Thursday, 19 September 2013

Discipleship: Imitating Christ

What does it mean to imitate Christ? 

We have all been called to salvation by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our aim is now to imitate Christ; to clothe ourselves with Jesus Christ in all walks of our lives. How we do we imitate Christ Jesus?

Firstly, we must have the same mindset as Jesus. Jesus was the Son of God who never considered equality with God something to be used to his own advantage. He never boasted on His son-ship for personal gains. On the other hand, he acknowledged God, our Heavenly Father, to cast out demons from others. He accepted God, the Father's will to become man, to become His servant and die on the cross for all mankind. He showed that obedience is the first step to son-ship of God, the Father.

Secondly, he showed us the importance of personal prayer.The gospel tells us in many places that Jesus went away from the crowd to be alone with God, to take His quiet time with His father. If the Son of God wanted so much of personal prayer, how much do we - mere coheirs with Christ - need our quiet time. 

Lastly, Jesus was always filled with compassion and love. While he hated sins, he was never hostile against sinners. 

Let us pledge ourselves to imitate Christ today in every way he taught us.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

A Disciple; Then An Apostle......

We have all been called to be diciples in Christ Jesus. A disciple, is one who has pledged to follow one's teaching and adhere to it. It is a commitment to keep learning everyday.

To be a disciple of Jesus, one only has to imitate Him and follow His example. In John 8: 31-32 Jesus said, " If you abide in my word, you truly are my disciples, and you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free." He also says in Luke 14:27, "Whoever does not persevere and carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."

We have to follow only two commandments to be His disciple: (Matthew 22: 36 - 40)
1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
2. Love your neighbhour as yourself.

Now that you are a disciple of God, through Christ Jesus, what next? Is it enough to continue to live as His disciple? The question is something that we have to keep asking ourselves everyday.

Lord, what next?

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamo and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father who is in heaven". (Matt 5: 14 - 16)
Your duty,hence, is to be living examples to the people around you so that the Almighty may be praised through you. You have been filled by God with His knowledge and wisdom to be emptied out to the people around you.

So now that you are a disciple of God, through Christ Jesus, you should take a further step to fill yourself with the strength of the Holy Spirit to go out to the nations and to proclaim the good news. Your duty is now to be an Apostle of God.

When everyone has been called to discipleship, it is your, and only your commitment to the Father in Heaven to be His Apostle. Are you ready to be His Apostle?

Monday, 16 September 2013

Our Daily Focus should be on Jesus

Many of us have heard the story of Jesus walking on water. (Read Matt 14:22 – 33)
The story has inspired many for generations. How does it inspire you? What does the story teach you?
Firstly, Jesus says, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 

Peter then takes courage. He proclaims that he is not afraid to follow Jesus. He believes in Jesus’ might and power. His focus is now on Jesus. He doesn’t see or feel anything else. But “when he saw the wind” (Matt 14: 30) – when his attention shifted to the turbulent weather, he forgot about Jesus. He was afraid. He could no longer walk on water.

Isn’t the same true in our lives too? We are quick to proclaim that Jesus is our Lord and Saviour. We make haste to take actions too. We stand prosperous as long as our focus in on Jesus. But as soon as we see the troubles in our lives, our mind rages with doubt and fear. Jesus is no longer our focal point. We fail! We sink!

Fix the spotlight on Jesus everyday for he says, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Saturday, 14 September 2013

According to His Riches in Glory

Phil 4: 19 NKJV reads “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”.

Yes. This is what Paul says about his God. But how very often are his words mistaken. 

People often talk only about God supplying or having to supply their needs. But Paul clearly says the source of supplying our demands. It is His riches in glory. His glory and honour becomes rich when we praise Him, when we adore Him, when we glorify Him. And according to these riches that each one of us have built in the Almighty, through Christ Jesus, our prayers shall also be provided for by and through the same Christ Jesus.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Am I Judas Iscariot or Simon Peter?

Am I Judas Iscariot or Simon Peter? – A question worth asking ourselves everyday of our life.
Being a Christian, a follower of Christ to be precise, does not mean that we are perfect or that we are the most holy living person. We, like all others, are tempted and may easily fall away from God. The difference lies in how we decide to retake our lives.

In the bible, we realise that Judas was a down-trodden man. But Jesus chose him to be His disciple and opened Judas’ path to salvation. “Then” in Luke 22:3 “Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.”Judas was heavily tempted by Satan; by the 30 pieces of gold that he received as a reward.  Judas fell away from grace and betrayed Jesus to the chief priests and the officers of the temple. But, if he hadn’t fallen from grace, Jesus would not have been able to die on the cross for our sins, conquer death and resurrect, thus bringing salvation to all mankind. 

In contrast, Simon called Peter, the fisherman, was one of the closest disciple to Jesus. He is always portrayed as the man who blindly believed in his Lord; when he chose to walk over the sea towards Jesus (Matt 14: 29) and when he proclaimed that Jesus in the Son of the living God (Matt 16: 16). However, when Jesus was captured by the high officials and he was left alone, he was also quick to disown Jesus (Matt 26: 69-75, Mark 14: 66-72, Luke 23: 54-62, John 18: 15-18, 25-27). Nowhere in these passages is it mentioned that he was tempted by the evil one. But Simon Peter chose to disown Jesus, probably out of sheer fear. 

This leads us to the question: How did Judas and Peter react when they realised their sins?
Judas “was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins...Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Matt 27:3, 5) The chapter of his life ends there.
Peter on the other hand “went outside and wept bitterly.” (Matt 26: 75b) He later went on to become a strong leader in the early church and earned the nickname that Jesus had given him, “The Rock”. He had a victorious second innings in life.

We all agree that it would have been great if we had not fallen from grace; but what if we did? Will you choose to deny yourself a second chance or will you repent and be successful in the Lord. Jesus himself said “...unless you repent, you too will perish.’ (Luke 13: 3)

Think: Am I Judas or Peter?