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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

August 31st, 2013

God Can Use You

We are all imperfect

There are many reasons why God shouldn’t have called you. But don’t worry. You’re in good company…

Moses stuttered.
David’s armor didn’t fit.
John Mark was rejected by Paul.
Timothy had ulcers.
Hosea’s wife was a prostitute.
Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Solomon was too rich.
Jesus was too poor.
Abraham was too old.
David was too young.
Peter was afraid of death.
Lazarus was dead.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a widow.
Paul was a murderer.
So was Moses.
Jonah ran from God.
Miriam was a gossip.
Gideon and Thomas both doubted.
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burnt out.
John the Baptist was a loudmouth.
Martha was a worry-wart.
Mary was lazy.
Samson had long hair.
Noah got drunk.

Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse?
So did Peter, Paul — well, lots of folks did.
But God doesn’t require a job interview.
He doesn’t hire and fire like most bosses, because He’s more our Dad than our Boss.
He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss.
He’s not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need.
As much as we try, God’s gifts are free.
We could do wonderful things for wonderful people and still not be . . . Wonderful.
Satan says, “You’re not worthy.” Jesus says, “So what? . . . I AM.”
Satan looks back and sees our mistakes.
God looks back and sees the cross.
He doesn’t calculate what you did in ’98.
It’s not even on the record.

Sure. There are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t have called us.
But if we are magically in love with Him, if we hunger for Him more than our next breath,
He’ll use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, or what we look like.
Pray that as Christians, we will step out of our limitations into the illimitable nature of who God is.
Then our passion for God and our passion to communicate with Him will make mincemeat of our limitations.

Thanks & Regards,
Your Faithful Friend in Christ,
Shashank Patel, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India

August 25th, 2013

Questions From Jesus Christ

Questions From Jesus Christ

Lets take a look at some of the important questions asked by our Lord Jesus Christ. These are the questions that HE wants answers to.

1. How many loaves do you have? (Matthew 15:34)

Loaf or bread represents my Word. You cannot survive with the earthly bread alone, you need ME, the bread that came down to give you eternal life. I am the Word made flesh. MY WORD is eternal. Strive therefore to LEARN MY WORD. How many scriptures do you know by-heart? Can you call to mind and recite at least a couple of them in a crisis? Do you practice living by MY WORD? Just as you satisfy your hunger better by having more loaves, the more the number of scriptures in your heart, the better your life.

2. Who do people say the Son of Man is? (Matthew 16:13)

At Baptism you were given a responsibility and that was to bear witness to me. If today your friends and those close to you don’t experience my love through you, there is something seriously wrong with you and your life. What you show them is what they think I am. Your life as a Christian is so very ordinary that people around you don’t see the need for change. Sometimes the kind of witness you bear, gives them the feeling that they are better off being what they are. Isn’t it time your life became a testimony?

3. But who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16:15)

Am I a doctor who cures you, or a policeman who ensures law and order in your life, or a Judge who grants you justice? Am I a miracle man who works miracles? Seriously what is your answer? Who am I to you and what is the place that you have given me in your life? If you have grown in your relationship with me, you will declare what my disciple Thomas once declared – My Lord and My God.

4. Woman where are they, has no one condemned you? (John 8:10)

After all your sins and the damage that you have done to your chance of spending eternity with me, in my infinite mercy I am giving you another opportunity to start life afresh. I forgive you and urge you to set things right because I may not give you another chance.

5. Do you want to be well? (John 5:6)

You are physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually ill. While a doctor may be able to heal you physically and a counselor or psychologist may heal you emotionally or intellectually, only my Word can heal you completely. Yes only my Word can heal you physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. Establish a relationship with me and witness the change in your life.

6. Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God? (Luke 17:18)

When I work a miracle for non-Christians they respond by thanking me and dedicating their life to me. As a Catholic how have you responded to the many graces and blessings that I have showered on you? I am pained to see you living a life of ingratitude and recklessness.

7. If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest (Luke 12:26)

If you have no control over as small a thing as the hair on your head, why worry about your business, career, finances and relationships? Entrust them to me because I made them for you. Remember they were made for you. You are not made for them. Work for the spread of my Gospel and the glory of my Kingdom and watch how everything else in your life falls in line one by one. When you start working for me, I will start working over your business, career, finances and relationships.

8. So, could you not watch with me one hour? (Matthew 26:40)

Until and unless you knowingly and willingly spend at least an hour in prayer with me how can you expect our relationship to grow stronger and better. I am not referring to your family prayers but to your personal prayer.

9. Do you believe I can do this? (Matthew 9:28)

When you pray to me, do you believe in your heart of hearts that I am in control of your life and that I do everything for your good? Do you believe that you will receive that which you are praying for? What will be the status of your faith if I choose to give you an answer (to your prayer) that is different from what you anticipate. Will you still have faith in me and put your trust in me.

10. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life and what can one give in exchange for his life ? (Matthew 16:26)

You are a soul that has been granted a body for a specific mission. Know that your Soul is very precious and that it has been designed for eternity. I give you the option to choose where you want to spend eternity. Aim for heaven so that even if you are not able to make it, you will have a chance of entering it someday through what ever purification you undergo in purgatory. Do not aim for purgatory, because if you miss purgatory, then the place that you would go to is hell.

– – – written by Laajan Miranda

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