Devotionals . 1 - 24

For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ    John1:17.
Grace was poured out in abundance, through the cross of Calvary on which Christ died, to reach the whole world. Grace alone could restore lost humanity back to God. The source of all grace is God, who freely distributes it, to every unworthy sinner seeking it. It is unmerited favour bestowed upon us by God. We do not deserve it, we cannot earn it, we can never find it on our own but by the mercy of God. Out of His fullness we all have received grace.
We are saved by grace, we live by grace, we overcome sin in our lives by grace, we serve Him by grace and by His grace all our needs are met whether they be spiritual or physical. Grace is not cheap, it cost God His own son. His grace is new every morning and is sufficient for us to face life as it comes. Grace helps us in our time of need, it becomes our strength when we are weak and enables us to do things which we could not do otherwise.
Believer, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus ! God has planned your life to be lived by His grace. All of us who have tasted His love can testify that what we are, we are just because of His never ending grace. David said “For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His grace toward them that fear Him.” Let us continue to receive grace from His unsearchable riches because the Lord is good and His grace endures forever.
Grace, all sufficient grace, through Jesus freely embrace.
– P.Upender
the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7.
This is the blessed promise for all who make their dwelling in the Lord Jesus Christ ! Peace, the greatest longing of any soul in the world, can only be received from God. The peace of the world is like a passing wind, but the peace of God is like a gentle breeze that blows all the time. It surpasses all human understanding. It can only be experienced through our relationship with Christ. Real peace is based on the assurance that our sins are forgiven and God is in control of every detail of our life as He is leading us into etemallife.
Paul writing from the prison to the Church of God, admonishes us to be assured of this wonderful privilege. Paul was imprisoned in a roman garrison, chained to the guards, gives a powerful picture of the work, of the peace of God in our lives. The English word ‘keep’ translated from the Greek word ‘Phroureo’ means garrison, to guard, to prevent hostile invasion. The roman garrison comprised of sixteen soldiers, a batch of four used to guard the four watches of a day each. The peace of God surrounds a believer like a garrison of soldiers and guards his heart and mind all the time from every attack of anxiety, worry, fear, discouragement, depression and doubt.
The key to such a life is being united with Christ and then His peace does the miracle. You may be facing trials or may be going through a terrible suffering but when you are in Christ, His peace guards your heart and mind from the disastrous attack and keeps you safe. Prayer releases the power of peace into your life. Living constantly in His presence allows the peace of Christ to rule in your hearts. Amen.
Peace of the world does not last long, Peace of God, 0 believer keeps you strong.
– P.Upender
Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.    1 Peter 5:7.
What a privilege awaits a child of God ! He makes a deal with us, exchanging His peace for our burdens. A great deal indeed. Worry is never God’s will for us. God called us not to worry but to rest. We are safe in His mighty hands. God is in control of our lives. The cross of Calvary stands good to prove it. Jesus said, ” Do not worry about anything in life “. Worries, anxieties, and cares of life robs away our joy, peace and crush us down. Worry is against faith and leads to unbelief. It is from hell, originated from the devil. A weapon against God’s people.
The word” Cast” means “to throw upon” or to “roll over on”, so we are commanded to lift the sack of all our cares and throw it upon or roll over to Jesus. When you go to get your watch repaired, you will leave it with the repairer to work on it. But if you just tell him what the problem is and again bring back your watch then it will be as it was earlier. Do not hold your worries back but leave them with God. We should not be anxious for anything but pray. Someone has rightly said, “Worry is like fighting shadows”. Take up the shield of faith and fight the fiery darts of worry from the enemy.
Learn to live on the plane where God wants you to live. There is One mighty enough to carry all your burdens so take heart. It would be wise on the part of all the children of God to lead a care – free life. Worry of tomorrow will not allow you to live your today. Trust in God and dependence on Him is the remedy for all your cares. Thank Him for His sustaining power. Amen.
On Christ, cast all your cares ; for He truly cares.
– P.Upender
“Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine, In the very heart of your house, Your children like olive plants all around your table.”        Psalm  128:3
A Christian home is the place where God commends His greatest blessing ! Its scope is beyond our comprehension, because it goes down through many generations. It transcends time and seasons in giving that blessed fruit which satisfies many in the service of God. This home has come out of God’s own description of that which is good and it stands good when it is built upon the Rock Jesus Christ. God’s concern about the whole family is wonderful and varied. His work of grace in every life, comes out as a mighty testimony of His total care.
“The beauty of the house is order; The blessing of the house is contentment; The glory of the house is hospitality; The crown of the house is godliness.” An old motto often placed above fireplaces. Yes, the crown that gives all the honour to a Christian home is Godliness, living for God, which is followed by the beauty of order, the blessing of contentment and the glory of hospitality. The house that reaches first to God is the one which reaches to the world. On the altar set for God, it not only offers sacrifice but also receives a blessing for many around.
The family which is faithful becomes fruitful. The Lord prepares a table for the family before its foes ! The measure it allows itself to the obedience of the Lord, allows it to have the pleasure of His blessing so that it would leave a treasure of it to others. The enemy breaks homes but God makes them. We need to surrender our home to His lordship, to become a vineyard, to bear the fruit of His Spirit. True surrender results in the strength of the family .
The home that belongs to the Lord; is the home that’s blessed by the Lord!
– P.Upender
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.             Ephesians 2:10.
The scripture speaks about our place in God’s plan. We play an important role in bringing to pass God’s good purposes to bless the earth. God created us to do good works in Christ Jesus and called us to walk in them. Prior to our coming to the Lord Jesus all that we did, all our works are not good and are as filthy rags before God. It is in vain to try to be saved by doing good works. We can never earn our salvation by our good works, there is no standing before God on our good works but His grace.
The Bible tells us that we are the workmanship of God, He started a work in us that will do good to others and glorify His name. After coming to Christ we have tasted the good things of God in our lives, and now we should do the same to others so that they might come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Jesus set an example for us, when He was on this earth He did good to all. The works that we do in the name of the Lord are considered good and when people see them they glorify God.
Child of God show yourself to be a pattern of good works to this world where evil surmounts every day. We should inherit the blessed quality of doing good from our Father in heaven. Do you have a zeal for good works ? The Bible tells us not only to be zealous but also to be ready for good works. Keep looking around you for opportunities to do good. These are good and profitable to men that’s why we should be careful to maintain good works. We have received the capacity to do good from our Lord Jesus Christ!
In Christ, our good works testify to men and glorify God!
– P.Upender
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.       Jeremiah 33:3.
Prayer is calling on the name of the Lord. Talking to God about everything related to our lives. It is a time of fellowship with the lover of our soul. In the above verse, God was speaking to prophet Jeremiah about the restoration of His people Israel. The Almighty God commanded him to pray in such a condition. When we pray, we connect ourselves to the resources of heaven. Through prayer we open a door for God to come into our life and work, and at the same time we close the door on the face of the devil. God will not only answer our prayer but also will lead us into many things which we do not know by ourselves.
This great privilege was made available to man by Jesus Christ through His death on the cross. Unless we pray God doesn’t work, and it is a marvel to see God acting at the cry of His creature ! Oh. God so arranged things in the spiritual realm that they can be experienced only through prayer. It takes a sincere prayer to unlock the mysteries of God. Prayer unleashes tremendous power, nothing in the world can stand it. That’s why the Word of God encourages us, all the more to pray at all times.
There have been many wonderful lives, who touched the world with their prayers. I remember that great man of prayer, David Brainerd, who cried to God day and night for the souls of Red Indians for seven years, before he could see them get saved. He poured his very life out in the process. O my fellow believer, if you have forgotten to call on God, I urge you to shake yourself out of slumber and call on His wonderful name right away, so that He may answer you and show you glorious things awaiting to be opened up by your prayer. Amen.
Prayer is a blessed thing; cause, to the Lord it will cling.
– P.Upender
Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15.
Jesus commanded every one of us to go and preach the good news ! It is the order from our supreme commander – in – chief. This is not the work of only those specially called, but it is the work of all those called ones of Christ. After’ COME’ it is’ GO ‘ in God’s book. First is an invitation, second is an order. Our coming unto God transforms us, our going into the world transforms the world. We who have tasted the love of God and received the free gift of salvation, are the ones who should testify about it to the world. Every creature needs to hear the gospel to be saved from that eternal hell fire.
Bible tells us that the angels were eager to know the plan of redemption and were ready to proclaim the gospel, but Jesus did not allow them to carry on with the work. He entrusted the glorious work of preaching the gospel to His people, for the salvation of souls. He did not tell us to use any of our own resources to do the job, but He promised us the mighty power of His Holy Spirit. O saved one, dare to speak for your Saviour. Beware, not sharing the gospel with others, is a sin of omission. Woe unto us, if we preach not the gospel.
It was said that the Coco – Cola company’s vision for the year 2000 is to make every person living on planet earth to taste their drink. Coke is nothing but beveraged water, whereas we have the Living water to give to the world to drink to live forever! How better it would be, only if the Church can have the vision as the world does. How can we face Him who gave His life for us with empty hands ? The coming of our Lord is hastening and we should proclaim the glad tidings in our family, in our neighbourhood, in our work place, in our city, and to all the world as He enables. Amen.
Spread the gospel fire; to save souls from hell fire.
– P.Upender
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.   1 Cor 10:13.
The Apostle Paul makes it very clear that temptation is common to all of us in Christ Jesus ! Assuring us the faithfulness of God and the way of escape. Temptation is not Sin, but it is a strong pull towards that which is wrong or sinful. To be tempted is not sin but yielding to it is Sin. So do not be surprised or fall into the deception of the enemy. A man of God correctly said, “You cannot stop birds flying over your head in the air, but you can stop them from building their nests on your head.” we can’t stop temptations, but certainly we can stop ourselves from yielding to them.
We find in the Bible that God allowed temptation to be very attractive, appealing and alluring, to see how we would stand it in the time of testing. It promises pleasure but plagues in death. Blessed is the man who endures temptation, he will receive a reward. God never tempts us. The distinction between God and the devil is clear – God tests for our good, devil tempts for evil. The devil, world and flesh are the sources of every temptation. God gave us wisdom to check the source of temptation and to fight it with His power. Jesus was tempted in every area but did not sin. He understands us and helps us overcome. Temptation helps build our character, strengthens us and makes us mature.
The promise is sure, that God will not allow us to be tempted more than what we can bear but with it He will also open the way for us to escape, because of His faithfulness. The way of escape is Jesus, in Him you have victory. Abiding in Christ through prayer, word and obedience is the secret! The Holy Spirit will empower you to resist all temptations. The Bible exhorts us to Fight temptations and also Flee from them at times. ” When you flee from temptation, be sure you do not leave a forwarding address behind” says Warren W. Wiersbe.
Christian, triumph in every temptation; in heaven, awaits you a standing ovation!
– P.Upender
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity ! Psalm 133:1.
The phrase” United we stand, divided we fall ” sends out a message that all of us need to hear. Unity does great things for us as well as for them with whom we are united. In God’s book, unity is called as good and pleasant ! In unity there is strength, which shows itself in our relationships. When people’s hearts and minds are knit together in unity, joy and confidence springs up and refreshes life. It is commanded amongst God’s people.
The early Church had great unity and together did mighty things for God. We read in Acts that thousands of them had one heart and one soul and had every thing in common for all to share. We cannot have unity on our own, it is the work of the Holy Spirit and we should labour to keep it in the bond of peace. The devil causes division, his policy is to divide and rule. When the Church of Christ is united the devil cannot get through but when it is not, he will play havoc with it. Let us be united to fight the schemes of the evil one. Bible says, “one can chase a thousand and two ten thousand,” that’s the power of unity.
Blessing and long life are promised to them that live with their brethren in unity. Anointing of the Holy Spirit rests on them. The Olympic flag is made out of small pieces, when held by thousands of people in harmony, it becomes complete and looks beautiful from above. Unity amongst Christians shows the love of Christ to the world in such a magnificent way.
Brethren, live in unity, an example set by the trinity.
– P.Upender
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.              Ephesians 5:20.
Thanks giving is a special ingredient in a Christian’s life which works wonders for the glory of God and for his own good. There is a great reason for us redeemed ones to be thankful to God in our lives. It is a constant acknowledgement of our gratitude to God for His love. I have always wondered about the power of thanks giving in a believer’s life, it is like a medicine that goes in to the system and heals the wound. Are you thankful to God for all the things in your life?
We are commanded to give thanks to God always for all things. Thanking God in pleasant things is easy but doing the same in unpleasant and painful things seems difficult. Here is the acid test that we need to pass. The great Christian of all time, the Apostle Paul, who went through the severest of trials for his Lord’s sake not only preached it but also practised, and proved through his life that it works ! Many other blessed souls in times past have demonstrated it. Fanny Crosby, famous hymn writer was born blind and had to suffer all the maladies of being blind, but still never in all her life complained about it, on the other hand she was thankful to God. There is not even a single song of sorrow, but all are of praise.
All things work for our good when we love God, every thing that enters our life, whether it is good or bad comes with the permission of God to bless us. Thanking God in happiness and in hurt, in fullness and in want, in trial and in temptation, in distress and in disease, in every phase of life, is the secret behind a victorious life that God offers through His son Jesus Christ. “Thank God when you don’t feel like it and continue until you do feel like it, ” said a man of God. Remember it is God’s will for us to give thanks in everything. That is the essence of our living in Christ Jesus .
God loves thanks giving, which comes out of thankful living.
– P.Upender
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?                  Amos 3:3.
Agreement is the bond that binds the two to walk together ! God was speaking to the Israelites about their turning away from Him. God chose them as His people and led them all through their life and now they have gone on their own way. God and His people could not walk together anymore because there was no agreement between them. The fault lies with the Israelites, they did not agree with the laws of God in following Him, it resulted in rebellion. God hates sin and they loved sin – no agreement and so no walk together.
Same is true with us many times in our lives. We are called to live in agreement with God for our good. But some times we do not agree with the word of God and try to do things the way we think is right. God does not change, we change and then we are not walking with the Lord. If I want to do a certain thing in my way and my wife wants to do it in her way, then we differ and we are not walking together. Do not live your life to please your self but live to please God. Make up your mind to agree with God concerning your whole life and walk in His paths with Him to be blessed.
To follow Jesus, you and I have to forsake our L-I-V-E-S, lusts – interests – ventures – egos – self. Then we will be in agreement with God and can walk with Him where ever He leads us, joyfully. Enoch walked with God all the days of his life, let that be our testimony too. Amen.
Walk with God, we are told; leaving behind, the sinful world.
– P.Upender
having a form of godliness but denying its power.  2 Timothy 3:5 .
A hollow person is one who is without substance or character. He has a “form” but no fruit! Today our churches are filled with such people. They come to church out of tradition but not out of devotion. They pray their prayers when they want something from God and not because they pant for him like the deer pants for water. They read their Bibles searching for promises to claim but learning the precepts is not their aim! They give to God only to receive from God in abundance and not because it is their responsibility. When they are pressed into some kind of ministry to evangelize the non-Christians they use the occasion just to publicize themselves! They look like disciples on the outside but have no spiritual disciplines working in the inside! Sadly, this is the picture of the so-called disciples of Christ. These people may seem to be following but they are not. They try to use God to meet their ends. As it was declared by Prophet Isaiah and quoted by the Lord Jesus in Mathew 15:8 “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”
Mark Twain wrote, “If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be – a Christian”. What a tragic statement? This portrays the hollow Christianity, which has been observed well by the worldly. Religious hypocrisy is the worst of its kind! Hollowness in spiritual matters is a shame! If this describes your life then it is time for you to repent sincerely and surrender your whole being to the Lord for transformation. Do not deceive yourself anymore by faking godliness! As someone aptly put it, “In the depth of winter, can you warm yourself before a ‘painted fire’? Could you dine off the ‘picture of a feast’ when you are hungry?” No. It doesn’t help. It is of no use. Religious fakes do not please God and will not benefit in their hypocritical pursuit of godliness! So let us shun all evil when approaching God and let us not offer dead worship to the Lord and mock him. God wants men and women who would love and serve him with “all of their hearts and minds and souls” and nothing less!
Hollow Christians cannot follow Christ.
– P.Upender
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.      2 Corinthians 6:17. .
 
The Bible talks about separation. God clearly instructed his people to be separated from all kinds of uncleanness and sin. Both in the old and new testaments the exhortation is repeated time and again. God is longing to see his children built up spiritually. But then there are some things which hinder their spiritual growth. One such thing is their association with uncleanness. Vance Havner rightly said, “If you do not come apart, you will fall apart!” It is God’s will that his people would become his dwelling place, develop into the image of his son Jesus Christ and become dynamic disciples who will impact the world. Total separation is the key which makes it happen.
In the present world very few people seem to understand the truth of God s word and have a heart to follow!  Would that we could see the wall of separation between the church and the world made broader and stronger. It makes one sad to hear Christians saying,  Well, there is no harm in this; there is no harm in that , thus getting as near to the world as possible  wrote C. H. Spurgeon. Merging with the world, with its beliefs and with its behavior has become common for many folks in the church! They are so taken up by the charm of evil that they cannot see the harm behind it! Woe unto us if we do not know the difference while being the followers of truth all the time! Separation from all wickedness, from the world and wrong teachings is a must for Christians. Separation does not mean that we become ascetics and go somewhere leaving the world. The Scriptures clearly teach insulation from the world but not isolation!
Enoch walked separately from the wicked society in which he lived. Noah kept himself righteous in his generation. Joseph ran from evil which came in the form of a seductive woman. Daniel protected himself from being defiled by the unclean food and drink. Paul beat his body down to keep himself in subjection to the word of God. All the saints of God have made it their priority in life to keep themselves separate and pure. It is high time for the end time believers to wake up and follow the exhortation of the Spirit and the example of the Savior who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens – Hebrews 7:26.
Separate yourself from all evil to operate according to the will of God!.
– P.Upender
But we all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18.
Years ago a Christian magazine published these thought provoking lines:
And God said: Let us form man in our image.
The world says: We must conform man in our image.
The Devil said: I will deform man by sin.
Education says: Let us inform man by knowledge.
Society says: We will reform man by culture.
Only Christ says: I will transform man by love.
Yes, true spiritual transformation is the work of Christ alone. It cannot be done by any individual or institution. While the other forces in the universe want to pervert man, God is working to perfect man! To achieve this goal the Lord uses many precious things and one of those is the church. But today the church has just become a platform for people to perform than help them transform into the image of Jesus Christ. The church must become a tool in the hands of the Lord to fulfil the work of transformation in the lives of the children of God. That was one of the major reasons why God has established it in the world (Ephesians 4:11-13).
Just as a tadpole is transformed into a frog and a caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly in the natural realm, a sinner is transformed into a saint first and then the saint is transformed into the image of his/her Saviour in the spiritual realm by the grace of God. When transformation takes place beauty replaces ashes! Examples of such transformation abound in the Bible. Demoniac was transformed by the power of Christ; Samaritan woman was transformed by the prophetical truth of Christ, Saul was transformed by the personal encounter of Christ; Zacchaeus was transformed by the precepts of Christ; Sinful woman was transformed by the purity of Christ! Many more are seen in scriptures that are touched and transformed by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Some people have this false notion that they can change the requirements of God and make him adjust! But that is simply not true. Neither God nor his word ever changes. God is unchanging and complete. Man is incomplete so he needs to change. An unknown author wrote, “God never alters the robe of righteousness to fit man; He changes the man to fit the robe.” This truth needs to find its place in our hearts then the process of transformation will be easy. You must lose your ‘form’ and take on ‘Christ’s form.’ You must lose your sinful ‘mind’ and have the sanctified  mind  of Christ. You must let go your will and lay hold of His  will.  You must stop going your  way  and start walking His ‘way.’ When Christ is ‘formed’ in you then you are ‘transformed.’ Darrell Johnson puts it well, “If Jesus is in us, then everything that is in Jesus is in us.” Amazing truth! Isn’t it? So we must abide in the Lord and allow him to bring forth the fruit of transformation in our lives for the glory of the Father.
Christ works in us and leads us from perversion to perfection!
– P.Upender
For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica . . . 2 Timothy 4:10.
There is an old fable by Aesop which highlights an important truth. It happened that a dog had got a piece of meat and was carrying it home in his mouth to eat it in peace. Now on his way home he had to cross a plank lying across a running brook. As he crossed, he looked down and saw his own shadow reflected in the water beneath. Thinking it was another dog with another piece of meat, he made up his mind to have that also. So he made a snap at the shadow in the water, but as he opened his mouth the piece of meat fell out, dropped into the water and was never seen any more. The moral of the story is this: “Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.”
Many are losing the real thing for the shadow. Losing the eternal for the temporal. Losing the infinite for the immediate. Losing great blessings for lesser things! Losing God for gold. Losing the spiritual for the material. Yet, unmoved about the mishap! Men seem to be addicted more to the passing pleasures rather than pleasant ones. The power of the present world is so overwhelming on many that they are in no way concerned about the coming world! Demas belonged to that group. After studying about human life under the sun, the wisest person on earth Solomon cried, “all is vanity” in Ecclesiastes. Surprisingly, these words come from the one who had tried everything under the sun and was still not satisfied! When people run after the shadows they will learn a hard lesson that shadows do not satisfy. Shadows are illusive and quite deceptive. You can make a shadow by mere use of hands and people can be easily deceived thinking that they are seeing the shadow of the real thing! Beware of basing your life on the shadows. The problem is that shadows are close to the real but they are without substance.
Christians must not long for shadows that may look very appeasing and attractive. Just as the shadow of a fruit cannot quench our hunger and the shadow of water cannot quench our thirst, the material things of this world cannot satisfy our soul! So beware. It is difficult to come out of that vicious cycle once you get addicted. Do not run after mirages! We are called to rejoice in the Lord and be content in our God. God wants us to enjoy the real substance in Him and experience abundant satisfaction. We should not fall prey to the shadows in life but pray that we may seek the real substance always. A Chinese proverb says, “If one looks at the sun, all shadows are behind.” When we look unto the author and finisher of our faith the Lord Jesus Christ, all worldly shadows will vanish. In the light of His glory and grace all these things will grow dim and cannot obstruct us! Keep your focus clear and straight and fix your eyes upon the one who can truly satisfy your soul.
Running after the shadows shows how shallow we are!
– P.Upender
And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires   Gal 5:26.
You may call yourself after the name of Christ, you may come to the church of Christ, you may offer a prayer in the name of Christ, you may read a portion in the word of Christ, you may sing a song to Christ, you may give an offering to Christ, you may work for the cause of Christ but if you do not “belong” to Christ then you are none of his!! Those who are Christ s are not only marked for eternity but also carry marks that demonstrate their allegiance to him!
How can I belong to Christ?
By Belief   They that believe on him shall be saved. Only those who believe in Christ belong to Christ. Faith in Christ joins us to God. Faith in Christ justifies us and gives us the privilege of being related to God. Faith in Christ redeems us and transforms us forever. They that ‘long’ for him belong to him! “We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to live all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honour and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about” wrote R. C. Sproul. Biblical faith is not blind, it is bold!
By Birth   That means by a new birth. Being born into the kingdom of God whereby you become a child of God. Nicodemus was told plain and clear by Jesus to be born again. Otherwise he will not see or enter into the kingdom of God. God brings us forth into new birth through his Spirit and Scriptures. Louis Berkhof said, “Regeneration is that act of God by which the principle of new life is implanted in man, the governing disposition of the soul is made holy, and the first holy exercise of this new disposition is secured.” New birth brings on a new nature and makes us a new creature in Christ.
By Behaviour   Yes, you got it right! If you belong to Christ then you behave like one. We are constantly admonished to imitate our master and mentor Jesus. He lived before us to set an example for us. So we should follow his paths and live for the things he lived for. Only our conduct shows whether we truly belong to him or not. They that believe in him must behave like him! Someone said, “True faith does not contradict its words by its conduct.” After coming to Christ we will not go after the cheap things of the world or of the devil that are offered to us. Nothing under the sun can truly satisfy us apart from the Son of God! Billy Graham once said, “Suppose someone should offer me a plateful of crumbs after I had eaten a T-bone steak. I would say, “No, thank you. I am already satisfied.” Christian, that is the secret you can be so filled with the things of Christ, so enamoured with the things of God that you do not have time for the sinful pleasures of the world.” Is your life marked with these things?
Those that belong to Christ will always long for Christ!
– P.Upender
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18.
Our generation has gone through an experience which is known as the “Knowledge Explosion!” The world has learnt about almost everything under the sun and is now trying to know about things around and above the sun! Men have increased in worldly knowledge and the literacy rate in the secular field has gone up exponentially but on the other side it is not the same with spiritual education. It is sad and unfortunate to have many Biblical illiterates in the church! Either they do not bother to read the Bible and know the truth or do not have the time to do so or lack interest for spiritual education or do not have an appetite for the word of God!! Scores of people live exactly opposite of the instruction of the Scriptures. Psalm 1 explicitly says that, “We must meditate upon the word day and night” because it is our proper diet, power, purpose, protection, and prosperity. To show what I mean by the leanness of the soul in spiritual matters I submit a parable of humorous distortion of the Word of God by an unknown person, which throws light on how poor people are in Scriptures!
A candidate for church membership was asked, “What part of the Bible do you like best?” He said: “I like the New Testament best. Then he was asked, “What Book in the New Testament is your favorite?” He answered, the Book of the Parables, Sir.” They then asked him to relate one of the parables to the membership committee. And a bit uncertain, he began  “Once upon a time a man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves; and the thorns grew up and choked the man. And he went on and met the Queen of Sheba, and she gave that man, Sir, a thousand talents of silver, and a hundred changes of raiment. And he got in his chariot and drove furiously, and as he was driving along under a big tree, his hair got caught in a limb and left him hanging here! And he hung there many days and many nights. The ravens brought him food to eat and water to drink. And one night while he was hanging there asleep, his wife Delilah came along and cut off his hair, and he fell on stony ground. And it begin to rain, and rained forty days and forty nights. And he hid himself in a cave. Later he went on and met a man who said, “Come in and take supper with me.” But he said, “I can’t come in, for I have married a wife.” And the man went out into the highways and hedges and compelled him to come in! He then came to Jerusalem, and saw Queen Jezebel sitting high and lifted up in a window of the wall. When she saw him she laughed, and he said, “Throw her down out of there,” and they threw her down. And he said “Throw her down again,” and they threw her down seventy-times-seven. And the fragments which they picked up filled twelve baskets full! NOW, whose wife will she be in the day of the Judgment?” The membership committee agreed that this was indeed a knowledgeable candidate!
Got my point? This trend is growing in our churches irrespective of denominations and differences. Is it not a shame for the so called disciples to lag behind in the knowledge and the instruction of their Master? Think about it seriously and set your life right. Seek to gain true Biblical knowledge by all means. Let us strive to add knowledge to our faith at all costs because it is the only thing that keeps us safe and sound here and here after.
We prosper through Godly knowledge and we perish through worldly knowledge!
– P.Upender
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. 2 Chronicles 20:12b.
Jehoshaphat was a worshipper of the true God, warrior of a great kind and a worker with a good heart! He had many good qualities. He was one of the best kings of Judah. But he was just like us in nature! When he faced a big problem he panicked a lot. He really didn’t know what to do. Look at his words in the above verse which reflect the condition of his heart. He and his kingdom felt very weak before the gigantic problem. The armies of Moabites, Ammonities and Meunites came together to fight against Judah and Jehoshaphat. But the good thing he did was to inquire of the Lord. He not only inquired of the Lord but he truly interceded before the Lord – 2 Chronicles 20:6-12. When we face a trial or trouble the first reaction is panic. Usually when people are under tension they lose their attention! But as children of God and the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ we must be composed and be in peace. “When we put our cares in His hands, He puts His peace in our hearts,” wrote an unknown author. God made every provision for us to face anything in life and then overcome it.
Yes, quite often we do not know what to do in troubled times. That’s when we must seek God and know what we should do. Sometimes we may not have to do anything just like in Jehoshaphat’s case where God fought the battle and gave them the victory. At other times God may give us the needed counsel and guidance to fight the battle and win like David in the case of Goliath. Whatever it may be the victory comes from the Lord. One pivotal point I want us all to see is what Jehoshaphat said, “…our eyes are upon you.” Instead of looking at the problem, Jehoshaphat is now looking at the problem solver – God! When you are in trouble where do you look for help? Where do you fix your eyes? David said in Psalm 121:1-2 “I lift up my eyes to the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” How true? Our help always comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and earth! Just take one good look at the heavens and the earth and you will know how great your Lord is! But sadly many worry too much and weary themselves even before the problem takes on them! Someone said, “You can tell the size of your God by looking at the size of your worry list. The longer your list, the smaller your God.” Psalm 123:2 teaches us great lessons of dependence on the Lord. “As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he shows us his mercy.” This mindset must be developed in the people of God. God not only shows us His mercy in times of need but He also shows us His might in times of trouble! He helps us in all things
People seek “Independence” but as Christians we must live “In – dependence” on God. We are not called to be independent but dependent. We are dependent upon our blessed Lord for mercy, might, miracles and everything else! Knowing God personally helps us to trust in Him in trying times. Scores of people in Christendom neither know the person of God nor the power of God! That’s one reason why they fail to bail themselves out of trouble. Instead of trusting in man’s mind, muscle, money or manipulations it is better to trust in the awesome personality and the power of God. Always remember what Charles Swindoll said, “No pressure is greater than God’s power.” So let’s rejoice in the fact that God is for us and we are safe in His eternal embracing hands!
Our Master can help us overcome any monster in life!
– P.Upender
The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. Proverbs 10:22.
 
The word “blessing” sounds very sweet and pleasant. All over the world people love to be blessed and for that matter they even feel good to hear about it. Men think there are many ways to be blessed. But in reality, when we look at it from a Biblical perspective, there is only one way to be blessed. Sin has brought curse upon humanity but then Jesus Christ the Savior of the world has brought the blessing upon all those who trust in Him and surrender to His Lordship. “There are many locks in my house and all with different keys, but I have one master-key which opens them all. The Lord has many treasures and secrets all shut up from carnal minds with locks which they cannot open. But he who walks in fellowship with Jesus possesses the master-key which will open to him all the blessings of the covenant and even the very heart of God” said Charles Spurgeon. Today, many misguided souls are led by the belief that however you may live, God is bound to bless you. There are a growing number of ‘flesh pampering and spirit hampering’ prosperity gospel preachers, who’s only business is to give false hopes to gullible people. They promise God’s every blessing to the seekers for a price; of course they don’t charge them directly but collect monies in many dubious ways! Christian commercialism is growing rapidly. They sell many religious relics in the name of God’s blessing! Beware of such spiritual charlatans!! (A charlatan is a person who makes elaborate, fraudulent, and often voluble claims to skill or knowledge; a quack or fraud. Dictionary).
We don’t need to contact brokers or middlemen to receive God’s blessing! Our only blessed mediator is our Lord Jesus Christ. When God blesses a person He makes that person a blessing to others – Genesis 12:2. The blessings of God are conditional! Just anyone cannot be blessed because the Bible clearly states “Blessings are upon the head of the just” Proverbs 10:6. Those who are justified by the Lord Jesus Christ and declared just are the ones who will receive all the blessings of the Lord. God’s blessing makes us a wholesome person. John the Beloved prayed for in 3 John : 2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” So as we prosper spiritually God will bless us in all areas of life. True spirituality is important and it attracts God’s choicest blessings. God’s blessing need not mean good health, great wealth, wonderful job, and American visa etc, it is anything that makes a person to love the Lord and live according His will. At the end of the day when we stand before God all that matters is not how much we have earned or how well we lived or how many luxuries we enjoyed but how much did we do to please the Lord and whether we qualify for His “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Mathew 25:21.
The godly puritan pastor Richard Baxter wrote, “It was among the Parthians the custom that none was to give their children any meat in the morning before they saw the sweat on their faces, and you shall find this to be God’s usual course not to give His children the taste of His delights till they begin to sweat in seeking after them.”Those who are inclined to the will of God and have the mind of Christ will desire the right things at all times and God would be glad to grant them! “Never undertake anything for which you wouldn’t have the courage to ask the blessings of heaven”exhorted Georg Lichtenberg. Our well being is on the top of His mind. He did everything to bless us and to build us up into the image of His dear son Jesus Christ.
Blessings will become shallow when you don’t follow the Blessor!
– P.Upender
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:9-10.
Men think that money can make them happy, money can make them comfortable, and money can give them all that their heart longs for – but it will not. In this materialistic world people are programmed to think in a particular way. The world’s philosophy is “Paisa hi Paramaathma” (Money is God) and the general mindset is “Maal hoga tho kamaal hoga!” (If you have money miracles happen) etc. Their focus is always upon the  one thing  that can give them everything and that is money! A student works hard to get the best degree in the field of education to earn as much money as possible. A sportsman strives with all of his being to become successful in his arena so that he can amass as much money as possible. A smart businessman labors day and night to make as much money as possible. A scholar puts in all his efforts to make the big bucks. A share holder dreams of hitting the jackpot by making quick bucks. All of them want to be rich as quickly as possible. Someone penned these words of wisdom which shed enough light on the truth about money. Money Can Buy – A bed but not sleep; Books but not knowledge; Food but not appetite; Finery but not beauty; A house but not a home; Medicine but not health; Luxuries but not comfort; Pleasures but not happiness; Religion but not salvation; A passport to everywhere but not to heaven!
Money is sweeter than honey for many! All over the world quite clearly money has the upper hand over men! Sadly, even in the Church majority are under its power! “We live by the golden rule. Those who have the gold make the rules!” said Buzzie Bavasi. Money dictates people, dominates people, directs people and decides the destiny of people. Money plays a major role in the lives of people. People feel that money is the cure for every problem and money alone can give them a secure future. Scores of them love it, long for it, and live for it. This is degrading to a Christian. A saint must worship God alone and use the resources God gives for worthy causes. John Wesley had it right: “Earn all you can, save all you can, and give all you can.” We must earn money but not yearn for it. Instead of mastering the money they make it their master. In God s book, it is taught that we must possess money as good stewards but we must not be possessed by it. Managing money is an art, which can only be learnt by the help of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures. Making money in any way is not a big deal. But earning it in the right way and in a God honoring way is important. Money is neutral; it can be used for good or bad. Depending on the usage, money can become a “tool” in our hands for God’s glory and others good or a “trap” which will cause our downfall! Whenever men tried to grab riches, they were left with a deep stab! Riches have ruined millions through the generations. History proved it again and again.
Even after containing so much wealth there is no contentment in many souls. Money is powerless to satisfy the human heart. It will magnify our greed but it can never pacify our desires. “Money may be the husk of many things but not the kernel” wrote Henrik Ibsen. Husks can never satisfy our hunger! We should stop looking for soul satisfaction in the wrong place. Only the Master, the Lord Jesus Christ can satisfy our deepest longings and grant us rest.
When money reigns in a life, in the end it ruins that life!
– P.Upender
Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity . . . Hebrews 6:1.
C.S. Lewis once said, “You can’t be a good egg forever. Eventually, you have to hatch or rot.” Wise words indeed. Anyone with a bit of common sense can see great meaning in what Lewis has said. But when it comes to Christian life very few people seem to understand this truth. They spend years in the church without ever realizing the need to grow, to mature, and to develop into the image and the stature of the Lord Jesus Christ. They only practice their faith as a ritual but not as a real thing. Their knowledge of the Bible will not go beyond the basics! They may have PhD’s in secular education but do not know more than abcd’s in spiritual education. They remain as spiritual dwarfs, even years after conversion. Many people see their Christian life as an escape from hell and nothing more than that. The Bible reveals to us that there are, “. . . things that accompany salvation . . .” (Hebrews 6:9). When we pursue them we will mature and be blessed. Growth is a sign of life. When a person is alive he or she will grow. To become spiritually mature one must be spiritually alive.
If a 2 year old acts like a 2 year old it s ok but if a 20 year old acts like a 2 year old that s immaturity. Immaturity causes problems everywhere   homes, offices and churches. Maturity will bring peace, joy and fulfillment in life. A mature person acts wisely and has more power than the immature. Maturity makes us victors rather than victims. Remember the 10 spies sent by Moses to spy the land flowing with milk and honey? They acted immaturely and died prematurely! Maturity is required to become fruitful. All through the Bible we are admonished to become mature. We are “no longer to be children,” but are to “grow up in all aspects into him who is the head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:14-15). “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48.) Here the word “perfect” is “Teleios” in Greek, which means “Mature.” “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15). It must be every believer s goal to reach maturity. The apostle Paul longed for this throughout his life. We can see his passion in his words, “I press toward the goal . . .” (Philippians 3:14)
Emery Nester wrote, “Spirituality deals with my health, while maturity deals with my growth.” There are scores of people who think that they are deeply spiritual but not at all aware that they are very immature! It is the responsibility of every individual to constantly check his/her progress in his/her spiritual life. We cannot afford to be negligent in such an important issue. To have overall development we must be healthy and growing. As you start practicing the tenets of Christianity you mature and become a wholesome Christian. Let us never forget that this is the end of our faith. Paul gives us the gist of the will of God when he wrote, ” . . . Him we proclaim teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28). Keeping that in mind let us walk with the Spirit and allow Him to work in us to make us mature like our master.
Maturity will not allow us to give room to carnality in our life!
– P.Upender
Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought of setting him over the whole realm. Daniel 6:3.
People think that only the underprivileged, uneducated, undervalued and poorly talented people get attracted to God and they are the one’s that believe in Him and usually serve Him. But that’s not at all true! Just take a good look at 4 young men who got everything that a person can have under the sun. The Bible reveals the qualities of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah as, . . . young men in whom there was no blemish, but good looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had the ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans in Daniel 1:4. They had pedigree (all are from royal/noble families), good degree of education, talented, capable of great learning at a young age. In a way they were wizards! They were chosen by the king for royal service. They could pass all the required tests and were qualified. Just like people get into IAS in India they were pressed into BAS (Babylonian Administrative Service)! That’s the highest one could get to!
Such young persons had a heart for God. They believed in Him, feared Him, adored Him and wanted to honor Him through their life and service. They made up their minds to be all out servants of God. When faced with dire consequences for their faith they were willing to die rather than give up or compromise! “I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the light” wrote Mary Gardiner Brainerd. That was the mindset of these smart saints. They knew very well what they were doing with their life. They never once wavered from the chosen path. “No turning back” was the song of their soul all along. They were dynamic people who could have had everything under the sun going for them but chose with their entire mind and might to live and serve the living God. They were willing to burn in the fire for their convictions rather than live cold lives in the wicked world! That s why Jeremiah Burroughs said, “As the heart is, so will the service be.” What more can anyone do better than this?
Finally, God did rescue them and reward them richly. He also made them as examples of ‘greatness through godliness’ for all the future generations to follow. So we must never underestimate the children or servants of God. God has smart servants in all generations. What about you? Are you considering God as your master and are you willing to honor him through your devotion and duty? Think seriously and deeply about this issue, which has eternal repercussions! We must never use our God given abilities to serve self or Satan or society at the cost of neglecting the Lord. Smart people must chart their life according to the will of God and not by the worldly diktats!
Serving God is an art, which smart people choose to do!
– P.Upender
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness . . . 1 Peter 2:24.
 
“Christ is a substitute for everything, but nothing is a substitute for Christ” wrote Dr. Harry Ironside. Present day church goers, pray-ers, Bible readers, offering givers, ministry helpers and all those professing Christians need to understand this eternal truth otherwise they will end up paying a very heavy price! Many try to attach themselves to one of these things and feel secured without ever attaching themselves to Christ, the author and finisher of faith. How foolish it is. How can they, who spend their entire life in these things, end up so blind to the truth? Nothing or no one can ever take the place of Christ. There is no substitute for Christ.
Some try to depend on their “mother church” some try to depend on their “prayer life” others on their “bible knowledge” some others put their eternity at stake upon their “giving” some rely on their “man of God” and finally some believe that their “service” will get them to heaven. No. Never! It doesn t happen that way in the kingdom of God. Until unless a person is saved by Christ Jesus and then sealed by the Holy Spirit that person can never enter heaven or receive eternal life. As Lewis Sperry Chafer puts it, “Salvation is a work of God for man, rather than a work of man for God.” Millions in the churches around the world are in a big spiritual stupor thinking that they are on their way to heaven, without ever being prepared for it. Remember the foolish virgins of Mathew 25! The same plight will be theirs too. Judas Iscariot was with Jesus but he never gave himself to Jesus. Though he was under the leadership of Jesus he didn t surrender his life to the Lordship of Jesus!! He was not connected to Christ through real conversion. We all know the end.
New birth starts our life in Christ and continues through out eternity. When we take Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour by believing in his great substitutionary work on the cross of Calvary, our names get enlisted in the Lamb’s book of life! Horatius Bonar made it quite clear when he wrote, “If Christ is not the Substitute, He is nothing to the sinner. If He did not die as the Sin-bearer, He has died in vain. Let us not be deceived on this point or misled by those who, when they announce Christ as the Deliverer, think they have preached the gospel. If I throw a rope to a drowning man, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more than that? If I cast myself into the sea and risk myself to save another, I am a deliverer. But is Christ no more? Did He risk His life? The very essence of Christ’s deliverance is THE SUBSTITUTION OF HIMSELF FOR US–HIS LIFE FOR OURS! He did not come to risk His life; He came to die! He did not redeem us by a little loss, a little sacrifice, a little labour, a little suffering; “He redeemed us to God by His blood” (I Peter 1:18-19). He gave all He had, even His life, for us. This is the kind of deliverance that awakens the happy song, “To Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev l:5). Oh, what a glorious Lord we have! With Christ all the constituents of faith have meaning otherwise they are meaningless and they do not become means for our leaning! Let us lean upon Him, love Him and live for Him.
Astute people know well that Christ became their substitute on the cross!
– P.Upender
Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor. Proverbs 12:24.
Diligence always has an upper hand over laziness. Its fruit and force are greatly reckoned by one and all. Solomon says without a shadow of doubt that diligence will rule. Oxford Dictionary defines diligence as, “careful and persistent application or effort.” Yes, if a man is diligent in life, let it be in any area, he will rule and be a master in it. How true is the Malagasy proverb which goes like this, “Nothing is so difficult that diligence cannot master it.”Quite often the worldly show more diligence in their pursuits than the godly. Whether it is study or work or sport or business they try their best to be diligent and reap its rewards most of the time. But the disciples of Christ have failed to learn this quality from their master, who was an example of great diligence while he was upon this earth! The Lord Jesus was up and about his ministry from early morning to late night. Sometimes he didn’t even have time to eat his food but still continued ministering to various needs of the people. All the time he was so diligent in going about his Father’s will that on the cross he could gladly cry out ‘It is finished!’ Why can’t all of us learn from him and follow his example Mathew 11:29?
G. K. Chesterton was right when he wrote, “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.” Many have never been diligent in their faith, in their focus and in their function as the servants of the Lord. If they would have been diligent like the other few, great things could have happened in the world. Diligence in anything demonstrates that the heart and soul of the person is in it. What was expected of us when the Lord God said that we should love the Lord with ALL of our heart, with ALL of our mind, with ALL of our soul and with ALL of our strength? Total devotion and diligence in it! Our whole being must be employed in loving, serving and worshipping God. Diligence is required for protecting the heart Proverbs 4:23, cultivating Christian graces 2 Peter 1:5-8, guarding against defilement Hebrews 12:15, to preach the word in season and out of season 2 Timothy 4:2 and following every good work Titus 3:8 to name a few. In spiritual matters we must be diligent all the time otherwise our sloth can lead us into slavery to sin and Satan!!
A young boy complained to his father that most of the church hymns were boring to him – too far behind the times, tiresome tunes and meaningless words. His father put an end to the discussion by saying, “If you think you can write better hymns, then why don’t you?” The boy went to his room and wrote his first hymn. The year was 1690, the teenager was Isaac Watts. “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “Joy to the World” are among almost 350 hymns written by him. Feeling bored? Why don’t you do something that will cause the world to remember you for 300 years! (Source – Pulpit Helps). Let us not forget the exhortation of Solomon, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” Ecclesiastes 9:10. When the heart embraces godliness then the hand is empowered in its pursuit! Diligence is a sign of dedication.
People who are slack in spiritual matters lack much in life!
– P.Upender