Unique Calls at Critical Times


Unique Calls @ Critical Times
                Youth characteristically challenge others with their vigor, vitality, enthusiasm, intellectualism and creativity. They think, assimilate, move and act at unprecedentedly fast pace and beat every imagination. They are innovators with ingenious spirit and adventurers with courage and charisma. So the world is after them through technology and mind manipulations. Flesh is after them through temptations. Satan is after them through popularity, prominence and possessions. Opportunities knock at the doors of their lives with promise of achievement and recognition. Knowledge is after them with elation. So they run the race for all these mirages and become disillusioned about life itself. It is then that they are offered ways to feel ‘high’ with substance that work in their bodies and minds to drain them of purposefulness in life. In the process, they challenge many others to travel their ways, but little do they realize that their followers reach the same destination that they are bound to arrive at – feeling of emptiness in life.

                Youthful years are full of energy and ideas. They have an answer to every puzzle and a way out of every mountain trail. They have a whole life time to work on it all with best prospects. They have plenty of free time, with less responsibilities and very little accountability. They are invariably their own bosses. They don’t like anyone telling them what to do, eat, dress, study or accomplish goals in life. They think they are right and others must learn to become wise like them. They often forget that youthful years are the ripe time to consider the Creator and see what His ultimate plans for their lives might be.
God’s focus on the Youth 
                If one examines the account of creation in the Bible, one would easily see that man was created as a resourceful youth and his wife a beautiful young lady. Considering the present life expectancy, most of those whom the Creator called thereafter to work for him were young. Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Nehemiah and the prophets were all called when they were quite young. When one looks into the gospels, it would be easy to see that the disciples of Jesus were all young men, in their late teens or early twenties. Then we are presented with an array of young people like Timothy, Titus, Silas, Epaphroditus and others in the early church who were young men. 

                Why God especially calls young people for His mission? It is because they have the energy required for special missions. They have the life span to establish and accomplish great things to touch the lives of people through the hands of God. They have the will to make a life-time of commitment. They have the capacity to develop a long term vision and the strength to see that it is implemented. They learn the ways of God in His school of faith as they work for Him. They have the drive to go after their vision relentlessly. 
Look into the history of the church 
                History of the church tells us that God has called scores of young men and women to accomplish His purpose in building up His kingdom here on earth. So God called a young lawyer named Charles Finny to lay the foundation for revivalism. He called a young shoe salesman named Dwight Moody to train young people for world evangelization. He called William Carey, Adoniram Judson and Hudson Taylor as founders of modern missionary movement. He made Martin Luther the founder of Reformation. His call to John Calvin and Zwingli was to interpret the Bible and to establish doctrinal foundation for the church. He called Billy Graham who founded Youth for Christ and to start mass evangelism using multimedia to preach to the entire world. God picked Jim Eliot and four of his friends to reach out to the savage mountain tribes. When they were martyred, God used their lives to call over 5,000 youth to obey His call for world missions. He called George Verwer to establish literature evangelism through Operation Mobilization in unreached shores of the nations. They were all young men who were totally committed to Jesus Christ. 
  

                During the last five centuries, God called scores of His men and women to write hymns, translate the Bible, develop music, write books and tracts, launch magazines, start training centers, establish mission hospitals and orphanages and innumerable other evangelistic and church planting ministries. For evangelizing India, God raised up missionaries like William Carey, Amy Carmichael and Silas Fox, native young men like Sadhu Sunder Sing, Bhakth Singh, K.V. Simon and others. These were all called at their prime youth. 
Critical Times
                If we examine the times at which God called His choice instruments for His mission, it was always during critical times.

·         When human race was utterly perverse, God called a young man named Noah to preach and warn against it and to build an illustrative ark to show God’s salvation.

·         When idolatry was rampant and faith utterly unheard of, God called Abraham to prove his simple and unquestionable faith in God and in His mighty power and faithfulness.

·         When morality and truth were unheard of, God called Joseph to stand for, holiness, faithfulness and hope in Him and to protect His people Israel.

·         When God’s people were experiencing hopelessness, oppression and suppression, God raised up Moses to fearlessly face the Egyptian Emperor and his nation to release God’s people and lead them to worship the only true God.

·         When the enemy destroyed God’s people and their livelihood, God raised up Gideon to fight and demolish the enemy as the leader of the army of God.

·         When monster-like Goliath became a threat to God’s people, He called David to kill him and defeat all His enemies to establish a kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital.

·         When the power of God disappeared from His people, He called Isaiah to preach and to warn people and to give them the good news that Jehovah lives to save them.

·         In the midst of hopelessness, God raised up Jeremiah to cry for His people as the great intercessor.

·         When the enemy tried to wipe the Jews from the face of the earth, God called Esther to intercede for them and to reestablish hope.

·         God called Peter and John with their brethren to follow the way of the cross against the pseudo-religious forces.

·         God called Paul to take gospel to new territories and to complete the writing of the New Testament.

·         God called Timothy to build up the church when commitment was unknown among people. 

These men and women were willing to take risks for God and for faith. They gave up everything they had and sacrificed their lives to stand for God. 
Need of the hour
Our times are critical in many respects. The world and its agents flesh and Satan, are after the minds of young people. We live at a time when many young people faint under the scorching heat of the world and its evil system. We see young people captured by Satan, flesh and world. Their minds are being manipulated to perpetuate the evil that is around them. We see youngsters shattered emotionally and confused spiritually and drifting away from God. Who will deliver them from the clutches of sin and the world? Who will train up young men and women to help them fight spiritual battles to salvage the lost youth around them?
God is still looking and calling
·         God wants somebody to stand in the gap for the youth around us (Ezekiel 22:30). If not, people will perish.

·         The prophet is crying and asking as to whether there is anyone to intercede for the lost (Isaiah 59:16)

·         God is looking for the Nehemiah’s around us to rebuild broken lives, character and families (Nehemiah 1:11)

·         God is looking for youngsters who are willing to listen to Him and obey unconditionally (Haggai 1:1 & 3; Luke 14:35)

·         God wants people to respond willingly and voluntarily to go for Him and capture lives for Him (Isaiah 6:8)
What does it cost?   
                                        
Obeying God’s call involves your time, holidays, weekends and evenings, your money and most of all yourself. God wants you to work hard for Him to reach out to the lost youth. He wants your abilities, talents, intelligence, enthusiasm, energy, education, profession and passion that you might be using for temporal gains and fame of this world. He wants you to pray, talk, cook, serve, walk, climb hills, encourage and counsel the youth around you. He wants you to be available and avail the opportunities around you. Open your eyes and see that there are youth all around you who are drifting away into a Christ-less eternity. Many youth are captured day by day by the world, flesh and Satan. Will you be concerned about them? Will you give God the freedom to call you right now to go after the Youth who are escaping His fold? 
If you don’t respond today, it will perhaps be too late because the opportunity may cease to exist. Perhaps you will be lured into some other permanent bonds in life from which you may not be able to detach yourself. It is likely that the people whom God wants to touch may never be available for you. 
Remember: Today is the day of opportunity and dire need. 

Choosing Between the Master and the World


Between the Master and the World! 


             


 

                The ‘world’ that is around us is Satan’s arm to influence the hearts and lives of people. He is the lord of the ‘world’ (Luke 4:7; 2 Corinthians 4:4) and works to portray his enmity to God and all God’s people. He wants to control the lives of God’s children and influence them to live in a worldly manner. He uses his entire arsenal to enslave us so that we would no longer create any spiritual impact in his world for God. He uses the same techniques against us which he once used against our Master (Luke 4:1-13). So let’s beware, lest he defeats us, neutralizes our testimonies and tarnishes our Christ-like image. 

The ‘world’ is a systemic entity that exists in the hearts, minds, paradigms, patterns, priorities, likes, dislikes, philosophies, goals, aspirations, strategies and programs of the natural man who lives on the face of the earth. It spreads over all the political, economic, psycho-social, biological, educational, technological, commercial and religious arenas of human life and activity in covert and overt manner. It penetrates into all human thinking and decision making. Its outward expression is reflected in materialism. Its focus is on the temporal. Its ultimate objective is destruction of the soul. It sells ‘free’ tickets for the vanity fair, but hides the fact that there is no exit once you enter.  

In the world, but not of the world!

               

                It is interesting to note that God has placed His children in the world controlled by Satan. God wants them to here to testify to His power and victory He grants His children over Satan and his world. Our place in the world is portrayed in the Bible in three distinct ways. They are:

1.       The Christian is from the world, but he is not of the world (John 17: 6, 14 & 16)

2.       The Christian is taken out of the world, but is kept in the world to represent God (John 17: 18)

3.       The Christian is in the world, but is separated from the world (2 Timothy 4:10, James 1:27, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 4:5 & 17)

This world with its systems is a comprehensive way of thinking, attitude and action promoted and controlled by Satan. Its corrupt system of iniquity is portrayed by Satan’s very character. It is reflected through rebellion, corrupt values, sinful cravings, filthy culture, ungodly traditions, destructive reforms, hypocritical religiosities, secular humanism, ambitious business ideologies, self-righteous social actions and moral degradation.

The world system uses all its tactics to tempt Christian disciples to its parlors. It makes its temporal reward systems so attractive as to manipulate the disciple to drift away from the narrow way which is the way of the cross (Matthew 16:24). It tries to attract the disciple to enjoy life of both worlds, just as it tempted Gehazi, Achen, Demas, Judas Iscariot, Cain and Balaam and eventually destroyed their lives. Today the world and Satan strive to capture God’s children of all age groups, and most especially the young disciples.

Claims: Christ’s or the world’s!

       

The claims of Christ on the life of a disciple are an indicator of his love for the Master (John 21:15). The cross of Christ demands from the disciple all that he is and has. He is challenged to forsake all to follow the Lord Jesus who forsook all in Heaven to come down to this earth to die for him (Luke 14:25-35). A true disciple’s loyalty is primarily and ultimately to Jesus Christ, His cross and His kingdom. Naturally then the disciple can no longer be loyal to this ‘world’ which is inimical to Christ. The disciple is challenged to show his love to Jesus Christ by making Him the highest priority in life. So he rejects bluntly and boldly all the approaches and styles of the world which come from Satan, its lord.

It is the affinity a person has for the world and its materialistic realm that is called the ‘love of the world’. The disciple is mandated to prove with his life how he rejects the love for the world (James 4:4). The ‘world’ will always try to lure him to itself by offering to make him rich, popular, prominent and prestigious. But it would be utterly impossible for the true disciple to live in love with the world and what if offers. He would be ever careful to keep away from all subtle ways of the world to make him love the world. He would refuse to drink from its mirages and broken cisterns or eat at its gourmets which would make him spiritually sick. The true disciple would have no desire for the entertainment and intellectualism that the world offers. The world’s rewards are what it gives us after draining us of all our energies to promote its own cause through employment or business. But the cross of Christ demands that these energies ought to be used for the Lord and His cause so that we can receive our rewards in Heaven.   

The true disciple recognizes the tactics used by the world to lure him into its pathways. He will have to develop the spiritual capacity to keep away from the world’s strategies to take him away from the narrow path of discipleship. He resents world’s attractions which try to work through his five senses to slowly, but steadily make him its slave. The powerful persuasions of the world mesmerize the disciple to control his thoughts, aspirations and priorities after the temporal glories the world offers. He resists these influences of the world in the power of the Spirit of God.  He prays to God to reveal to his heart the deceptions of worldliness that try to creep into his life. God will then give him the grace to distinguish between the spiritual and the carnal, the temporal and the eternal, the earthly and heavenly and the worldly and supernatural.  

Tough Choices

 The disciple makes cardinal choices which will portray him as the true follower of Jesus Christ. It takes several challenging forms.

a.       He blatantly disregards the fear and apprehension that the world will call him a ‘religious fanatic’ and a person of ‘strange character’ because he rejects the intelligent and profitable avenues the world offers to get riches, recognition, popularity, prominence and prestige.

b.      He resists the temptation to live for the world’s opinions, traditions, public recognition and appreciation at any cost.

c.       He willingly suffers rejection, loss, reproach and ridicule from the world for resenting opportunities to get the world’s acceptance.

d.      He bluntly refuses to be controlled with materialistic and filthy lucre, but deliberately chooses to live by faith, believing that his Master will meet all his needs.

e.      He will not give the world opportunity to claim that it made him rich, but live contended with what God gives him daily.

f.        He is unwilling to follow the philosophies and strategies of the successful people of this world, but instead live as a fool of Jesus Christ, never wanting worldly success and prosperity.

g.       He refuses to go after the attractions of the vanity fair to quench his inner cravings, but solely lean on the Spirit of God to satisfy his every craving.

h.      He has no desire for public praise from the world, but craves to live in humility and brokenness.

i.         He uses all his treasures, talents and time for the cause of Christ.

j.        He does nothing to promote his self-esteem or be a smart person.

k.       He has no craving for the comforts and luxuries of the world, and willingly chooses to live in austerity.

l.         It suffices him to have sufficient to eat and drink and purposely keeps away from amassing wealth for a bright future.

m.    He rejects the world’s avenues to pamper the self through rest, leisure and pleasure.

n.      He deliberately chooses a lifestyle to deny himself of all that the self can rightfully enjoy in this world.  

A Revolutionary Life

                A disciple values everything in this world on the basis of the claims of Christ on him. He will boldly follow his spiritual vision about his Master and live to follow His example. His allegiance is to the Master for whom he is ready to forsake all that he has including his life. He is no fool to hold on to what he is sure to lose in this world. He is keen to hold on to what he will never lose in the other world. He considers the world as his foe even when it appears in friendly attire with luring smiles. He takes a public stand against the world with spiritual boldness. He is an example to other believers as a true disciple of the Master (1 Timothy 4:12). The claims of Christ demand a revolutionary life and lifestyle from him to please the Master and none else.

Comfort for the Weary Soul: Hope for Dust and Ash

“Comfort for the Weary Soul”

Hope for Dust and Ash!

Psalms 113:7 – (The Lord) raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.

Dust and ash are substances without much value or hope. No one would expect anything good to come from it. It is unthinkable to convert dust or ash into anything useful. Dust and ash are forgotten and despised by all. Those who dwell in dust and on ash heap do not have any hope. They are a forgotten set of people, rejected, resented and devalued by all around. They are scattered around when wind or storms of circumstances and situations blow over it. No force on earth can bring it back to its original place. But God visits these dust and ash heaps to pick up the forgotten people to see what He can make out of their hopeless lives. The God of hope comes to those who dwell in dust and ash heap to give them hope for a bright future. They are told that there is no need for them to feel hopeless and continue to feel lost in the dust and ash of their cumbersome circumstances. God visits the poor and needy in their hopeless situations and cheers them up with a message of hope that He will give them a bright future. He alone can transform the lives of those who dwell in dust and ashes and make princes and princesses out of them. They are invited to come and become the children of the heavenly King. Their position, prospects and potential are changed when they accept God into their lives. Such transformation is unthinkable without God. When God looks at a person, He always sees what the future will hold for them rather than what transpired in their lives in the yesteryear.

A person’s usability to God doesn’t depend on his background or his past life, but on his willingness to submit to God to make him what God wants him to be. God can put hope in all unusable and written off lives through His enabling and equipping power. All whom God has used in the past have come from humble background. He fills only the empty vessels. He remolds and redesigns the ruined, broken and shapeless. He took David the forgotten shepherd boy and made a king out of him. He took a schemer like Jacob and made him prince with God. He took a heathen widow like Ruth and made her the great grandmother of Jesus. He took a bunch of ordinary fishermen and made great Apostles out of them to turn their world upside down. Yes, our God is the God of impossibilities. He brings water and even honey from the rock. In His compassion, He makes the poor to rise from the dust of ruin and meets the needs of those who are on the ash heaps of frustration. He knows all our needs and situations and meets those needs and lifts us up from the dunghills of life. He has enough resources to meet all our physical, financial, spiritual and emotional needs. He always responds to the needy and the poor who go to Him asking for help.

Dear friend, are you dwelling in dust and on ash heaps of frustration and hopelessness today? Are you feeling purposelessness in life in your hopeless situations? Have you been experiencing rejection and resentment from all around? Is there a wind of despondency and despair beating brutally against you? Are you afraid that some cruel winds of circumstances might blow on you and scatter you without any base or foundation? But today you have the privilege to meet the God of all circumstances and possibilities who turns the prospects of the most hopeless dust and ash dwellers into partners with God for accomplishing His purposes in this world and in the lives of others.  God’s message comes to tell you that there is hope for you. You should not give up or quit, but should meet God who invites you to give you hope for tomorrow and to meet all your needs. He is bothered that you have been dwelling on the hopeless dust and ash because of your past experiences. But God is able to change your situation and make it useful for Him in this world. Remember, He sees your future if you entrust it with Him to remold. When we become His, our lives will be transformed with His power and enabling to accomplish what He equips us for. Then we become instruments in His hands to do what He wants us to do. There is no reason for us to become disillusioned because we are rejected and resented as dust and ash by those around us. Let our lives be given to God for His transforming work in us for His glory. He shows pity on us and our situation of dust and ash heap and will pick us up, clean us up and clothe us with His robe of dignity. He will carry us in His hands and keep us close to His heart. We can be rest assured that our God can change our situation and make us enjoy our position with Him in perfect fellowship, peace and joy. Let our prayer today be that God take hold of our lives and remold us to become instruments of His love and care.

Truth that challenges us to exercise our faith:
   When God puts His power into dust and ash, it becomes a channel of blessings.
 
Truth to meditate upon
  When we hand our lives of dust and ash over to God, He makes us living stones of splendor and grace for His glory.