IN THE END

When your time is near,
And your heart reflects fear,
And you’re breaking down in tears
Because you’ll lose all you hold dear;

When faith unfaithful
Turns her back,
And the vision before your blurry eyes
Turns tar black;

Remember the only thing
That will always hold true –
That even in your end
He hasn’t forsaken you.

God still loves you.

Pradita Kapahi

PREPARATION FOR ETERNITY

As a child, I used to wonder where people go when they die? When the body is placed in the coffin and the final nail is struck, and all seems to be over, what if the person inside opens his/her eyes again? Won’t the person feel suffocated and afraid of the darkness inside? What if s/he wants to come out? There would be no one to hear his/her cry for help from where s/he is buried deep down in the earth! Such thoughts often scared me.

A child’s mind is not developed enough to fathom the deeper truths of life. Nor can it rise up to the higher levels of cognitive functioning. Hence, my wondering continued to wonder. I was told that when people die, they go to God. But I wasn’t really able to gather this abstract reality much, as a child.

As the truths about life and death sunk deeper into me gradually, I realised how transient earthly life is! And how perpetual the future eternity is!

The concept of eternity still doesn’t mean much to many, especially because it is too abstract to imagine and understand. To explain in simple terms – ‘eternity is endlessness in time’ – no count of years or months or days or hours or minutes. And, eternity is what awaits the human spirit once the earthly stint gets over.

Life on earth is for a few decades at the maximum. Even the person with record-holding life span, ultimately dies. One wise writer writes thus ‘What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. True enough, generations have come and gone by all across the world. No one stays on forever.

So if the earthly life is temporary, and eternity is everlasting, don’t we need to prepare for it? If we decide to holiday out-of-station, how much in advance we prepare and wait with excited anticipation! This involves preparation for a few days or may be for a few months at the maximum. What then ought to be the magnitude of preparation for eternity!

Life on earth is a preparation for what is in store for eternity. Each day each moment of our lives on earth takes us one step closer to eternity. How carefully ought we to live our lives on earth, then!

How do we then, prepare for eternity?

To answer this, we must first be sure of what is in store for us in eternity.

Eternity comprises of eternal life and eternal death. Eternal life is life in the constant presence of God. How blissful! The thought itself excites the mind! And, eternal life (a life that never ends) is in store for all those who confess their sins while on earth, repent for them, seek forgiveness from God and strive to live a life for the glory of God. This is because, if we are to spend eternity with a Holy God, we need to be holy as well. Eternal death, on the other hand, is a total abandonment from the fellowship of God. Those who choose to continue with sinful lives without remorse, regret, repentance or seeking forgiveness from God, those who do not acknowledge the existence of God are banished to eternal death. This is because no one can thrive in the companionship of God without being cleansed from sin.

Eternal death is horrible. That is why, even for a joke’s sake or even for one’s most hated enemy, one never ought to say – ‘Go to hell!’ – which is often considered a casual statement when one is angry or is in a light mood.

Eternal life is what we all ought to strive for and encourage all around us to aspire for. None should be left behind from savouring the eternal bliss to which God invites each of His handmade human beings. The pains, tears, anxieties, sorrows and sickness of this earth will be brought to nought when one enters eternal life. Words cannot do justice to describe what eternal life would be like. To explain the wonders of eternal life, the Bible says – “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love him.”

An eternal life of bliss invites us all. Are we prepared?

LET’S KNOW HIM AND ACKNOWLEDGE HIM PERSONALLY

The week went well as I tried to explain the knowledge that I have acquired, researched and experienced till now in my life. I had got few comments under my explanations which are just appreciating or acknowledging what I was explaining except one comment.

My co-author and friend Kuljeet raised it under the article God is Just which I shared with my wife today and she was kind of feeling the same way.

“It is tough to understand His justice sometimes… Actually many times…”

Yes, when we look around, see the wicked prospering and the good people toiling hard and suffering we tend to think that God is not doing justice. But it is very illogical to think of a God who is not just, holy and unchanging. Otherwise He cannot be God. Though my friend Kuljeet never said that God doesn’t do justice but she said she was unable to understand His justice many times which is a very obvious feeling.  

Let me throw some light on this confusion.

God is self existent or we simply can’t comprehend from where God came. He created this beautiful universe because He wanted it to create it. It was His wish. It was His wish to create human being differently, in His image and with free will. He could have created human being like other animals but He had different purposes behind creating human. And all that He created were good.

God instilled knowledge, wisdom and free will in human to control, rule over and take care of His beautiful creation. And while doing so He wanted human being to acknowledge HIS deity which they failed utterly in the course of their living on this earth.

Yes, they committed SIN and it stayed in their genes. The tendency to sin run through the human race… Let me quote something which I found in an article on a different website called, Gotquestions.com which is as follows:

We cannot begin to understand God’s justice unless we first understand sin. Sin is lawlessness and iniquity. It embodies everything contrary to God’s holy nature and is offensive to Him. Thus, sin is a crime against God and justice demands a penalty of death and separation from Him for it. 

The creation became cursed because of sin. And because of sin everything bad happens here and there, in that family and this family. The very presence of sin within us has literally spoiled the goodness of God away from this world. We might be not be doing anything wrong yet because we are on this earth we have to go through the suffering.

Let me give a simple example. In a family when a child does or commits a mistake the whole family suffers for that…

WHY? Isn’t that weird?

It’s not weird because it’s a family. In the same way the whole creation suffers because of sin.

But God’s love as we read yesterday makes a way for us… when we surrender ourselves in His mighty hand and acknowledge in His saving acts we will be safe for eternity. Our lives will be secure in Him. But one thing we need to remember is as we all are spiritual being and the spirit lives forever that makes us eternal beings. Being eternal our life continues after our physical death as well. We lose our body but don’t lose life… we continue to live. So my point is God exercises His justice throughout the eternity. It’s not easy to understand but let’s submit our mind, body and soul in the hands who knows everything. I don’t think so much but I just trust in His deity and acknowledge Him at every phase. I would like all of you to pray one prayer which I always do.

Let’s pray:

Father God in Heaven,

We have come to your throne with lots of dilemmas and confusions in our minds. Certain things are incomprehensible for our limited brains when the world is in a haywire condition… but you, the Creator God who has created us, who knows our hearts, our feelings, our emotions and what’s going on in our mind. You help us to know you perfectly and understand your mind because what we know to be true about you and your attributes will largely determine our actions and reactions to the situations and trials of our lives. So you reveal your deity to us so that we can know you, accept you, submit our lives to you and worship you.

In your almighty name we pray,

So be it!

Dear friends! I have always got the answers when I prayed to God when I am in dilemma and I would request you to do the same.

Stay Blessed!!!

GOD IS LOVE

The general tendency of people to comment when somebody suffers or dies or goes through a problem is like this, “S/he does this that’s why s/he is suffering this or that.”

But God’s perspective is not like of human’s or it is not always like that as we think.

Let’s take a simple example of a family with two sons. One son is very obedient and another son is very naughty. Can you guarantee that a father loves his good son more than his naughty son? The truth is the father loves both his sons even when he punishes and harsh with the naughty son of his. But still a father or mother can be partial in showing her/his love towards his/her children. I have plenty of examples around me of such parents. But God’s love is not influenced by anything that we do or by anyone or any situation.

Today we live in such a world where love is so adulterated. If we see we find only broken relationships all around us. Pure love is so much needed to start the healing process of all these brokenness. And God’s love in this context makes the difference.

God’s love has THREE major characteristics which will explain it clearly: 

  1. God‘s Love is Eternal: As God is unchanging His love also never changes. His unfailing love never ceases. It is eternal as He is an eternal.

Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the unlimited love of God. 

  1. God‘s Love is Unconditional: I always wonder how God has been so loving and shows His cares and mercy unconditionally even if I go against His precepts.

God always makes His sun rise on those who are evil and on those who are good, and makes the rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous.

  1. God‘s Love is gives Freedom: God’s love brings freedom to the people who trusts and accepts in His saving act as an expression of His love towards us.

During the character study of God training program I remember one passage which I would like to quote here:

Not only are you set free from the consequences of all your sins: past, present, and future, but you are also set free from the present power of sin in your life. The temptation to be irritable, impatient, angry, or self-indulgent no longer controls you.

There was a song which I love always to sing… I would like to quote here as well which describes how powerful is God’s love…

I was sinking deep in sin,
Far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within,
Sinking to rise no more.
But the Master of the sea

Heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me.
Now safe am I.

Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help
Love lifted me.

God’s love also sets us free from fear. Fear of literally everything. Imagine of a person who loves you and this same person has all knowledge to know exactly what is best for you, and all power to allow only what is best to happen in your life. Will you be afraid him? NO. God is exactly like that.

There is no fear in love, dread does not exist. But perfect, complete, full-grown love drives out fear, because fear involves the expectation of divine punishment, so the one who is afraid of God’s judgment is not perfected in love and has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love.

God formed this beautiful universe in love. He wanted to have that loving relationship with the mankind and thus He created them in His own image and given all authority over this earth on everything that He created for them only. It is true that the evil one and sin have distorted everything that He planned and brought God’s justice in action but His love has always made sure that He save and rescue His created human-being from the eternal punishment.  It is not that we love Him first but God loved us first because He is love.

Friends, trust in His love and accept Him in your life to stay safe not only in this world but for eternity.

Stay Blessed!!! 

GOD IS JUST

Angry mob lynched two robbers to death and injured another one in Nayagarh district of Odisha. The three robbers were about to flee after looting Rs 3 lakh from Canara Bank when the locals nabbed them and beat them to death.

The above incident happened just yesterday. The mob cumulatively decided to mete justice by punishing the wrong-doers. This is an instance of instant justice. Some of us may applaud the mob for their heroism. Others may think that the people should have simply nabbed the culprits and handed them over to the police without taking the law into their hands. Whatever the opinions may be, we all would surely agree that in such cases and others it is necessary for justice to be delivered.

All wrong actions deserve punishment. When we hear of or experience wrong acts which often go unpunished we wonder if there is justice in the world after all. Often we think, ‘Why is God silent?’ Sometimes our thoughts wander off to the extreme where we wonder if there is a God after all!

Our concept of justice may vary at times from situation to situation or from person to person. We may be lenient towards people close to us and strict towards others. But, God is a Righteous and Just Judge. Accepting and understanding the fact that God is Holy, consequentially leads us to the truth that God is Just. If God is Holy and cannot tolerate sin, definitely He will not let any sin go unpunished. Hence, He is Just. This realization is both assuring and frightening.

The assurance that we get from the truth that God is Just is that sooner or later God will deal with all unjust actions. No injustice can escape God’s justice. God’s delays are not His denials to impart justice. At the same time, His ways are not our ways and His time is not our time. He may choose to deliver justice in a way we may not be expecting or we may not like. He may deliver justice instantly or after a long time. But, one thing is for sure that He does deal justly.

When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.”

And so along with the assurance, the Just nature of God brings us face to face with the realization that our own wrong doings also deserve God’s wrath and will not go unpunished. God doesn’t measure the intensity and magnitude of sin. For Him, what is not Holy is sinful. There is no big sin and small sin before God. Stealing, lying or cheating are sins equivalent to murder or rape! And so when we introspect and find ourselves falling short of God’s standards, we are sure of encountering God’s justice. He being the author of our life knows fully well where we have fallen short of His standards. There is nothing hidden from Him – He is Omniscient. This realization having to face a Just God one day, definitely creates a feeling of fear and dread. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Sin destroys! A Holy, Just and Loving God cannot be a mute spectator to the havoc brought forth by the horrors of sin. The holiness of God does not permit Him to tolerate sin. At the same time, a good God cannot be good and faithful till the very end if He is not Just.

So, friends remember that God is Just and His infinite ways of executing justice cannot always be understood or comprehended with our finite minds.

Stay blessed!!!

GOD IS GOOD & FAITHFUL

Joseph Scriven was born to loving and well-off parents in Ireland way back in 1819. As he grew up, Scriven had the credentials of a great citizen. He fell in love with a young lady who was eager to spend her life with him. However, on the day before their wedding she fell from her horse, while crossing a bridge over the River Bann and was drowned in the water below. Joseph stood helplessly watching from the other side. In an effort to overcome his sorrow, he began to travel to different places. By age 25 his travels had taken him to an area near Port Hope, Canada. He became highly regarded by the people of that area. It was there he met a wonderful young lady, Elisa Roche, and again fell in love. They had exciting plans to be married. However, tragedy reared its ugly head once again and she died of pneumonia before they could wed. During his time of brokenness, he penned a poem exalting God’s faithfulness to comfort his mother who was very disturbed at the course of events in her son’s life. The poem was made into a hymn after his death and has been a source of solace to many. A few lines from the hymn read thus –

Oh, What peace we often forfeit

Oh, What needless pain we bear

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer

Can we find a friend so faithful

Who will all our sorrows share?

 

The word ‘faithful’ refers to such a quality of an individual which cannot be immediately identified. Only when you are with a person for quite some time, can you say with confidence whether s/he is faithful in his/her relationship with you or not. People, who were trusted to be faithful, have turned out to be unfaithful as time rolled by. Surely you can think of some people in your personal or professional lives who were unfaithful to you or to someone you knew! In such a world scenario, it always brings in an element of uncertainty as to who then can be faithful in all circumstances till the end, who can be good enough to be relied on? Or are we so used to hearing of accounts of personal and professional unfaithfulness, that we have developed an attitude of complacency towards the whole attribute of faithfulness?

The Scriptures tell us that God is faithful because of the fact that God cannot change. For God to be unfaithful even once to any one person under the sun, His nature has to change. And God cannot be God if He changes! God’s very name is faithfulness for He is perfect in faithfulness. And so if we are looking for faithfulness, we can be assured of finding it in God alone without being disappointed.

Knowing and believing in a faithful God, gives a feeling of security amidst all insecurity. This is because, God’s faithfulness does not depend upon our faithfulness. God does not become unfaithful to us when we become unfaithful to Him. At times, when things don’t work in our favour, when relationships don’t measure up to our expectations, when rejections and dejections seem to encounter us at every corner, we become hasty to conclude that God is not faithful to us. During such times, remember that God is good and His goodness is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Through all circumstances, He is able to accomplish what is good for you. Though you may not understand His goodness in the immediate events of our lives, believing in His goodness gives us faith in His faithfulness.

Because of God’s faithfulness you and I are able to see glimpses of hope even in the bleakest of all circumstances. Friends, God is faithful and will always remain faithful unlike any human being in your life. If you have never bothered much about this faithful God, I urge you to spare a thought tonight. He promises never to let you down. He who was faithful to Joseph Scriven at his hour of hopelessness will remain ever faithful to you too!

Let this be our prayer and encouragement everyday…

“This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in Him.”

Stay blessed!!!

GOD IS HOLY

The basic meaning of the word HOLY is ‘to cut’ or ‘to separate’. When HOLY is used in reference to God, it refers to His complete separation from evil. Not even a hint of a blemish could be found in our God; He is completely pure. ― “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all”.

I remember an illustration given by Counsellor Ray Eicher in a conference in Dehradun. He took a clean jar and filtered a 2-litre bottle of drinking water and showed us asking whether we will drink water from it or not and we all replied in affirmative. Then he said that if he takes a little bit of rubbish on the tip of a needle and mixes it in the water in front of us and offers us to drink would we then drink or not… And this time our replies were a BIG NO. Then he said probably we would have drunk it if we would have not known the fact about the mixture of rubbish in it as it wasn’t at all visible to naked eyes.

Then he said that we all were created like the clean water in the bottle but we have gradually got soiled in our walks of life and hence, we lose the worth to stand in front of the Almighty because He is a Holy God. He can’t tolerate a bit of unholiness. He can’t tolerate a bit of sin within us. He hates sin and He will be denying His very self if He omits even a single sin.    

Have you ever been to that segment of the market where all defective products are sold with lesser price? If you mark, in some products the defects are not even that prominent and can be easily omitted yet it was rejected and placed in that segment. Even a little sin as we think makes us unholy and rejected by the Holy God. 

But it should be an encouragement for those of us who trust in His name when we realize that not the slightest evil or blemish could ever be found in God‘s nature because He is holy. There is absolute purity and total separation from evil attached with all His attributes. As we face the struggles daily to decide something in regards to evil or good there is no such struggle to be holy or to maintain holiness in God’s personality. He is absolutely holy and cannot be anything else than being holy.

Holiness may seem like a strange, almost negative, concept to us, because living in an unholy world has conditioned us to accept and be comfortable with things which are marred by sin. Since we live with that which is unholy every day, we are more shocked by purity than we are by sin! The very idea of holiness bewilders us.

The character of God that He is Holy should not bewilder and puzzle us. But that should be our strength and support. When we need help we always seek the face of somebody who is better, higher and wiser than us. And God’s character of HOLINESS authenticates all of His other characters. It gives us that confidence that He has no evil within Him. That makes us feel safe and secure with Him.

How humbly then do we need to worship our God who is so pure and holy? How careful we should be when we come close to such a God with our requests, who is without blemish and hates sin?

Let’s worship Him with reverence:  “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts.

Stay Blessed!