Thursday, October 25th, 2012
“You intended to harm me, but GOD intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20)
In his classic book Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis wrote, “…the very moment you wake up each morning all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.” Is this true in your life? Do you wake up every morning overwhelmed with stuff even before your feet hits the floor? Does your past regrets, present anxieties and future concerns terrify you like wild animals and paralyze you with fear? It doesn’t have to be that way.
Friday, October 12th, 2012
“When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7-8)
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN AT a social gathering and you jumped in and joined a conversation because people were talking something that interested you? Have you ever tried so hard to impress people in a conversation by how much you knew about a particular topic? Have you ever felt like patting yourself in the back for capturing the audience and nailing your points with your impressive words and tear jerking humor?
Only to be interrupted by one person who looked straight in my eye and with a genuine concern say, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” I can still remember that conversation so vividly as if it were yesterday. I can recall how I used words thoughtlessly and carelessly in my big spiel to get attention. Desperate to impress others I succumbed to ramblings and repetitions. And just when I thought I was doing a great job, my friend who was bold and wise, confronted me with the truth that – even though my words were many, they were pointless and unclear. Many years have passed since.
Today, I am continuing to learn what it means to use words thoughtfully and clearly with no ulterior motives, but for the sake of the good of the relationship itself.
SIMILARLY, PRAYER FOR US INVOLVES words, feelings, attitudes, motives, and actions and is fundamentally about relationship. Prayer is not talking about GOD or impressing GOD or manipulating GOD but communing with GOD Himself. We pray not with ulterior motives but for the sake of the relationship itself.
In Matthew 6:7-8, Jesus is saying that “babbling” in prayer is wrong. To babble is to talk rapidly and thoughtlessly in a foolish, repetitive, excited, or incomprehensible way. People who worship other gods babble in their prayers. We can see that in the story of Elijah when the priests prayed to their god Baal. They called on Baal “from morning till noon,” calling louder and louder and even “slashed themselves with swords and spears” (1 Kings 18:25–29).
Jesus is saying when you pray, don’t do what the priests did to their god Baal. Don’t put on an act or try to manipulate GOD with your loudness, impressive words or crazy stunts. In other words, using prayer to put on a show of vain words/ actions, with an intention to impress or gain approval is WRONG. GOD knows your true intentions and knows what you need even before you ask Him. So quit beating around the bush and playing games with GOD in the name of prayer.
FRIENDS, PRAYER IS FIRST AND FOREMOST about our relationship with GOD. May we not get fixated on whether our prayers are short or long or if they are eloquent or inarticulate. When we run out of words, let us not feel compelled to fill the silence with vain repetitions or meaningless words. Jesus is not saying that short prayers are better than long prayers as He himself spent long nights and many hours in prayer. Sometimes your prayer may be long because there are a lot of things on your mind and you have a lot of things going on in your life, in your church or around the world. But sometimes there is not much on your mind and a simple prayer or silence can be just as effective. One is not better than the other.
What is important is that you don’t use prayer to impress or manipulate GOD or people. May we pray openly, intimately and genuinely with no ulterior motives, but for the sake of our relationship with GOD.
Written by Samuel Williams, Content Lead at Fluid Forward. He is also the Teaching Pastor at Avenue Community Church in Toronto, Canada.
Wednesday, September 26th, 2012
“…So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own” (Luke 14:33)
In my brief 20 years of being an intentional follower of Jesus I have had countless conversations with people and have read many books on being a disciple. As a result, I have come to observe that the term “Christian Disciple” means a whole lot of things to a whole lot of people.
They can’t all be right, can they? Sometimes when our opinions, feelings and preferences about discipleship are shared, we end up with what we want following Jesus to look like rather than what it really is – don’t we?
Monday, August 27th, 2012
I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ – Galatians 1:11-12
I read Galatians chapter 1 with my wife Joy couple of days ago. There is something about Paul’s writings that always captivates me. Paul is so bold in his preaching and it seems like there is nothing else he wanted more than to share the gospel with as many people as possible. But what is important is that the message that Paul preached is not his own or from any human origin but a revelation from Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, August 21st, 2012
“Thank God, I am Lucky.”
Interesting statement, isn’t it? Let me ask you a question: Can ‘GOD’ and ‘LUCK’ co-exist?
The dictionary defines ‘luck’ as something good or evil that happens to a person by chance. “Best of Luck on your exams,” “You are lucky to have such good parents,” “He’s lucky to be alive,” “Good luck on your new business venture,” “I didn’t have any luck finding what I wanted,” “I’ve had nothing but bad luck all week,” “We were lucky to get tickets to the game,” and “I am lucky to have food on my table” are some common usagesof the word “LUCK” in our day to day conversations.
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
Do we “own” our self? Can we live life the way we want to?
When we live for ourselves, the results are very clear:
Greed, sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness and wild parties.
If we belong to GOD, how then shall we live?
Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
You and I are GRACED by GOD.
We are graced in the morning, graced in the noon time, graced in the evening and graced at night. We are being graced left, right and centre. We were graced in the past, are graced in the present and will be graced in the future. The truth is that we are totally ‘Graced Out.’
Monday, July 9th, 2012
JUST THE OTHER DAY I WAS having breakfast with one of my close friends. I treasure those moments in the midst of my busy summer schedule. We quickly moved from superficial talk to what was actually happening in our life, in the here and now. You know exactly what I mean. We didn’t spend too much time talking about the weather, soccer, the summer movies or the TV shows. We decided to delve right into our life and exchange our personal stories.
One story in particular that I shared caused some deep emotion to surface in me. Some of which I was aware of, some came as a surprise. After listening to me vent; my friend asked me one simple question. As I heard his words I was dumbfounded. I stared at him for some time wondering if he was really serious. I thought to myself, “I know he is validating my feelings. I know he cares for me and understands me. But, why isn’t he giving me permission to linger in them. ” We finished our breakfast and went to our work places.
Friday, June 22nd, 2012
I could say that I am a very positive person for the most part. Many who know me well would agree with that statement. But, this post is not about that side of me. It is about the remaining part which tends to dwell in the negative and is absent to the naked eye.
Have you ever enjoyed swimming in negative thoughts about others? I am talking about googling, blogging, emailing, chatting, texting, dreaming, thinking, searching, digging, analyzing and probing into the negatives of others. These are thoughts that makes you feel better, stronger, prouder, higher, superior, greater and more spiritual than others.
I dont know about you, but I do.
Thursday, June 14th, 2012
What do you tend to focus on the most- People or Projects?
Do you use ‘people’ as a means to get your own work done and your ambitions fulfilled? Do you do things for people (or in front of people) to please them so that they would like you more and praise you well? Do you feel proud of yourself and/or have a sense of accomplishment when you help others?
Are your relationships compromised in the business of life? Is your life at present fixated with paying your bills, building your assets and meeting projects, papers and deadlines? Can you say that you are fully present in the moment to enjoy, celebrate and appreciate the people (family, friends and strangers) in your life?