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September 15th, 2013

Cross Is The Ultimate Test For Every Christian

Cross is the ultimate test for every Christian

I like the concept of family bible studies, the power of positive thinking, and the mountain-moving faith of claiming prosperity and healing, and the evangelical zeal of the evangelical Christians. When I was in England, I was spiritually fed by my evangelical friends. I liked their Spirit-filled worship, prophecies, faith-healing and word-based bible preaching. I went to many interdenominational churches in the west Midlands area of England.

In 1998, while on a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in England, I was reading a book written by a popular Tele-evangelist from America when a Catholic priest from Northampton shire interrupted me. He told me “I like the American evangelical Christian’s zeal to spread the gospel, but unfortunately they do not preach much about the cross of Christ”.

Cross is the ultimate test for every Christian

I soon realized that the crucified and suffering savior was a distant reality to those who only preached the risen Christ. There is no forgiveness with out blood. There is no blood with out the humiliation of the cross. Nobody can ever take up the cross without love. Loving can never happen with out giving. Giving cannot occur without sacrifice. Sacrifice cannot take place if there is self-love in you. Nobody can stand at the foot of the cross without denying themselves. Cross is the ultimate test for every Christian. Dying to self is the only reality of Christian living because a grain of corn remains as a grain unless it falls on the ground and dies.

The gospel is hard. The Lord’s teachings are tough. His instructions are clear “eat my body and drink my blood” and “deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me”. When Jesus said this, many left Him saying that His teachings were hard. Peter did not leave Him and so Jesus called him the rock. Many still say that there is no need for the sacraments, and particularly the Eucharist. Even today people leave the Catholic Church when Jesus hands over bread and tell us, “eat my body”. They ask, “How can a man give his body to eat?” Yes, when we remember him in the mass, the bread becomes his body and we indeed eat his body.

Is poverty a sin? Are family curses true?

If poverty is a sin, as often preached by the adherents of the gospel of material prosperity, then Jesus was a sinner by birth, because he was born poor. If family curses are true, as preached by experts with anointing in this specific area, then God would not have selected Judah or David as the forefathers of Jesus. We know that the personal conduct of Judah and David were not holy. If humiliation and cross are not part of Christianity, then those who willfully give up their fathers, mothers, brothers, fields and the bliss of marital life for the sake of Christ are fools.

If only tithing is preached, quoting Malachi, Abraham and Moses, then we are telling Christians to invest materially to receive material goods from God. Truly, biblical prosperity is our investment in heaven where thieves and moths have no accessibility. Jesus couldn’t stand one thing – selling religion. He lost his temper only once and that was when religious people turned his father’s house into a den of thieves. Luther was angry when Catholics sold religion. What are the Tele-evangelists doing today, are they not selling religion?

Let us ask fundamental questions. Are we following Jesus for the right reasons? Are we turning what is holy into a product of merchandize? Are we at the foot of the cross at this moment? Are we denying our “self” and following him out of love?

- – – written by Jacob C Tony

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August 7th, 2012

Please Do Choose Jesus

Please Do Choose Jesus

A person who felt little distracted and disturbed in life once thought of writing a letter to one of his close teachers who is also a priest. The letter was bit long since he had to release all his complains about life. He got the reply within two weeks. There were two-three highlighted sentences in the letter. They are:

Sometimes struggles of life may be very painful. Still, please do choose Jesus. Those are the prices that you pay for a better life in Christ.

I am not so innocent to say that do choose Jesus always. Still I know very well that “to be a follower of Jesus” is much more price worthy than we think of. Discipleship is all about denying our self, taking up the daily crosses, and following Jesus very closely. It indicates that we need to pay the price for our choice.

Like a grain of wheat falling into the earth

The passage of denying our self, taking up the daily crosses, and following Jesus has a very close reference to John 12:24. Jesus says “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

The falling of the grain of wheat into the earth is for a noble cause. It is for the abundant cause of increase. It is for the noble cause of bearing the fruit. A grain of wheat falling into the earth and dying is equal as a human denying himself, taking up the daily crosses, and following Jesus very closely.

Since I am not careful enough to let myself fall into the earth and die, the best of me is not yet. Because i am not committed enough to deny myself and take up the daily crosses, I remain fruitless unproductive and non-creative.

Bearing the daily crosses of life

The reason for bearing the daily crosses of life remains unanswered from the very beginning of the existence of mankind. So let us start believing that God has a right, God has a reward for us, all the more God has a reason for everything.

One thing is quite obvious that suffering has always been a vehicle for deep spiritual growth for many people. Those who have been endured great sufferings of life are generally the one who evolve into greatest beings. Everything that occurs in life has been perfectly orchestrated to inspire our maximal evolution as a better human being and bring us into our true power.

Ours is a time where most of us are suffering from a sickness of comfortable discipleship. Let us start telling good-bye to our safety zones. Let us stop living comfortably and start living the truth of our call. A well rooted life in Jesus Christ costs a lot.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, May we enjoy the joy of belonging to you and the happiness of choosing you always. May we be always so committed to you so that we may take up our daily crosses and follow you very radically. Bless all of us with prosperity and peace of mind. Amen.

- – – written by Br. Augustine Mlavarayil

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March 8th, 2012

Poem : The Cross In My Pocket

The Cross in my pocket

I carry a cross in my pocket,
A simple reminder to me
That I am a Christian,
No matter where I may be.

This little cross isn’t magic,
Nor is it a good luck charm.
It isn’t meant to protect me
From every physical harm.

It’s not for identification
For all the world to see.
It’s simply an understanding
Between my Savior and me.

When I put my hand in my pocket
To bring out a coin or a key,
The cross is there to remind me
Of the price He paid for me.

It reminds me too, to be thankful
For my blessings every day,
And to strive to serve Him better
In all that I do or say.

It’s also a daily reminder
Of the peace and comfort I share
With all who know my Master
And give themselves to His care.

So, I carry a cross in my pocket
Reminding none but me
That Jesus Christ is Lord of my life,
If only I’ll let Him be.

- – – written by Vera Mae Thomas

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