barnabas.in : Alexi George

The single solution to the most severe suffering

What is your most severe suffering? In which area have you suffered to a level that is unimaginable? Others may be aware of your suffering, but there is not much they can do to help. Sometimes, that suffering is so deep and personal that you just can’t share it with anyone.

In the end times, when people’s suffering reaches a level greater than ever before in history, their single solution is God alone.

And crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the lamb (Rev 7:10).

A large, countless number of people from all nations, tribes, peoples, and languages spoke those words. This was their testimony as they went through the greatest tribulation ever. This was their only consolation in the midst of their gruesome troubles. What an amazing perspective.

What about your deepest troubles? Would you join this multitude and say “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb”? Try repeating those words as you face the sufferings of life. Get it firm in your heart, and make it a source of constant strength and encouragement.

In my problems (name the situation), salvation belongs to my God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website barnabas.in

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I am a pastor, teacher, and writer, devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam video of this post, visit my Facebook page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others who may benefit from reading this.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.


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Is God responsible for the trouble you face?

Is God responsible for the trouble you face today? The answer is yes and no. Although God is not the author of tragedy, sickness, devastation, or any kind of evil, nothing happens without his permission. God is never caught by surprise by any tragedy.

In Revelations chapter 6 when the seals are opened, we see that those who cause calamity and evil were “given” permission or authority to do those acts. Although God is not the cause of evil, nothing bypasses him.

In some circumstances, the evil is caused by the sinfulness that exists in this world. There are plenty of other situations when our own sinfulness invites the tragedy we face.

So the answer to our question is “no” God is not the author of evil, and “yes” there are times he gives permission for certain events to happen that are evil. So give yourself to the merciful and sovereign God who is truly in control.

Maybe you need to cry out for mercy in the midst of tragedy. At other times, it is best to confess our sins. Or, we may need to forgive others. After taking the appropriate actions, take authority over the evil in Jesus’ name.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website barnabas.in

—————

I am a pastor, teacher, and writer, devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam video of this post, visit my Facebook page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others who may benefit from reading this.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.


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Why pray when God already knows what you need?

Why bother praying when God already knows what you need? Is it also necessary to spend extended time interceding for others, the nation, and the church?

The Bible explicitly describes how our prayers are presented at the throne room of God as “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Rev 5:8). A similar imagery is given elsewhere as our prayers are coupled with incense as it rises to God as a fragrant offering to the one who sits on the throne as King of kings (Rev. 8:3-5).

As our prayers rise to God along with the sweet fragrance of incense from the altar, there is an immediate response:

Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightening, and an earthquake (Rev 8:5).

There is no doubt about it, that God responds to the prayers of his children. In the verse above, it was a response of judgement as the people cried out to God because of their suffering and oppression. God responds according to the need of each person.

What is your need today? What is your heart’s desire? What are you longing for? What do you want God to do in your community? Go ahead and intercede in prayer knowing it rises up to the very throne room of God as he waits to respond with swift action.

Believe and pray.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website barnabas.in

—————

I am a pastor, teacher, and writer, devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam video of this post, visit my Facebook page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others who may benefit from reading this.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.


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Is it hard for highly successful people to worship God?

Is it hard for highly skilled people to worship God? Their capabilities and skills place them clearly above others in every way. So when it comes to worship, would these people find it difficult to humble themselves before God? 

When John saw a vision of the throne room of God, this is what he observed:

The twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Rev 4:9-11)

These elders each had crowns that signified their honor and accomplishments. But in recognition of God as the creator and sustainer of all things, they fell down before him and cast their crowns before the throne in worship.

We all value our work and accomplishments. We also want others to recognize our work. It is certainly the accumulation of a lifetime of hard work on our part. But in worship, we lay all of that at the feet of our Master and King, the creator of the universe.

So let’s take our accomplishments and accolades before God and recognize God as the creator and sustainer of all things. As we understand who God is, let’s cast our accomplishments at God’s feet, for he is the only source of all things.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website barnabas.in

—————

I am a pastor, teacher, and writer, devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam video of this post, visit my Facebook page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others who may benefit from reading this.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.



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Have You Ever Been an “Outsider”? That Feeling is Intensely Disturbing

Do you remember the times when you were excluded? When you were small, you experienced the pain of being excluded from fun things your friends were engaged in. In the family, you might have been excluded from important decisions. At work, you may have been ignored when the time for promotions came up.
Although you weren’t an outsider, you became an outsider because of the neglect of others who really shouldn’t have neglected you. You were an integral part of the group. The group would never be the same without you and the valuable contributions you bring. But you became an outsider because of the rejection you faced.

Jesus also felt like an outsider. Even now he is made to feel like an outsider by us his children, his church, the body of Christ. The church was purchased by his own blood. He has every right to enter. In fact, it is his right to enter and to rule. But he is on the outside knocking on the door like an unexpected stranger.

Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

The church at Laodicea was lukewarm. They were neither hot nor cold. It was this condition that caused Jesus to be on the outside.

I suppose it is true that God is a gentleman. He doesn’t force his way in. Although it is his rightful place, he waits at the door of our hearts. He wants us to willingly open our hearts and invite him in. The lukewarm will not do that as their hearts are divided.

So now, do you hear him knock?

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website barnabas.in

—————

Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam video of this post, visit my Facebook page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others who may benefit from reading this.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.


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How to stand firm when the world rejects you

All of society goes in one direction, but since you follow Jesus, you must go in a different direction. In such a situation, there are two great struggles: Who am I and how will I make it?

The believers at Pergamum struggled to live a life honoring God. Since their society was so vehemently opposed to God’s ways, it was an identity struggle as well. They constantly faced rejection because of their faith in Jesus. God promised two things to them: Hidden Manna and a white stone with a new name. (Rev 2:17) These were promises of sustenance and identity.

Surely it is a war within us when we go against the flow of the society. The one who overcomes will be sustained by God. This was represented by the words “hidden Manna” as the Manna sustained God’s people through the wilderness.

Your identity as God’s child is also firm. There’s not need to fear, no need to doubt. The believers at Pergamum were also reminded that they will be given a white stone with a new name. The new name is their identity as God’s child.

So go ahead and face society head on. Live a life pleasing to Christ. He will sustain you. You are his child.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website barnabas.in

—————

Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam video of this post, visit my Facebook page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others who may benefit from reading this.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.


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Evangelism – Jesus’ Style

The typical approach to evangelism can be described with this statement: “What you believe is wrong and what I believe is correct. So stop believing what you believe and believe what I believe.” This approach often puts people on the defense and clearly works against our purpose.

Jesus’ approach was different. He sought out people who were needy and met their needs. After their needs were met, he invited them to God’s Kingdom.

Most of the encounters that Jesus had with people put him in the position where he was meeting their needs. For some, the need was healing or the dead being raised. Others received forgiveness of sin. Some needed his friendship or a kind word of mercy. Some were hungry and Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people with just a boy’s lunch.

Whatever their needs were, Jesus met them without any conditions. He never asked for anything in return. It was entirely a one – way giving by Jesus, expecting nothing in return. In fact, when he sent his disciples out to do the same kinds of works he did, he instructed them not to expect anything in return. He told them “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

Although many people were motivated only by their needs, Jesus did not put a restriction on them. He allowed them to enjoy the benefits he provided. It may have been this open hearted perspective of Jesus that paved the way for crowds to seek him out wherever he went.

There were even some who sought him out because of the food he provided. (John 6:26) Rather than walking away from them because their motives were temporal, he took the opportunity to teach them. He told them that although they hungered for bread that perishes, there is heavenly bread that leads to eternal life. In that conversation, he went on to say that he is the bread of life. He used the situation to teach them an important truth about eternal life that he provides.

The open minded perspective of Jesus was expressed through the parable of the weeds. (Matthew 13:24-30) A man sowed good seed expecting a good return from his field. But in the night his enemies came and sowed weeds among the good seed. When the seeds grew, the weeds also came up.

The workers came to the master and asked if they should pull up the weeds. But the master instructed them to allow the weeds to remain because in pulling up the weeds, the good wheat may also be pulled up and damaged. They were to wait till the harvest when they can separate the wheat and destroy the weeds.

Thus people with wrong or evil intent may be among the recipients to whom we show God’s mercy, but we are not to dissuade them. Let them remain and enjoy the benefits provided by the Master through us. There are many who are genuine in their need and desire for Jesus.

In fact, Jesus was so intent on focusing only on the needy that he gave his disciples an instruction that was quite surprising.

And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. (Matthew 10:14)

Although Jesus was clearly open and allowed anyone to come enjoy the benefits from his work, he made a clear distinction for those who wanted to be his disciples.

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

The basic requirement for being a disciple of Jesus was too heavy for the masses. Self denial simply grinds against the common self centered human nature. And the concept of carrying the cross – simply identifies one as destined for death. What an incredulous identity to take upon oneself. Deny yourself and live like you’re destined for death!

No wonder there were so few disciples compared to the crowds that followed Jesus. There were 12 of his immediate disciples, but there is further record of a group of 70 and/or 72 disciples. In the book of Acts, in the upper room, there were 120 who gathered. There is another record of more than 500 who were followers of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:6). But these numbers are nothing compared to the masses that gathered around him.

But he never restricted the crowds. Later on, Jesus was described as one who “Went about doing good.” (Acts 10:38) This is the way he lived every day. He wasn’t focused on building a movement, it just became one. There was no intent of impressing anyone because his Father was already pleased with him (Matthew 3:17).

This statement may be a good summary of the approach or perspective that Jesus used in his ministry. He simply “Went about doing good.” He impacted huge multitudes with this approach – then invited the people to the Kingdom of his Father. What an awesome example Jesus has left for us to follow!

 


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What about those irritating people in your life? 

We all have such people in our lives. They demand more from the relationship than they ever return. Their contribution seems to be almost nothing compared to what they expect from you. These people may be irritating and obnoxious. We often wish we could run away from such people. But God has placed them there in our lives for a special purpose.

These people act the way they do because of their brokenness. There are various issues within them that have never been addressed. For many who are believers, the Holy Spirit is working on them, but the work is gradual. For some, that work is a lifelong process.

Recently I read the words Jesus spoke to his disciples just before miraculously feeding more than 5,000 people: “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:16) With so many people to feed, the need was more than they could handle. They wanted to send the people away. Although that situation was regarding food, the concept is valid for people with any need.

Our natural reaction would be to stay away from such people, or “send them away.”  But as Kingdom people, we are to care for others and respond to their true need. First, we are to care for the community of faith, then others around us who are needy.

Of course, when people have needs that are beyond our capabilities and need professional help, it is good to refer them to others who are more qualified to help. But most of the time, a word of encouragement, prayer, and your gentle voice is crucial for their healing.

But these needy people will often seem like a bother to us, and we may respond as the disciples did. We get tired of their neediness. We may begin to see them as parasites, always taking but never giving.

Relationships with such people definitely seem like a one-way street when they are always on the receiving end and you are on the giving end. These are the type of relationships that we want to pull away from.

At this point Jesus says to us “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”  At another time Jesus said “Truly I say to you, as you did to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40)

What an opportunity to serve our Master as we serve the needy around us.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website barnabas.in

—————

Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam video of this post, visit my Facebook page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others who may benefit from reading this.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.


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God is Gentle and Fierce at the Same Time

In the situation that you’re facing today, how do you need God to respond? Do you require a powerful, fierce approach that knocks out everything that threatens you? Or do you need a gentle touch from God that soothes your soul?

John experienced both facets of God. Here is what happened when he saw the powerful, magnificent side of God:

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one.” (Revelations 1:17)

This duality of God is wonderful. His magnificent power is beyond compare. When he observed the fierceness of that power, John fell at his feet as though he was a dead man. But at the same time, God remains kind and compassionate.

What are the difficulties you face today? What impossibilities have blocked you and kept you from moving forward? Our God is awesome and fully capable of intervening on your behalf.

In what areas do you need God to be fierce? How about his mercy and gentleness? In each of those areas, God will place his hand on you and speak according to your need. 

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website barnabas.in

—————

Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam video of this post, visit my Facebook page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others who may benefit from reading this.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.


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Have you given up trying to please God? Good

Are you troubled about the way the world is headed? Does it seem like everywhere you turn, God is ignored? For many, God’s grace is used as a crutch or license for their sinfulness. Someone said “God likes to forgive and I like to sin.” You look around you and realize that there is no fear of God.

Then you look within you and notice all your inconsistencies. Your good intentions just fall apart in the face of trials and temptations. In the past, you judged the world around you for its total disregard for God. You even judged the family of God for their lack of commitment to God’s ways. But now you realize you are guilty of the same things.

What can you do? Some will suggest you try harder to live holy and righteous. Others will condemn you for you inconsistencies. You have looked within and realized that the situation is helpless.

The Bible says Jesus is the only one who can keep you from stumbling and present you blameless before the presence of God. (Jude 24,25) Throw yourself at his mercy. That’s when his grace will begin to work in you to transform you into the image of God’s son, Jesus.

Are you still trying to please God? He is already pleased with you because of Jesus and what he did on the cross. Now as a result, he has given you his Holy Spirit to transform you from within.

Your Turn

Join the discussion and add your thoughts. What have you learned?

Please share briefly in the comments section on the website barnabas.in

—————

Alexi George is a pastor, teacher, and writer. He is devoted to helping people live their potential.

* For a Malayalam video of this post, visit my Facebook page.

* If you enjoyed reading this post, please share it with others who may benefit from reading this.

* For a list of books that I’ve recently read, here is my Reading List.


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