Thursday, July 30, 2009


(Have you ever thought: "What did I do to deserve this?" or "Why did God have to do this to me?" Remember this story the next time you do.)
A daughter is telling her mom how everything is going wrong: she is struggling in algebra, her boyfriend broke up with her and her best friend is moving away.
Meanwhile, her mom is baking a cake and asks her daughter if she would like a snack. "Absolutely, Mom, I love you cake.""Here, have some cooking oil," her mom offers. "Yuck," says the daughter." How about some raw eggs?" asks the mom. "Gross, Mom!" "Would you like some flour on them?" asks Mom. "Mom, these are all yucky!" says the daughter. To which the mother replies, "Yes, all these things seem bad by themselves. But when they are put together in the right way, they make a wonderfully, delicious cake."
God works the same way. Many times, we wonder why He would let us go through such bad and difficult times. But God knows that when He puts all these things in His order, they always work for good! We just have to trustHim and eventually, they will all make something wonderful. Hope your day is "a piece of cake"!
Author Unknown

AllWorship. com

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps - Proverbs16:9
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth - Proverbs27:1
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord - Proverbs16:33

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Dynamics of the Spiritual Life

Our emotional lives and our spiritual lives have different dynamics. The ups and downs of our emotional life depend a great deal on our past or present surroundings. We are happy, sad, angry, bored, excited, depressed, loving, caring, hateful, or vengeful because of what happened long ago or what is happening now.
The ups and downs of our spiritual lives depend on our obedience - that is, our attentive listening - to the movements of the Spirit of God within us. Without this listening our spiritual life eventually becomes subject to the windswept waves of our emotions.
Henri Nouwen - Daily Meditation

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Choose God's Ways Instead of Man's Ways

We read in 2 Samuel Chapter 6 that David had a great desire to bring the ark of God to Jerusalem. The desire was a good one. But he didn't do it the way God had commanded to do it in His Law. The result was calamity – one of David's faithful men died. Once, when the Philistines had captured the ark, God had judged them with sickness and they decided to return the ark back to Israel. So they sent the ark back on a bullock cart. David had heard of that incident. He knew that the law of Moses had said very clearly that the ark should be carried only by the Kohathites, the sons of Levi. But David thought that method was all right for short distances. But since this was a long trip, he decided that the Philistine method was better and more sensible. So he put the ark on a bullock cart. The oxen stumbled on the rough roads and the ark began to shake. Uzzah reached out his hand to hold the ark so that it would not fall. God struck him down immediately for his irreverence and he died.
Uzzah did what he did, with a good motive. But he still violated God's law. Even if our motive is good, if we go against God's Word, we will still suffer. To do a right thing with a bad motive is unacceptable to God. But it is equally unacceptable to Him if we do a wrong thing with a good motive. The end can never justify the means. Here we see that Uzzah's end was good – to prevent the ark from falling. But Uzzah also knew the Law of Moses that said that if no-one was to touch the ark. Even the Kohathites were not allowed to touch the ark itself. They had to cover the ark with the veil of the tabernacle before carrying it, so that they did not actually touch the ark (Num.4:15). God had clearly stated that the punishment for anyone touching the ark would be death.
We can face this question, when we decide to do evangelism. How shall we do it – God's way or man's way? Shall we imitate the methods of multinational companies when we do God's work?
Many Christians say today that they need money in order to do evangelism. Is your dependence on money or on the HolySpirit? What you should say is, "We need the Holy Spirit's power to do evangelism." If you have the Holy Spirit's power, whether you have money or not, God's work will be done. Only worldly corporations and organisations need money in order to survive. When churches also come to the place where they say, "Only if we have money we can go on", we have to say that they too have descended to the level of these worldly organisations. In the Acts of the Apostles there is no mention of money at all in relation to evangelism or God's Work. Occasionally they would collectmoney for the poor believers, but never to pay the apostles! They never prayed to God for more and more money, as so many people do today. They prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit. The methods of the world (the bullock carts) have replaced God's methods today. That's why there is spiritual death. We need to understand what God is trying to say to us here.
Later on, David brought the ark to Jerusalem, the proper way- on the shoulders of the Levites. This time he was so full of joy that he danced before the Lord with all his might(6:14). That was the way they expressed their worship and praise to God. They used musical instruments, clapped their hands, shouted and danced. David was a worshipper. But as he was coming to the city, his wife Michal (the daughter ofSaul) saw him dancing and was very upset (v.16). She despised him in her heart. She despised an anointed servant of God who was worshipping in a way that she did not appreciate. There may be people who are worshipping God today in a way that you don't appreciate. You don't have to imitate them. But you don't have to despise them either. Michal did not have to start dancing like David. But she was not to despise her husband. Let us not imagine that only the way we worship is the right way.
Almost every Christian group feels that the way they worship alone is the right way. And they require that everyone do it their way. In the Sunday worship meetings of some Christian groups, everyone sits quietly as if it is a funeral service. That does not appeal to me, because a worship service must not be like a funeral service. It is to be a time of rejoicing, because we are celebrating the fact that the cross is empty, that Jesus conquered the grave and has risen from the dead. But these folk behave as though Jesus is still dead! But then there are other Christians who go to the opposite extreme. They feel that the Holy Spirit is present only when the noise reaches a certain level – and so they keep raising their voice and working up their emotions, to "bring the Holy Spirit into their midst". This is a deception too. The Holy Spirit doesn't come when the volumeis raised on the amplifier. I wish it were that easy, but it isn't. You have to have a clear conscience.
I don't want to despise either of these groups. But I don't want to imitate them either. I am free to worship the Lord my way. Don't despise the way another person worships theLord, and don't imagine the way you worship is the only right way. Give others freedom. God looks at the heart, and not at the outward expression.

Zac Poonen

WORD FOR THE WEEK - Christian Fellowship Church, Bangalore


How Much Do You Own in That Direction?

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."1
We Aussies love to tell jokes all in good fun about Texans. On one occasion I was preaching in a Baptist church in the Los Angeles area. On that particular Sunday there were quite a few visitors from Texas in church. So with great relish I let them know that there was one cattle ranch in Australia that was bigger than the whole state of Texas!
Before the evening service one of the members came to me and said, "I checked your story about that cattle ranch in Australia in an encyclopedia to see if it was true and it was. However, you will be interested to know that that ranch is owned by a Texan!"
According to Alan Smith, "George Washington Truett was a preacher in Dallas, Texas, for 47 years. He once visited a wealthy West Texas rancher and had dinner in his huge ranch home. After dinner, the rancher took Dr. Truett up to a veranda on top of his house, and lit up a big cigar. The sun was setting, and if you've ever been to West Texas, you know you can see a long way out there. The man pointed to the south toward some oil rigs and said, 'I own everything in that direction as far as you can see.' He pointed east toward some cotton fields and said, 'And I own everything in that direction, too.' He pointed north toward a huge herd of cattle and bragged, 'And, preacher, I own everything as far as you can see in that direction.' He turned to the west, and said, 'And I own everything you can see in that direction, except the sun, of course.'
"Dr. Truett turned to the man and pointed straight up the sky and said, 'And how much do you own in that direction?'"2
Good question for both the rich and the poor.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please give me the wisdom to keep my heart turned toward heaven and lay up treasures there rather than here on earth. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Matthew 6:19-20 (NIV).
2. As told by Alan Smith,

Acts International - Daily Encounter

Monday, July 20, 2009

Called by God

There is a lot of difference between "a profession" and"a calling". Let me explain what I mean. Suppose there’s a sick child in a hospital and a nurse looks after it for 8 hours on her shift-duty. That nurse then goes home and forgets all about that child. Her concern for that child was only for 8 hours. Now she has other things to do, such as going to the movies and watching television. She doesn’t have to think about that child again until the next day when she goes backto work. But the mother of that child doesn’t work 8-hour shifts! She can’t go to the movies when her child is sick.That’s the difference between a profession and a calling. If you apply that illustration to the way you care for the believers in your church, you’ll discover whether you’re a nurse or a mother!
Paul said, in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, "We proved to be gentle among you as a mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well pleased to impart you not only the gospel but also our own lives because you’ve become very dear to us". Paul not only imparted the gospel of God to those Christians but his life as well. Any ministry that is not done in this way is not really Christian ministry. Paul served God like that because he had a calling to the ministry. He didn’t take it up as a profession.
It’s wonderful to serve the Lord. It is the greatest thing in the world. Nothing on earth can be compared with it -but only if you’re called. It cannot be reduced to a profession. God called me to serve Him (full-time) on May 6, 1964 whenI was an officer in the Indian Navy. I handed in my resignation then to the naval authorities. But it was likeMoses asking Pharaoh to let the Israelites go! The Indian Navy wouldn’t release me. It took two years and repeated applications before they finally released me - miraculously- in God’s perfect time. Being called of God has made all the difference in my life. First of all, it doesn’t matter to me now, what people think about me or my ministry,because Someone Else is my Master and I have to answer only to Him. Secondly, I can trust God to stand by me and give me grace whenever I face any trial or opposition in my ministry- and that happens often. Thirdly, it doesn’t matter to me whether I receive any money or not, and whether I get any food to eat or not. If I receive food and money, well and good. If I don’t get any food or money, that’s fine with me too. I cannot stop serving the Lord, just because I didn’t get money or food - because God has called me.
I can’t get rid of my calling. I’m not a salaried employee who can stop working when I’m not paid or fed! It’s like thecase of the mother and her child. A nurse will stop working if her salary is not paid one month. But a mother can never stop. She doesn’t get a salary in any case! And she’ll look after her baby even if she doesn’t get any food or money! That’s how the apostles served the Lord. What a glorious thing it is to be called of God! You can never do the Lord’s work, the way God wants you to do it, if you do it as a profession. It has to be a calling or nothing. Every other job in the world can be done as a profession. But not a mother’s, or a father’s, or that of a servant of the Lord! All these are the result of a calling. Paul told the Corinthian Christians that even if they had 10,000 teachers,they still had only one father (1 Cor.4:15). Paul was both a spiritual father and a mother to his flock. His was not a profession but a calling.
"Take this child and nurse him for me and I shall give you your wages" is what the Lord has said to me (Exod.2:9).He said that to me first of all concerning my own physical children. And then He said that to me concerning my spiritual children too. When we take care of God’s children He’s the One Who is responsible to give us our wages, not man. If we serve men, then let us look to men to pay us. But if we serve the Lord, then let us look to Him alone to provide us our needs, in whatever way He sees fit. And let Him also decide how much we should receive each month. There is a dignity about a true servant of the Lord. "Take these children and nurse them for Me", says the Lord, "Bring them up for me and I will give you your wages". Those wages will not be in terms of money, primarily. I believe the Lord takes care of our earthly needs, since He taught us to pray for our daily bread and He has ordained that those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel. So He will take care of all our earthly needs. But there’ll be a far greater spiritual reward, in addition. Paul wrote to the Christians at Thessalonica that they were going to be his crown and his joy when the Lord returned (1 Thess.2:19). He found his delight in them, just as a father finds his delight in his children.
An elder (who is a spiritual father) will be delighted when he sees that believers, who came as raw material to his church once, have now become men of God. This is something akin to the delight a sculptor has when he has fashioned a shapeless rock into a human form. He had to chip away at that block for many months and years before the face and figure of the man came out of it! That is the work that God has given us to do too. We must never be satisfied with merely having instructed people correctly. If the image of Christ has not come forth in their lives, we have accomplished nothing at all.

Zac Poonen

WORD FOR THE WEEK - Christian Fellowship Church, Bangalore

What a glorious thing it is to be called of God!

Who Is My Neighbour?

"Love your neighbour as yourself" the Gospel says (Matthew 22:38). But who is my neighbor? We often respond to that question by saying: "My neighbours are all the people I am living with on this earth, especially the sick, the hungry, the dying, and all who are in need." But this is not what Jesus says. When Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan (see Luke 10:29-37) to answer the question "Who is my neighbour?" he ends the by asking: "Which, ... do you think, proved himself a neighbor to the man who fell into the bandits' hands?" The neighbour, Jesus makes clear, is not the poor man laying on the side of the street, stripped, beaten, and half dead, but the Samaritan who crossed the road, "bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them, ... lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him." My neighbour is the one who crosses the road for me!

Henri Nouwen - Daily Meditation

Recognizing Christ in Suffering Communities

Communities as well as individuals suffer. All over the world there are large groups of people who are persecuted, mistreated, abused, and made victims of horrendous crimes. There are suffering families, suffering circles of friends, suffering religious communities, suffering ethnic groups, and suffering nations. In these suffering bodies of people we must be able to recognise the suffering Christ. They too are chosen, blessed, broken and given to the world.
As we call one another to respond to the cries of these people and work together for justice and peace, we are caring for Christ, who suffered and died for the salvation of our world.

Henri Nouwen - Daily Meditation

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Body of Community

When we gather around the table and break the bread together, we are transformed not only individually but also as community. We, people from different ages and races, with different backgrounds and histories, become one body. As Paul says: "As there is one loaf, so we, although there are many of us, are one single body, for we all share in the one loaf" (1 Corinthians 10:17).

Not only as individuals but also as community we become the living Christ, taken, blessed, broken, and given to the world. As one body, we become a living witness of God's immense desire to bring all peoples and nations together as the one family of God.

Henri Nouwen - Daily Meditation

Heal the sick who are there and tell them, The kingdom of God is near you. Luke10:9


Friday, July 17, 2009

Today's Truth

God is an up-close and personal God. He met Nicodemus at night; He met the woman at the well of Samaria; He met the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda and He touched the blind man, giving him sight. As He walked through Jericho, Jesus saw a little man perched in a tree and called to him, "Zacchaeus, come down. We have a lunch appointment." He met Matthew at the customs' table and told him, "Rise, and follow me." We come to Jesus alone. There are no "group rates" when it comes to knowing God. It's always one-on-one and very personal. What you believe about Him in the silence and stillness of your own heart is what makes the difference in your life journey. The heart is where all spiritual transactions are made and the transformation process begins.

Mary Southerland

Psalm 139:14-16 "I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way. What you have done is wonderful. I know this very well. You saw my bones being formed as I took shape in my mother's body. When I was put together there, you saw my body as it was formed. All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old" (NCV).

Thursday, July 16, 2009


This morning I went to pray for an old sister who is about 80 years old. I saw her having pain on both her knees yesterday, especially when getting up from sitting position. I used The Elijah Challenge to rebuke the pain and the disease in Jesus name. After the first round she said the pain was lessened. Then after two more rounds of rebuking and commanding the legs to be healed in Jesus name, she told me she had no more pain and could jump up and down. Hallelujah! Glory be to our Almighty God.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


On the Day of Judgment when we stand before the Lord, can we account for our lack of obedience to His commands by referring to what others taught us? If our teachers do not give us the full counsel of God but instead tickle our itching ears, they will be judged strictly (James 3:1). But should we think that we will not be held accountable for being fruitless? We all have access to God’s Holy Word.Unfortunately in many churches today, the emphasis is on what to do in order to secure God’s blessings and comfort and “success” in this life. This teaching sells and brings the crowds. But Scripture warns us to beware of the many false prophets and false teachings which are proliferating in the end times. There is relatively very little teaching on what we must do in order to stand before the Son of Man on the great and dreadful day of His Coming. In light of eternity, this is far more important than God’s temporal blessings in this life on earth. Malachi 4:5 “Lo, I am sending to you Elijah the prophet, Before the coming of the day of Jehovah, The great and the fearful.” (Young’s Literal Translation)

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. James3:1

Pastor William Lau - How to have Confidence on the Day of Judgment

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Listening With Our Wounds

To enter into solidarity with a suffering person does not mean that we have to talk with that person about our own suffering. Speaking about our own pain is seldom helpful for someone who is in pain. A wounded healer is someone who can listen to a person in pain without having to speak about his or her own wounds. When we have lived through a painful depression, we can listen with great attentiveness and love to a depressed friend without mentioning our experience. Mostly it is better not to direct a suffering person's attention to ourselves. We have to trust that our own bandaged wounds will allow us to listen to others with our whole beings. That is healing.

Henri Nouwen - Daily Meditation

Sunday, July 12, 2009


If you have been keeping up with current events, you know that the story told by the media is very bleak. Unemployment numbers are at an all time high, crime is on the rise, marital relationships are deteriorating, thefinancial institutions and auto companies are failing, and life threatening diseases are killing thousands of people.
One could find themselves depressed, panicky, stressed and overwhelmed if they allowed these reports to rule their lives. And what's unfortunate is that the church sometimes seems to be just as scared right now as the world.
Which brings me to the question of where or in whom does your faith lay?
"For we walk by faith, not by sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7
If your faith is built on worldly institutions, then yes, you should be running to the hills fearing for your life.
But if you have built your faith in God, then your head should still be held high as you confidently go through each day knowing God is in control.
Now I am not foolish enough to think that we won't sometimes get discouraged and that worry may not creep up and rear its ugly head. But when those times come, we must seek God, maybe like we have never done before, to get through those times.
God knows that our faith will sometimes be shaken up. He just wants you to take that first baby step.
"If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20
Have you seen the size of a mustard seed? It's tiny!
So don't throw in the towel because you can't seem to muster up an overwhelming amount of faith.
Walk in the little bit you may have. And as you continue to seek God's face and direction, your faith will continue to grow.
It's just like a flower, you have to water it and nurture it in order to cultivate it.
And there is no better time than the present to start (or continue) that process.
Do it and watch God honor your commitment.
"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6
Tanya James

Beyond Jealousy

Jealousy arises easily in our hearts. In the parable of the prodigal son, the elder son is jealous that his younger brother gets such a royal welcome even though he and his loose women swallowed up his father's property (Luke 15:30). And in the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, the workers who worked the whole day are jealous that those who came at the eleventh hour receive the same pay as they did (see Matthew 20:1-16).
But the Father says to the older son: "You are with me always and all I have is yours" (Luke 15:31). And the landowner says: "Why should you be envious because I am generous?" (Matthew 20:15).When we truly enjoy God's unlimited generosity, we will be grateful for what our brothers and sisters receive. Jealousy will simply have no place in our hearts.
Henri Nouwen - Daily Meditation

Discovering God's Will for You

"I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart."1

How do you know what God's will is for you? Or how will you know if you are called of God?
Brent Porterfield, quoting from Frederick Buechner's book, Wishful Thinking, provides an answer well worth pondering. Buechner "says that a good rule for finding one's vocation is this: Our special mission in our life is usually one of the following:
A. That which we'd love most to do and B. It is work that the world most needs to have done.
"Buechner says that if we really get a kick out of our work, we have probably met requirement A, but if that work is writing TV deodorant commercials, chances are we haven't met requirement B. If our work is being a doctor in a leper colony, we probably have met requirement B, but if most of the time we are bored and depressed by doctoring, chances are we have not only bypassed A, we probably aren't helping our patients much either.
"Buechner concludes: 'The place God calls us to, is the place where our deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.'"2
Oswald Chambers described God's call this way: "The call of God is like the call of the sea to the sailor. Only he who has the nature of the sea within can hear the call."
Like a born-sailor who never rests until he answers the call of the sea and launches out into the deep, when God's Word is written in our heart, neither will we find rest until we do what we know in our heart what it is that God wants us to do. And when we answer that call, we too, like King David, will delight in God's ways and doing his work—no matter how humble or noble that may be.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you have a plan and purpose for every Christian, and that includes me. Like David of old, please give me a love for your Word and your ways so that I, too, will know and delight in doing your will and answering your call on my life. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Psalm 40:8 (NASB).
2. Brent Porterfield,

Acts International - Daily Encounter

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Tears of the Father

The father in the story of the prodigal son suffered much. He saw his younger son leave, knowing the disappointments, rejections and abuses facing him. He saw his older son become angry and bitter, and was unable to offer him affection and support. A large part of the father's life has been waiting. He could not force his younger son to come home or his older son to let go of his resentments. Only they themselves could take the initiative to return.

During these long years of waiting the father cried many tears and died many deaths. He was emptied out by suffering. But that emptiness had created a place of welcome for his sons when the time of their return came. We are called to become like that father.

Henri Nouwen - Daily Meditation

Friday, July 10, 2009


"Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow." (Psalm 144:4)

Every time I fly over a large body of water, I imagine opening the window of the jet and pouring out my coffee into the immense body of water below.
I imagine the time that I spend on this earth compared to eternity is no more than that cup of coffee. The incredible size of the ocean compared to one small cup of coffee is what our life is like compared to eternity.
Why then do we invest so much in temporal pursuits when we know that our investment here can have so much impact on our eternity?
It is the great paradox of human behavior, especially for Christians.
Does your life have an overall ministry objective to it?
This does not mean we must be constantly involved in "Christian activity." It only means that we should be about what God has called us to do with the motive of being obedient to this mission.
Do not let the worries and cares of this life keep you from having an eternal impact on the lives of those you meet each day.
Satan has a way of keeping our focus on the problems of today rather than the spiritual opportunities before us. He is master of the urgent, not the important.

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Os Hillman