and were privileged to be with Him when He performed the miracles.

In Luke 10 we see that the disciples were sent by the Lord two by two, and they also per formed miracles, and came back rejoicing to tell the Lord, “even the devils are subject unto us through thy name”. But the Lord knew, that none of those things could make their joy full. He did not want them to take pride in the miracles they had performed. So He said, “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). When you are sure that your name is found in the Book of Life, only then, your life can be blessed abundantly. That is only possible when we are given the gift of Eternal life. That is why the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world as He said in John 10: 10. “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: lam come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly”. Also in John 6:47, He said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life”. New life will give you new joy. When the new life comes into us the Lord will teach us all His Divine laws. The Divine life will make you content and give you true inward peace as the Lord said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid”. Whatever we receive from the world in the form of wealth, gold, silver, honor, position and prosp’3rity is only for a short time. You find your earthly joy melting away after you have received what you have desired. But there is a joy, which becomes more and more in suffering and trials. It does not depend upon our health, position, wealth or knowledge. That is why we read that small fragment from God’s Word, “She required nothing”.

The story of Esther is an old story and a true story .It took place about 2000 B.C. It is a true story of how a woman named Esther was brought in favor with a great king named Ahasuerus. We are told that many young women were brought before him one by one. Before they were presented before the king, they were told that whatever they desired they could ask for it and they would be given. They were told, “You bring your requirements, and you will receive them freely without any restriction, whether you require garments, gold, silver, or things for purification, ask for them and take them”. Nothing was withheld from them. Here we are told in verse 15, that Esther required nothing. Other women had a long list daily. But Esther required nothing. What a miracle for a person to say, ” I want nothing”. I do not know of any one who has said, “I do not want anything”. Some are never satisfied with whatever they are given. You may give your wife 100sarees, she will ask for 10 more and some more. They want something new every month. You may give them any kind of jewels. They are not satisfied. Some husbands take all their salaries to their wives. They wait for the payday of their husbands. If the husband gives Rs.25/- less, she will question him, “What happened? Why this month Rs.25/- less? Where did you spend it and what did you do with it and to whom did you give it?” And the whole salary will be spent within 10 days and they want more money. They are not satisfied whosoever they are.

Here the story says, when Esther’s turn came she required nothing. The result was, she found favor. Esther found favor from all who, looked upon her. Not only was she brought in favor with the king, but she found favor with every one in the palace. She became the most God- fearing queen, and through her life and faith the whole nation of Israel was saved. She learned that secret, how to be content and how to be satisfied. She knew that nothing in the world could satisfy her. However attractive the world may be, it could never satisfy her. There are so many men and women, who think by eating and drinking or by buying garments or gold or silver or jewels, they can get pleasure.

Many people think that by eating and drinking and having expensive clothes, gold and silver, they can get pleasure. That is why their lives are a failure. Before marriage they go on making enquiries through relations, brokers and friends, as to how much dowry they will get, or how much land they can have. They will not say openly but secretly they enquire, how many children the father has and how much she will get. After making sure they will say, “Now I am satisfied”. But supposing they are not satisfied they will say, “We have no peace in this alliance”, because their eyes are upon worldly things, or upon the girl’s complexion, qualification etc. That is why they are disappointed.

In Esther 2:7 we find that Esther’s first name was Hadassah. Then her name was changed to Esther. The name Hadassah means an ordinary myrtle tree, Esther means, “bright shining star”. There are many shining stars in the sky but there is a wonderful star, which is called Venus -a very bright shining star. That is the meaning of Esther. When she came to Babylon, in the beginning hardly anyone knew her. She came as a captive, or a slave, as an orphan girl, without any prominence. But because of her virtues, she became a bright shining star and her name was changed from Hadassah to Esther, as one who had received new life.

Here lies the divine secret of a happy home. The light of God must shine in the hearts of those who are going to be joined together. Many people are governed by faces. They ask, “Is she fair or dark? Is she fat or lean?” They put many questions, either through friends or neighbors. The outward appearance is no proof of inward beauty. The light of God shining within gives true beauty. That is why, as far as possible, those who are going to be joined together, should make sure that the light of God has come to shine in them. Then we are sure that they will enjoy God’s favor. Then they can also enjoy God’s presence with them.

What an honor we have in having the loving and living God with us! How much we lose by not knowing the secret of God’s presence. God’s Word says in Psa. 16: 11, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore”. It is only in the presence of God that one can have full and true joy. Without that consciousness of God’s presence you cannot have true joy. The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to live in those who are born again. That is why He rose again. It was prophesied that He would die and rise again. He said in Matt.28: 20, “10, I am with you always”. The living God, the Holy God, the loving God, and the mighty God came to live in us and among us. That experience will give you victory over every trial.

We thank God for those who are joined together in God’s House, after having the experience of new birth. None of us is a born Christian. By having a living experience with the living Lord Jesus, we become Christians. Otherwise no one has a right to be called a Christian. God’s Word says so in Rom. 8:9, last part. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”. How can a holy God live in a sinful heart? It is not possible. Will you receive a gUl3St of honor into a house, which is not swept for many years? I have traveled for many years and no one has ever allowed me to stay in a dirty house. How are you going to receive the Holy God into a filthy heart? God’s Word says, “All have sinned”. Before God, we all have filthy hearts. Only God can wash them and cleanse them. Those who want to be indwelt by God must have their sins forgiven and their hearts cleansed. That is why the Lord shed His blood and died. The living and the Holy God is willing to live in us. How can we know? We can feel the presence of God always. In sickness or health, in poverty or prosperity, in the midst of enemies or friends, far away from home, or right inside the home, in young age or old age, in war or famine, earthquake or scarcity, you will enjoy His presence. It is such an experience that gives happiness to the children of God. The great God, the mighty God, comes to live in us.

To have a happy home, be content. Do not murmur or complain, but prove God in every situation. Enjoy His presence at all times. God’s Word says, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”. May the Lord make this true in your home.

ye are my witnesses bakht singh

(Messages given in family prayers during the Holy Convocation held at Hyderabad in 1970) Scripture Reading: Acts 3.

We see in the Acts of the Apostles, that the Apostles preached Christ again and again. “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities” (Acts 3:26). That was the main message, which they gave with power, authority and boldness. When they preached about the Lord Jesus Christ and His miracles nothing happened, but when they spoke about the power of resurrection, there was much opposition. Mohammedans believe in the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, His miracles and crucifixion, but they do not believe in His resurrection. They say that Jesus came down from the cross alive and went to heaven. They do not believe in His death, burial and resurrection. That is why they remain blind spiritually. Make sure that you have a clear spiritual experience of the risen Lord Jesus. Then you will have authority to talk about Him and pray in His Name.

“Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee; …In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk”(v .6). With authority, Peter healed the lame man, because he had a personal experience of the power of resurrection. They were witnesses of His resurrection. No one will be offended if you emphasize the miracles and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, but many will be offended if you preach about His resurrection. The power of resurrection is the great secret of a triumphant life.

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord”(v .19). By having real faith that the Lord Jesus rose again to give us divine life, we will have liberty in prayer and boldness in witnessing.

Acts – 4

“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all”(v.33). This power of resurrection is the highest power of God available to man. There is no other power greater than the power of resurrection. There was opposition because the apostles preached this message (vs.2, 3). The priests, leading people and Pharisees became very angry when they heard the apostles speak about the resurrection and they put them inprison. At the same time, many believed in the Lord Jesus because of the same message (v.4). On the one hand there was persecution and opposition. On the other hand, when the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ was preached many believed on Him. The Apostles went on giving the same message in spite of the opposition they had to face.

The apostles were threatened for speaking about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. But they said, “…we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). You may use the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and talk about His miracles, but people will not be offended. Many people had seen the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ during His ministry upon the earth. But when He said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee”, they were angry with Him (Matt.9: 2; Luke 7:48). The same people who had seen many miracles opposed Him (Luke4: 40; 7:21).

When He performed miracles they did not question Him saying, “How are you doing these things?” Rather, they went after Him to see more miracles, but when He said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee”, they said, “This is blasphemy”. In the same way when the apostles spoke about the resurrection opposition came. If the Apostles had said that the lame man was healed in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, they would not have been angry; but because they said, “…by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead…”(v.1O), they faced opposition. Thus we find that the power of resurrection working in us will bring much opposition from the enemy. The Lord Jesus Christ performed many miracles but the miracles did not defeat the devil. He gave many sermons and He also spoke with authority. Even through that He did not defeat the devil. It was only when He died, was buried and rose again, that the devil was defeated. The devil made people to say to the Lord Jesus Christ, “Come down from the Cross and we will believe in Thee”. The Mohammedans say that Jesus came down from the cross and went to heaven. The Lord Jesus died and was buried according to the Scriptures, and rose again according to the Scriptures. That is the only power that defeats the devil. That is why the Apostle Paul says in Phil.3: 10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection”.

Many believers only think of signs, wonders and miracles. They are ignorant of the real power of the Lord Jesus Christ given to them. When we appropriate by faith the power of resurrection, we will be made more than conquerors over every sin. “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom.6: 2). That is why we find that the apostles kept on giving the same message with power. “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33). Without the power of resurrection our lives remain barren and our ministry unfruitful. That power is manifested only when we learn to appropriate it by faith. The cross means death, resurrection and power, and it is by identifying ourselves by faith with the Lord Jesus Christ in a threefold manner, that we receive God’s power. By the power of His death we are able to die to our sinful thoughts, deeds and words. By the P9wer of burial, all our sinful desires are buried and forgotten, and by the power of resurrection we go on conquering and receiving new life. All these three go together.

The believers at Corinth had many gifts. They had much knowledge and they saw many miracles. Paul said, “… ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Cor. 1: 7). But they knew very little about the Spirit of power. God’s word was brought to them with great power, and yet they remained babes spiritually. They were full of strife and sin because they failed to understand the secret of the power of resurrection (1 Cor. 2:2). They were talking about miracles, numbers, knowledge and other things. But Paul was saying, “Tell me, what is your experience of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then I will know whether you are spiritually grown or not. ” Thus we find that our spiritual growth depends upon the understanding and the experience of the power of resurrection. That power is the highest power. May the Lord teach you to enjoy that power.

Acts 5

“The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree” (v.30). We see how the same message of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ was brought by the apostles in all their preaching and teaching. All messages were based on the fact that Christ rose again and is highly exalted. By the power of resurrection and by exalting the Lord Jesus Christ in our testimony, we will see God’s power. The Holy Spirit is the witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and His exaltation. So were the apostles and believers in those days.

By appropriating in us constantly by faith, the power of resurrection and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ in our testimony and preaching, we too will receive into us the power of resurrection. We should ask for it. This is possible only when we die to our thoughts, desires and feelings. We claim by faith the power of resurrection of the Lord Who died for our sins. Then we receive that power and we can glorify and magnify the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ again and again by our testimony, and ministry, “Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this Life”(v .20). These words were spoken by the angel who brought the apostles out from the prison. They had to preach fully what they themselves were taught.

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men! (v.29). There is a great secret in these words. By obeying God with all our hearts in spite of much opposition we will enjoy divine favor.

Acts 6

Our Christian life is warfare, individually and collectively. The more we try to live victoriously the more we are attacked by the enemy. The more we want to grow spiritually, the more we are opposed. As the work was increasing in the early church, the enemy brought this great weapon into the church. We saw in chapters 4 and 5 of the Acts of the Apostles that the apostles were opposed by those who did not believe in the Gospel. But now the trouble started among themselves….”there arose a murmuring of the Grecians” (v.1). They began to complain that their widows were not given the same attention as the Hebrew widows. Partiality is one of the weapons of the enemy. The spirit of partiality is in every man, in every state, and in every country. Man makes distinctions because of wealth, nationality, education etc. To be an overcomer, all these distinctions have to be put away by God’s grace. This is a constant battle, not only for a few days but there will be the same trouble always. We have to search our hearts constantly so that we may be free from the spirit of partiality.

At the same time we see how God’s servants were being hindered from giving the word of God with power and boldness. In verse two, there is a solemn warning given to God’s servants. “… It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables” We, servants of God are called to be His mouthpieces. We have to devote sufficient time in prayer and then give God’s word with authority, power and boldness. The enemy was trying to draw the apostles into a service, which was not meant for them. At that time they had the heavy responsibility of expounding the Word of God with power, instructing the believers, warning them, encouraging them, strengthening them and teaching them. Such ministry is necessary all the time. Then only we can see real growth in the believers in every place. But we find these days, that many God’s servants are slowly drawn away from real ministry and are occupied with other things. Gradually they cut short their time of prayer and God’s Word. The enemy can enter in through many ways. One can be drawn away into many worldly affairs by fellow-believers. Others are drawn away through their children.

All the time they are looking after their children. First of all, the wives demand it. Secondly, the husbands become slaves. We find many God’s servants attending on their children all the time. Wherever they go, even in a prayer meeting they are occupied with them. Some say, they need more money for their large families. They say, if they have two or three children it does not matter, but now their number is increasing. So they want more money. They start keeping fowls to get more money. Then they spend all the time looking after their fowls. The time they should spend on God’s people and the assembly is being spent in feeding the fowls. They say,” How can I manage with so many children?” If you believe in God and His Word, and if you fully trust and obey Him, He will never fail you. You will never find a single case in the history of mankind where God has failed His people and His servants.

God is faithful. See His promise in Phil.4: 19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus”. Again our Lord said in John 16:24, “…ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”. If you believe God and His Word, and obey Him, you will find Him to be faithful. But in many cases, their eyes are upon man and not upon God. They depend upon wealthy believers to receive extra money every month. They visit frequently those who give them more money. If we do not trust God wholly and solely, He cannot supply our needs. If for a purpose God does not supply your needs for a few days or for a few months, then wait patiently and say to God. “0 God, what is the lesson that you are teaching me, and my family by these trials?” In every trial, God has a purpose. We know fully well that when we are born again we are made free from every condemnation and

judgment. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”(Rom.8: 1). Now all our trials are intended to give us stronger faith, to refine us. To strengthen us in our service and make us more useful and fruitful, but it is not a punishment. God never slumbers, never forgets, and never fails. For those who call upon Him, God wants to give the very best and in fullness. We have to make sure that we serve Him faithfully even in small matters and not doubt Him or question Him. We should not be drawn away to any earthly affairs, no matter how much we are tempted. When we give our lives for God’s service, we have to be sure that we spend all our time and energy for Him.

I know many God’s servants who never give their tithes. They say, “I have given my life for the Lord’s service, now everything is mine”. They preach to other people about giving tithes but they themselves do not give. That is how they disobey God. In some cases, they want to obey God, but they have become slaves to their wives. Even though God speaks to them on many occasions, when they go home only a few words from their wives change everything. It does not require much speaking. That is how some God’s servants fail the Lord. We say solemnly that many have lost their rights and privileges. If you honor God and His Word as in 1 Sam.2: 30(b), He will honor you. If He keeps you in want for some time, it is for your spiritual edification and growth.

God’s servant Apostle Paul was saying with experience that he had learnt to be content in whatsoever state God kept him, without murmuring or complaining. “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, there with to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need” (Phil.4: 11,12). He had learnt this by experience. He testified that God had kept him in time of want. The purpose of trial is not to punish us, but to bring about edification and growth. Paul found that in every need of every kind, God gave him extra grace, extra power and extra strength. What we gain spiritually by sufferings cannot be gained in any other way. This is God’s way. We can thank God under all circumstances. Make sure that the ministry given to you is never hindered by any other occupation of the world, by friends or relations. God is speaking to. You Please obey Him and do not resist Him. Then God also will give you the answer.

The apostles asked the believers to find seven men full of the Holy Spirit to look after the widows (Acts 6:3). When we face any difficult situation in the church, we should pray. Then God will give the answer. The apostles could have said, “They are widows, so we must help them”. Thus they could have been drawn away from their real ministry, but as they began to pray together, God gave the answer. They were to look for seven men, …full of the Holy Ghost for that job. In answer to prayer God raised up seven men. We cannot take: for granted that without our prayer God would raise up such men. We have to pray as a church, “Lord, give us men full of the Holy Ghost to feed us and look after us”. That is how through prayer and oneness divine order can be brought about in our midst. “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). God did not allow the enemy to deceive the apostles, or hinder them from their ministry of giving the word of God and prayer. It was after much prayer and careful ministry of God’s Word that God raised up those men.

Some servants of God expect God to work without giving God’s word and praying for the people. Rather than giving God’s Word, they give their own word. Because they have not prayed sufficiently, they do not have God’s message. They cannot say, “Well, we don’t have a message.” So, without a message from God they stand before the people and go on saying whatever they like. They begin with a story and then they go on to say many things condemning and rebuking them. Is that a message? They think, rebuking and condemning people and telling stories is sufficient. They will not confess their own barrenness. They spend much time in looking after their children and other worldly activities. They do not wait upon God for a long time for their message and that is why they are dry spiritually. Please ask God to revive you. Do not be angry with God but humble yourself and cry to Him for your need.

When the disciples prayed, God gave the answer and raised up seven men filled with the Holy Ghost. The result was, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7). Because they obeyed God, the church was brought into divine order. By obeying God, and by coming into His order, they saw the result. That does not mean that there will not be any kind of opposition. Again and again the apostles had to face some opposition or the other from outside. “Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen” (Acts 6:9). All the worldly-wise people began to oppose the work of God. Throughout the ages we find worldly-wise people who take pride in knowledge, opposing God’s servants. God gave Stephen heavenly wisdom. God takes us through sufferings to give us His own wisdom, as we see in the case of Job. He had to pay a high price to receive true wisdom. If you also suffer joyfully, you will be given the same wisdom.

“And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” (Acts 6:12-15). When they began to accuse Stephen falsely, his face began to shine. He never murmured. He never retaliated. He never used any bad words or said, “Why are you saying these things against me”? He bore everything patiently, he praised God for such a privilege and then his face began to shine. That is how we can defeat the enemy as God’s servants. What do you do when you hear someone telling you that so and so was saying some thing against you? Some God’s servants wait till Sunday morning, put all their energy into the sermon and speak against that particular person. They will not mention the name. They only look in that person’s direction. That is their method. As a result, rather than having a shining face, their faces become dark. They feel so guilty that after the meeting, they are afraid of facing anyone. We are given heavenly weapons to defeat the enemy. We cannot defeat the devil by worldly weapons. We should only desire to honor God, that the Word may have its free course. May the Lord make us true witnesses and give us grace to obey and not become angry and offended. If God has spoken to you, then do not go with angry and sorrowful face; go into some corner and pray, “0 God, help me, and forgive all my past failures and make me a faithful, loyal and a true witness”.

Acts 7

Because Abraham saw God’s glory he could leave everything behind and obey God fully (v.1). By seeing God’s greatness and glory we can make any sacrifice to obey Him and follow Him. In seeing God’s glory he was able to see the glory of the heavenly city, which has foundations. That is the heavenly church. “For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11: 10). That refers to the heavenly city.

When Moses wanted to be a leader himself, he failed (v.29). But when he humbled himself, God made him a ruler. Those who want authority, fail God. But when God distributes authority, you will be filled with the Spirit day by day. But you have to wait for God’s time. Then He can help you and use you.

Acts 8

At that time there was a great persecution against the church, which was at Jerusalem (v.1). The enemy thought that through persecution he could hinder the work of God, but we see how God’s work spread far and wide because of persecution. “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word” (v.4). Before our Lord Jesus Christ ascended, He told the disciples to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. But they were not told where to begin or how to begin. It was for a purpose that the Lord Jesus ascended without giving them any plan. As the apostles kept themselves under the Headship of the Lord Jesus, they were given the plan. Even though persecution came from the enemy, the Lord Jesus allowed it. Through that persecution the believers were scattered abroad to many places. We find God in His sovereign way, using the attacks of the enemy upon His people for the furtherance of the Gospel. In the same way, we see in Acts 16, that because Paul was put in prison the Gospel was taken to many parts (vs.23-26). Many lives were transformed and they became the witnesses of the Lord

Jesus Christ through that one meeting held in the prison at Philippi. Within a short time the Gospel was preached in many parts of Europe and Asia. Those who have not gone through real persecution remain barren spiritually like a dry well. If water is not drawn from it, it gives a stinking smell but if the water is drawn regularly, it remains fresh. We see how in a wonderful way the Holy Spirit began to take the believers from place to place through persecution. If God has kept you in a lonely place believe that you are there as a witness of the Lord Jesus and do not try to get a transfer to any better place of comfort. If you believe God has kept you there, as His witness according to His plan be content.

“Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did” (Acts 8:5,6). The Samaritans were despised and hated by the Jews as we see in John 4:9. The Jews would not even take water from their hands. Now the very same Samaritans had received the very same Gospel with great joy, and with one accord. That is how the Lord began to break the pride of the Jews. As a nation they were very proud. That is why they remained blind spiritually. Those who are proud of their country, position, family, community and wealth are very dry spiritually. That is the main cause of strife in many places.

It was for a purpose that God sent Philip to Samaria. He wanted to break the pride of the Jews and to show the spiritual oneness of all who believe. We shall see later on that when the Gospel was taken to these people, they began to grow spiritually. “Now they, which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen, traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord”(Acts11: 19-21). When Philip went to Samaria some unknown believers also went there at the same time. Before that they were giving the Gospel to the Jews only. They were still proud of their nationality. But some believers from Cyrene came to Antioch and spoke to the Grecians about the Lord Jesus Christ. From that time the center was shifted from Jerusalem to Antioch. That is how the believers in Jerusalem lost their privilege. From Antioch the Gospel began to go to many parts of the world. God in His own sovereign way brought this about.

Everyone is equally precious in God’s sight. The believers in Samaria ought to have received the Holy Spirit when they believed. But in this case the Lord withheld the Holy Spirit from them even though a very large number believed and were baptized. The news had reached Jerusalem and the Apostles at Jerusalem were surprised that even the Samaritans whom they hated received the Gospel. So they sent Peter and John to verify it. They went over there and were filled with joy to see that the Samaritans had received the Gospel. When apostles Peter and John laid hands on them they received the Holy Spirit (v .17). Thus they saw for themselves that the very same gift that the Lord had given to the Jews on the day of Pentecost was also given to the Samaritans. First of all they had to acknowledge their spiritual equality and oneness by the laying on of hands. Throughout the ages, they were taking pride in their Jewish nation. Today also we find in India and other countries believers taking pride in their position, education, community and wealth. But in the sight of God all are equal. We find that there are many names among Christians.

Some believers in the early Church began to call themselves after Paul, Cephas, and Apollos (1 Cor. 1: 10-13). That is how divisions came among the early believers at Corinth. The result was that all kinds of sin entered into them. It is unscriptural to be called by the name of any person. No one died for us, only the Lord Jesus Christ. How can we be called by any other name? There are hundreds of divisions among the Christians today. That is why there is so much strife and hatred. The same thing, we find in India at the time of marriages and other occasions; believers are much more concerned about their caste and community. Some believers call themselves Harijan Christians, to get scholarships and other benefits from colleges. Because the Government gives special concessions to such castes. Many Christians have the same temptation to call themselves Scheduled Caste to get a job or a seat in the college. Whatever one may gain materially in that way, they surely lose spiritually. They still take pride in their community like the Corinthians. Such believers are infants spiritually. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (1 Cor.3: 1).

It is only by remaining as one family, that we can enjoy divine favor and God’s blessings. Every believer is equally precious before God. That is why the testimony of baptism is very important. Only at that time can this truth be brought to us in reality. We as God’s servants should take more time and diligently teach people about baptism and make sure that they are spiritually joined with the Lord Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection. When they are baptized into one body they are no more Jew or Gentile, high or low. This should be our daily experience and not for some time. But that is only possible when we give the Headship to the Lord Jesus Christ.

And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south, unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship”(Acts 8:26,27). Here we see how Philip quickly and immediately obeyed God. God never told him why he had to go away from Samarla. He only said, “Arise and go towards the south”. At that time he was very busy, because through him the Lord saved many souls in Samaria. He could have said, “How can I leave such a great work and go to an unknown place, a desert?” He never asked for one or two days leave for preparation but he went immediately. He did not wait for his wife’s permission. Like Abraham, when God spoke to him, he obeyed straightway. Many God’s servants lose their privileges in God’s service, because they do not obey God immediately. Even though God speaks to them in a meeting or in some other way to go to a difficult place or if God asks them to go at nighttime, they listen to their wives or friends rather than God. This is very sad. How many God’s servants are in that condition! They will not obey God at once. God has every right to send us anywhere any time. He can send us to a nearby place or a far off place without giving us any reason. Our duty is to obey Him. Philip went on obeying God and the Lord showed him why he was called. Philip was not only fruitful but very fruitful in the ministry. “But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea”(Acts 8:40). He preached in all the cities. God does not make a mistake. By obeying God implicitly, we become fully fruitful.

Philip never demanded his traveling expenses. Many God’s servants have many demands. They will obey provided they are given money for themselves and also for their children. But Philip never said, “What about my expenses?” First he walked. We do not know how long he walked. Then the Lord told him to join the chariot and so he ran (v.30). So he got a free lift in the chariot (v .31). He never asked for it. He never said, “Sir, I am tired, please give me a lift”. Neither did he say, “I have walked many miles and have run a long distance. Please stop for a while”. It was the eunuch who might have said. “Please help me. I want to understand this Scripture portion. Will you kindly come into the chariot?” There is no need for you to give any hint to anyone that you want something. It is for a purpose we find these details in the Word of God. It is not just a history book. It is for our spiritual instructions. If we obey God, and do what He tells us, we are fully blessed. “And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing” (v.39). If we obey God He blesses us abundantly. First of all he walked, then he ran, then he got into the chariot for some time. He got the fastest vehicle. He went comfortably straightway. What a privilege to be in God’s service. Sometimes we have to walk, sometimes we have to run, sometimes we have to go by bus, and sometimes by train. But God Himself will lead us in His own way. If you are called by God, there is no need to be worried or be anxious about your needs. Do not allow your wives to weaken your faith. In many cases the wives of God’s servants weaken the faith of their husbands and go on worrying them. They say, “Think of your children. How about their education? How about their marriages? Do not be foolish”. That is how many wives mislead their husbands. Thus by listening to their wives they lose their faith. Also some so-called servants beg for money. They do not ask for it. They put on a sad face, when they go for visiting. They look very miserable. Please take warning. Do not be offended. If God is calling you for service, serve Him faithfully. You cannot serve God and man. But whenever you obey Him, obey Him fully. Do not question Him. He is responsible for all your needs. You only have to see how He works.

“And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39). What a joy Philip brought in his life! God had brought Philip at the right time, when the eunuch was reading Isaiah 53. Because Philip had obeyed God implicitly, he was able to give the message straightway to the eunuch. He knew from the very Scripture portion, what the Lord wanted him to speak. It is by obeying God’s commands that God’s servants will receive His message. There is no need to be worried about it. By obeying God fully, one can enjoy God’s favor.

Acts 9

We have seen how God allowed persecution to spread far and wide. God is sovereign. He knows how to defeat the devices of the enemy, only if we give complete charge of ourselves to Him. At that time, Saul was the most bitter enemy of the Gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ. The same Saul became Paul, the most devoted servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since his conversion, the Lord used his ministry and his testimony in a wonderful way. He suffered much for the Gospel’s sake.

The Lord called Saul by his name. He said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Saul’s fellow travelers heard a voice and saw a light, but did not hear what Jesus said. We have to make sure that the Lord speaks to us saying, “My son, my daughter, thy sins be forgiven thee”, and then we receive His peace and joy. But signs and dreams are not proofs of salvation.

And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized”(v.18). The mystery of baptism is, whether they are apostles or others, they all had to be baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no exception. Our spiritual growth depends upon obeying God fully. When the Lord spoke to Saul on his way to Damascus, Saul said to Him, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (v.6). The Lord said to Saul, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do”. Then the Lord appeared to Ananias and told him to go to Damascus to meet Saul. If you want anyone to do any job for you, a very important job. You will say, “It is very, very important. You must do it”. It has the same meaning here. “You go to Damascus and’ will tell you what you must do”. That was the first message given to Saul. Paul obeyed in baptism immediately. That is how the early believers began to grow spiritually. After baptism, you find courage coming into you. “But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ” (v.22). So by obedience, we become stronger spiritually.

Acts 10

We have seen in chapter 9 that the Lord broke the plan of Peter to teach him a very important lesson. He went to Joppa to pray for Dorcas and he stayed there. Unless the Lord broke Peter’s pride-, He could never show him His plan. Peter was still proud of his nationality as a Jew. He ministered only to the Jews even though the Lord commanded them to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. In chapter 10 we find how God had to teach him that lesson. Peter became hungry while they were preparing food. So he went to the housetop to pray. Rather than grumbling, he began to pray. You also do not be angry when the food is late. There on the housetop the Lord spoke to him. He saw a sheet coming down from heaven with all kinds of creatures in it. He heard the voice of God saying, “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean” (vs. 13, 14). This happened thrice. God of holiness and grace cannot ask anyone to do anything that is wrong. God was speaking to Peter and he had to obey. But because of his self- righteousness he said, “No, Lord,” as though God was making a mistake. God cannot make a mistake. We must obey though we cannot fully understand what God tells us. That is how God taught an important lesson to Peter.

At first, God sent an angel to the house of Cornelius (v.3). Even though the angel was sent to him, the way of salvation had to be explained by Peter only. That privilege is given only to men and not to angels. The honor and privilege to be His witnesses is given to us. Again we see how the Apostle Peter preached about the power of resurrection. “Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly…whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins” (vs.40, 43). Now this message on resurrection is very, very important. It is through that message that God’s power it manifested, and lives are changed. And this is the message; the One Who was crucified and buried, rose again.

“Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized… ?”(v.47). As soon as they were born again, they were baptized. We find that this is God’s plan. Through baptism we grow spiritually and enjoy fully the power of resurrection and understand our spiritual equality with all believers.

Acts 11

The pride of nationality is so great, that even though God had done a great work through Peter in the house of Cornelius, the people of Jerusalem opposed him again and again. ” And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them” (vs.2, 3). Later on, Peter had to be rebuked by the Apostle Paul. “But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them, which were of the circumcision (Gal.2: 11-12). Because of the fear of the Jews Peter did not eat with the Gentiles.

Throughout the ages the enemy has used the same weapon to defeat God’s people; take pride in nation, family, position and education. Even today it is the same. That is the cause of division everywhere -high caste, low caste, North Indian, South Indian, Andhras and Tamilians, all such differences are used by the enemy to defeat God’s people. In the same way, there are different sections and denominations. That is why many believers are living in division and strife. But Paul the Apostle rebuked those believers who were carried away by such differences. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them, which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ” (1Cor.1: 10- 12). These believers called themselves by the name of the apostles like Cephas and Paul. That brought division and also sin among them. Remember, if you want to be used by the Lord, do not go by these names. You area Christian. No man, no country died for you. Why do you call yourselves after the name of England or America or any other country? In all these subtle ways Satan brings defeat in the church. He makes people to think only of the name rather than the life of the Lord Jesus. That is why Paul says in 1 Cor.2: 2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. That is the secret of knowing how much life is flowing from us. Do not go by their names or what they say, but go by the life of Christ. God’s Word says,”…Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom.8: 9). In the same way, becoming a member of some denomination is also wrong .If you become a member of a denomination, it means, you are a part of all their teachings and practices. It is an unscriptural practice. You are a member of the Lord Jesus Christ. All other names bring division. Some are called by the name of a country or a person or a doctrine. That leads to division and strife. We see how in the early church these names brought much division.

“Now they, which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only” (Acts 11: 19).

The believers were scattered through persecution and that is how the Gospel was taken to different places. Thus God overrules and uses many attacks of Satan for His own purpose.

One man of God went to a certain village and the people there did not receive him. Before leaving he prayed for them saying, “Lord, bless them and prosper them”. Then he went to another village, where the people received him very gladly, and heard the word of God. Before leaving he prayed for them also saying, “Lord, scatter them”. Then his co-worker asked him, “How is it that you asked the Lord to bless those who did not receive you and to scatter those who have received you?” He replied, “Those people who refused to receive me, will bring only evil if they go to other places. It is better that they remain in their own place. But if the good people are scattered, they will carry with them the good news”.

Throughout the ages, the Lord has used persecution to spread the Gospel far and wide. For example, the Gospel spread through the believers at Thessalonica because they went through much affliction. We read about it in 1 Thess.1: 6-8; “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place…”. Through sufferings and afflictions God’s word went on spreading far and wide.

Again Paul says in Phil.1: 12, 13, “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places”. These words were written by Paul while he was in prison in Rome for the Gospel’s sake. The believers in Philippi and Ephesus were feeling very sad. But Paul says, “Don’t be sorry for my sufferings. God has allowed them for His own purpose”. Through afflictions the Gospel was taken to the whole palace and to the emperor. When Paul was a prisoner living in his own hired house, the Roman soldiers had to keep watch over him by turns. While these soldiers were on duty Paul went on preaching and thus they could listen to the Gospel. One by one those soldiers must have been converted. Through those converted soldiers, the Gospel was taken to the whole of the Roman Empire, and even to Caesar’s palace. So Paul saw for himself how God had honored him in putting him there to be a witness through sufferings. In the early Church the Gospel spread through persecution. Even so, today if the believers suffer joyfully, -they not only grow spiritually, but the Gospel also will spread. Wherever there is no suffering or persecution, there is no growth. Instead there will be strife, division, parties and hatred.

Now though the early believers preached the Gospel, they preached to the Jews only. “Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only” (Acts 11: 19). That is why their spiritual growth was stunted. But there were some unknown believers from Cyprus and Cyrene who took the Gospel even to Greece. “And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord”(v$.20,21). God’s word was thus preached through them to the Gentiles.

We have to give God’s word to all people. But some people want to have special ministries. They want to work only among the students of universities. Others want to work among educated people or people in high positions. Others want to work among the poor. That is how they become limited. If you think only of a special class of people and spend more time on them you will be limited in God’s sight. In God’s work we cannot make distinctions or difference. We have .to give God’s word to all people, whether they are rich or poor, high or low, educated or uneducated. Then we will find uniform growth among the believers.

No doubt, the Gospel was preached by the apostles with power and wisdom, but they were giving it only to the Jews. That is why the center was shifted from Jerusalem to Antioch. From Antioch the Gospel was taken to Asia and other parts of Europe. “And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily” (Acts 13:49; 16:5). Apostles like Peter and Paul, and Barnabas, went from Antioch and other places. If you want your ministry to be effective, you have to serve all people equally with no distinction of caste, education or riches. We should not be governed by education or position. After all, they receive the same salvation. We have to be very careful and not show any partiality in the Lord’s work.

In Acts 11: 23 we see that God brought His servant Barnabas from Jerusalem to Antioch. “Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord”. Barnabas then went to Tarsus in search of Paul. “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (v.26). They preached and the believers were strengthened. That was how God was showing that for spiritual growth we need His servants from different places. He Himself will send His own servants: from various countries. That is how the early believers began to grow and God’s servants were sent to different places.

“And in those days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch” (Acts 11: 27). Even though believers in Antioch were multiplied greatly and God’s word was preached to them, they could not say that they could manage without the believers at Jerusalem. They depended upon others too. God in a sovereign way sent His servants to minister unto them. Then Agabus, the prophet, prophesied that there would be a famine in Jerusalem. The believers of Antioch felt sad for the believers of Jerusalem. They sent help from Antioch to Jerusalem through Barnabas and Paul (vs.28- 30). That is how believers are supposed to help one another without any worldly organization, but by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

When these men came to Jerusalem they came just in time for the prayer meeting. “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him” (Acts 12:5). See how in a sovereign way both the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, were brought to Jerusalem. When they returned to Antioch they came with the burden of prayer for Jerusalem. Though the believers at Antioch were taught mightily from God’s Word now they were learning to pray for the suffering believers at Jerusalem. In Acts 13: 1-3, we see how they began to pray and as they prayed God separated Barnabas and Paul to take the Gospel to Asia and Europe. As they prayed, God’s heavenly plan was shown to them by the Holy Spirit. Unless there is a burden for prayer God cannot show us His plan.

By prayer the early Church began to grow spiritually. That is the secret of the early Church. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness…But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 4:31; 6:4). By perseverance the early believers were able to defeat their enemies.

The enemy’s attack on the believers is to make them cut short their prayer time. They are busy with other things and have no time for prayer. They pray but for a short while. That is why the enemy gains ground. The early Church overcame the enemy by prayer.

Acts 12

When Paul and Barnabas came to Jerusalem there was not only famine in Judea but also persecution. Peter was in prison and James was killed. Believers in Jerusalem began to pray earnestly for Peter. In answer to those prayers God delivered Peter from the prison.

Generally, we want to see God’s power in great things. God works in small matters much more than in big matters to strengthen and encourage us. We do not think of small things as God does. No doubt, we see God’s power in mighty things but we can also see His power in small things. God’s ways are not our ways. Verse four tells us, four quaternion of soldiers kept watch over Peter turn by turn; he was in between two soldiers, bound to them with chains. Yet he was fast asleep. He was not sleeping on dun lop pillow but on the stone floor of the prison, with two very strong chains on each hand. With all that he was able to sleep soundly, because he had no worries or anxiety. He could trust God for every situation. Most of us when we have small worries do not get sleep. We may drink ovaltine or any hot drink; still we do not get sleep. Some take pills to get sleep in the nights. Even that fails and they cannot get sleep. But here we find this man of God sleeping soundly, in spite of all his disadvantages. When we put our trust in the Lord we will not be anxious about any matter, no matter what happens. Peter was having sound sleep. The angel smote him even then he could not get up. Then the angel raised him up, and he got up, and the chains fell off from his hands.

We can prove God’s faithfulness, even in small things. There is no need to be anxious, troubled or worried when things go wrong. God may permit in our lives many painful situations to give us strong faith. He is our living God. He is allpowerful for every situation. He wants to prove that He is interested even in small things. Do not depend upon sleeping pills, but trust in God’s Word. He will give you sound sleep. Most of you do not get proper sleep, because you are worried too much. Do not blame others for lack of sleep. It is your own worries and anxieties and unbelief, which keep you awake. Whenever someone says anything against you, you do not get sleep. If by chance you lose something, you cannot sleep. Perhaps you lose your umbrella in the bus; even though it is an old one you cannot sleep for two or three days. When you do not get sleep you should go upon your knees. We read that the angel told Peter to bind on his sandals (Acts 12:8). They were not new shoes or English shoes. They must have been old or even torn ones. We do not know how old they were. Some people change their chappals every month, because they wear out soon. Some change for the sake of fashion. But this man of God did not follow the modern fashion. His were old-fashioned shoes. My father was an old fashioned man. He used to wear old-fashioned shoes and long shirts. One day he came to see me in the hostel and brought nice things for me. He was sitting beside me on the cot. One of my schoolmates saw my father, called me out and asked me who that man was, with old-fashioned shoes, and shirt. I was so ashamed and told him that he was from my village. I took his money, food and other things but was ashamed to say that he was my father. The man of God, Peter, was not ashamed.

We see here how the Lord takes interest even in small matters like old shoes. The Lord knew that in his excitement Peter would leave his shoes behind. This has happened many a time to many of us. One day a man came to see me. After a while, he wished everyone good bye and left. But he came again after a few minutes. I wondered why he had returned. He had forgotten his chappals. God knew that Peter was just an ordinary man, though he was filled with the Holy Spirit. We do not become supernatural when we are born again. We remain ordinary human beings. We all have common weaknesses and failures as human beings. Thank God for He is our sufficiency for all our needs.

See how God of grace is interested even in small things like Peter’s shoes. You think of big things but God is interested in small things too. That is why God’s Word says; our tears are numbered (Psa.56:8). Our hairs are also numbered (Matt. 10:30). Sometimes when we comb our hair, they fall. You do not know how many have fallen. Nor does your wife or husband, your children or parents know. But God knows. So also, He knows the number of our tears. Every tear we shed in sorrow, in trials and in difficulties, He knows, and He knows how to keep it. He puts our tears in a bottle. He does so to remind us and to show us that He knows what we 90 through and makes provision for every need.

He makes provision for our comfort, strength and sorrow. God will not allow anyone to take away even our old chappals. The Lord has looked after my old chappals all through the past years. Many lose their chappals in the train. Even though they put them under their head, clever thieves take them away. I have traveled for many years but never lost my chappals in the train. But strange to say, I have lost them in the meetings. I have always prayed while traveling, asking the Lord to look after even my small things.

Once I got into a very crowded train. I wanted to have a shave badly. I could not 90 out lest I should lose my place. So I prayed saying, “Lord, will you please send me a barber?” I kept my head outside the window and a barber came. He shaved me, I paid the money, and the train started immediately. I knew if I had shouted for a barber, my voice would not reach him. But the Lord shouted for me. He brought the barber right on the spot. You may say, it was a chance, but to me it is God’s provision. Learn to pray for every small thing. Scripture says in Phil.4: 6, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”. This should be our daily experience. Some children learn everything by heart and get very good marks. After three weeks all that they have learned by heart is forgotten. That is how many learn Scripture verses by heart and soon forget them.

God’s Word should be read daily and its promises should be claimed. Phil.4: 6 say, “Be careful for nothing”. So do not be worried about! Anything, but only pray for everything. One day I lost a bottle cork. It was so small that one could hardly see. I dropped it in the bathroom. First I thought, it is a small thing and why I should bother about it. I searched for it for three days but could not find it. Then I remembered that the Lord has told us to pray for everything. So I prayed saying, “Lord, I don’t want to lose that cork. Please show me where it is”. Then I looked down and found it. Even for small things learn to pray. In 2 kings 6:1-7we read about a man whose axe head fell into the water.

It was foolish to look for the axe head in the water. There was no hope of getting it back, because it had sunk deep into the water. But the man knew, if he went to the man of God he would get it back. The man of God cut down a stick and cast it in the water, and the iron did swim. Something, which was impossible, was made possible. Now we all know that iron cannot swim. Yet because of that man’s faith in God’s Word, God made the iron to float on the water. In the same way, every spiritual loss can be recovered if we pray.

That man was careless. Before cutting the wood he should have made sure that the axe was fixed properly. He lost the axe head because of his carelessness. But he went to the man of God for help and confessed his fault. God forgave him and he recovered that which he had lost. Most of us are like him. Through negligence we incur loss. We fail to find God’s will and do things on our own, so we suffer loss. That man held the handle without the axe head. We would call him foolish. Some God’s servants are foolish like him. They have lost their axe heads. There is no power in their ministry or prayer. They have no joy in their hearts. They only have their handles. The source of power is gone because of some negligence. Some defilement or some pride, or greed has entered into them. I Sometimes they lose their faith and peace also. They–become helpless and do not know how to face the situation.

Perhaps that is\your condition today. But there is hope for you. This man knew where to go (2 Kings 6:6). First of all, he had to go to the place where the axe head had fallen. Similarly, you have to go to the place where you have lost your axe head because of sin, defilement, and negligence etc. Then claim the power of the cross, because the tree speaks of the cross. Then he got back the axe head. You also can recover your spiritual loss, by humbling yourself at the Cross-of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many times we do not confess our failures. We blame others for our loss as Adam blamed the woman God had given him. Do not blame anyone. Humble yourself before the Lord, acknowledge your faults and failures, negligence or whatever it may be; then recover the loss.

Many parents are very negligent and careless. They do not spend sufficient time with their children. They do not have family prayers both morning and evening. They say in their hearts, “We are far too busy with our jobs. How can we spare time for prayer and Bible study in the morning?” They do not fulfill their first responsibility towards their children. After some time they find some sin in their children. Parents are responsible for their sin. Their axe head was lost due to their negligence and carelessness. Do not blame your children. Do your duty faithfully with love and concern when they are small. Read Heb.12: 6-12. Many parents have lost their axe heads. Their children are disobedient because of their own negligence. When children needed to be chastened and corrected, they did not do it. Now that they are grown up, it is too late. They are rebellious now, and no amount of teaching will help them. Only by confessing their sin and going to the place where the axe head had fallen they can recover. Go to the same place and say, “Lord, it is due to my failure and negligence, that my children are disobedient. Help me to be careful in the future and fulfill my duty faithfully towards my children. Help me to recover all”. Thus go on asking the Lord for every small thing. Seek God’s face in all things and recover every loss. In Prov.3: 5,6 we read, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart: and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths”. Learn to depend upon God for spiritual things. Do not depend upon your cleverness, wisdom or experience of any kind. We have to claim God’s strength, grace, and wisdom for every small thing. It must be a daily practice. Then you will see God’s hand upon you, and recover every loss.

Now Peter was not only told to bind on his sandals but also take his garments (Acts 12:8). Thus we see how God is interested in everything, in old chappals as well as garments. Then the angel said to Peter, “Follow me”. Do not go by your own experience. You may be a strong man but you do not know the way. For some distance, Peter followed the angel. Learn to seek God’s guidance. Do not think that you know the way. It is safe to say, “Lord, I do not know the way”. Let Him guide you. He knows the way. He knows what is the best way. He knows the end from the beginning. Our safety is to follow Him as long as He leads us.

Then we are told in Acts 12: 10, when they were past the first and the second ward they came to the iron gate, which opened to them by itself. The Lord knew how to bring Peter safely through the gates. You also may be facing many iron gates. As you follow His guidance, He will bring/you out safely. When He shows the way, then we are safe.

In the beginning the Lord’s angel had to open the prison door. But in verse 13 we find Peter himself knocking the door many times. If God wanted, He could have opened that door also and brought Peter into the house. But for a purpose, the angel departed from half the way. Then Peter himself found the way and went on knocking the door. God gives us divine strength when needed. At other times we have to use our own strength to open the door, nevertheless, God is always with us.

The same Herod who persecuted Peter was dealt with by God Himself without any interference on the part of Peter. Peter was an ordinary man. He could have cursed Herod and said, “Lord, punish Herod”. But he had no hatred for him. He never said one word of revenge against him. He kept sleeping and left Herod in the hands of God. That is why God Himself punished Herod. If there are people like Herod in your neighborhood or office, do not worry .God Himself will judge them. The Lord Himself will solve all your problems. He will take up your case and judge other people.

Acts 13

“But God raised him from the dead” (v.30). “But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption” (v.37). We see in the Acts of the Apostles, that emphasis is laid on the power of resurrection. The Apostles tried to prove from all the Scripture portions and references how the Lord Jesus Christ suffered, died, and were buried and rose again. Without the power of resurrection we cannot live a victorious and triumphant life. We need to depend upon this very same experience. In the early days the apostles and disciples made it a point to make this fact very clear. “…1 have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will” (v.22). As David was a man after God’s own heart, God wants us also to be men and women after His own heart. It is not because of human qualifications or outward humility or simple dress that we can be called men or women after God’s own heart. It is the greatest privilege to be a man after God’s own heart. Such a person wants to do God’s will in whatever he does or wherever he goes. We have the privilege to be in the will of God.

Our whole life, preaching and teaching should please God. But many times we fail. Generally speaking, we look at great men and are carried away by their appearance. Even a great man like Samuel the prophet was about to make a mistake in choosing the king of Israel. Eliab was the eldest son of Jesse: going by his height, countenance and appearance Samuel thought he was fit to be the king. But the Lord said unto him, “Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7).

Generally, we look on the outward appearance. Some take pride in their family, some in their nationality, some in their knowledge, some in their education, and some in their appearance and their talents. That is how many make mistakes in marriages, business and other matters. Many marriages are a failure and they suffer very great loss afterwards. In some cases, they are in misery life- long. They look at the outward appearance rather than knowing God’s will. That is why Samuel made Jesse to bring all his sons before him. Samuel was a prophet, Jesse was a Godfearing man, but none of them knew God’s mind. Samuel was about to make a mistake and anoint Eliab. He looked on Eliab, and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him”, but the Lord said unto Samuel, “I have refused him”. That means, howsoever clever, gifted, or educated we may be, we cannot trust ourselves. We make many mistakes in our lives. Many great men made great mistakes in their lives. They were carried away by fame and name. People may talk about God’s will like a parrot, but they do not know what is God’s will. Going by God’s Word we have to wait on Him and persevere to know His will. Jesse made Abinadab, Shammah and seven of his sons to pass before Samuel but the Lord had not chosen them. If God wanted He could have ‘told Samuel to go to Bethlehem and ask Jesse for David and anoint him. But that is not God’s method. God knows our nature. He knows how easily we are misled by the outward appearance. To avoid that, we need much patience to wait upon God to hear His voice. After David came, God said, “Arise, anoint him: for this is he”. We have to wait till we have every evidence to prove that we are in God’s will and God’s plan. When God speaks there must be clear inward registration. We have to hear God’s voice. We should not be carried away by only one test. We need to have every evidence to know God’s will. The first great proof is the inward voice of God, which means to have a consciousness of God’s presence. “And the work of righteousness shall be peace” (lsa.32: 17). To feel God’s presence in a greater, growing way, we must be in God’s presence for a long time. We should not be governed by the first registration but we should have the registration many times. We must enjoy the inward peace, great peace, multiplying peace and heavenly peace.

According to Psa. 119: 165, it is great peace which creates in us a growing love and consciousness of God’s own presence in our lives. The peace of God and the presence of God go together (Psa.16: 11). lf you desire to know God’s will do not go by one evidence only, but have all other evidences. Even though you may have peace for some time, you may be led in a wrong way and you may be deceived. There will be growing consciousness of God as you pray.

Acts 13

There will be growing consciousness of God’s presence as we pray in the morning, pray in the evening and pray in the night. Ask the Lord, “Lord, is this Thy will for me?” We have no right to command God but we have the privilege of calling upon Him as we read in Jer.33: 3. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”. Go on calling upon Him till He speaks in a very clear way and shows His perfect will. We can trust God’s Word. Do not open the Bible at random to find God’s will. Learn to read God’s Word in a systematic way. Try to find God’s will in a clear way from your daily portion of God’s Word.

For finding God’s will it is necessary for us to die to our own will. In many cases our desire for something is so strong, that we ask the Lord saying, “Give me this, or that”. We have to pray honestly, truthfully and sincerely with these words, “Not my will, but Thy will be done”. Even though our desires and affections are very strong, we should not be governed by them. God’s will can be different. For that purpose we have to claim the power of resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and die to our own will, as Paul says in Gal.2: 20, “…nevertheless I live; yet not 1, but Christ liveth in me.” Please note the fragment, “yet not I, but Christ liveth in me”. Unless the Lord Jesus Christ takes full charge of our lives we cannot say that He is jiving in us. That should become our daily practice. You should pray saying, “Lord, not my choice, but Thy choice; not my desires but Thy desires; not my thoughts but Thy thoughts; not my plan but Thy plan; not my ideas but Thy ideas”. We should pray like that because the Lord can see everything. He knows the end from the beginning. We should die to our own will.

When Saul was chosen to be king, he came upon the throne immediately. But David had to go through many painful sufferings and afflictions for eight years. Rather than appreciating his victory over Goliath, Saul became jealous of David, and tried to kill him three times. He went on pursuing him. The Lord permitted these sufferings in David’s life so that he might learn to find God’s will. To teach David these lessons, God took him through many painful experiences. He learned to call upon God. In the Old Testament period there were Urim and Thummim to find God’s will. They were two stones behind the breastplate of the high priest. Even today we do not know how these stones worked, but one thing we know that they used these two stones to find God’s will. The Lord Jesus Christ is our Urim and Thummim. He is the life; He is the truth and grace. By going to Him constantly and waiting upon Him we can hear His voice. We see how David went to the Lord so many times to enquire of Him. “Therefore David inquired of the LORD, saying, Shall I go and smite these Philistines? And the LORD said unto David, Go, and smite the Philistines, and save Keilah” (1 Sam.23: 2). In verse 4 we read, “Then David inquired of the Lord yet again. ” Thus he went on enquiring for every matter. Abiathar the high priest came to David with an ephod, which had the two stones with which they enquired from the Lord. Now in the New Testament period we can go to the Lord Jesus at any time for any matter. That requires patience and perseverance. We have to wait, till we hear the voice of His Word confirms God and it.

When sufferings increased David failed to enquire of the Lord. He thought God had forgotten him. Without enquiring from God he joined the Philistines. David knew that Saul could not touch him as God anointed him. Also he knew that God would not allow him to kill Saul and that in His own plan, and in His own time, God would judge Saul. That is why God did not allow David to kill Saul even though he came very near to him. But without enquiring from God and without knowing His will he joined the Philistines against Saul.

The lords of the Philistines became suspicious of David. They feared that David might leave them, join Saul and war against them as their enemy. So they insisted that David should be sent back. David knew that it was not God’s will for him to join the Philistines, yet he decided to join them. Eventually he had to go back. David knew how to enquire from God, but he did not. That is why all their wives and children were taken away and they lost everything. Their loss was so great that they wept till they had no more strength to weep. If you know God’s will and do not do it, you will suffer great loss. David repented and enquired of the Lord and the Lord in His mercy forgave him. Scripture says, “…his compassions fail not” (Lam.3: 22). If we humble ourselves, confess our sins and call upon God and pray, He will have compassion upon us and forgive us. Now even though David had no hope of recovering anything, because he repented, confessed his failure and prayed, God helped him. He went to God and enquired what God’s plan was. ” And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall’ pursue after this troop? Shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all” (1 Sam.30:8). He ought to have done that earlier: now after he lost everything he went to the Lord. God is showing us how foolish we are. Now God forgave David when he obeyed Him and gave all the men into his hands.

Going by the number of the army of the Amalekites, it was not possible to pursue or smite them. Because David enquired of God, God told him to pursue the Amalekites. God in His own way helped them to pursue the enemy. On the way, they found an Egyptian who was about to die. God uses simple means to deliver us and help us. They had pity on that Egyptian. They gave him food and drink (vs.11, 12). Through him, they recovered not only what they had lost but also much more than that. By believing God’s Word and by obeying His Word they recovered all. Even though their loss was great, by humility and obedience they recovered. The spoil was so great, that David sent presents to all his friends who had helped him in the past. When he was pursued by Saul, David had to provide food for all his men. David being a man of God kept clear record of all that he received from his friends. Some gave shelter and some gave food. In some places he stayed for two days and in some places for four days or more. He knew the quantity of food they brought. Now he sent them all gifts and presents from the spoil. He was so thankful for their help in time of need. By enquiring from God, by obeying, Him and by believing in Him David recovered everything. He paid all the past debts, which he had to pay to his friends. Thus we also can recover all our past losses. But we have to ask God’s forgiveness for not doing His will in some cases and make it a principle to find God’s will and plan for all matters.

Many believers buy property without finding God’s will and do many other things without knowing God’s will. Some people get their children married without finding God’s will. Now they are weeping and their children are also weeping. Now if they humble themselves, repent and confess their sin and obey God and His Word, they can recover all and even more. May God make us all men and women after His own heart?

spiritual blindness by bakht singh

Reading: 2 Kings 6: 1-18; Luke 24: 13-48 The king of Syria sent a very large army, with horses and chariots to capture Elisha, because he revealed his secret plans to the king of Israel. In the morning, Elisha’s servant went outside and saw the great army and cried out to his master saying, “Alas, my master! How shall we do?” He was full of fear. Elisha told him that he had no need to be afraid because they had a greater and mightier army than the enemy. The servant thought, “Is my master trying to fool me? Where is this army he is talking about?” Elisha had told the truth but the servant was blind and that is why he could not see the heavenly army. When Elisha prayed, God opened the eyes of the young man. Then he saw the whole mountain full of horses and chariots of fire.

This young man had been serving Elisha, the man of God, and had seen many miracles. Yet he was blind. He had seen Naaman being cured of leprosy. Also, in 2 kings 4:38-44, when Elisha came to Gilgal, there were a hundred sons of the prophets waiting to see him. One man went out to gather some leaves for cooking and unknowingly gathered wild poisonous herbs. When they sat for food they discovered that there was poison in the food. They cried out to Elisha. He asked them to cast some meal in the food. Then they were able to eat it without danger. Again, in vs.42-44, he had seen Elisha performing another miracle of multiplying food. The servant of Elisha had seen all these miracles. But his eyes were not yet opened to see heavenly things. He was spiritually blind.

After Naaman was healed of his leprosy, he brought some gifts for Elisha, because his heart was full of gratitude. But Elisha refused to receive this gift. Gehazi thought to himself that Elisha had made a very big mistake. So he ran behind the chariot, told a lie to Naaman and got for himself some silver and two changes of garments. He came back home, hid the things cleverly and with pretended innocence came and stood before Elisha. For this reason he became leprous. Even though he had been with the man of God for such a long time and had the privilege of learning many things and seeing the great power of God through Elisha, his heart was still full of love and greed for money, gold and silver. His lie and greed for money made him spiritually blind, and he could not see the horses of fire, which the Lord had kept for Elisha. Many people, including servants of God, become blind spiritually because of their love for earthly things, like money and fame; and they increase their sins by telling many lies. Thus their faith becomes weak and they lose spiritual sight.

There are different kinds of physical blindness. Spiritually also there are different kinds of blindness. First of all, according to 2 Cor.4: 4 the god of this world blinds the minds of people that they may not believe, and the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ cannot shine upon them. They cannot understand God’s love for them. They will hear man -made stories and believe them; but they will rebel against the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They cannot understand how Christ died and rose again for their sakes. Only the power of God can remove this blindness. Elisha prayed for his servant, and God heard him. He forgave the servant and opened his eyes. So we also must pray for people and God will open their eyes to receive the Gospel of Christ.

We read about the Lord Jesus Christ healing a blind man in Mark 8:22-26. The Lord took that man aside, spat on his eyes, put his hands upon him and asked him if he saw anything. The blind man looked up and said. “I see men as trees, walking”. He did see something, but his vision was not clear. That is partial blindness. The Lord gave him another touch and then he got clear vision. There are people who know something about the Lord Jesus that He died on the cross for their sins. But they have little understanding about truths like the cleansing power of the precious blood, or God’s eternal purpose for their lives. They do not have clear understanding of God’s forgiveness. As a result they live a life of defeat and failure. Such partially blind people need a second or even a third touch from the Lord. Clear understanding does not come through human wisdom; it comes only through the touch of the Lord.

The believers at Corinth remained spiritual! Babes for a long time in spite of hearing the preaching of Paul, which was “not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor.2: 4). They had heard the Gospel, believed on it and had repented of their sins; but they had failed to grow on to maturity. That is why they had strife and contention in their midst (1 Cor, 3:3). The reason for this was their partial spiritual blindness. If we have such blindness in us, we must confess it before the Lord, ” and ask Him to touch us and give us clear vision.

Then we find another kind of spiritual blindness among believers, which causes difficulty in understanding the Word of God. They are good and sincere people, but they suffer from such blindness that even though they read the Bible, they do not understand anything and soon feel very sleepy.

The Bible is the Word of God, not the word of man. That is why every time we read the Bible we must pray like the Psalmist, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalm 119:18). When I started to read my Bible for the first time in 1929, I could not understand it, Over and over again I came across phrases like “And God said”, “and God saw”, “and God appeared”. (Such phrases appear about 558 times in the first five books of the Bible). I said to myself, “This is not an ordinary book, it is the Word of God. I must be very humble and reverent when I read it”. So I prayed, “Lord, I believe this is Your Word. I cannot understand it by myself. You please open my eyes and give me understanding”. After that the Book became very real to me, and I began to enjoy reading it. You also must confess before Him your spiritual blindness and foolishness, and request Him to enlighten you. Then take your time and read the Bible from Genesis to Malachi, and Matthew to Revelation. Read it upon your knees. Read it slowly. Ask the Lord to speak to you through the portion you have read. Then He will help you to understand. Otherwise you will remain blind spiritually.

No one can be a better teacher of the Word than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We read in Luke 24: 13-35 how on the day of resurrection, two disciples were going from Jerusalem to Emmaus. As they were returning home, the Lord Himself walked with them, and beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. But neither could they recognize Him nor could they believe what He said. They remained blind. This was because they had no faith. You too may hear a great and well-known preacher, but if you do not have faith, you will not be able to understand his message, and you will remain blind. According to Heb.4: 2, the Word of God must be accepted with faith. By faith say in your heart, “Lord, I believe this is Your Word. I believe you will speak to me”. Then you will be able to understand what He wants to tell you.

As those two disciples and the Lord Jesus sat for food, the Lord took bread, blessed it, and gave them. In that breaking of bread, their eyes were opened; they recognized the Lord and He vanished out of their sight (Luke 24:30-31). They I remembered how recently on the Passover night, the Lord had done the same thing and had said that His body would be broken for them. Here we find a very deep and important principle. Sunday-by-Sunday, as we remember the Lord’s death in the Breaking of Bread, we get more clearly heavenly VISION.

The more we worship the Lord and the more we thank Him for dying on our behalf and shedding His blood for the remission of our sins, the more clearly shall we see Him. This heavenly vision does not come by hearing messages. The true understanding came to them only with the breaking of bread. Our loving and mighty Creator gave Himself for us. He allowed wicked people to beat Him, scourge Him, spit upon Him and pierce Him. He died for our sake. He took our place. He rose again for our justification. As we take part in the Lord’s Table worthily and gratefully, in appreciation of such wonderful love and sacrifice, we will be given more clear understanding of His Word.

These days, we have many means where by vision can be improved. But for spiritual eyesight, we have to go only to the Lord. In Rev .3: 18 (b), the Lord says, “anoint thine eyes with eye salve, that thou mayest see”. The Lord Himself will give us this eye salve to take away our blindness, and then He will reveal Himself to us. May the Lord grant us all His clear heavenly vision.

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behold i am alive for evermore by bakht singh

We have seven great proofs of the fact that our living Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. If anyone questions us how we know that He is a living Saviour, we can give the following seven proofs.

1. The first proof of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the prophecies made in the Old Testament about His resurrection. “He will swallow up death in victory” (lsa.25:8). “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise” (Isa. 26:19). “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, 1 will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction” (Hosea 13:14). “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption” (Psa. 16:10). That is our first great proof that our Lord is the living Saviour. No one ever dreamt of conquering death. His is the only case in the whole world history.

2) The second proof is the prophecy made by the Lord Himself to His disciples before He was crucified. “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again” (Mark 8: 31. See also Mark 9: 31; 10:34; John 10:18). The Lord Jesus Christ very clearly, plainly and repeatedly told His disciples how He would suffer, be mocked, be reviled for our sakes, die and then rise again.

3) The third proof is the testimony borne by the angels on the early Easter morning. It is found in Luke 24:4-6. “And …behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee”.

4) The empty sepulcher of the Lord Jesus Christ is the fourth proof. “And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus” (Luke 24:2,3). The empty sepulcher can be seen even to day in Jerusalem. Every day people come from many parts of the world to see it. There is no other sepulcher like that in the who1e world. Other sepulchers are full of dead people’s bones, but see this empty sepulcher of the risen living Saviour.

5) The fifth proof is the appearance of the Lord Jesus to His disciples after His resurrection. Our, Lord appeared ten times in different ways to the disciples for forty days after He rose again-five times on the Easter day, and another five times from the second day to the day of ascension:-

• He first appeared to Mary at the sepulcher.
• Then to other women who were returning from the sepulcher.
• Then He appeared to Simon Peter.
• Then to the two disciples going to Emmaus.
• And the same evening to the disciples as they were gathered in the room, the door being shut. • He appeared to the 500 disciples in Jerusalem as we see in 1Cor.5:6.
• Then He appeared to James the Apostle.
• For the sake of Thomas He appeared the eighth time on the eighth day.
• At the Lake of Tiberius. He appeared for the ninth time.
• Then He appeared in Bethany before He ascended into heaven.

6) The sixth proof of His resurrection is His appearances to men like Stephen and Paul. He appeared to Stephen when he was about to be stoned reviled and mocked. “When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:54,55). He appeared to Saul who became Paul on the way to Damascus. “And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5).

7) There is one more proof of His resurrection which is much more important than the other six proofs. It is much more convincing to those to whom you speak. He lives in every believer. He comes to live in those who believe in Him, in any part of the world. All such people can say, ” He lives in me, He lives in me”. That is the living testimony. Now we put the same question to you. Does the living Lord Jesus live in you? We do not want to know about your Bible knowledge or how much money you have. This is a simple question, which you must answer before God. You can deceive man but not God. Does the Lord Jesus Christ Who rose again for me and for you, live in you? What is the proof that He lives in you? There must be some proof that He has come into you. The proof is, new life will come into you and lift you up. That is called THE POWER OF RESURRECTION. It is the death conquering power. It is the highest power in the whole universe. That power will enable you to overcome death. That power can make mortal men immortal. That power can make the worst sinner a child of God. It is the gift of God.

If you say, “1 believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for my sins”, then you have to believe that the same Lord Who died for you, rose again for your sake. That is what we read in Rom. 6:5; “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection”. Do not think that just by confessing your sins and saying, ” I am sorry for my sins”, you will receive salvation. Do not just say, “He died for me”; also say, ” I know He rose again”. That will save you. It is only by His coming into you by faith that you will be saved. We have to welcome Him and receive Him, and believe that He has come in.

Because He died, we die to our old nature. It is the old nature, which is responsible for all our troubles. There are some skin diseases, which have deep inner roots. Unless the root cause of the disease is dealt with, the disease will not be healed. The same thing is true of our sinful nature. Every human being is born with a sinful nature. That nature cannot be changed by fasting, prayer, Bible knowledge, visions and dreams. You have to take into you by faith the power of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other remedy. It is only by that power that you can die to all sinful things. That is why you need the Holy Spirit to come into you by faith. In the same way to live anew life you need His divine nature. You cannot call yourself an Englishman by putting on a suit and a tie; you must be born in England to be an Englishman. Similarly, you have to receive divine life, which gives you new longing, and new desires. That life will lift you up day by day and more and more. That is why our Lord rose again to live in us, work in us, work through us, and make us completely new and eventually to make us immortal priests and kings. He is calling you for that high purpose. He invites you to an everlasting Kingdom. That is why in Rev. 4:2 John is made to see His throne and His heavenly Kingdom. All our sufferings and trials are for a purpose. For a true believer every suffering is a blessing; it is not a punishment. For sinners it is a punishment; for the rebellious it is a punishment, but for a believer any suffering of any kind is a blessing. By that you are being prepared for your heavenly calling or heavenly vocation, and you have a full appreciation of the things of eternity.

There is a flower called Jasmine, which gives strong fragrance in the darkest night. On a moonlit night, it does not give that fragrance, but in the darkest night its fragrance is strongest. In the same way, you find that the life of the Lord Jesus is stronger, more inspiring and sweeter, in your trials and sufferings. At that time you are being taught many hidden mysteries. I can thank God for every trial, for every suffering and hardship in my past life. I would never have learnt these truths from books or in colleges. The Lord Himself has become unto me more precious and nearer in these sufferings. I could prove His power in anew, way. It is wonderful to know that that power is given to us when we ask for it. We ask for knowledge, but not for this power.

Are you conscious of the living Lord Jesus, living in you? Does He speak to you when you pray? Does He answer your questions? When you walk with Him, do you feel happy, strong and better? Do you love to go to Him? Does He teach you something every day? Does He help you to conquer sin and temptations every day? Has anyone found the same joy and peace through you? If not, He has not come into you. You have to receive a definite, personal experience of the living Lord Jesus. Then you do not have to go about with a sad face.

On Easter morning, when our Lord appeared to Mary, she was weeping. Our Lord said to her, “Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? “She did not know who was speaking to her. She thought He was a gardener. When our Lord called her by her name, straightway every tear, disappeared. Her joy was so great. We find weeping believers everywhere. They weep for every small thing. They weep so loudly, that their voice can be heard in America. They weep before their wealthy uncles, they weep before relations, they weep in Delhi, they weep in Hyderabad. Wherever they go, they start weeping. They look so miserable. They walk with long faces to show others that they are sorrowful. They are constantly weeping for something or the other. They do not know their Saviour. They do not know His power. They do not know His love and grace. He rose again to be with us. He has said, “Lo, I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20). You will find all your questions answered by the living Lord Jesus.

First of all, He must forgive you of your sins. Then and only then, He can come into you. Did you ever hear these words, “My son, my daughter, my child, thy sins be forgiven thee”? Then day by day He will say, ” I am with thee, fear not”. The very same words our Lord spoke to Apostle John in the isle of Patmos, “Fear not John. Don’t look at the situation. Fear not, I am alive forever more. I am alive to carry you triumphantly.” That will be your daily experience. Now receive Him as your living Saviour.

peaceable fruit of righteousness by brother bakht singh

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the lord delivereth him out of them all ” (Psa.34: 19). When we see many believers God’s servants passing through various afflictions, it is comforting that the Lord has promised to deliver the righteous out of all these afflictions, however painful and hard they may be. It is good for us to note the purpose for which God does permit such painful afflictions to come upon us. The Lord has many spiritual lessons to teach us through trials which He allows to come upon us.

FIRSTLY, these afflictions help us to understand the meaning of ‘Righteousness’, which God wants us to have. We as human beings try to work up our own righteousness; and we fail miserably in the task. The Lord wants us to posses His righteousness, which alone will last through eternity. This can only be attained when we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, and He becomes our righteousness.”…Christ Jesus… is made unto us… righteousness” (1 Cor 1:30). To all appearances, Job was a perfect and upright man, one who feared God and eschewed evil (Job.1: 1). Yet, after he had gone through the mill of affliction, we hear this same Job say, “I have heard thee by the hearing of the ear: now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”(Job 42:5,6). It was after Job had gone through several painful afflictions that he began to see that his true nature was sinful and corrupt, and realized that he could become righteous only by a personal experience with the holy, living and just God.

SECONDLY, through afflictions we can develop a strong active faith. In 1 Pet.1: 7, we read: “that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” Gold cannot be purified with soap and water. It has, to go through many refining fires to become pure and bright. So also our faith becomes strong when we go through suffering.

THIRDLY, these trials keep us on the right path. We are only human, and are likely to go astray from the path, which our loving Savior has marked out for us. In order to keep us on the right path, the Lord sometimes allows afflictions to come upon us. We read about this in Psa. 119:67. “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word”.

FOURTHLY, God allows afflictions so that we may learn God’s statutes and precepts. We can never understand God’s statutes through any book of human origin. God has to teach us in His own way. David speaks of this side of sufferings in Psa. 119:71.” It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes”.

FIFTHLY, these hardships finally lead us to a spiritually wealthy place, enlarge our vision and give us a large heart. In Psa.66: 12, we read: “Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place”.

SIXTHLY, by these testings, we are being prepared for our heavenly inheritance with the saints in light. We shall soon meet our Lord face to face, and receive this inheritance. Then the meaning of Rom.8: 17 will be made clear to us: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint- heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together”.

SEVENTHLY, when we have passed through sorrows and trials, we are better qualified to comfort those who are passing through similar sorrows and trials as we read in 2 Cor.1: 4: “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God”.

EIGHTHLY, it is when we pass through mockings and revilings for the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we are able to appreciate better our oneness with Him. We see in Matt.10: 24,25, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master”.

NINTHLY, sufferings help to keep us humble. When the Lord blesses us, we are likely to get puffed up; but in order to keep us balanced; the Lord allows sufferings to come upon us. Paul speaks about this benefit of sufferings in 2 Cor .12:7- 9, where he mentions about the abundance of the revelations given to him, and also the thorn in the flesh, lest he should be exalted above measure. This thorn in the flesh must have been very painful; but the Lord allowed it in his life to keep him humble.

TENTHLY, through hardships we are prepared to enjoy God’s power in fullness. See 2 Cor.12: 9,10. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong”.

May the Lord make this true in our lives.