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.

Advertisements

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]


Be Still, My Soul

There are times we all go through when the days of life are as dark as night with stormy clouds hovering above. You know within that there is light above those menacing clouds, but you just can’t see the light with your eyes. There is a deep longing within you to see those clouds disappear. There is a hope that you’ll soon bathe in light but.. when..? Each passing day is another mighty wave thundering on the sides of the ship called Faith that you’re sailing on.

Though we may never fully understand why God chooses to let us traverse such days, we can trust that He will never leave us to face them alone. In the days that followed my mother’s passing, those clouds that hovered above my head were darker than ever before. But even in those darkest of times, His footsteps were ever present beside me. He provided comfort.. the extent of which I could not believe was possible.

One of the ways He reached out to comfort me.. to make His presence known, was through music. In particular from a certain YouTube channel named TheNCrew EliEli. One of their videos that deeply touched my troubled soul was Stephen Nasby’s version of the hymn ‘Be Still My Soul’. And that is what I wish to share with you today.

If you’re going through days where the clouds are dark and the wind and the waves are just too strong for you to bear, remember to tell yourself:

Be still, my soul;
The waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them
While He dwelt below.

House of Bread

Sunday Quiz: Where was Jesus born..?

Well, that is an easy one, right..? You likely answered Bethlehem and you would be right. But.. I want to share a little bit of trivia about Bethlehem – the City of David.

When the Israelites gave names to people/places, they chose for a name a meaningful word/string of words in their own tongue – which is still a common practice in many cultures around the world. Naturally, names in the Bible carry more significance to the Hebrews than it does to us – people who do not speak/understand Hebrew. Consider this, every time people called out to Jesus by name in Judea, they would’ve been effectively calling Him as ‘God is Salvation’. See, the name to them meant more than the sound of the syllables in His name.

Now.. we can get back to Bethlehem. Bethlehem too must have a meaning, right..? Of course it does. The prefix ‘beth’ signifies ‘house’ in Hebrew. There are many names that begin as such – Bethel, Bethesda and Bethsaida come to mind – which all signify that they are a ‘house of’ something [or someone]. What is that something, here..? The second part of the word ‘lehem’ signifies bread in Hebrew. So.. Bethlehem put together becomes ‘House of Bread’.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger.”

John 6:35

Our Saviour spoke many amazing things. Amazing things like claiming to be the ‘Bread of Life’. And we do know from scriptures that the Saviour who claimed to be the ‘Bread of Life’ was born in a manger in the ‘House of Bread’. How mysteriously beautiful are His ways….

Learning from Lepers

Have you ever been surprised by a verse in the Bible..? Like when you read it once, you just have to read it again..? ‘Did it just say what I think it says..?’

Today I was reading through 2 Kings 7 when I came across a verse that I just couldn’t believe is found in the Old Testament. The verse – spoken by lepers in Elisha’s time – is so well worded that you’d think it was speaking directly to us Christians. When I stop to think that people of that day had no clue about the mystery to be revealed through Christ who would only come centuries from their time, I truly am amazed.

Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.”

2 Kings 7:9

Doesn’t it sound like it is speaking to you and me..? To those of us to whom the Good News has come..? Perhaps what we are reading is a prophetic message, that came out of the lips of lepers….

Lord, I do not know whether these words were intended to be prophetic or not. But I do know that the message that it shares is true to me today. I have received the Good News in my life and I will not be doing right if I kept silent and wait until your coming. Give me the grace to be bold enough to go and tell Your household – those who are yet unaware of your call – of the abundance You have made available to us. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Why do we fall, Eutychus..?

Eutychus might have answered, “Because the sermons are too long.” But really though, why did Eutychus fall..? Why did this incident in the life of Eutychus make the pages of the Bible..? Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you might remember if I introduced him as the man who fell asleep during a sermon and fell down to his death. The account of that fatal fall is found in Acts 20:7-12.

Some would say the message of this passage is a warning to those who fall asleep in Church. Others like my imagination of Eutychus may use this passage to ask the Pastor to check the length of their sermon. All depending on which side of the pulpit they find themselves, I guess.

There’s only a little information we can gather from this short passage. We do see that Eutychus ‘sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer’ and that Paul ‘prolonged his speech until midnight’. So perhaps Paul was in the fault here..? But look, there is a defence for Paul too. The reason he prolonged his sermon as such was because he ‘intended to depart on the next day’. Travelling in Paul’s day was surely a much slower affair than we have it in our time. And knowing how much Paul travelled from place to place there was a good chance he might not be able to see these people ever again. You couldn’t really blame him for wanting to make the most of the time he had with those who were so dear to him.

One thing I do notice in Eutychus though is something that I so often see in myself – a sense of carelessness..? Our poor friend didn’t just fall asleep, but he fell asleep while sitting on an open window all the way up.. in the third floor. I repeat – the third floor! Not the ideal place to be dozing away, is it..?

We are all prone to make them – those innocent mistakes that sometimes have a deep impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. At times these mistakes stem from well intentioned actions. Eutychus got on to that window eager to get an unhindered access to Paul’s sermon. Surely, you can’t fault him for that..?

Though all may seem gloomy yet, the end of this episode gives us enough reason to take heart. The passage doesn’t end with a fall that leads to death. Eutychus’ near and dear are not left to mourn – thinking of how different their lives would’ve been had Eutychus been more cautious in his actions. But what follows is an act that exhibits God’s ever present love and power – even over death. As Paul intervened, Eutychus’ life returned to his body. The people departed with hearts that were greatly comforted.

From personal experience, I can say that God – more often than not – in His mercy, guards us from falling like Eutychus, even when at times our actions push is to the edge of the ledge. But you may at some point – even today – find yourself in the midst of a needless mess; one that you could’ve easily avoided had you showed more care. You could be going through a whirlwind of emotions. There might be pain. There might be guilt. All would perhaps combine leaving you with nothing but loathing over yourself. Maybe you had nothing to do with the mess that has been caused, but you’re suffering because of the heedless actions of a close someone.

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?

Jeremiah 33:27

Whatever be the reason for you being in the dire straits that you’re in, just remember: the God who revived Eutychus and comforted those around him, is still the same today as He was then.

 

Without Him

When you see yourself as strong,
Remember how weak you were.
When you see yourself as kind,
Remember how reckless and rude you were.
When you see yourself as wise,
Remember the fool that you once were.
When you see yourself as bold,
Remember the coward that you were.
When you see you have a heart that loves,
Remember how cold it were.
When you see you have unbreakable faith,
Remember how brittle it once were.
When you see yourself as a righteous man,
Remember the sinner that you were.
At the end of it all,
When you see that you’ve done your duties in life,
Remember the nothing that you were,
When you stood by yourself,
And leaned not on Him.


Help me remember, Lord. Amen.

The Apple Farm Welcomes You

An excerpt from C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon ‘THE BACKSLIDERS DOOR OF HOPE’ from May 8th, 1898.


You must have noticed, dear friends, that whenever men turn aside from Christ, they go away from all the music of true religion. A little religion is a very’ miserable thing; if you have just enough religion to let you know that you are wrong, and not enough to make you right, you are spoiled for the joys of the world, yet you do not possess the joys of the world to come. I cannot help telling you again the old American story about the apples in the orchard. There is said to have been a gentleman, who asked a friend to come and have some of his apples, which he said were among the finest apples in the State; yet his friend did not come, though he was invited several times. The gentleman thought that there must be some reason for his refusal, so he asked him why he did not come; and he answered, “The fact is, while I have been driving by your orchard, I have picked up an apple or two that fell into the road, and I can’t say that I have at all pleasant memories of those apples, they were the sourest that I ever ate in my life, they set my teeth on edge even to think of them.” “Oh!” said the owner of the orchard, “now I understand. Why, I sent a great many miles to buy those particular apples that grow just by the side of the hedge, and fall into the road. I bought them for the special benefit of the boys who might be inclined to steal my fruit. Whenever they taste them, they say to themselves, It is no use to rob that orchard, the apples are horribly sour. “But,” he added, “if you will come inside, where those boys do not come, you shall then see what a good apple is like.” So is it with religion; all along the outside of the hedge:, where those people come who have just a little religion, the fruit; is as sour as it can be, — repentance that needs to be repented of, and that gripes the very spirit of the man who has it. There are plenty of those things on the outside; but you have no idea of the luscious sweetness of the fruits that grow in the center; and these shall be yours if you come back to the Master, and give yourself up wholly to him; and the result will be that you will again begin to sing.


You can read the transcript of the full sermon at Biblia.

Hear Me, Please

“Is the God of the Bible really a loving person..? Christians keep parroting the words ‘Jesus Loves You’, yet all I see when I look into their message is a pistol pointing right between my eyes saying, ‘Believe in Jesus or Die’. How is that love..?”

That is a question I am pleased to hear as it means one thing – the one posing the question has considered the message of the Bible. At the same time, there is a sense of failure when I realise how lousy us Christians are – me included – at sharing the Good News.

In this post, I’ll explain why as a Christian I feel this falls short of the truth. In the end I know that it’ll all come down to faith – believing if the Bible is true or not is a matter of one’s own choice. But my purpose for writing this is to explain what the Bible has to say as an answer to this question – which I believe it does with absolute clarity.

Firstly, what is my stand on that statement mentioned above. According to the Word of God is it true that ‘unless you believe in Jesus you will die’..? Frankly, yes. Plain speak – the way Christians are commanded to share the Truth in 2 Corinthians 4:2. But still, I do not agree with the quoted text above. And I hope you’ll bear with me a little as I tell you why.

I’ll start off with a little story….

There once broke out in a city a fever that affected all – both young and old, rich and poor, the strong and the weak, men and women. At least one person was affected in each household. Leading doctors in the city concurred that the fever was caused by a virus known to exist elsewhere in the world. They began to administer medication as per their diagnosis. All was going well – or so they thought.

In the same city lived an old man – a scientist. Through his own private research he noted that the virus was not the same as the doctors had observed it to be. This in fact was a previously unknown, lethal cousin. Having understood the nature of the virus, the scientist developed a cure in quick time – spending a fortune. He took the cure to the leading hospitals in the city, but to his astonishment he faced rejection everywhere.

Disturbed at the thought of the fate of the people, he decided to reach them directly. With the little money he had left, he set out to spread the message of the nature of the disease and how it wasn’t as benign as the people thought it to be. He spoke about how his cure tackled the disease and offered the life saving medicine for free. He stood on the streets and cried, “Hear me, please. Unless you believe me you will die”.

The people he so loved, shunned him. He was mocked and humiliated – despised of all. In the end only a handful of people gave ear to him – people who had hit the depths of poverty that they could not afford the medication sold at the hospitals. To all who came to him, the scientist with a glad heart gave the medicine for free. And the poor lived.

I guess you see where I am getting. ‘Unless you believe me you will die’, the line used by the scientist in the story is similar to the condensed message the Bible shares with us today. As much as people must have hurt the scientist by rejecting his message, they did not die because of him but because of the disease that spread. So too, people will not die a spiritual death because Jesus has judged them for rejecting Him. Jesus Himself says in John 12:47 – “I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” Spiritual death however will come because of the disease of sin.

But is there really such a disease..? Can I prove to you that humanity is dying in sin..? Perhaps not. But the fact that I want to state is that that is what is said in the Bible. In Romans 3:23 the Bible says that ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. Then we head on to see in Romans 6:23 that the ‘wages of sin is death’. 

And where in the Bible do we find the cure to our deadly illness..? The Scripture from beginning to end – from the prophecy in Eden’s Garden to the apocalyptic vision of John in the Book of Revelation where he looks upon the slain Lamb standing in the center of the throne – points us to that. Jesus Himself testifies to that at the Last Supper. In Matthew 26:28, the Lord says that His blood is ‘poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’. His contemporary John the Baptist in John 1:29 proclaimed, ‘Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’. The clincher though comes from a text far ahead of the time in which John lived. In the Book of Isaiah Chapter 53, Isaiah prophecied in the 7th century BC of all that Jesus would have to go through in the years of the 1st century AD. In verse 5 he says, ‘But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed’.

Before I conclude, let’s shift our gaze for a moment back to a verse I mentioned earlier, having touched upon the first part – Romans 6:23. The verse that begins as ‘For the wages of sin is death’ – which is the core of the Biblical message – continues, ‘but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’. Like the good scientist in our little story, our good God – having done all that is required to win it – is calling out to offer eternal life as a gift to anyone who would come to Him.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

The message of the Bible – Not a threat with a pointed gun. But rather, an invition dressed with love to receive a gift beyond price.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑