Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I greet you all in the name of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I believe the Lord has blessed you and your household in the past month. Joshua 14:13 “And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.”
Caleb walked perfectly before the Lord, and was faithful to Moses and Joshua.
Moses had sent twelve peopleto spy and bring back news from the land of Canaan. Ten of these people bought back depressing news. They said that the people who dwelt in the land were strong; that their cities are large and fortified; that they had also seen giants – the descendants ofAnak who were in their sight like grasshoppers.
Hearing this the Israelites weredisheartened and dismayed.
But the remaining two men, i.e. Joshua and Caleb said that the land which they had seen was a very good land – a land flowing with milk and honey. They said that if the Lord delighted in them, He would give them this land.They pleaded with the people to not fear the people of that landas they had no protection; for God wouldsurely deliver them into the hands of the Israelites.
Even in his old age Caleb was a very strong and brave warrior. He went to Joshuaand said in Joshua 14:11,12 “As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the LORD will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.”
Even in his old age Caleb was thus a fruitful bough.
My beloved ones, be one with the Lord and strengthen yourselves in him.
In the Bible we see a warrior named Barak. This warrior lived in the time of the Judges, but in the New Testament we see his name in the Book of Hebrews amongst the heroes of faith.Hebrews 11:32-34 “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.“
Barak lived about 1300years before Jesus came in to this earth. He was of the lineage of Napthali. He was a great warrior. The Judge Deborah along with Barak, fought against the Canaanites and the Lord was with them and gave them victory.
In Judges 5, we see Deborah and Barak sing praises unto the Lord in remembrance of the victory that He gave them against the Canaanities.
My beloved ones, when the Lord gives you victory, do not keep quiet; sing praises unto the Lord, and he will give you more blessings. He will give you new songs to praise Him with.
Beloved children of God, the Lord shall give you victory over all your enemies.Deuteronomy 33:29 “Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the LORD, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places.“
The enemy who comes to you in one way will run away in seven different ways. Since the Lord is fighting for you and giving you victory, you must praise him from the depths of your heart.
Always thank the Lord for all the good things He has done for you and your family.
Praise the Lord! God bless you till we meet again through these pages in the next month.
Yours in the Lord’s service,
Pastor Saroja M
Praise the Lord. I had severe pain in both my legs. In spite of that, during our church outing in Goa recently, I was able to travel in the bus, climb up and down the stairs and also enjoy at the beach in the water. This is really God’s grace. I thank God for doing such a great miracle in my life. I also thank Pastor Saroja for her fervent prayers.
*Sis. Sushila Pilley, Jogeshwari.
Praise the Lord. I was very financially very tense as my wife had mortgaged all our gold jewellery along with our house papers three years ago. I came to know about this last month itself, but till then the interest had reached quite a high level. I was unable to understand what to do. I wanted to redeem my house papers at the very least (The amount was close to Rs. 1.2 lacs). I told this matter to Pastor Saroja and she assured me of her prayers. In a few weeks the money was arranged and I was able to redeem the papers out from the mortgage. I give lots of thanks to my Lord Almighty for giving me strength to arrange the money and I also give thanks to Pastor Saroja for her regular prayers for our family.
*Bro.Joseph Arik swamy, Goregaon.
Praise the Lord. I would like to thank my Lord Jesus for taking me and all my brothers and sisters safely to Goa on our four day picnic. Though we had travelled by bus, by God’s grace there was no swelling in my legs though it was a long journey. Also in Goa, by Pastor Saroja’s prayers I could enjoy at the beach in the water in spite of my past bypass surgery. I thank my Lord Jesus for taking care of me for His presence was always with us. I also thank Pastor Saroja for keeping me in her prayer always. Thank you Jesus.
*Bro. Dinesh Patel, Mira Road
Praise the Lord. I was suffering from a severe scratching sensation on both of my legs. After the Sunday service I told this matter to Pastor Saroja. Pastor advised me to attend the Saturday healing service as I never used to come on Saturday for the healing service. The following Saturday I came for the healing service and during the rally,as Pastor laid her hands on me I felt the scratching sensation leaving me and going from my ankle. From that time I started getting alright and now I am completely well. Also now I regularly attend every Saturday service. I thank my Lord Jesus for healing me and I also sincerely thank Pastor for praying over me and for her helpful advise. Thank you Jesus.
*Bro.Sudhakar Salins, Vakola.
Praise the Lord. One night I experienced severe pain in my left hand and chest. I immediately applied the blessed prayer oil andthe pain subsided. I thank my Lord Jesus Christ for healing me through the blessed prayer oil and I thank Pastor Saroja for praying over the prayer oil and always keeping us in her prayers. Thank you Jesus.
*Bro.Brijesh Patel, Mira Road.
Praise the Lord.I wish to testify about my son Irwin who was suffering from chicken pox and was hence unable to attend school properly. I was really worried about his results, but only because Lord’s grace is sufficient, my son has passed with good grades and is now promoted to the next class. I give all glory, praise and honour to my Lord Jesus. I also thank Pastor Saroja for continuously praying for my son for his health and his studies.
*Sis.Esther Patel, Goregoan.
Praise the Lord. I have been suffering from severe knee pain for a long time due to which I cannot climb many stairs or stand for long. During our church picnic to Goa,we had a beautiful place to stay.However, our rooms were on the 2nd floor with no lift. For lunch, dinner and breakfast we had to come to the basement floor 3 times a day andI praise God for taking care of me and enabling me not only to go up and down three flights of stairs but also for all the enjoyable outings we had at the various beaches, markets, Mandovi river cruise, etc. I sincerely thank Pastor Saroja for her fervent prayers for me.
*Bro.Godwin Salins, Mira Road.
After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s Pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service.
With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak.”A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific coast,” he began, “when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to the shore. The waves were so high, that even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized.”
The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with the two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in his story. The aged minister continued with his story, “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most cruciating decision of his life: to which boy would he throw the other end of the life line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of the waves. As the father yelled out, ‘I love you son!’, he threw out the life line to his son’s friend.”
By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth. “The father,” he continued, “knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son’s friend. How great is the love of God that he should do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed his only begotten son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept his offer to rescue you and take a hold of the life line he is throwing out to you in this service.” With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room.
The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an invitation at the end. However, no one responded to the appeal. Within minutes after the service ended, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side.
“That was a nice story,” politely stated one of the boys, “but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”
“Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn bible. A big smile broadened his narrow face, he once again looked up at the boys and said, “It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m standing here today to tell you that story gives me a glimpse of what it must have been like for God to give up his son for me.
You see – I was that father and your Pastor is my son’s friend.”
No greater love … than JESUS!!!
Hosea 14:6 “His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon”. For a tree to grow tall and healthy it needs good sunshine, fertile land and water; only then will a tree grow tall and healthy. Even in our lives we need God’s Word, grace and mercy for us to grow as righteous and good individuals. For our lives to be beautiful and grow up like a healthy tree, we must first have the fear of God. Malachi 4:2 “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” When we fear God, the Sun of righteousness will arise in our lives. Where there is light, there is no darkness. Where there is sin, there is darkness. Darkness is the root of all evil and in darkness are all the works of evil planned. When we travel back in the late evenings from Bhilad – Gujarat after our prayer meeting, there are many hotels on the highway which are well illuminated. There is a lot of light around the hotels, but we know that these have bars and are dark from within as evil activities happen within these premises. But for those of us who fear God, the sun of righteousness will shine and all darkness will flee away from us and sin will separate from us. Thus we must know that God is watching over us and He will let the Sun of righteousness shine upon us and separate us from all darkness around our lives. Our God is always with us, watching over us and protecting us from all sins. Those on whom the Sun of righteousness shines will be in good health and grow as a well watered healthy tree and their lives will be lives of victory.
Let us understand what the meaning of fearing God really is. Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” When we fear God, we will separate ourselves from all types of sins viz. pride, arrogance, evil ways and a perverse mouth. Those who fear God, firstly separate themselves from all the above vices. Darkness leaves this person and in turn God loves him because of this change. Now his life will be, as explained by Hosea & Malachi: Hosea 14:6 “His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.” Malachi 4:2 “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” The lives of those who fear God will be like a well watered tree that has received good sunshine and soil, has spread its branches beautifully and like the Olive tree with its aroma as Lebanon.
There are many amongst us who superficially say ‘I was scared to tell you this and that’. This is not fear. Fear of God means that within ourselves we should repent and completely change. All our evil habits must be uprooted from within us. Proverbs 14:27 “The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.” There are many idols that the evil one brings in our life. He always sets up a snare for us, such that if ever we falter, we will be trapped. The evil one will never give up on us, but will keep on trying again and again by placing different traps in our lives. Just as we keep bait in a rat trap, so also the evil one sets different snares of death for us, so that we may be trapped sometime. But those who fear God will be alert all the time. It is not only Saturdays and Sundays that we should fear God because we are meeting Pastor. Rather, when we are away from church we must be more careful about these snares set by the evil one. The devil will never allow us to flourish like the Lebanon tree, hence when evil thoughts flash through our minds, we must overcome these thoughts and gain victory over them through the fear of God. Proverbs 14:26 “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” Those who fear the Lord will have great confidence in their lives. If they ever encounter storms or any type of hardships, they will overcome them because their place of refuge will be under God’s wings. Remember this when we read the bible and reminisce about the end times, for this will surely bring fear in our lives. Imagine what will happen when we actually encounter the end times! But for those who fear the Lord, there are no worries about the end times; because His children who believe in Him, will be carried away well before the end times commence upon this earth. Those who read about the end times fear this time. The Bible has recorded about these end times in the Gospel of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, and it appears very dreadful. It will be a day of sorrow, pain and tears. But those who fear the Lord will never see or experience the sufferings of the end times. This is the confidence we all must have within ourselves. There is no one who will be spared of evil thoughts such as pride, ego, jealousy, etc. It does not leave anyone. We all have pride on our beauty, qualifications, wealth, wisdom and knowledge. This actually makes us fall into sin. Think of Jesus Christ who was the only son of His Father, sent into this world for our sakes; who taught us the teachings of leading a good, righteous life. He healed the broken hearted, set the captives free, made the lame to walk again and gave sight to the blind. Jesus loved the world and worked His Father’s will on this earth. He suffered for us in this world and was crucified for our sins on the Cross of Calvary. When we have reverence in our hearts for what Jesus Christ did for us, our lives will shine for His glory as described in Hosea & Malachi. Hosea 14:6 “His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.” Malachi 4:2 “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” However, in reality we do not want to think about all the sacrifices of Jesus Christ, for we do not want to change our sinful lives. We love the ways of the world, as they are more enjoyable and easy, while the way of the Lord is narrow and difficult. If in our families and home we live a sinful life, we have no time to think about Jesus’ sacrifice for us. Without God what is our life for? It is truly worthy for nothing. When the fear of God is not in our lives or in our families, the coming days will bring sorrow and pain, not only in our lives but also in the lives of our family members. Darkness will fill our lives and homes, but where God is revered, there is the Sun of righteousness and light and there is no darkness around. Proverbs 14:26, 27 “In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”
We all know about the life of Joseph in the Holy Scriptures. The evil one had set a snare in his life too, but we know how Joseph fled from the sight of sin, to the point of leaving his clothes behind. He was wrongly put in jail for this reason, and we know how God still lifted him higher and higher. It is the same God who is watching over us too. Joseph did not sin, in spite of getting an easy opportunity to sin. Likewise God knows of our every opportunities to sin and how we run away from such sins, thus keeping our lives sinless. We know Joseph was in charge of everything in the palace and he had the opportunity to very well indulge in sin. Yet, Joseph kept himself from sinning, for he feared God. God knows those who fears Him and he will always protect them. Psalms 103:13 “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him.” Just as a father loves and pities his son, our Lord God pities His children. When we fear God, He loves us very much. We are children before God, He thinks of us as such and loves all those who fear Him in the same way. God always comforts and loves us. Who is righteous? Psalms 92:12, 13 “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.”
Romans 3:24 “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” By the grace of God alone are we redeemed from our sins. We could never become righteous or sinless without Jesus’ sacrifice for us. It is only by His grace that we are like the healthy tree which has received good sunshine, water and soil to grow healthy and beautiful. As we read in Hosea and Malachi, we can get a rich and abundant life if we are rooted in God. It is only by the love of God that we are blessed. As Paul writes in Romans 3:28 “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” It is not by law that we are righteous, but by the grace of God, love of Jesus Christ and our faith, that has made our lives righteous. Romans 5:9 “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” By the blood of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed of our sins and called righteous. Romans 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” By one man’s sin, a full family can fall into sin. On the other hand, by the obedience of one, namely Jesus Christ, many become righteous. Through one sinner, many fall into sin and have become sinners. However by the obedience of one, many have been made righteous.
For us to become righteous, God has shown us many ways. How will the life of a righteous person be? He will be beautiful like a Palm tree and grow tall like a Cedar in Lebanon. Psalms 92:12, 13 “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.” God has given us an opportunity to experience His grace in our lives. God sent His only son Jesus Christ for our sakes. Jesus Christ knew that without shedding blood and sacrificing His life, there would be no redemption for mankind. Hence He sacrificed His life for our sakes on the Cross. Mathew 3:15 “And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.” We also know that John told Jesus that he could not baptize Him; but Jesus told John ‘In this world we need to fulfill all righteousness.’ When Jesus lived on the face of this earth, he fulfilled every word of His Father obediently and defeated the evil one on the Cross of Calvary, hence blessing us with life everlasting so that we may live in perfect righteousness. Yet we choose the wide road in life. We have to sit when the Lord says sit and we have to stand when the Lord says stand and we have to walk when the Lord says walk! Yet we will always question our Lord. Why? Our thoughts are not His thoughts, His thoughts are much higher than the thoughts of this world. In the bible there is an instance when the Lord told Prophet Elijah to anoint a King in Syria. Imagine, the Lord’s eyes was upon a country like Syria too. He always watches over us all the time. Our Lord wants our bodies to be His temple. After all His sacrifices for us, how can we defile our bodies? The Lord says ‘If anyone destroys this temple, I will destroy them.’ Our life is not purchased so easily by Him. He gave Himself for our sakes. It was not so easy for us to be redeemed. Jesus Christ suffered on the Cross for six hours; He was bruised and beaten and He shed his blood for you and me. It is because of this sacrifice that our lives are made beautiful today. We cannot lead a reckless life, living the way we want to live in this world.
David’s desire was to build a temple for the Lord. Seeing this desire of his, the Lord asked him ‘What temple will you build for me? Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool. Will you be able to capture me and keep me in the temple you build?’ The Prophet Isaiah says in Isaiah 57:15 “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” In this verse, the Lord says that He lives in a contrite and humble heart. Our great God wants to live within our broken and humble hearts.
How can we as mortals, take pride in our so called greatness which is like a filthy rag before the Lord? But when we remember the Word of God, it is true and real. In the end when Jesus Christ was leaving His disciples and going away He said ‘I am with you always.’ Mathew 28:20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen”. We need to prepare our hearts as we just read in Isaiah; we must have a contrite and humble heart if we want God to reside in our hearts. Zechariah 2:10, 11 “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.” God keeps repeating to us time and again ‘Lo, I will be with you till the end of this world.’ If God has to remain with us, we need to be righteous and fear Him always. For a tree that is tall and beautiful, its root must be deep and strong. Likewise, if we want to live a beautiful life with God, we must build a deep relationship with Him. We have to be in unity with Him. The deeper our roots with God, the more fruitful we will be. We have to bring changes in our lives. What do we mean when we say we are deep rooted in God? We need to change ourselves, we need to leave our sins and darkness away. We need to weed out weakness from our lives, we need to humble ourselves. There are many things we need to do, to stay in unity with God. Every fruit or blessing in our life thereafter, is a victory from God.
Proverbs 11:28 “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall; but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.” We cannot bask in the glory of our money, beauty, qualifications, property and wealth; if we do we will fall like dried leaves. Where do dried leaves eventually go? Into the pit, which will be burned. Our life should be like a seed that is sown into the soil, which will grow and bear fruits in future. When a seed is sown, the dried seed blossoms into a new life with tender leaves and turns into a fruitful tree. Similarly, our lives must bear fruits such that when we are dead, we may blossom again in the Lord’s heavenly kingdom. God has made us righteous through His sacrifice. 1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby.” Jesus said in Mathew 4:4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Every Word of God can give us life. God’s Word is living and it gives life. If we see David’s life, he was a shepherd boy, but God blessed him immensely and made him the King of Israel. What was the reason of this blessing in David’s life? David feared God and lived a God fearing life. Psalms 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” As we saw in Hosea 14:6 and in Malachi 4:2, God’s fear must always be in our hearts even as David feared God and was blessed. All good things can be enjoyed by a righteous person, hence God sent his only son Jesus into this world, so that we may become righteous and enjoy God’s blessings in our life. Day and night our meditation should be for the Lord and our lives will blossom like a healthy tree, even as we read in Hosea 14:6 “His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon.”
May this message bring blessings in each one’s life!
Pastor Saroja M
This month the kids learnt about promises. Whenever we promise someone to do something, most often than not,we intentionally or unintentionally end up breaking these promises.
As per the Scriptures, our God is a God of promises and what he says he will always do. God had promised King David that his kingdom would be established forever. True to the promise, thousand years down the line the throne of God was established (The king who was born from the lineage of King David was Jesus).
This teaches us that if we have been given a promise by God we also need to be worthy to receive those promises. During the reign of King Solomon we observe that the kingdom was separated between Jeroboam and Rehoboam. Whilst Jeroboam continued to seek God’s advice and prospered,Rehoboam sought human advise and failed.
It is important for each of us to constantly obey and repent. If we go wrong in our lives, we must ensure we repent so that Gods promise of eternal life may be fulfilled in our lives.