God’s Seed

Within every seed, there is life and a program that determines its growth. The other day we were talking about the redwood tree in Northern California which is so large that roads are made through their trunks so that cars can pass through them. Redwood trees grow to an incredible height and live for centuries. This giant tree grows from a small seed.

God’s Seed

Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.

Mark 4:7-8

If the seed falls on good ground, the tree will grow to be mature and strong; otherwise its growth will be stunted.
Therefore, it is important for the farmer to prepare the soil well, so that the seed can take deep root. The seed that the farmer sows is a natural seed and will some day perish but the seed of God planted in our hearts is permanent.

In the above text we see that some of the seed fell among thorns. This means that the thorns prevented the seed from bearing fruit. Similarly, our heart is like the soil, so if our heart has divided interests, then the permanent seed of God’s word will not take root and grow, but will perish.

While the farmer sows good seed, the evil one tries to destroy the crop by sowing bad seed which produces thistles and thorns that prevent the good seed from growing.

In Matthew 13:26, Jesus talks about this subtle and devious act of the devil. He says “But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.”

Let us not be asleep and allow the devil to bring in the evil tares but let us be spiritually awake. When we fall asleep, we will become unconcerned about sin and slip into a state of luke-warmness which will hinder us from growing to be the ‘giant redwood trees’ that God desires us to become in Him.

The word says that heaven and earth will pass away but His word will not pass away. Therefore, let us beware and protect the seed of God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to settle it in our hearts to bear much fruit for His glory.

Dear Lord,
I want to be a like a tree planted by the waters so that I may draw from Your river and bear much fruit. Amen.

God bless you,
Theo and Manju

Pharisaical Attitude

Yesterday, we looked at the younger prodigal son; today we will look at the older son who remained at home.

The Pharisaical Attitude

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

1 John 2:9-11

The younger son left home out of rebellion but the older one worked hard, carried out his duties and lived, what appeared to be, a blameless life. However, inwardly he was selfish and unforgiving in nature. When his prodigal brother returned home, he did not rejoice. This was because of the bitterness that had built up in his heart, resenting his brother for squandering away their father’s wealth. He saw his brother as one who had cheated his father so he refused to come into the house when his brother returned.

The father, however, was very patient with the older son. His heart of unconditional love that caused him to run out of the home to bring the younger son back, now makes him go to plead with the elder son for reconciliation.

The Pharisaical mentality is duty bound and full of self-righteousness. There was no room for love in the heart of the older son and he did not want to reconcile with the father or the brother.

In today’s context, there are many of us who could be like the older brother. Are we merely duty bound when it comes to serving the Lord? May the love of Christ pour into our hearts so that we serve Him in love and thereby love our fellow brothers and our heavenly Father.

Dear Lord,
I thank You that You first loved me. You have picked me up from the miry clay and set my foot upon a rock. Help me to reciprocate the same love that You have given me to my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.

Parent Model

We do not develop habits of genuine love automatically. We learn by watching effective role models – more specifically by observing how our parents express love for each other, day in and day out. Josh McDowell

Parent Model

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.

Psalm 127:3

In the story of the prodigal son, the father loved both his children. His sons, however, did not enjoy an intimate relationship with their father so they didn’t appreciate him or love him. In spite of this, the father’s response to them did not change. He showed both his sons the same unconditional love.

Through his rebellion, the younger son left home, but when he had lost everything and after experiencing great hardship, he came to his senses. It was then that he said with great regret, “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger.” (Luke 15:17) This hard life lesson made him understand the love of the father and the blessings that even the servants in his household enjoyed.

On the other hand, the father waited patiently for a long time, enduring in faith. He did not count his losses or hold any offense against the prodigal son who had squandered his hard earned wealth. The father was a role model of unconditional love, forgiveness and generosity.

As parents, it is important for us to practise a walk of love because our children are watching us. It is our relationship with the eternal Father which will help us be a role model and win them over in our homes.
We are not perfect as we falter and make mistakes. However, if we do not cover up our failures but are humble enough to confess them before the Lord, He will restore and change us. Our family is a precious gift from God so let us love unconditionally, pray together and stay together.

Dear Lord,
I thank You so much that You have given me children. Help me to love them as You love and care for me. There is not a moment when You have let me down. May I never let my children down. Amen.

God bless you,
Theo and Manju

Will You Touch Him?

“I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe.” Smith Wigglesworth

Will You Touch Him?

Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.” Luke 8:43-45

The woman in the above verse had come to the realization that none of her natural resources could find a cure for her physical needs. At this point, she would have been totally exhausted and every hope would have been drained from her.

According to the Levitical law, women who were ceremonially unclean had to be separated from the public. Having suffered for 12 years, this woman would have felt much pain and rejection in being separated from others for so many years.

However, when she heard that the Messiah was able to make the blind eyes see and the deaf ears hear, her hope rose. Even though the crowd that surrounded the Lord made it difficult for her to get near Him, and even though she knew that she was unclean and was forbidden to be in the presence of others, she was aware of who Jesus was. She understood the love and the grace of the Lord and she was willing to surpass all her cultural barriers to reach out and grasp just the edge of His garment. That was the moment that she had waited for all her life; that very moment when she felt life flow into her body and her issue of blood ceased instantaneously. At that moment, all her years of suffering ceased and became something of the past.

Some of us are in the same situation as the woman. We have been drained both physically and emotionally as we have toiled for years and seen no life. Let our faith not waver. Let us understand that He is a God of great love and measureless grace. If we come to Him with the same faith as this woman and hold on to His garment, life will flow into every impossible situation.

Dear Lord,

Help me to persist and believe that it is given to me when I ask You in prayer. Today I believe that I have already received and rejoice in You. Amen.

God bless you,
Theo and Manju

Binding up their wounds

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender heart” – Henri Nouwen.

Binding up their wounds

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

Luke 10:33-34

In the story of the Good Samaritan we see that he got down from the donkey, bandaged the wounded man, and took him to the inn. He also went the extra mile to pay for all the costs and said that he would reimburse on his return any additional expenses incurred.
The Priest and the Levite also had the opportunity to care for the wounded man, but they chose to walk away because they considered their work more important.

This story is related to us by Jesus, and is relevant to us today. Work schedules and our commitment to do good work, crowd in to the extent that we do not have time to care for the broken hearted and the wounded. We too pass by the wounded and do not care to stop.

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and to those who are crushed in spirit. Let us not lose the opportunity to care for and bring them to the inn. The opportunity may be at your door.

Oh Lord,

You said “come unto me all those who are burden and heavy laden”, and said You will give them rest. I pray that we too, with your strength, will be able to comfort and bind up the wounds of those who are crushed in spirit. Amen.

God Bless you,
Theo and Manju

Honour your father and mother

“The family should be a closely knit group. The home should be a self contained shelter of security; a kind of school where life’s basic lessons are taught; and a kind of church where God is honoured; a place where wholesome recreation and simple pleasures are enjoyed.”

Billy Graham

Honour Your Father and Mother

“Honour your father and mother” – which is the first commandment with a promise – “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2-3

In the story of Joseph, we see he honoured his father and also cared for him until his death. Even though Joseph became the ruler of Egypt; a position where he had no lack and it would have been very easy for him to forget his beginnings, his heart was with his father and his family.

Exodus 20:12 says,“Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you” . Though this is one of the ten commandments given by God, some people may find it hard to honour their parents due to their poor parenting and repeated failures.

Joseph forgave his brothers in order to restore the family unity and the bonds of love and we are also called to do the same. Mark 11:25 says that we need to forgive those who trespass against us, so that our Father in heaven may also forgive us our trespasses.
Unforgiveness is the root cause of disunity in many families, as the bitterness planted by the enemy will steal the joy and peace from the relationships between the parents and the children. Most importantly unforgiveness affects our relationship with God. On the other hand, it is a blessing to let go of the past and choose to forgive. The best solution is to forgive, love each other despite everything, and pray for each other. If we choose this, our homes will truly becomes the shelter of security and love.

Today God wants the hatred and bitterness to be laid down as He is the source of love who can give the strength to forgive.

Dear Lord,
I thank You for my parents. I did not choose my parents but You chose them for me. Therefore I come to You this morning and ask You to forgive me for any offences that I have had against them, and I release them to You and love them in the name of Jesus. Amen.

God Bless you,
Theo and Manju

The Spirit of Truth

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”

Psalm 51:11-12

The Spirit of Truth

 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come”. John 16:13

While Jesus was with His disciples whom He loved, He taught, protected and cared for them.  Prior to His crucifixion knowing that He would soon be leaving the earth, Jesus spoke these comforting and strengthening words about the Holy Spirit, to His disciples.

Jesus’ words brought the assurance that the Holy Spirit will be their guide into the fullness of truth because like the Jesus, the Holy Spirit too represents to the world the eternal truth of God and His work is to seek the glory of Him that sent Him. For this reason, the Spirit will not speak of His own but will reveal things which are yet to come and that He also will convey to us what he hears from the Father.

Jesus expressed His total submission to the Father when He said “The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. John 16:10

How amazing is that we have His Spirit to guide and lead us into God’s truth! Like David, our one prayer should be that He will never leave us.

Prayer

Dear Lord many times we have grieved Your Holy Spirit in not giving Him the rightful place in our lives. We submit to You this morning and surrender to the leading of Your Spirit of Truth.  Amen

Theo & Manju

Outward Appearance

Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ, and seek to follow Him every day. Don’t be swayed by the false values and goals of this world, but put Christ and His will first in everything you do. Billy Graham

Outward Appearance

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

When an employer requires a new employee, he interviews prospective candidates to find out who will be suitable for the job. The interview process will give the employer an idea of the person’s skills and ability but it will not reveal the nature of his heart. In the same way, when Samuel was asked to choose the next king of Israel, he assessed David’s brothers from a natural point of view and his assumption was that they would all qualify for the role but God knew that their hearts were not right.

Many of us do physical exercise to keep our body in good condition but how many of us spend time to ensure that our hearts are right with God? “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8

We may appear to be good stewards by doing right in the sight of man, but the Lord looks at our heart and our attitude behind everything we do. Is it pleasing to God? Or are we motivated by selfish ambition?

The most important thing for us is to keep our hearts right before Him. How do we do this? We have to open our heart to Him and be transparent before God and man.

Dear Lord,
I want to thank You for this day and ask You to give me the heart of David so that I will be able to serve You and not man. Amen.

God bless you.
Your obedient servants in Christ,
Theo and Manju

Love One Another

There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love.
– Charles Stanley

Love One Another

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35

Love is a very common word and it is easy to say those three little words “I love you”. However, as God’s children we are called to live our lives as Jesus did, and to love one another. Are we able to do this? The love of God is unconditional and He loves us just as we are. He has picked each one of us up from the miry clay and is teaching us to be more like Him each day.

Therefore it will be good to remind ourselves that love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful.

We may choose to spend long hours in prayer, quote scriptures and regularly attend church with the desire to grow close to Him, but are we able to overlook an offence without taking revenge?

We need to seek the divine power of God, which give us everything we need for life, through faith in Him. The power of God enables us to love with His love, when our own feelings and emotions hinder us from loving others fully. The Word says that we need to seek Him so that we have this power in increasing measure. By having the power of God in us, we will not be ineffective or unproductive, but have the knowledge of Him and acknowledge His ways and live a life, demonstrating Christ. May we remain and walk in His love.

Dear Lord,
I thank You Lord that You picked me up and have given me a new life. Help me to see others through Your eyes so that I may exercise Your love in every situation. Amen.

God bless you,
Theo & Manju10

Church Fast Day 6

Today is our sixth day of fast. Already we have had many answers to prayers, and we want to thank and praise the Lord.

“And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’ … And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, ‘Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.’” (1 Kings 19:4,7 NKJV)

There are times when great success is followed by a time of profound disappointment and loneliness.

For Elijah, this time came immediately after having boldly and publicly stood up against the prophets of Baal. First Kings 19 says he longed for death under the broom tree (v. 4). Perhaps Elijah had unrealistic expectations after his victorious confrontation on Mount Carmel. Instead, he went into hiding with a heart full of fear and frustration.

When God allows the “train” of our prayers and ministry to finally “come in,” often the train stops, sometimes the momentum does, too. Getting the train back out of the station can take an overwhelming amount of energy. Christian leaders may struggle with exhaustion as they try to redirect and rebuild momentum for their next major challenge.

Elijah went through a dark period in his assignment, but in every moment of despair, God was present to care for his needs and keep him on course (vv. 5-7). Along our journey as ministers, we will experience times of loss, fear and frustration. But God will be with us to care for us and give us the strength we need to carry on.

Let us always be aware of His presence and keep moving forward in His grace.

—Eduardo Bogéa senior pastor of Iglesia El Calvario (Ontario Hispanic Foursquare Church) in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

TODAY’S PRAYER FOCUS

It is essential to pray for our leaders as much as we pray for our own needs

 

  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen and revitalise every minister and all in leadership
  • Pray for the Holy Spirit to make us sensitive to the Father’s voice.
  • Pray for the protection of all pastors and their families.

 

Pray for all the local churches

Pray for New Zealand and the peace in Jerusalem