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Remembered, Rescued, Restored

The story of David and Mephiboshet is not well known, but is a powerful story. Mephiboshet was the son of Jonathan, the grandson of King Saul. Even though Saul considered David to be an enemy and wanted to kill him, Saul’s son Jonathan was a friend of David. One time, Jonathan and David made a covenant before God that they would always love each other and be good to the family of each other for years to come (1 Samuel 20:16).

Mephibosheth was five years old at the time when both King Saul and Jonathan were killed in battle with the Philistines. The nurse took Mephiboshet and ran in panic and fell and the boy became lame in both feet. David later became king and after assuming his throne, he asked his servants to locate anyone from Jonathan's family to show kindness. They located Mephibosheth living in obscurity and in poverty in a remote and barren corner of the kingdom. When he was taken before David, Mephiboshet thought, “I’m going to be killed because of Saul.” But David …
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Stones in Our Path

Around 600BC, King Nebuchadnezer of Babylon invaded Judah and people were taken as captives to Babylon. The city of Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed into a heap of stones. Around 500 BC, a leader by name Zerubbabel went to rebuild with about 50,000 Israelites but got discouraged and quit. Later, Haggai and Zechariah tried and could not finish. Around 400 BC, the Persians took over Babylon and Nehemiah was chosen as a cupbearer to the King and later a governor (Nehemiah 1:11). His life in a foreign land was going well. When he heard about the condition of Jerusalem, he sat down and wept; he fasted and prayed. Then gathered his leaders and said, "come, let us rebuild Jerusalem so that we will no longer be in disgrace".

When news of shame and disgrace come upon us, as much as we should fast and pray we must rise up and regroup. We can look at the burned stones and be 'content with the way things are' or we can decide to use the stones to build monuments of su…

A call to adventure

Jesus called four fishermen to take up an adventure for a journey that would become a story bigger than themselves. Fishermen are not highly educated or eloquent and many are probably introverts. They work hard in very difficult conditions where they have to face fierce waves and storms. They are persistent and patient, hardworking and action oriented. They never know what a new day is going to be like. They take chances everyday. They would not be detracted by a bad catch of the previous day, rather they put their hopes in the next day.

The ministry of Jesus requires opening our lives from an inward looking perspective to an outward looking vision. All of us have heard or will hear God's call to take up adventures like Abraham, Moses, David and many others. Dictionary meaning of the word adventure is 'taking up unkown risk'. It might be a chance to go somewhere, stand up for something or work in a place. In the parable of the laborers in the vinyard (Matthew 20), the …

Poor in spirit

Matthew chapter5 teaches the beatitudes, "Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God". Being poor in spirit is not taking vows of poverty, instead it is a condition of the heart. According to Matthew Henry's Bible commentary, “the poverty of spirit is a gracious disposition of the soul, by which we are emptied of self, in order to our being filled with God”. In Luke Chapter 4, the Lord Jesus read from the Book of Isaiah (Chapter 61) while he was in the temple that gives us a deeper insight into this beatitude. "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free and proclaim the year of Jubilee (acceptable year of the Lord)”.

After Israel conquered Canaan, the land was assigned to Israel’s clans and families as described in Numbers 26 and Joshua 15-22. The land was never to be sold in…

Beatitudes and Similitudes

In the first few verses of Matthew Chapter 5 we see 'the beatitudes' that portray the character of a person. These are being poor in spirit, being meek in heart, being peace makers and so on. Jesus then teaches the hearers of beatitudes to become influencers of the world by becoming 'the salt and the light'. These are called 'simlitudes', a word that comes from the word ‘similar’. If we put beatitudes together with similitudes, we can see that 'out of our character emerges influence'. The early church was greatly shaped by the beatitudes and the similitudes. We all make influence in the world during and after our lives. We are also being influenced by the people who have lived and died before us.

Salt has some very interesting history. It was highly valued and was used as a method of trade and currency. Historians report that Ceasar's soldiers were paid salary by means of salt. The word used for that practice is called 'salarium' from w…

All Permissible things are not useful

A restaurant in Las Vegas called 'Heart Attack Grill' came on the news when a customer had a heart attack while eating in the restaurant. People weighing over 350 pounds can eat free there. The menu lists 'triple bypass' burger and 'quadruple bypass' burger with a slogan that says "taste worth dying for." After dinner, you will be taken to your car in a wheel chair by waitresses who are dressed in nurse uniforms.

We may not like to eat at the Heart Attack Grill, but we may sail too close to the wind many times. 'Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food' was a slogan used by the teachers in Corinth (1 Cor 6:13). They believed that the body is going to perish one day and so you may do anything to gratify the body. Paul is trying to direct them to a more healthy and expedient way of life by giving them a new and radically different slogan: "The body is for God and God is for the body." Though the body is perishable, God w…

A Star in the East

The Star of Bethlehem, or Christmas Star, appears only in the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 2). We are used to hearing the stories and songs that depict a star 'westward leading still proceeding' that gives a picture of the star going from East to West as a group of men followed. A closer reading of the passage says otherwise. The Magi had already arrived at the palace in Jerusalem when Matthew starts the story. They told King Herod, “we saw his star in the east.” The Greek text here translates that into: "we saw his star rising in the East." They were astrologers who studied the plaentary movements and by some calculations connected such movements with events. These gentile people had seen an unusual new star in the sky and pursued the search for the meaning, while the religious leaders and King Herod missed the Messiah entirely!

We too may miss the message in the midst of our busy schedules. The precious may go unnoticed in the heap of the worthless. In the midst …

There is a Time and a Season

Mark Twain said, “Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.” Life is full of events with a combination of contrasts.

The author of Ecclesiastes, believed to be Solomon, illustrates this truth in chapter 3 by comparing the opposites: fourteen pairs of contrasting activities as examples of how life is comprised of various seasons. A straightforward reading of the passage reveals that there are good and bad events listed. He is not justifying one over the other, rather states that God's plan for life involves a variety of experiences and activities. Weeping may be part of life, but life is not all weeping; laughter has its place. Construction is good in its time, but sometimes deconstruction is unavoidable. Wars may not be good, but become a reality at times.

Everyone goes through good times and bad times; together they make up the season of life. It's not the times of our lives that shape us, but the sea…

Love Conquers

A Ninety eight year old man testified in church that he had no enemies. Then the minister said, “What a wonderful Christian life you lead! Please tell us all how it is that you have no enemies.” He said, “Oh I had a lot, all of those fools have died!”. Sadly as we go through life for better or worse, and no matter how hard we try, we will gather up some enemies. There are people whom we’ve angered, or those who are jealous of us or those who have set themselves against us for no good reason. It’s a sad reality of human life.

Jesus said, "I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you". Jesus was not teaching them anything new. Rather, He was directly referring to the law God had given them through Moses with His signature. "You shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord." (Lev 19:18). We do not love others to go to heaven. Rather love is a reflection of Christian faith…

Home for Christmas

In the musical fantasy film 'The Wizard of Oz', a little girl by name Dorothy leaves her home in Kansas in a dream and travels to another world. In the dream land of Oz, everything appeared vibrant and interesting, fascinating and more attractive than Kansas had ever been. But the characters she met there taught her deeper and more lasting lesons than bright colors and magical experiences. Dorothy learned about faith, hope and love. She learned what it means to have a brain, to have a heart and to have courage. She also learned the truth that she could always go home by saying “There’s no place like home.”

When we strip away the traditional Christmas rituals like the TV specials, the magical lights, the gifts and the music, what remains is 'home'. It is the beating heart of the holiday that reflects our primal need to have a meaningful relationship with a setting – a place that transcends the boundary between the self and the physical world. One of the first questio…

Firm Foundation

Earthquakes are prevalent in the Pacific Rim region known as the “Ring of Fire” where ninety percent of the world’s earthquakes occur. Buildings in the city of Hong Kong have been built on granite, which could help minimize damage in the event of an earthquake. The foundation of buildings is extremely important in earthquake-prone regions of the world. A strong faith has to be built on a solid foundation that can withstand the forces of trials and tribulations of life.

Faith: The integrity of Christian faith is built on Christ as the corner stone, who was rejected by people but chosen by God. "You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." (1 Peter 2:4).

Doctrine: The integrity of the Christian Doctrine is based on the Living Word, Christ who is the rock of salvation. When you are challenged with questions on why you believe what you believe, the word of …

A Shepherd's Story

God chose to announce the good news of Christ’s brith to a group of shepherds in the field who had no social standing and no voice in the community. It would make sense to proclaim His arrival to those who had the ability and authority to spread the news throughout the world. The mayor of Bethlehem did not get the announcement. The High Priest in Jerusalem was left out of the loop. The Caesar and the members of his Royal court were not informed. The palace didn’t hear it nor the temple was aware.

Instead of choosing the powerful and the religious, God chose the people who were doing what they did every day and every night. He chose the people who were going through the routines of life, people working hard and raising their families. He chooses the ugly and the unwanted to show the world that He is not a respecter of persons but He is a respector of souls.

Many people are still ignorant of the birth of Christ. He has not come to judge us, but to reveal the good news that each one …

The Lord is my Shepherd

Many animals and birds have some sort of an order and structure in their community. It has long been known that chimpanzees have leaders to guide in their travel, chickens have a pecking order and wolves have a structured leadership and division of labor. Lions have a patriarchal style of leadership, while elephants have strong matriarchal leaders. The ways that leaders in such groups promote those collective actions is still a mystery. Sheep on the other hand have no formal structure in their flock. They don’t know how to negotiate or navigate through their worlds. A sheet of paper blown by the wind will frighten them. A thunderstorm may throw them into a panic. They may drown without a struggle while crossing a stream. Fire in a building where sheep are kept may destroy a whole flock, because they are too frightened to flee. They need an external source of leadership to bring order and structure for their survival.

The Bible often refers to human beings as sheep (Ps. 100:3; Isa. 5…

Highway in the desert

For those of us that drive regularly, highways are places of stress due to heavy traffic, accidents, and construction. There is a highway in Jordan named The Desert Highway, a stretch of over 300 miles through the desert. You need to keep a good look out in case a donkey, a goat or a camel is wandering across that are the only friends you might see. Highway signs are no help because many of them are in Arabic only. A Highway policeman told an American tourist, "When you see signs that are both in English and Arabic, that is for you. When you see a sign in Arabic alone, you just ignore it!!"

There are times in our lives when we are left out in the desert highways of fear and anxiety. It can be the wilderness of someone who has been diagnosed with an illness or someone struck with grief by the separation of a loved one. But the good news is that in these desert places God establishes highways so that those who can’t see a way out might regain their sight of hope. Those who …

Each according to ability

'From each according to one's ability to each according to need' is a slogan that Karl Marx tried to make popular in the 19th century. Communists, particularly, Marxists use class analysis as their basic method for understanding society and recognize that fairness has a lot to do with the needs of a person.

In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, Jesus talks about a wealthy man who gave money to three servants based on their ability. One received 5 talents, the others 2 and 1 respectively and made them his business partners for a period of time. Two of the servants went to work immediately with the money and doubled. The person with one talent did not do anything with it and he was punished rather harshly.

A socialist ethic pervades in the form of fairness in the world today where equal distribution is considered fair. We hear more leaders favor social leveling and redistribution of income. We are taught that the inequality that exist among people are somehow no…

Give Thanks in Everything

Matthew Henry, the famous Bible scholar was robbed by thieves. He wrote in his diary: "Let me be thankful first, because I was never robbed before; second, although they took my wallet, they did not take my life; third because it was I who was robbed and not I who robbed." The Bible says, "Give thanks in everything" (1 Thess 5:18).

Only one of the ten lepers healed by Jesus came back to thank Him (Luke 17). The others probably ran back to their families and children they had been missing for so long since lepers were isolated away from the community. We tend to concentrate on the gift more than the giver. Thanks is forgotten when the receiver overlooks the giver and gets preoccupied with the gift. When our children were young, we used to plae gifts under the Christmas tree. On Christmas morning, they were so excited that they would just rip open the wrappers with out taking time to notice the name of the giver written on the tag.

The one leper who was healed and …

A Mountain For Mortals

After Apollo 15 mission to the moon, astronaut James Irwin wrote about his experience in space. He said that he was a witness to both the glory of God and and plight of man on earth when he experience the weightless body floating in space and seeing the rising crescent of the earth.

On the mount of Transfiguration, people from heaven joined people on earth to witness the glory of God in light of the plight of man. Moses and Elijah from heaven met with Peter, James and John and witnessed the declaration from heaven, “He is the beloved Son, Listen to Him!” to testify that 'law and prophets' have given way to 'grace and truth'. John later wrote, "We have seen His glory" (John 1:14) and Peter wrote, "We were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2 Peter 1:16-18). When Moses met God at Mount Sinai, he forbid people from going near (Exodus 19). Jesus came to take people to the Mount Zion where mortals meet the immortal (Hebrews 12). Moses and Elijah came down …

Eye That Never Sleeps

Helix Nebula is a massive cloud in the outer space referred to as “a trillion-mile tunnel of glowing gases.” It looks like the blue iris of a human eye when viewed through the Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers call it the “Eye of God.” We may use it as a reminder of God's constant vigilance on us. "The One who keeps you never sleeps nor slumbers" (Psalm 121).

God's care gives us peace in troubles, protection in our dangers and provision for our needs. God’s eye was on Hagar in the desert, on prophet Elijah in his fear, on Jonah in the depth of the sea, on Daniel in the lion’s den, on Jesus in his trials, and on many others. God’s eye watches over you regardless of where you are.

There is technology now that can transcribe your eye movements into words. I recently read a devotional written by a lady by name Gail Babula, who is paralyzed from the neck down. She wrote the whole article with the use of her eyes. Even when we are in situations where we cannot spea…

Decisions Decide Destiny

Jack Welch, the former CEO and management expert said, "Control your own destiny or someone else will." Ronald Reagan learned that at a very young age. When he was a child, his aunt took him to a shoe store to make him some custom-made shoes. The shoe maker asked if he wanted shoes with square toe or round toe. He couldn’t make up his mind. When he went back to pick up the order, he found out that one was round and other was square. If you don’t make decisions in a timely manner someone else might and you may not like them.

Making important decisions are very difficult to many people. A presidential candidate in the US was asked why he did not enlist and avoided the Vietnam War. He could have answered that he had the legal rights to not enlist. Instead he candidly replied, "I didn't know back then that I'd be standing before you today." In other words, "If I had known what I know now, I would have made a different choice." Many people have echoe…

Goodness and Mercy

The International Happiness Day is observed on March 20 every year as decided by UN conference on Happiness. World Happiness Index is released annually by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). They measure countries and regions on a Gross National Happiness (GNH) index. The success of a country would be measured by its citizens' happiness.

In the recent years, countries like Norway and Denmark ranked on the top and Syria at the bottom, and US ranked around 14. The reasons of declining happiness reported were decline of social support and increase in corruption. The main factors found to support happiness were caring and security. Many countries have taken steps to improve their happiness index. Dubai established a department to improve happiness while the UAE appointed a minister of happiness.

But studies have indicated that happiness is not based on objective circumstances. A study on Olympic medalists discovered that those who won Bronze were h…

Waiting to Cross

While working with a lawyer on some legal matters, I wanted to get answers to some scenario questions. What if the customer doesn't pay, what if there is a property damage, what if there is a liability case etc. The lawyer took my list and scribbled his answers. To most of them he wrote, “we will cross that bridge when we get there”. There I learned that there is no need to know the answers to all scenario questions. Most of them will not happen, and if they happen we need to face them with the resources that are available at that time.

Joshua and the people were at the brink of the river Jordan, but there was no bridge (Exodus 3). They must have felt a sense of desperation and disappointment. The promised land was in sight and a flooded river stood as obstacle. They spent three days waiting there looking at the torrential flood and listening to the roaring water. We wish God would give answers to the 'what if' questions before we get there. It would be easy if God woul…

A Hard Lesson by a Private Tutor

Mother Teresa said, "Loneliness is the greatest poverty." In spite of the blessings like the social media, virtual friends and user groups, loneliness seems to be increasing. No generation has had more amusements and entertainments than ours, but there has never been more lonely people. We live more in what is called 'Elevator experience' with a crowded place, physically close to each other, but no one talks.

Loneliness is no respecter of person. It affects the poor and the rich, infants and seniors, the strong and the weak. David in the cave, Joseph in the pit, Elijah by the brook; Job in his affliction; Moses when people worshipped idol; Jesus in Gethsemane and on Calvary are all examples from the Bible who experienced loneliness. The writer of Psalm 102 wrote, “I resemble a pelican of the wilderness, an owl of the desert and I have become like a lonely bird on a housetop".

Loneliness is a private tutor who offers a free course which will make you a stron…

The Back Side of God

Moses asks God to show His glory, and God said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live" (Ex 33:20). Do we die if we see God’s face, and we can live if see his back? Do we have to die to see God's face? Was Moses agreeing to less than the best and got less than he asked for?

During the recent Solar Eclipse, people had to use special glasses with filters or other devices. Those who dared to look directly, damaged their eyes. If looking at the Sun's brightness is detrimental, how much more devastating can it be to see the brighness of God, "who dwells in unapproachable light"? (1 Tim. 6:16)

God said, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy" (Verse 19). The pople have sinned and Moses needed to see God's grace, not justice at this situation. The cleft of the rock was a safety place for Moses in his anxiety and fear. God understands and knows our situations, and He will show the side that is the best for us. Humanity can se…

Limited Time Offer

We hear limited time offers quite frequently for selling products or services. If you don't buy before a deadline, you lose your opportunity. Someone has started a clock and the customers are drawn into a sense of urgency. All good deals have a finality to their offers. Life is a limited time offer with a closing day ahead approaching faster than you would like. A bumper sticker said, “Caution: the days in calendar are closer than they look”.

This is a reminder for today rather than a threat about tomorrow. The good news is that we are alive, and still have opportunities. God has extended the offer another day. An opportunity missed means it is lost. We still have time to make priorities straight.

Wisdom teaches us to number our days (Psalm 9:12). “One day Manna stopped”. It stopped coming one day, just as it started one day. "It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark and when God shut the door of the ark". Grace and Salvation are limited time and have a finality to…

A Tearful King

A little boy was sick and couldn't go to church on Palm Sunday. When His father returned from church with a palm branch the boy asked, "Why do you have that palm branch"? The Dad said, "When Jesus came into town, everyone waved palm branches to honor Him". The little boy replied, "The one Sunday I miss, is the Sunday that Jesus shows up!"

A lot of people missed the visitation of God. Jesus shed tears at this saying, "you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God" (Luke 19:44). Jesus shed tears at various situations like the tomb or Lazarus and the garden of Gathsemane. Shedding of tears is a complex chemical process. Analyses have shown that the chemical composition of tears vary at different emotions. Tears of sadness contain significantly greater quantities of potassium, manganese and the hormone prolactin than tears of joy or anger.

Jesus wept over Jerusalem because the people didn't know who has come into their city…

Easter Shopping

Easter Sunday is celebrated among Christians with night prayer vigils, sunrise service and Easter processions. Girls and boys wear beautiful white clothes with laces, and shawls on their heads with beautifully decorated faces in Easter Parades. In the early Christian communities, baptisms were celebrated on Easter Sunday where the people who were to be baptized wore spotless white robes as a sign of their new life in Christ.

Christian experience is compared to a change of clothing with a "new self". Old items like anger, wrath, malice, pride, slander, abusive language, and lying are stripped off and clothed afresh with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience (Colossians 3).

You cannot find these items in the 'Morality Mall'. Garments like goodness, patience, compassion and kindness can only be picked only up at the 'Resurrection Mall' because while standing beside the resurrected Christ, one finds really poorly dressed, and realizes that s…

A Triumphant Mother

A small boy got lost in the mall and frantically called “Sally! Sally Sally!”. The mother came running to him quickly and said, “you shouldn’t call me ‘Sally’, I’m your Mother”. The boy answered, “Yes, I know, but this store is full of mothers”. Mothers are special to all of us. Mothers work tirelessly and wear any hat that fits the situation to take care of others. A study found that women who never had to raise children enjoyed the equivalent of an extra three months a year in leisure time!

History is indebted to great mothers like Jochebed (mother of Moses), the mother at Zarephat (1Kings 17), the Shunemite mother (2Kings 4), Sarah, Hagar, Hannah, Mary, Eunice, Susanna Wesley and many others. Abraham Lincoln said, “ All I am, I owe to my mom”.

The Canaanite woman (Matthew 15, Mark 7) was one of persistent faith that crossed barriers and became a triumphant mother. She hasn’t made any confession of faith. There’s no sign she was baptized or she joined a church. She simply cal…

The Lord is My Chef

Jesus prepared table for 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish, and then to another 4000 people with 7 loaves and fish. Jesus hosted a table on the night before his death and ate with the disciples after resurrection. He promised that He has gone to prepare a heavenly banquet so that His people can feast with Him.

God hosted the people of Israel with Manna in the desert. Why did God give them Manna? They had sheep, milk or meat that they could eat. The Scripture says that they were fed with a heavenly bread. Asaph calls it “grain from heaven" (Psalm 78:24). It was not a product of the earth. God gave it to them freely and they didn't have to work for it in the hard desert life. As they stepped into the promised land, Manna stopped. God will feed you with heavenly bread in the desert and fruit of the land in Canaan. He knows what you need at the situation of your life you are in.

God prepared a table for David before his enemies. When we are invited to the table, we are t…

The Lord is my portion

The word 'portion' used in the context of dieting as in how much portion of something you eat on a given day or period. In the Bible it is used with a wider meaning that include someone’s inheritance or property.

David says that his boundary lines have fallen in the best places becasue it is not about what he owns, rather who he owns. The God who created everything is his portion and that is the best portion you can ever get. For us, the concept of goodness is relative. I'm good because I could have been worse. I'm good because some people are worse. We have this stunning way of focusing on missing things in life when surrounded by a staggering abundance of blessing.

We miss God's goodness that is all around us. I got up this morning and gravity worked perfectly and I was able to standup. My cell phone still worked-both voice and data. The sun rose in the East, and the clouds poured out the rain. I can still taste coffee, smell perfume, hear music, see beauty,…

The Lord is My Friend

A commencement speaker said, “About ten years from now, two things will influence you the most: the books you read and the friends you make.” He added, “Choose them both very carefully!”

Friendship has many faces. On Facebook, you can 'friend and unfriend people', that you can turn on and off like a faucet. The fair weather friends will remain so long as the weather is fair. There are friends in passing like the mailman or dry cleaner. We have a bond of trust with these people and we need these friends.

The winning definition in a magazine survey says, "a friend is someoen who comes in when the whole world has gone out". A true friend believes in you, when you cease to believe in yourself and is a source of celebration when you feel that there is nothing to celebrate. Loving friends want to give more than to receive. You can give without love but you cannot love without giving.

Jesus called his disciples 'friends' even when He knew that one would betra…

A Gift Nobody Wants

Nobody likes pain. The nature of human condition is to avoid pain and distance ourselves from it. Stanley Stein, the author of a book by name "Alone No longer" says that for him, physical pain is a 'gift' that he wanted badly. Due to lack of pain, his body started to die part by part. He calls it, "painless hell".

Generally, pain does not dampen life. More than anything, it frees us to enjoy normalcy in this life. Without it, we would lead unbalanced, paranoid lives, encountering unknown dangers, never confident that we weren't destroying ourselves. Pain is the great inhibitor which help us getting in danger. Pain can be a good teacher, if we try to learn from it.

Pain is also a great equalizer that makes us all brothers and sisters in a very special way. One of the reasons I love reading the Bible is how it explains the concept of pain. Unlike other books, The Bible teaches us to embrace suffering with joy if it comes. It simply gives the assura…

Happiness: A surprising bonus of life

One of the major online retailer's internal slogan says, "Work Hard. Make History. Have Fun." Working hard is a culture they encourage in the company, and they constantly make history. They revolutionized the shopping habits of people. The company owner says, "we have processes in place to make everyone productive and then we will make history. But having fun is a personal choice you make. Nobody can make you happy".

Philip Yancey in one of his books says, "Happiness is a by-product, a surprising bonus of life". In fact, making happiness your goal in life may cause you to be one of the most selfish people around. You become self-centered as you continually consider how you can make yourself happier.

It seems that most of our struggles to be happy revolve around wanting something we don’t have or having something we don’t want. Yes, happiness evades precision and recedes from those who pursue her. It is your response to life's situations tha…

Out of the mouth of babies

Little 4 year old Jane was heard praying like this: "Dear God, Instead of letting people die, and having to make new ones, why don't you just keep the ones you got now"? Whether they are asking the tough questions about life or having a chat with God, the simplicity of children's love and trust is soothing to us.

David says in Psalm 8 that out of the mouth of babies comes the revelation of God's majesty and human dignity. Everything in this universe requires something to cause or continue or sustain it. But God does not require a cause like any other because He has no needs outside of Himself. David says that it is “from the mouth of infants and nursing babies You have established strength” (Psalm 8:2)! John Calvin said that the process of the conception and birth of an infant displays God’s splendor so clearly that a nursing infant brings the greatness of God showed in the dignity of his creation, a baby.

Although man is small in size compared to God's v…

Where is God when it hurts?

A man looked agitated during Sunday School. When he got out and and started pacing up and down the hallway, a friend asked him, “What’s the trouble?”. He replied, “The trouble is, I’m in a hurry, but God isn’t.” It is not uncommon to feel like God is taking a long time or not even paying attention.

Silence of God can be scary and frustrating for a believer. David wrote a number of Psalms including Psalm 13 when 'God seemed to be distant in his life. We can see Asaph in Psalm 79 and Elihu in the book of Job asking similar questions.

Most of us believe that where God is, there is no misery. We think that all is well when we have faith. But Jesus came to this world to turn that around when He said, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst and mourn". As believers in Christ, we can rest assured that ‘Where there is misery, there is God’. Jesus voluntarily embraced misery in order to share ours. A great author puts it like this, "Where misery is, there is the Messia…

Seed is powerful

The Seed is the Word

The National Geographic News reports about a tree named "Methuselah" that was sprouted out of a 2,000-year-old seed. Pictures are posted on their website, A seed is full of life, power and potential. The power of plant life is in the seed. In the right environment, a seed will germinate. Your physical senses are incapable of judging whether a seed is alive or not. As a seed begins to grow, it will push up dirt, rocks, or other the obstacles in its way as it grows to a huge tree.

Jesus said, “The words I have spoken to you are full of the Spirit and life” (John 6:63). "The seed is the Word of God" (Luke 8:11) that will sprout and produce fruits at the right time, at the situation we are in. God’s Word become the comfort of our souls at times of distress, as well as the healing balm when we are sick. People read it in joyful times and sad times, in sickness and in wellness, in peace and in the warfront.


Eyes on the Prize

You may have heard the story of the hare and tortoise. The race starts, the hare soon leaves the tortoise behind and, confident of winning, takes a nap midway through the race. When the hare awakes however, he finds that his competitor, crawling slowly but steadily, has arrived before him.

Running a good race requires focus, physical exertion, and perseverance. From start to finish, you lay all distractions aside, and remain focused on one thing – moving forward and finishing the race. You don’t look back, you don’t turn around, and most important of all, you don’t quit.

You cannot drive a car safely by constantly looking at the rear view mirror. Rearview mirrors of life may distract you with the failures of the past. Looking back can cost you valuable opportunity ahead. Learn to forgive yourself and free from the burden of guilt. Forgive others as God has forgiven you and lighten your load. Align your goals with God’s goal for your life and reach forward and grasp hold of God’s w…

God's Strange Sweet Surprises

‘Surprise’ is defined by dictionaries as an unexpected or astonishing event, fact, or thing. Only humans have surprises. We are limited by time and space. God is not limited and does not have unexpected events, fact or thing. He is the author of all things and controls all events. In Genesis 18, we see old man Abraham, 99 years of age, sitting tired and sleepy at the entrance to his tent. Two strangers show up and tell him, "about this time next year, Sarah your wife will have a son” (Gen. 18:10). Sarah who was about 90 years old heard that and tried to stifle her reaction to laugh. She has heard that story before; for the last twenty-four years, to be exact. God promised Abram that he woul become the father of many nations. A lot of events and places have passed by in their journey. Now they are old and tired and with hurt emotions. Then the hurt turned to anger, and the anger to cold resignation. Well, funny! “Sarah laughed to herself" (Genesis 18:12).

Life teaches us th…

The Ugly child Economics

The Bible is a book that is brutally honest and unsentimentally realistic. We can read about the strengths as well as the weaknesses of the characters. We read about Abraham's strong faith, but also his weakness when lies about Sarah being his sister. We read about David's successes, but we cannot ignore the sins he committed including murder. We read about Jacob who seemed to delight in trickery and deceit to achieve success until he meets Laban. The one who cheated his own father now gets cheated by his father-in-law; not once, not twice, but ten times!!! (Gen 31:7). Jacob and Laban are portrayed as two shrewd business men in the story. Jacob negotiated seven years for Rachel, but ended up working for Laban fourteen years and ended up with two wives which was nowhere in in his business plan.

Laban used the 'ugly child hostage' economics here. He thought that chances of Leah getting married was slim, may due to her 'cross or weak' eyes. So he used the princ…

Glad tidings in sad times

Trust in times of Trouble

"Though the waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake, there is a river" Psalm 46:3

Whatever problems rage against us, God’s Spirit is the ever-flowing river who sustains us and gives us gladness even while we’re under siege (Ps. 46:4). God is our refuge and resource in times of trouble. His river of grace and peace flows through the middle of the city.

When future looks bleak and surroundings look dry and barren, God is our source of comfort. A crisis does not make a person; a crisis reveals a person. In a time of trial, you turn to what you trust. An alcoholic turns to the bottle. An addict turns to drugs. A atheist turns to the wise men. A Christian should turn to the Lord. When trouble strikes, He is sufficient to get you through. God's promise to His people is the peace that flows like a river in the midst of turmoil. "I will extend peace like a river". (Isaiah 66:12)

Fulll sermon audio: Mathew Philip

God was there; I didn't know it

Jacob awoke from his sleep with the sudden recognition "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know it" (Genesis 28: 16)

Jacob ran from home, leaving the security of parents and friends. The security of the son has been replaced by the dangers of the night. The comfort of his parents’ tent has been replaced by the wide open desert. Behind him lays Beersheba, where Esau waits to kill him. It was night when Jacob found a place to lie down and sleep. The setting of the sun, with the loss of its light and warmth, signifies the loss of energy of faith from life as he lingered in self-centered ideas and plans. It relates to me personally. I dont know about you. The self centerd nature of our own self casts its dark shadow over our life and we fall into a deep spiritual sleep. But in that depression, comes a heavenly dream. He saw in his dream of a ladder going up to heaven. He saw angels climbing up and down the ladder between earth and heaven.

God brings heaven dow…