Author: Percy Parakh

My Grace Is Sufficient For You!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 The Message

7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations.

Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty!

At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift.

It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks.

I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

His Strength Is Perfect – Song

The Fable Of Porcupines

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together to keep warm.

This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. After a while, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone & frozen.

So they had to make a choice…Either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together.

They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationship with their companions in order to receive the warmth and heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

The best Group is not the one that brings together perfect people, but where each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and at the same time, admire the other person’s good qualities as well.

Better to be surrounded by ‘warm wounds’ than be frozen in solitude !

Who’s In Charge Here – Visions Of Praise

Revelation 11:15-19 NIV

The Seventh Trumpet

15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:

“The kingdom of the world has become
    the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah,
    and he will reign for ever and ever.”

16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:

“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty,
    the One who is and who was,
because you have taken your great power
    and have begun to reign.
18 The nations were angry,
    and your wrath has come.
The time has come for judging the dead,
    and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your people who revere your name,
    both great and small—
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm.

Denominational and Racial Differences in Church

In Bombay (Mumbai), there is a beautiful road running parallel to the sea, called Marine Drive or the “Queens Necklace”, a name left over from the days of the “Raj” (two hundred years of British rule before India’s independence)

This is lined on one side by probably the most expensive real estate in Bombay, that runs into millions of dollars for a three bedroom flat.

Also lined along there are some of Bombay’s Sports Clubs ( called Gymkhanas from the days of the Raj – where a lot of cricket is played ).You have the Muslim Gymkhana, Hindu Gymkhana, Parsi Gymkhana, etc. lined up one after the other.

Hey Friends, let’s talk about some of the division amongst our churches. I am talking about racial and denominational differences within our churches.

Forget about the differences outside our churches in the secular world, but now we are talking about this within some of our churches. It is so sad to see that 11 o’clock on a Sunday is still the most segregated hour for the church.

Hispanics go to predominantly Hispanic Churches, Blacks go to predominantly black churches, Whites go to predominantly white churches etc..

On top of that we have Denominational differences, like Baptist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Presbyterian churches etc. The reason why this is so bad for us Christians, is that the Bible says in

John 13:34-35 King James Version

34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Further in the Book of Revelation Revelation 7:9NIV says:
The Great Multitude in White Robes

9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

I think that a lot of Christians will be in Culture Shock in Heaven, especially in view of what the Bible says. It won’t be like Marine Drive, in Heaven, with a Baptist section, Charismatic section, Hispanic Section, etc.

Also our credibility among the unsaved surrounding us is greatly tarnished by our behavior. Souls will perish, and go to an everlasting hell, if we refuse to repent and change.

Denominationally I believe like Augustine said.

1. In ESSENTIALS Unity – Diety of JESUS, Infallibility of Scriptures, The TRIUNE GODHEAD Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the Death, Burial, Bodily Resurrection and Ascension of JESUS CHRIST, the Shed BLOOD of Jesus, for the Forgiveness of our sins, the VIRGIN Birth, etc.

2. In NON-ESSENTIALS Liberty – Worship Styles, Minor Doctrinal Differences like Baptism in Jesus Name, or Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Baptism by Sprinkling or Dunking, etc.

3. In EVERYTHING ELSE Charity (Love)

I am not suggesting we abandon our Denominational distinctives, but that we can have fellowship with folks from different denominations. Of course we should never be inclusive of Cults.

Since Jesus could come back at any time, we need to repent, change, and wash our robes in the blood of the Lamb!

The Power Of The Bended Knee!

“The Power of the Bended Knee”

Birds go to sleep on their perches, but they never fall off. This is because of the tendons in the bird’s legs. They are so constructed that when the leg is bent at the knee the claws contract and grip like a steel trap.

The claws refuse to let go until the knees are unbent again. The bended knee gives the bird the ability to hold on to his perch so tightly. Isn’t this also the secret of the holding power of the Christian?

Daniel found this to be true. Surrounded by a pagan environment, tempted to compromise with evil, urged to weaken his grip on God, he refused to let go. He held firm when others faltered because he was a man of prayer. He knew the power of the bended knee.

From sleeping birds we can learn the secret of holding things which are most precious to us- honesty, purity, thoughtfulness, honor and character. That secret is the knee bent in prayer, seeking to get a firmer grip on those values, which make life worth living.

When we hold on firmly to God in prayer, we can rest assured he will hold on tightly to us.

The Rest Of The Story – Visions Of Praise

Revelation 7:9-17 NIV

The Great Multitude in White Robes

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.”

11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:

Praise and glory
and wisdom and thanks and honor
and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever.

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”

14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”

And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,

“they are before the throne of God
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
    will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
    never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’[a]
    nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
    will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’[b]
    ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’[c]

Forgive Our Trespasses by Chuck Swindoll

Forgive Our Trespasses by Charles R. Swindoll

“Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You.

To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets.” —Daniel 9:8-10

Forgive us, our Father, for being attracted to the pleasures of sin . . . to what appears to be full of ecstasy and satisfaction but is, in fact, empty and stupid.

Thank You for bringing conviction, for pointing out our rebellion. We need that reminder every day, so that we might invest ourselves in that which endures.

We want to pursue the things of God, the things You consider important and valuable—a righteous walk, a pure heart, a committed lifestyle. We long to place family above fortune and purpose above fame and righteousness above riches.

Our Father, You instruct us and teach us in the way we should go. Thank You for that. You shine a bright light on our path from Your Word.

Thank You for the relief that comes with being forgiven and the peace of mind that accompanies a clean heart. Finally, thank You for Your mercies, new every morning, and Your grace, needed every day. We thank You in the dear name of Jesus. Amen.
See also Matthew 6:12; Acts 10:43; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22

How to show Cruel Compassion!

Cruel Compassion

When our daughter was just a baby we had a pretty small house where you could look in all the rooms from the kitchen. During the summer we had this big old exhaust fan on the floor in the kitchen, which was really the only way to suck some air through the house.

Well, our daughter thought this fan was kind of intriguing, she thought it would be neat to explore. I had no idea how attracted she was going to be to it. I walked into the kitchen one day and here she is toddling toward that fan with her hand fully extended.

She wanted to put her fingers in the fan! Guess what I didn’t say – “oh go ahead honey, I love you. No I said, “No!” She tried again a few minutes later. She really wanted to do this. So I kind of spanked her on the bottom and said, “No, no! Don’t do that.”

Now if I tried to explain it to this little toddler, she wouldn’t have understood it at all. But I had to stop her. I knew what would happen if she went ahead with it.

Can’t you imagine what she would’ve said, if she could’ve said, “Haven’t you heard of love? If you love me, you’ll let me do what I really want to do.” No, not in this case.

Today I think she’s very glad I didn’t think that was love.
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Cruel Compassion.”

Our word for today from the Word of God, we’re in the book of Lamentations. And what’s being lamented is the fall of God’s people and the fall of God’s city, Jerusalem.

Here’s a couple things that Jeremiah says. He’s talking about Jerusalem, “She was once queen among the provinces and is now become a slave, all because of their sin and God’s resulting judgment.”

He goes on to say that, “She herself groans and turns away.” It’s just a time of sadness and shame for God’s people. It’s a broken time. Well, as this book identifies where the blame ultimately lay, it gets to our word for today from the Word of God.

And in many ways it identifies some of the mess that we’re in in our world today as well. It says in Lamentations 2:14, “The visions of your prophets were false and worthless. They did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading.”

There’s a lot of power in those words because it’s saying that the people who knew you were sinning didn’t do anything to expose the wrongness, the sinfulness of it.

And as a result, they didn’t tell you the consequences of staying on that road. So they didn’t ward off their captivity. Those people back then didn’t do any favor to those people by not telling them where God says those actions would take them.

In other words, you wanted to stick your fingers in the fan and they didn’t stop you. Now, they maybe didn’t want to judge anybody. They wanted to be tolerant and loving, and not condemning.

That’s nice. But then they let them walk right into the blades of God’s judgment. See, it’s not loving to not let people see where their sin will take them.

To be non-condemning and loving doesn’t mean that we don’t tell them what God says the consequences will be. To live and let live when it comes to sin is not really compassion.

I was told by a couple of men who used to live in a homosexual lifestyle and felt that Christ had given them the power to change and move on from that, they were commenting on people who say, “you know, I think we should just accept them and let them be themselves.”

And they said “Ron, that’s not compassion.” They said “We call that cruel compassion.” It’s letting them march right into captivity.

Well listen, whether it’s sexual sin, or divorce, or dishonesty, or anger, or “justifiable bitterness,” if we leave it unconfronted, unchallenged, without telling them the consequences and what God says he must judge, it’s not compassion.

It’s letting a person take a drink you know is laced with poison. Sin makes people slaves. It destroys families, it destroys friendships. It promises to make you feel better about yourself and leaves you feeling worthless, sometimes even suicidal.

Sin cuts people off from each other, cuts them off from God. Compassion is doing everything you can to warn them of the wages of sin. We’ve got to love people enough to kindly, gently, lovingly tell them the truth.

Love will always stand in the way of someone who is about to stick their fingers in the fan.
By Ron Hutchcraft

Our House – Called To Praise God

Psalm 84 : 1 – 12 NIV

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.[d]

They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob.

Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. 10 Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 12 Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you.

A Purpose In Suffering – Our Daily Bread

A Purpose in Suffering

Bible in a Year:

I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. Job 42:7

Today’s Scripture & Insight: Job 42:1–9

“So what you’re saying is, it may not be my fault.” The woman’s words took me by surprise. Having been a guest speaker at her church, we were now discussing what I’d shared that morning. “I have a chronic illness,” she explained, “and I have prayed, fasted, confessed my sins, and done everything else I was told to do to be healed. But I’m still sick, so I thought I was to blame.”

I felt sad at the woman’s confession. Having been given a spiritual “formula” to fix her problem, she had blamed herself when the formula hadn’t worked. Even worse, this formulaic approach to suffering was disproved generations ago.

Simply put, this old formula says that if you’re suffering, you must have sinned. When Job tragically lost his livestock, children, and health, his friends used the formula on him. “Who, being innocent, has ever perished?” Eliphaz said, suspecting Job’s guilt (Job 4:7).

Bildad even told Job that his children only died because they had sinned (8:4). Ignorant of the real cause of Job’s calamities (1:6–2:10), they tormented him with simplistic reasons for his pain, later receiving God’s rebuke (42:7).

Suffering is a part of living in a fallen world. Like Job, it can happen for reasons we may never know. But God has a purpose for you that goes beyond the pain you endure. Don’t get discouraged by falling for simplistic formulas.

By:  Sheridan Voysey

Spiritual War Against The Very Soul Of America

There is a Spiritual Battle going on for the very Soul of America, and we are so divided in this country. It’s not about the DONKEY, it’s not about the ELEPHANT, it’s about the LAMB, and the LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDAH!!

The BRITISH ruled INDIA by the PRINCIPLE of Divide and Rule. They kept HINDUS fighting the MUSLIMS, and VICE VERSA. Different Ethnic Groups fighting one another.

While they were at each other’s throats they successfully RULED India for over 200 years. Indians were too busy fighting one another, instead of fighting the real enemy! “A House divided against itself cannot stand!”

The same way most people don’t even realize that the TRUE ENEMY is the DEVIL (Satan), and we are in a SPIRITAL BATTLE, that can be won by uniting under the banner of JESUS CHRIST.(One can put a thousand to flight, two can put ten thousand to flight)

Even CHURCHES are so DENOMINATIONALLY divided. I am reminded of AUGUSTINE who said the following:

1. In ESSENTIALS Unity – Deity of JESUS, Infallibility of Scriptures, The TRIUNE GODHEAD Father, Son, Holy Ghost, the Death, Burial, Bodily Resurrection and Ascension of JESUS CHRIST, the Shed BLOOD of Jesus, for the Forgiveness of our sins, the VIRGIN Birth, etc.

2. In NON-ESSENTIALS Liberty – Worship Styles, Minor Doctrinal Differences like Baptism in Jesus Name, or Father, Son, Holy Ghost, Baptism by Sprinkling or Dunking, etc.

3. In EVERYTHING ELSE Charity (Love) – This is not an Exhaustive List, but something to express what I am talking about! We can all have our DENOMINATIONAL Preferences, but not use that to divide the BODY of CHRIST.


I Shall Be Released – Called To Praise God

Psalm 107:1-9 NIV

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
    those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
    from east and west, from north and south.[a]
Some wandered in desert wastelands,
    finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
    and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
    and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
    to a city where they could settle.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
    and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
    and fills the hungry with good things.

Psalm 107:39-43 NIV

39 Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled
    by oppression, calamity and sorrow;
40 he who pours contempt on nobles
    made them wander in a trackless waste.
41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
    and increased their families like flocks.
42 The upright see and rejoice,
    but all the wicked shut their mouths.
43 Let the one who is wise heed these things
    and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.

Sorry, but we won’t re-write the Bible for gays and lesbians

In response to my open letter to Isaac Archuleta, who describes himself as a bisexual Christian, Richard S. posted a lengthy comment on my personal Facebook page, including this statement: “The logical conclusion to your theology (gays can change and if they don’t it must be because they don’t have faith or are deceived) is extremely damaging to the souls of gay people.

That was the point of Isaac’s letter. No amount of nice words will erase the damage. Only honest reconsideration of your theology will bring healing. Please don’t discount/deny the faith of your gay brothers and sisters. They have much to contribute to the church.”

Of course, Richard has completely misstated what conservative Christians believe (we don’t say or believe that if gays don’t change “it must be because they don’t have faith or are deceived”), just as other parts of his comment not quoted here were also based on serious misunderstandings.

But that is secondary to the bigger issue, and Richard is one of many who are telling serious Bible believers that, “Only honest reconsideration of your theology will bring healing.”

He could not be more wrong.

First, what Scripture says on homosexual practice is not negotiable, and no amount of new books or videos or personal stories will change that.

As I explained in my book Can You Be Gay and Christian?, “no new textual, archeological, sociological, anthropological, or philological discoveries have been made in the last fifty years that would cause us to read any of these biblical texts differently. Put another way, it is not that we have gained some new insights into what the biblical text means based on the study of the Hebrew and Greek texts. Instead, people’s interaction with the LGBT community has caused them to understand the biblical text differently.”

Simply stated, if not for the sexual revolution, no one would be reexamining what the Scriptures state about God’s intention for His creation.

No one would be wondering if two men or two women could “marry” or if a husband could also be a wife.

No one would be doubting that the Lord made men for women and women for men and that any deviation from that pattern was contrary to His design and intent.

As one New Testament scholar was candid enough to admit, it was clear to him that the Bible forbade homosexual practice, but when his own daughter came out as a lesbian, he changed his opinion on the subject.

That’s why I’ve often stated that there is not a single argument that can be brought from God’s Word to defend homosexual practice, but there are powerful emotional arguments that can be brought. In that context, I’m often reminded of Jesus’ words that, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Matt. 10:37).

The father of a “gay Christian” activist changed churches when his home congregation rejected his son’s views on homosexuality. When asked about these words of Jesus, he commented that there were other churches he could go to, but he had only one son.

I could only wince when I heard his words, so loving in one way but so destructive in another.

Second, if there was something to reconsider in our theology we would gladly do it. The truth be told, as impossible as the “gay Christian” arguments struck me, I went to the Lord about them, buying the books that defended this new way of reading Scripture, reading the stories and listening to the stories of professing gay Christians, allowing my heart to be torn and my mind to be challenged.

At the end of the day, as a biblical scholar, a lover of Jesus and a lover of people, it was impossible for me to accept their arguments. The Word is just too clear on this, and without some kind of emotional or social or other pressure to reconsider what Scripture states, no one would deny this.

Third, those who argue that Christians agree to disagree on lots of things without denying each other’s faith fail to realize that they do not agree to disagree on behaviors that Scripture strongly condemns—unless they themselves are living in some kind of moral compromise.

We’re not dealing here with a question of whether speaking in tongues is for today or whether Christians are required to tithe or whether Jesus is coming before the tribulation.

We’re dealing with redefining the very meaning of marriage and claiming that a behavior that is plainly condemned in the Old and New Testaments—I’m talking about same-sex cohabitation—is now blessed by God.

And while God alone is the judge of every professing Christian, be that person gay or straight, we cannot embrace as fellow brothers and sisters those who are affirming, practicing and even celebrating homosexuality.

We will put our arms around everyone who struggles with same-sex attraction, loving them and embracing them and encouraging them in their walk with the Lord, whether their walk entails transformation from homosexual to heterosexual or whether it entails celibacy.

But we will not and cannot affirm and bless what the Lord Himself opposes. To do so is to do a disservice to those in the LGBT community.

Fourth, God’s message of grace and truth brings healing and wholeness and deliverance and freedom, as millions of people from every walk of life can attest, including large numbers of people who once identified as LGBT.

I’m quite aware that there are genuine homo-haters in the Church. I plan to address this yet again in the coming days; God is their judge as well. I’m quite aware that Christians have often failed to demonstrate Christlike love and compassion to the LGBT community—to put it mildly.

But I’m also quite aware that when we speak the truth in love and people actually hear what we’re saying—not the interpretation they put on our words but the real message of our words—if that message is received, it will bring life not death.

To all of you reading this article who say, “I’m gay, I’m Christian, I’m involved in a same-sex relationship, and we’re thriving in the Lord,” I invite you to call my radio show, to send me your story or, if you live in my city, to get together with me and some of your friends—not for the purpose of debate but for the purpose of honest, loving, heartfelt interaction.

And if you have time, would you watch my video, Can You Be Gay and Christian? and tell me what I don’t understand and where I don’t display genuine empathy?

And if you’d like to read my book by the same title and you genuinely can’t afford it, email me your story, include your address, and I’ll send you a copy for free. You will not find a hateful word in the book, but you will find someone who cares.

In the end, though, your issue is with the Lord, not with me.

I can assure you that He understands and He will provide everything you need if you truly entrust your life to Him. 

The Real Reason Our Society Is So Divided

Paul wrote to the Galatian church to show them, among other things, that a lot of barriers between people exist because we try to justify ourselves—to declare ourselves righteous and good—through something about us.

Jews did this through the law. They had a whole system of rules that distinguished them from the world. The Old Testament alone contains 613 laws, and, in addition to those, Jews made a “hedge about the law,” rules to keep them from even approaching breaking the rules—and that list got up into the thousands.

Having a list of things to do for acceptance is not unique to Judaism, of course. All religions have lists like this. It’s instinctive to who we humans are. We are always trying to justify ourselves, to set ourselves apart from others. Life is like one big episode of “Survivor,” and we’re trying to convince everyone else we’re not the ones that should be thrown off the island. (I may be dating myself a bit with that reference, but I think you still get the idea.)

Our lives are eaten up with pride. And so, we’re in constant competition with others, because the essence of pride is competitiveness, and this fuels division. We have to protect and defend our distinctives because they give us value and worth above others.

Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century British pastor, said he saw three of these divisions in his society, and it’s amazing how evident these are still in our society today.

1. The pride of race

For many, their ethnic identity becomes a way of distinguishing themselves above others. They take pride in their white-ness, their black-ness, their Indian-ness, or their Asian-ness. A racial distinctive makes them who they are and forms their identity.

Our cultures are beautiful things, created by God like a many-sided diamond to reflect his glory. But when culture becomes our primarydistinguishing identity, it causes division.

People can and should honor their culture. But the moment they start vesting their culture with pride, they’ll begin to protect and defend that culture, because their culture gives them a sense of identity and sets them apart.

But do they not understand the gospel?

There’s only one race of people: the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. We have one core problem: sin. We have one hope: the blood of Jesus that cleanses us all alike. Paul says in Romans 10:12, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him” (ESV).

Sometimes the root of racial division is that our ethnic identity has become too large. If we hope to overcome any division among us, a crucial step is that our identity in Christ become greater—much greater—than any other identity we possess.

2. The pride of face and place

We tend to see people in categories—the successful and the unsuccessful, the intelligent and the dull, the beautiful and the ugly, the fit and the fat, the rich and the poor. We look down on those who are less than we are in these areas and feel intimidated by those who are more so. We think some personal accomplishment or characteristic sets us apart and justifies us before others.

I know I recognize myself in that. Perhaps you do, too. But do we not understand the gospel?

First, do we realize how little of our talents we can actually take credit for? Our parents gave us our genes, and God gave us the health and opportunity to pursue them. Do we really think if we’d been born as orphans in a village in Somalia, we’d have succeeded like we have? All that we have is a gift.

Second, do we realize how worthless our talents are when it comes to the things that really matter? Our SAT scores and bank accounts and promotions cannot justify us before God. Before God, there is only one kind of sinner: hopeless.

This is good news for those of us on the bottom of the heap. It doesn’t matter if I am not that intelligent now, because I am promised I will inherit the mind of Christ. It doesn’t matter if I’m not beautiful now, because I am clothed in the righteousness of Christ. It doesn’t matter if I am not successful now, because I have all the promises of God in Christ Jesus. It doesn’t matter if someone doesn’t appreciate me, because in Christ I have the undying love of the eternal Father.

If we could have saved ourselves by our merit or good works or beauty, God would have let us do that. But we couldn’t do it! What we have now in Jesus is worth infinitely more than any of those things.

3. The pride of grace

Maybe worst of all, Spurgeon said, is the pride that comes from having lived a moral or religious life—or, at the very least, having avoided certain shameful sins or mistakes.

You feel a sense of pride because you have lived a good life; you’ve never been to prison or fired from your job. You didn’t get pregnant before you were married. You come from a good family, and your parents never got divorced.

And so now you feel a sense of distinction, even superiority, over others who have gone through those things.

But, friend, do you not understand the gospel?

In Christ, there are no “good people” or “bad people,” “winners” or “losers,” “people who have it together” or “dysfunctional people.” There are only bad, dead, sin-sick rebels, without God and without hope in this world, whom God saves by a sheer act of grace. The “pride of grace” is really a denial of grace.

By J. D. Greear

Only You – Called To Praise God

Psalm 100 NIV

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

The Joy Of Giving And Receiving Gratitude!

A fisherman who was fishing east of the Farallon Islands (just outside of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California) spotted a whale who was fully entangled and bound in a fishing net.

The fisherman radioed for help and within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that the whale was so badly tangled that the only way to save her was to dive in, cut the ropes and untangle her…. a very dangerous proposition as one slap of the tail could kill a rescuer.

They worked for hours with curved knives and eventually freed her. When she was free, the divers say she swam in what seemed like joyous circles.

She then came back to each and every diver, one at a time, nudged them, and pushed gently, thanking them. Some said that it was the most incredibly beautiful experience they had ever had.

The guy who cut the rope out of her mouth says her eye was following him the entire time and he will never be the same. May you be so fortunate to be surrounded by people who will help you get untangled from the things that are binding you. And, may you always know the joy of giving and receiving gratitude

Trust God Even In The Storms Of Life

TRUST IN GOD! by Varghese Augustine

A man just got married and was returning home with his wife. They were crossing a lake in a boat, when suddenly a great storm arose. The man was a warrior, but the woman became very much afraid because it seemed almost hopeless:

The boat was small and the storm was really huge, and any moment they were going to be drowned. But the man sat silently, calm and quiet, as if nothing was happening.

The woman was trembling and she said, “Are you not afraid ?”. This may be our last moment of life! It doesn’t seem that we will be able to reach the other shore. Only some miracle can save us; otherwise death is certain.

Are you not afraid? Are you mad or something? Are you a stone or something? The man laughed and took the sword out of its sheath. The woman was even more puzzled:

What he was doing? Then he brought the naked sword close to the woman’s neck, so close that just a small gap was there, it was almost touching her neck

He said,” Are you afraid ?”She started to laugh and said,” Why should I be afraid ? If the sword is in your hands, why I should be afraid? I know you love me.”

He put the sword back and said, This is my answer”. I know God Loves me, and the storm is in His hands.SO WHATSOEVER IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS GOING TO BE GOOD.

If we survive, good; if we don’t survive, good, because everything is in His hands and He cannot do anything wrong.

Moral: Develop Trust. This is the trust which one needs to imbibe and which is capable of transforming your whole life. Any less won’t do!
In Isa. 49:15 God reminds us “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!

Celebrating In Unity – God’s People Offer Praise

Acts 2:32-33 NIV

32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

Acts 2:37-47 NIV

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 

44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 

47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Unbreakable in Jesus – The Story of Louis Zamperini

Louis Zamperini’s military plane crashed at sea during the war, killing eight of eleven men onboard. “Louie” and two others clambered into life rafts.

They drifted for two months, fending off sharks, riding out storms, ducking bullets from an enemy plane, and catching and eating raw fish and birds. They finally drifted onto an island and were immediately captured.

For two years Louie was beaten, tortured, and worked mercilessly as a prisoner of war. His remarkable story is told in the book Unbroken.

Jeremiah is one of the Bible’s unbreakable characters. He endured enemy plots (Jeremiah 11:18), was whipped and put in stocks (20:2), flogged and bound in a dungeon (37:15–16), and lowered by ropes into the deep mire of a cistern (38:6).

He survived because God had promised to stay with him and rescue him (1:8). God makes a similar promise to us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). God didn’t promise to save Jeremiah or us from trouble, but He has promised to carry us through trouble.

Louie recognized God’s protection, and after the war he gave his life to Jesus. He forgave his captors and led some to Christ. Louie realized that while we can’t avoid all problems, we need not suffer them alone. When we face them with Jesus, we become unbreakable.

Celebrating Expectantly – God’s People Offer Praise

2 Samuel 6:1-5 NIV

The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

David again brought together all the able young men of Israel—thirty thousand. He and all his men went to Baalah[a] in Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name,[b] the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim on the ark. 

They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it,[c] and Ahio was walking in front of it. 

David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with castanets,[d] harps, lyres, timbrels, sistrums and cymbals.

2 Samuel 6:12-19 NIV

12 Now King David was told, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.” So David went to bring up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. 13 When those who were carrying the ark of the Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. 

14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the Lord with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

16 As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.

17 They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the Lord. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. 

19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.