Poverty and Prosperity

The Book of Revelation begins with the message of Jesus Christ our Lord, to the seven churches of Asia Minor [modern day Turkey]. The messages – which can be applied to churches and individuals, even in our times – reflect the spiritual state of each church, which are quite distinct from each other. One church in particular though, sets itself apart from the rest.. and it isn’t for the best of reasons – the Church of Laodicea.

The Laodicean church is better remembered as the lukewarm church; the one that is, as Jesus says, neither cold nor hot – in a spiritual sense. And among the seven, this is the only church that does not receive even a single line of commendation from our Lord; our Lord who is quick to applaud the good He found in the other six churches. So.. what kept the church in Laodicea in such a state of spiritual bankruptcy..?

For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:17

Historical sources agree with the Bible on the fact that Laodicea was noted for its abundance of wealth. And it was this state of prosperity that acted as a stumbling block to the church at Laodicea. Don’t get me wrong.. I do not intend to make wealth appear an evil in itself nor do I wish to say that wealthy people are spiritually bankrupt. But to point out from our Lord’s message to the churches that a healthy financial state can lead to a false sense of sufficiency in riches, from which it is vital that we guard ourselves.

When I read the words that reflect the state of the Laodicean believers, “I need nothing”, I am reminded of words spoken by a famous man in the Bible – the psalmist David. In Psalm 23:1 he says, “I shall not want”. The meaning of the words are similar, but the trust of David wasn’t upon the riches he possessed [which must have been much, considering he was the king of Israel], but in the Lord who is his Shepherd. Let us pause a little to consider our lives.. where have we placed our trust..?

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

‭‭Revelation‬ ‭3:19‬

While the Lord finds nothing worthy of commendation in the Laodicean believers, He doesn’t leave them feeling despised by Him. As a loving Father, He directs them on a more desirable path. He also makes it a point to affirm His love for them, lest the enemy make them believe otherwise. Can you imagine this..? Even to those of us in the most wretched of spiritual states, our Holy God desires to say, “I love you”. While we are convicted in our hearts over the ways in which we have gone astray, what a comfort it is to know, that despite our lack of good works we are still loved by Him, who has done far more for us than we ever could deserve….

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The Train He Missed

You might be familiar with a man named C.T. Studd.. one of the most inspiring missionaries to have preached the Gospel in the modern era. But do you know how this man found and accepted Christ as his saviour..? I recently had a chance to read his personal testimony.. and in it I found a story of a man, a missed train ride and lives transformed….

Walking down the streets of 19th century Dublin, a man was looking for ways to while his time on a Saturday evening. He should’ve been elsewhere, had he only been able to be on time for the train that was to take him there. The next train didn’t leave until Sunday, and wondering how he could keep himself entertained, he took a stroll around town.

Advertisement bills promoting Moody and Sankey who were on a visit from the US, caught his eye. “I will just go and hear those Americans,” he thought to himself.. just eager to hear something different, perhaps. He went. The person speaking on the stage may have been merely a man, but through his words, God welcomed this man into His fold. End of story..? Not quite….

The new Christian came to London on the invitation of his friend. The said friend.. Mr. Studd, after dinner let his guest choose the form of entertainment. The man suggested they go listen to Moody, but Studd complained that it wasn’t a Sunday.. still, he went. He too, embraced the Lord.

Like his friend, Studd could not keep the Good News to himself. He took his sons to hear Moody. But this time, God didn’t choose Moody to work His transformation. Being a man with means, Studd organized conventions at his estate where many would come to preach and to hear God’s Word. One man who happened to be at one such convention to share God’s message, initiated a conversation with Studd’s son Charles as he was heading out to play a game of cricket. And that conversation lead to Charles a.k.a. C.T. Studd, give his life to Jesus.

C.T. Studd would go on to share the Gospel with many around the world. And a little thing as a missed train – which at that moment, might have lead to much frustration – had a part to play in the Master’s plans.

Has a situation in your life made you feel like you’re standing on the platform watching the train you’d rather have been on.. run away..? Consider this, the moment that might make you upset.. frustrated.. or even angry today, could turn out to be a blessing.. not just for you, or those around you, but for hundreds and thousands more.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28


The Personal Testimony of C.T. Studd can be found here.

Keep Walking

When I look back at my life this past week, I am filled with a sense of gratitude to God for His faithfulness.. faithfulness that is unwavering. Being in Christ is no guarantee that we will never go wrong, but that when we do, He in His patience will guide us back to the path of life.

Initially, when I opened this blog, my intention was not to make it to be a kind of online ministry.. but rather to simply share with the world some of my personal learnings in my walk with Jesus.. so that another might benefit from what the Lord has taught me. At some point though, my desire to write became more important than my walk with Him.

There is nothing wrong in desiring to use your skills for the Lord, of course, but unless your actions are rooted in Christ.. in love for Him and His children, it is impossible to bear fruit.. [and I was just about to find that out]. Writing prompts that seemed to come without ceasing suddenly dried up. And when I tried mining for ideas to write, I ended up with posts that I could not complete [still in draft] either for lack of words or simply because I was confronted through scripture that the ideas were partly flawed.

And it was in this frustration – unable to write and wondering why I couldn’t – that I entered my weekly quiet time. As I spent more time with His Word for company, I realised what I had been lacking. Through the week, the anxieties caused by the storms in life kept me seeking the Lord for comfort.. but kept me from seeking Him. When I finally did, I was able to see why I couldn’t write.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

John 15:5

The reason I write should be Christ. Nothing else. Not to make this a successful blog.. to rake up views/visitors.. or to satisfy my pride. The closer I am to God, the prompts would come as and when they’re necessary. And when I receive a prompt from Him, He will be with me and enable me to write. Trust and obey. Simple, eh..? Grateful to Him for being patient with me amidst my ignorantly prideful attempts. Truly, apart from Him I can do nothing….

It’s easy to forget sometimes
And become legends in our minds
But we’re just tools within His hands
Used to carry out His plans.

Ken Lawrence [Just The Brush]


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