What School Did the Twelve Disciples Attend?

The school of Jesus Christ.

The disciples learned firsthand that Jesus was the real deal. He didn’t come to beat around the bush. He meant what He said and He did what He said He would do. He wasn’t like the Pharisees who just talked but didn’t practice what they preached (Matthew 23:3).

How did the disciples learn all the things they learned? Everything they knew they learned by spending time with Jesus.

The 12 disciples were chosen by Jesus. He lastly commissioned them. In between these two steps, however, there was a pivotal step. He communed with them. They learned from Him daily by just being with Him (Mark 3:14).

The disciples ate with Jesus. They followed him wherever he went. They watched as He went into town after town and met with people whose lives would be altered forever because they encountered Him. They watched as multitudes followed Him and crowded around Him to listen to what He had to say. They watched as Jesus made time for them and met their deepest needs and answered their questions.

They watched as Jesus ministered to the people with compassion and served them even in the midst of His own hunger and tiredness. They noted how He taught them about God and His kingdom for hours and how He applauded faith and rewarded those who seek the truth. They watched how He spoke with such authority yet was humble. They saw how He had power even over the wind and the waves and recognized Him as God.

They knew Jesus was always about His Father’s will and that He never forgot it. They saw how prayer was a priority in His life and knew he often withdrew in solitude for His time alone with the Father. They saw how He taught others to pray.

They saw His love for others. They saw the tears He wept when Lazarus died and how He loved Mary and Martha.

They saw how Jesus was a discerner of hearts and rebuked hypocrisy when He saw it. They saw how he was zealous and noted His righteous anger when the people desecrated the temple by turning it into a marketplace.

The disciples saw how Jesus was patient with them even though they were slow learners. His power was made perfect in their weakness.

They learned from Him life lessons about marriage, money, forgiveness, stewardship and why not to worry. Jesus loved them to the end and they knew it. They would never be the same. God, through the Holy Spirit, would later use the disciples to establish the church and the world would never be the same.

Now maybe we can appreciate what John said in 1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—”

It would be safe then to say that these 12 men saw, touched, heard, lived with, spent time with, witnessed, watched and experienced Jesus in a way nobody else in His day did.

Oh, we can learn so much from the lives of these 12 men if we choose to. The accounts of their lives are fascinating and it is humbling and gives us hope to know God chose these 12 ordinary men to accomplish His extraordinary work. This is how even today He chooses to use those of us who are willing and obedient. How has knowing about the lives of these 12 men changed your life? How has spending time with the Savior equipped you to do His work in the world today?

TwelveDisciplesSchool

_Chosen 
and 
commissioned

 

 

What is Faith & Why is it so important?

Faith is very important to God. What is Faith? One of the dictionary definitions is “belief in or loyalty to God”, another says “belief in someone or something.” Faith is so important that the Bible says it is impossible to please God without it (Heb 11:6). Why is this? One cannot have a relationship with God unless he believes God exists. One must also understand that God rewards those who diligently seek Him.

Faith is a gift from God (Eph 2:8) and it also comes from hearing God’s Word (Rom 10:17).  Hebrews 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  It is not easy or natural to believe in something we cannot see. Yet, the wonderful thing is that our faith is far from blind. It is based on God who has revealed himself to us through this world over and over by working through history and in time. We also have an innate knowledge of God as He has made Himself known to all mankind and we are thus without excuse (Rom 1). God has especially revealed Himself to us through His Son Jesus Christ and through His written word, the Bible. Our Faith is based on God and His unfailing character, His trust-worthy promises, our assured hope and finally on the irrefutable truth of His Word.

When the going gets tough, I want to encourage you today, to Have F.A.I.T.H :

FACTS OVER FEELINGS – Remind ourselves of the facts. We know the promises God has given to us in His Word. We need to stand on the truth of His Word and believe that His love will never fail us and it endures forever (Psalm 136:1), even when we feel all the things we feel -such as doubt, fear or worry about tomorrow or the future.

ACKNOWLEDGE GOD IS IN CONTROL – We know that God is Sovereign (Rom 11:36). No matter what happens in our lives, none of it happens without God’s knowledge, power or authority. He has somehow for some reason allowed the circumstances you are in, to happen. Even if you made poor choices, He can turn it around for your good. He is always working something greater in you in your walk with Him.

I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED – (2 Tim 1:12). Ah, what a beautiful set of words! Such confidence! Paul knows. It is not what he knows but whom he knows that makes a difference. He has known Christ personally. So do we! This makes all the difference. We will not be disappointed because we have believed in the One who gave His all for us and He who began the good work will carry us till the end and finish what He started in us.

TRUST IN GOD DESPITE WHAT I SEE – To believe and continue to believe in God when one cannot see, this is the challenge for us as humans. When circumstances don’t seem to be going the way we want or when life seems to keep falling apart, there is a struggle in us to want to dwell on what we see with our natural eyes. We need to shut our natural eyes sometimes and open our spiritual eyes. We are reminded that what we see is temporary and what is unseen is eternal(2 Cor 4:18)! The joys of heaven, the future glory, seeing Jesus face-to-face -these are all unseen at present. As believers, we won’t set our gaze on the unseen if we don’t shut our eyes to the things of this world. We need to learn to practice seeing with our spiritual eyes. We know we have a glorious future to look forward to in Christ.

HAVING CONFIDENCE IN GOD – Our hope is in a God whose word does not fail EVER. Another thing to note is that we don’t always see God at work but we know He certainly is always at work, often behind-the-scenes. People who serve in this way, behind-the-scenes, often play a pivotal role, without whom things wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as they did, whether it is a school function or church play or office party. In the same way, God loves us and is at work in our lives. He knows what He is doing and He shows himself strong on behalf of those who trust in Him (2 Chron 16:9).

God has gifted us with FAITH and it sets those who believe in Him apart from those who don’t. Thank God for this amazing gift called Faith 🙂

 

 

Why are there Four Gospels?

Many people claim the gospels contradict one another. However, there could be nothing farther from the truth. God’s Word, every word of it, is in perfect harmony with one another. There is nothing out of place and every word is exactly where it should be. God’s Word is inspired of the Holy Spirit, and, therefore, without error.

When we look at the 4 gospels, it is important to keep in mind that God used 4 different men to write the 4 different gospels and although each of them have different perspectives, they all speak of the same Person; the Person of Jesus Christ and ultimately of THE GOSPEL : the good news of Jesus, coming as a Savior and the only Hope of the world!

Each gospel has a separate focus and purpose in establishing a different, or key, aspect of Jesus Christ and is written for a different audience. Different aspects of Jesus’s ministry are revealed through each of the 4 gospels. Once, we know these facts, we will appreciate and understand the so-called “differences” in each of the gospels. Otherwise, we will join in the misconception that the gospels “contradict” one another.

Matthew -was written to the Jews. Matthew’s goal is to present Christ as the long-awaited Messiah and King -the Son of David(Matthew 1:1) to the Jews who didn’t believe or accept Him as the Messiah. Therefore, we see the highest number of Old Testament references/prophecies and also Matthew tracing Jesus’s lineage to show the legitimacy of Him as Messiah.

Mark -was written to the Romans. Mark’s goal is to present Jesus as the suffering Servant to the Roman Gentiles. Therefore, we see Jesus as One who is constantly going about “doing” His Father’s work. It is about action. Jesus serves and sacrifices Himself in ministering to the people. Jesus’s life is marked with humility, service and devotion. He came to serve and give Himself as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He is the Son of Man (Mark 8:36). We see the greatest number of miracles in this gospel.

Luke -was written to the Gentiles/Greeks. Luke’s goal is to present Jesus to the Gentiles. Therefore, a lot of the Jewish customs are explained. Jesus is also presented as the perfect Man/His example of humanity is a focus in presentation to the Greeks, who in their culture, were pre-occupied in finding the perfect man so Jesus is often referred to as the Son of Man (Luke 19:10)

John -was written to the world. John’s goal is to present Jesus as God and the Son of God (John 3:16). There is no question that his divinity/deity is the focus and His message is to tell the world that God became man (incarnate Christ) and came to save us from the power and hold of sin. To all who believe /receive, God gives them the right to be called His children.

May God give us a greater understanding of His Word daily as we seek to understand Him more!

 

What Are You Worth?

I decided to do a Google search. I typed in “What is Warren Buffett worth?” I was told 84.3 billion USD. Bill Gates? 90.2 billion.

WOW. Now those are really, really, really big numbers. In fact, they are amounts that I can’t even comprehend. I can’t quite wrap my mind around such numbers. What would I do if I had that much money?

Isn’t it interesting that a person’s worth is primarily defined, in today’s world, by how much money they have? When the word “worth” is used, our first thought runs to or automatically associates the word with money. This is because we find that by definition, primarily, the worth of something is the value attributed to it, namely in terms of money or possessions.

This is really depressing news then for everyone really, excluding, of course, the millionaires and billionaires.

A secondary definition of “worth” that I came across is “the value of something measured by the esteem in which it is held.”

Hmm.

Now take a moment to think of the Cross. A beautiful picture isn’t it?

You may have the urge to call me crazy as you read this but just wait for a second and continue reading.

Yes, the Cross was brutal but past the brutality, there was Beauty. The Cross was beautiful because it was a picture of Love that came at a high cost. It was a sacrificial love where God gave to mankind. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son …”

The shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary is what WE are worth to God; it was THE price He paid for redeeming us because only He could pay it. Galatians 3:13 says “Christ has redeemed us…” This word “redeemed” (exagorazo- in Greek), appears very few times in the New Testament. I believe it is used approximately 4x and two of those are in the book of Galatians! The word means to pay a price in order to recover someone or something from the power of anotherWe have been redeemed from the power of sin and death. When we consider the weight of what we have been delivered or redeemed from, Galatians 2:20 should mean a lot to us. Christ lives in us and we live by faith in Christ for God’s glory because He loved us and gave Himself for us. 

REDEMPTION. GRACE. MERCY. HOPE. FAITH. LOVE.

These words take on a whole new meaning for those who have placed their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Dear friend, if you don’t know Christ as your Savior, please know that God sent His son Jesus Christ to shed His blood for you so that you would be rescued and freed from the penalty of sin and death. He took our place when you and I deserved death because He loves us. Nobody can escape the penalty of sin which is eternal death. Christ’s shed blood is the only acceptable payment.

You are loved and redeemed. I pray these words would speak truth and life to your heart and soul. I pray, if you do not know Christ, that you would take a moment to ponder what you are worth to God and that you would invite Him into your life. I’m thankful for you. Thanks for stopping by. Have a blessed day💕

The Hope of a Steadfast Love

As believers in Christ, we are not promised a life free from hardships or trials. What we are promised, however, is a trustworthy Savior and guide who is by our side through them.

Here in Psalm 13, David is going through feelings of despair due to his trying circumstances, whatever they may be. His focus through this struggling time is initially himself. David first chooses to turn to his own soul rather than turning his face towards His Savior. When David looks to find solace in his own strength, he doesn’t find answers. He only finds more turmoil and lack of peace, when he tries to “take counsel” in his own soul.

Questions addressed to God aren’t a bad thing but when David turns from questioning God from a place of self-focus to calling out to God for help, his attention and thoughts are redirected to God’s character. David is reminded that His trust is NOT in his circumstances but in the steadfast love of God.

David is also able to turn from a sorrowful place to a place of singing to God. What a remarkable change!! He realizes, through a place of prayer and humble posture before God, that his joy is in the Savior of his salvation. God has indeed been good to him. He is able to see the “bigger picture” despite the trying situation he is in at this given moment.

This is a great picture of joy in the believer’s life. Circumstances change from one day to the next, but joy in Christ never will. Happiness is dependent on our circumstances but joy isn’t. Why? Because our trust (batach- hope, refuge, confidence, boldness) is in His steadfast love (lovingkindness, mercy of God) and our hope is in Jesus Christ, our Savior and strength. 

No matter what your situation, be encouraged today, friend 🙂 God is with you!

Even in this, You are Sovereign

Psalm 61 brings me such comfort, especially verse 2. “From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Lately, our life has been quite exciting. God has been sharing amazing things He has been calling us to for our future but at the same time our heart has also been burdened with something that only He can understand. I have been learning more and more that He is Sovereign and that He is in control of my life. Not even a hair from my head falls without His knowledge so how much more is He in control of the desires and details of my life? This life of mine isn’t even mine. It is His to do with as He chooses. I am His, bought with a price, living to carry out His purposes, to display His glory. There is no such thing as purpose for my life that is apart from my Creator. 

Father, please speak peace to my heart in this struggle of worry and doubt on my not-so-good days. This is the life of the one who follows Christ. We have great days then we have the not-so-great days (and this is ok! as a dear friend reminded me yesterday.) The struggles of life will be present in this sinful state. The problem of sin is present in the life of the believer but, in Christ, we have been delivered from the power of sin! The amazing thing about this, though, is that we are never alone and Christ our Rock is able to carry us through and past these hardships, as He is our firm foundation.

I was listening to a Ravi Zacharias message two days ago where he shared quite a powerful thought from G. K. Chesterton : “For the Christian, joy is the central feature of life and sorrow is peripheral, because in the gospel the fundamental questions of life are answered and it is the peripheral ones that are relatively unanswered. For the atheist, sorrow is central and joy peripheral, because only the peripheral questions have answers and the central ones remain unanswered.” Therefore, regardless of the circumstances we face, the joy of those of us who belong to Christ is central despite the rest of the peripheral “sorrowful” emotions that fluctuate in and out of the seasons of hardships we face.

O how blessed are we to have a loving Savior who helps us navigate through this life into the next! Our purpose is linked to the One who loves us and gave Himself for us and not to our situations and circumstances! How reassuring is this for the believer!

Thank you, Father, for helping us stand on the promises of Your Word. In You, we are complete and armed with strength for the bad days and we can truly say that Even in this, You are Sovereign.

Psalm 61

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah

For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
You will prolong the king’s life,
His years as many generations.
He shall abide before God forever.
Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!

So I will sing praise to Your name forever,
That I may daily perform my vows.

 

No fear in death

I have heard it said, “Born once, die twice …Born twice, die once.”

Death comes to all. No one can escape it. However, those born again in Christ have no reason to fear death for Christ has overcome death and the power it has over us.

Christ’s death on the Cross was a monumental event but there is one I would say is even more monumental and that is His resurrection.

Why? Because as Paul said “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” His Death AND Resurrection brings us life. If there would have been no resurrection, there would have been no hope for there would have been no victory over death.

“Death is swallowed up in victory. ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:54-57)

We can boldly say, “O death where is your sting?!! You have no hold over us for though we die, yet we shall live!!”

I would like to share the lyrics to one of my favorite hymns.

“In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.”

**— IN CHRIST ALONE” WORDS AND MUSIC BY KEITH GETTY & STUART TOWNEND**

Death comes to all. The fear of death doesn’t have to. For those in Christ, we are free from the power of death and for us “to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)

 

 

God of all comfort

Imagine having given birth and never having the opportunity to meet your newborn because you almost lost your own life after childbirth. Then imagine that moment you recover and get to walk over to your child and hold him for the first time.

There are moments in life that nobody can relate to or share with you no matter how much they would like to. This is simply because they haven’t been through anything similar so they can’t possibly understand the depth of what that kind of pain or joy feels like.

There is a line from a hymn that I love “The Love of Jesus what it is; none but His loved ones know.” Only His loved ones can testify of His faithfulness in times of uncertainty, His love in times of loneliness, or His comfort in times of despair. Why? This is because we have personally experienced these things!

I have learned that the deeper I know God and the deeper my knowledge of Him, this knowledge and relationship enable me to experience a kind of comfort with it that can compare to nothing else. The promise of His word upholds me when I don’t have the strength to stand. When the waves hit, I can stay calm and not be overwhelmed because I know the One who walked on water is the One who is in control of my life and all the details that go with it.

When I am afraid, I can trust Him for He has shown Himself trustworthy.

When I am weak, I can rely on His strength for He has shown Himself strong on my behalf.

When I am doubtful, I can pray for faith for He has shown Himself faithful.

He has never failed me and never will.

The knowledge of His character and the experience of His love, compassion, provision and comfort, specifically through times of trials, loss, pain or doubt; all of these carry us so we are able to move forward. He enables us. He strengthens us. He comforts us and we are thereby able to comfort others.

The word of God brings with it hope, comfort, and life to all who rely on Him. We can stand on His word and His promises for they are true and life-giving. The name of the Lord is a strong tower where the righteous can run to and stay safe (Prov 18:10).

I like to think of it this way -what CPR does for the heart and lungs, His word does for the soul. It converts, it sustains, it revives, it brings life. Praise God for being our comfort and strength. Whatever pain you are going through in this day or season of life, may you find comfort in Him and His word.

May He be glorified!

2 Cor 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

3 Reasons We Must Obey God

We want our children to obey us because as their parents we want what is best for them. Our desire is not selfish. Obedience is not demanded out of unfairness but from a place of love and utmost care for their well being. It is the same with God. He commands obedience from us, because we are His children and because He loves us. We are sheep who cannot survive without His guidance and leading. Therefore we must obey.

Here are 3 reasons we must obey God:

1. It shows that we love Him

Love & obedience go hand in hand. We cannot separate the two. Jesus clearly says in John 14:15 that if we love Him, we will keep His commands.

2. We will be blessed

In Luke 11:28, Jesus says “…Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” The word used here in the greek for “blessed” refers to the state of receiving God’s favor and provision where we benefit largely from His grace and reward that results from obedience in keeping His Word. The greek word used for “keep” here in reference to His Word has a military connotation in being vigilant in safeguarding or observing His Word, with an emphasis on personal responsibility in regards to guarding the Word given to us by God. In other words, now that we have heard and we know the Word of God, what are we going to do about it? Just hearing and knowing doesn’t bring any reward. It is in keeping it that we find blessing.

3. Jesus Himself Was Obedient

If Jesus practiced obedience, how much more should we?! Jesus, when on this earth, was in submission always to the Father’s will and Hebrews 5:8 says He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. He is our greatest example for obedience!

When we obey, we receive His blessings that we would otherwise forfeit. There are countless examples of obedience in the Bible.

Joseph obeyed God and honored Him by not giving in to Potiphar’s wife when she went after him and then accused him of something he didn’t do. His patience and suffering later yielded the blessing of position and power God granted him so he could save the lives of his family.

Abraham obeyed God when he left everything he knew so that he could go where didn’t know so that God could fulfill His purpose through him. He received the promise of a child in Isaac and the blessing extended far beyond this as we study and understand God’s promise and its implications.

Daniel obeyed when he decided he would not worship any other god but the living God. God delivered him from the mouth of the lions.

What steps can you take today to ensure you are living in obedience to God? You have all the tools you need. God’s Word, Prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit that dwells within you. Let us walk in obedience towards His commandments for in doing so we walk in Truth.

2 John 1:6 “This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.”

The One Constant

I remember when I was growing up in India, there was a banyan tree outside of the gates of my home. My friends and I loved swinging on the vines. Years later after coming to the US, when I went back there to visit, the tree was still present.

Looking at that tree brought back such cherished memories. I love trees. They remind me of the constancy of God. The world around us and everything about it is constantly changing and yet, God is the one constant. This brings me such solace. In Christ, we have no reason to fear or worry. Difficult times hit everyone, there are no exceptions, no escape from them but when we are reminded of the One whom our trust is placed in, nothing is more emboldening. We continue to remain green and bear fruit. Why? This is because our God is the Lord and in Him, we will prosper regardless of challenging circumstances. Our circumstances and situations dont define us, our God does! How comforting is this fact!

God is the One person whom we can trust in times of despair. He is the One whom our hope lies in. He is the same yesterday, today and forever and He never fails those who place their trust and confidence in Him! So take courage, dear friend and remember as you go through your trials that, if you are in Christ, we are but pilgrims and sojourners on this earth. God grants us strength to carry on and when we fall or feel like we no longer can carry on, He carries us! How marvelous is our God! His love and faithfulness is unlike any other. Dont let your trust be placed in things that can fail you. If your confidence is in anything other than God, you will be disappointed. Let God be your hope and your confidence!

I was inspired to write this because of my new Bible cover 🙂 Here it is! I love it!! 😀image1