Sunday, April 15, 2007

God’s Word- Answer to All our Problems!

Why believers struggle with various problems? James writes in his letter that the reason is that we are not growing. Belivers thesedays, are more concerned about being comfortable and fre from problems. And so we have mushrooming prayer towers, offering roind the clock prayers for those who want quick solutions to their problems, with a few rupees to spare.

But the real solution to all our problems, according to James, is to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word. In James 1:19-27, we find the interesting and useful tips on what to with God’s Word.

  1. Listen Carefully: First, we need to learn how to listen to God’s Word carefully, in ordr to understand and make use of it. The world is full of people who have something to say all the time. Many problems in the family and society are due to unwillingness to listen. Listening demands concentration and attention. It is not casual glancing at something. To give your attention to something you must accept it’s importance and priority. As Psalmist says in Psalm 1, he delights in God’s Word day and night! Our chief delight must be in His Word and then only we can give due attention to listen and learn His Word. So, when reading or hearing God’s Word, let us practice the art of listening to God’s Word to speak to us, as God spoke to Elijah in the still small voice, that comforted and encouraged him.
  2. Receive Joyfully: James says that the Word of God has been sown into our hearts like a seed. In the vernacular languages of India, it means the ‘sown seed’, unlike in English, ‘implanted word’. The seed of God’s Word has been sown to bring forth fruit. It must fall on good ground of prepared and tilled soil. Our hearts have to be prepared to receive God’s word as we listen to it. There is no blessing in listening. Unless we receive it, there is no use of in our lives. This means, we must respond to God’s Word. You can not remain passive or neutral, but must choose what to do with it.
  3. Practice obediently: After you listen and receive God’s Word, the next response is to do what it says. As you listen, you begin to understand and as you receive it, it begins to work in your life and as you obey t, you begin to experience its power and blessings. That si the ultimate goal of listening to God’s Word. Being doers of the word and not just hearers only. James warns against deceive ourselves bybeing listeners only. Many these days have wonderful Biblestudy class and exciting methods, to study the Bible. But they go away and forget all about it. They do not willingly obey and practice what the bible says in their daily life. Therefore, many pelle’s lives are no different form others around them, with all the frenzy of Bible study classes, etc.
  4. Correct Promptly: James compares God’s Word to a mirror. In today’s modern fashion crazy world, mirror plays very important role. Nobody goes out without looking at the mirror. People believe the mirror and make the necessary changes to make themselves presentable and pleasing to themselves and others. Similarly, we need to look into God’s Word to help us see where we are spiritually and make the necessary corrections. Believe what God’s Word says about you is true and dutifully apply the changes needed to yourself before you share with others its liberating truths. Unlike the physical mirror which can not do anything after it reflects, God’s word enables us and is useful to do a lot of things in our lives. So, us eit freely, grow in the knowledge of God;s Word and you will see your problems disappearing one by one on their own! Amen.


“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, correction and instruction in righteousness that the man of god maybe thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. (Paraphrased)

A.Othniel. Sunday, 15th April'07, Calvary Disciples' Church, Thane, Mumbai, India.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Why Your Prayers are Not Answered?

Today’s message was focused on why often our prayers are not answered? Many people are coming to the meetings in the house during week days, with various prayer requests, mostly about some headache, stomach pain, or husband’s drinkin problem, or joblessness, or relatives’ problems, etc.
Many have received answers to their prayers and have gone away! Others come and some believer prays for them and they are gone too.
When and how do we know we can pray and get answers? James writes in his letter about prayer and gives several reasons to answer our whys and hows.

Let us read James 4:1-6.
1. Fighting: People want by force, by any means, at any cost! Even they go to the extent of physical fights and violence to get what they want. You can not twist God’s arm nor manipulate His methods. Be still and know that I am God, says the Lord in His Word. So, our fights are not bringing answers to our prayers. What are you fighting for, with whom are you fighting? In the family, at workplace, and in the society where we live, there are constant fights going on to get what people want. There is no consideration of others’ rights or peace. Replace fighting with praying. Fightng brings pain but prayer brings peace.

2. Desiring: We have so many desires. All desires can not be fulfilled, all desires may not be legitimate, all desires may not be good and edifying for your spiritual life. When we delight in the Lord (Ps 37), our desires are fulfilled by Him, as our desires become sanctified as we understand and desire what is His will. When our desires are according to His Word, He fulfills them. Psalm 145:19. Evil desires never bring answers to our prayers. Selfish desires are a hindrance to get answers to our prayers. In fact, our prayers should align our desires to His will and plans.

3. Coveting: Extreme desiring becomes coveting. When you desire that somebody else’s be your own, you are coveting. And coveting is sin. We commit sin and want our prayers be answered! Prayers filled with covetousness have no hope of ever being answered. Covetousness is sin and is compared to idolatry. When you covet, you are making god something else, replacing Him with your own desires.

4. Killing: Some are literally killing others, but often we kill others in our hearts by hatred. When we hate others, we have already killed them, as the Lord Jesus once said, explaining the Ten commandments. Killing is much deeper than just physical murder. Developing hatred for others can not bring answers to our prayers. Love covers multitude of sins and opens the door of heaven to get answers to our prayers. As we pray out of hearts filled with love, God hears our prayers. Our love for others puts burden on our hearts to pray for them. Our concern for others is shown in our love and prayer for them. Hatred is a hindrance for our prayers.

5. Wanting: Often our wants are different form our needs. We become greedy as we want more and more of anything. God meets the real needs of His people. Even before we ask or think, He knows our needs and provides to supply for them. Phil. 4:19. According to His riches in glory, God supplies. So our prayers have to be based on our real needs. Wanting to do His will is not enough but willing to do is important and necessary. So also, wanting certain things are not going to bring answers to our prayers, but what we really need. He knows our needs and is able to meet them in His time. Think of what you really need.

6. Asking: Many people grumble, groan, panic, complain and cry, but do not ask God! The Lord Jesus, before leaving His disciples, gave them authority and this comforting assurance that they can ask for anything and He will give them! What an authority and privilege! We seldom exercise this privilege. Asking Him is more important than asking people. Some go round begging for money or for other help. Even for ministry, many are begging others. God is able to give when we ask Him for His work and for our needs and for others too!

7. Spending: When we do ask, we ask amiss that we may send it on pleasures. That is very true today in many people’s prayer life. Our purpose of praying is to get something to spend on ourselves, to enjoy the temporary pleasures of this world. But God wants us to invest for eternity. He never answers the prayers of those who are pleasure-minded. That is why when Solomon prayed, God was pleased with his prayer. Why? Because there was nothing he was desiring to enjoy himself. Not for his pleasures. God gladly and instantly granted his request. Hannah‘s prayer too had sacrifice in mind and not pleasure. What is the goal of your prayer? To spend on what? It is the key to answered prayer.

8. Friendship: If you go with the world, you can not walk with God. If you live for this world only, you have no hope for heaven. If you are planning to please the world, you can not please God. If you agree with the worldly philosophy, you can not obey God’s word. So, God can not answer your prayer if you are worldly minded or in friendship with the world. Separation is the doctrine for God’s chosen saints. Lord Jesus said that the disciples were not of this world. Apostle wrote to Romans that they should “not be conformed to the world but be renewed in your minds and transformed in your life, to know and do God’s perfect will” (Rom 12). Stand apart and pray. A separated life is sure to get answer to prayer.

9. Humility: God is against the proud. Pride is sin. Lord Jesus is the excellent example of humility, described by Paul in Philippians 2. Humility leads to exaltation and is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. When you pray, you have to be humble. You can not pray with pride in your heart. Proud people never pray but they demand. They order God to do what they want! Humble people beseech and petition God to help them to do His will. To show His mercy. The humble publican’s prayer was answered rather than the proud Pharisee’s.

10. Confidence: 1 John 3:12-15, says that when we have Christ, we have life- the eternal life. This relationship with God helps us to pray according to His will revealed in His Word. And we will have confidence that He hears us and therefore will have what we asked for. What an assurance! What a guarantee! Are you sure when you pray God hears and answers? If you have accepted the Lord Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, and experienced the eternal life, then you can be sure, because it is His promise. Amen.

“Pray without ceasing, for this th will of God in Christ Jesus” 1 Thess. 5:17.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Loving Difficult People- Understanding and Helping Difficult Personalities

Loving Difficult People- Understanding and Helping Difficult Personalities
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Illustration: Frogs can consume anything that bugs them!Wouldn’t it be great if we could consume our relational problems rather than letting them consume us! What bugs you the most about people? Is it inconsistency? Inflexibility? Inability to give and take? or people with bad attitudes? Some people suffer from guilt in their relationships.
Rom. 12: 18. “if possible so far as it depends upon you, be at peace with all men.”
Do the best you can to get along with everyone.Yet realize that once a while you are going to have relationship with a difficult person that may fall short of the ideal.A personal inventory of the 3P’s will help you determine your part in a difficult relationship or association.
1. Perspective. How do I see myself? How do I see others? How do others see me? Our perspective determines how far our relatonships will develop.2. Process. Do I understand the stages of a relationship? Do I realize there are some stages in a relationship that are more crucial than others?3. Problems. When facing difficulties in a relationship, how do I handle them?
A person who sees himself positively also looks for the good in others. It’s all in one’s perspective.Some people see a relationship as a series of isolated incidents, and one bad incident can break the relationship. People who think this way never develop deep relationships. Their relationships are precarious, on-again-off again type of associations. These people run everytime a difficult situation arises. They seldom, if ever, develop long-standing relationships.The key to successful relationships really gets down to responsibility. I am responsible for how I treat others, I may not be responsible for how they treat me; but I am responsible for my reaction to those who are difficult. I can’t chose how you’ll treat me, but I can choose how I willl respond to you.
There are certain general rules which you can put into practice that will enable you to work more effectively with problem people.
1. Love them unconditionally.2. Ask God for wisdom in working with them.3. Stay emotionally healthy yourself.4. Do not elevate people (to positions of leadership) in order to rescue them.5. Be honest with God, yourself, and them.
Be Encouraged.
A.Othniel
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* 3rd All India Youth Festival in Mumbai. See the details at http://ctouch.org/youthfest3.htm
* A lot of Useful Resources for Victorious living: www.ctouch.org