Don’t adopt your mistakes for your identity

    Mistakes are unavoidable. There is no other way to be human than to make mistakes. It seems to be part of what it means to be human.

    But for some people, their mistakes become part of their identity. Their failures in various parts of their life become the central theme of their identity.

    This identity becomes the point of reference for their decision making process. They conclude that since they failed in the past, they’ll fail in the future. Since they’ve been in debt in the past, they’ll always be in debt.

    But if they could re-formulate their identity, things would be different. If they could take on their identity as a child of God, their focus would be different. The failure identity would be a thing of the pst and the child of God identity would become prominent. Future decisions would be based on this Godly identity.

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A second chance life

    We believe that God raised the dead back to life. We’ve read the numerous resurrection accounts throughout the Bible.

    But what about a person whose life is completely shattered? How can you hope when it seems like there is no way forward? Maybe it seems like death is the only thing left to look forward to.

    Even if you are in such an extreme and helpless situation, Job says there is still hope.

“For there is hope in a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its’ shoots will not cease. Though its roots grow old in the earth, and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant” (Job 14:8-9).

Then he said:

“If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come” (Job 14:14).

With God, there is always a second chance!

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Refocused Investment

    The Father wants to give you the Kingdom. That’s what Jesus said. In fact, he said it’s already yours. You are the heir of everything that belongs to God since you are his son. Now that the kingdom is yours, it’s time to refocus your investment strategy.

    This new strategy is intended to convert wealth from one monetary system to another:

“Sell your possessions and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys” (Luke 12:33).

    Finding ways to minister to the needy is vital to investing in the kingdom. Jesus’ life was an example of such investing. The sick, troubled, downtrodden, and the hungry came to him. As he helped them he invested into the Kingdom.

    This investment is everlasting. It can’t be stolen. It won’t lose value. Demonetization, corruption, swindling, market crash, or any other monetary calamity won’t affect the Kingdom of God. It is secure, never to be hacked.

    Now, there is a final reason to refocus your wealth. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34).

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A stormy, painful, and enduring relationship

How bad can it get before you throw in the towel? Giving up is the easier option, especially when the going gets tough. Can’t imagine continuing with such a stormy, painful relationship.

God and Job were inseparable friends in a stormy relationship. God tested Job’s love and dedication to him with trials unimaginable. The intensity of the testing was too severe for Job to bear. But Job held on to the relationship with a vengeance. This is what he said:

“Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face (Job 13:1-5)

Job held onto the relationship even in the face of impending death. What else could Job look forward to but death? Yet it is clear that Job had a life long relationship of love and trust in God. Now, during this painful phase of life, Job held onto his relationship. It’s just too valuable to give up.

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Friends, I have sinned

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“Although my memory is fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”

John Newton

Much before John Newton spoke those words, the Bible records the words of Paul the Apostle:

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”

(1 Timothy 1:15)

What more can I say?

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Being comfortable with discomfort

Just the thought of the wicked prospering is certainly beyond us. We’d like to think that they all die in misery, but that’s not reality. Many of them die in prosperity and abundance.

What troubles us more is when the righteous suffer. Why doesn’t God respond to their pain and misery? We believe that God will respond and hope he does it during our lifetime.

We know about the day of judgement, that all people will be judged according to their deeds. But what about now? We want to see God’s judgement on them now so we can say: “See, I told you so.” But no, God waits.

This discomfort is too much to bear. But it’s time to learn to accept God’s ways because they are higher than ours. Rest in his plan for us. Let’s learn to be comfortable with the discomfort of the uncertain.

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The un-fruit

On our church property we planted several banana plants and coconut tree saplings. But for a long time, those saplings were mostly ignored. That particular place is a wide area lower than the rest of the property that needs to be leveled sometime in the future.

Due to a lack of fertilizer and water, these items just barely survived and continue to be small. They haven’t grown beyond a few feet and they definitely haven’t produced any fruit.

Considering the age of those plants, they should have produced fruit several times already. Time is only one factor. The soil, environment, water, and the right kind of fertilizer at appropriate quantity is a must.

Same for us. Time is not sufficient for bearing fruit. Cultivate the environment. make sure you are receptive to the Holy Spirit and to others. Keep a humble attitude and remain a lifelong learner. Allow others to speak into your life. That input will be an investment into your fruitfulness. Otherwise we look good, but we remain with no fruit.

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God makes a list of all your sins

And He puts it in the trash.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

(Rom 3:23-24)

But the ancients thought differently. They were convinced that God punishes every sin. they also felt that if at all God wanted to show mercy, he would reduce “the sentence.” It’s never a full pardon.

This is what Job’s friend Zophar expressed. “Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves” (Job 11:6b). Their perspectives would never come towards a full pardon. Maybe a plea bargain would grant a lesser sentence.

But Jesus came and the Father exacted from Him the full measure of the guilt of all our sins. One innocent man takes our guilt on himself. We are given a full pardon as he takes our list of sins and puts it in the trash.

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Towering claims

The major roads in our state of Kerala are dotted with small towns. in each town, it’s not uncommon to see two and three story buildings with names that include the word “Tower.”

I suppose the word indicates the idea that this building “towers” above the rest. But the problem arises when larger buildings are built. Then this tower ceases to be a tower.

Be careful about lofty claims. It could be claims about your building, business, ministry, or yourself. Self-pronounced greatness doesn’t hold much value to the discerning eyes and ears.

Allow others to define you. Let others say words of greatness about your work. You’ll get substantial validity when others make the claim. Avoid self-claims.

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Cling to Him

When your life is in complete shambles, there has to be something that preserves you and keeps you moving forward. Otherwise life would seem meaningless. Job valued God’s care and his deep love and acknowledged those as the preserving force for him.

You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit” (Job 10:11-12).

For Job, everything else in life makes no sense. Nothing else gives hope or satisfaction. yet these are the things he can cling to. God is his creator. He gave life and steadfast love, and his continuous care has preserved Job. What bold and precise understanding about God’s kindness.

But you struggle to make sense of the rest of life. Everything seems like a whirlwind completely out of control. The key is to remind yourself that God will preserve your spirit. He formed your body and gave you life. Cling to Him.

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