CPR for a Believer

Articles

2 Chronicles 20:3-5 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 

Life sure does have ways of overwhelming us.

The challenge of the global pandemic we are facing currently is a prime example. The impact of this unique situation is not restricted to just health challenges but permeates every area of our lives today. From the education of our children to extremely unstable work situations and everything in between. The global economy is in bad shape and so is the health and emotional well-being of us as individuals. Fear, worry, anxiety, and uncertainty seem to be the underlying sense and the new norm.

The problem is huge, way out of our league, and there is precious little we may feel we can do about it. What does a believer do in such a situation? Is there anything different for a believer to do or does one get swept up in the flow?

Fear, worry, and challenges are no new concepts in the Bible. Even to Jehoshaphat, a godly king, these experiences were real. Yet, his response to the huge challenge before him is a great example for us even today.

Jehoshaphat is fearful. He is overwhelmed by the multitude that is coming against him from over the seas (v2-3). He has a huge problem on his hands. A problem he knew, was way above his abilities and strength to handle. He is scared.

And yet, he is not paralysed by his fear, he is quick to act. He leads his people in crying out to the only One who he knew could handle his problem. He calls out to the Lord and leads his people to do the same. His prayer reflects his own insufficiency and his faith in the all-sufficiency of God. What is your response to the challenges you are facing today?

The Lord answers Jehoshaphat and sends His message through Jahaziel, who says to him, thus says the Lord to you, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (v15)

God gives an answer and what a one at that! An answer that provides comfort to the heart that is palpitating in fear. An answer that brings strength to the failing heart with a sure promise from the Sovereign Lord, the all-time faithful Promise-Keeper.  An answer which takes the weight off Jehoshaphat’s shoulders, bringing such relief to a believing heart.

Much as CPR is a lifesaving procedure when the physical heart is in trouble, we as believers so need the Comfort, Promise, and Relief of knowing that the battles we face are not ours to fight. Challenging as the battles may seem, we called to remember that the battle is the Lord’s, not ours. We are called to trust and rest in Him!

Are you?

Lord when the challenges of life tend to overwhelm me, help me to find my Comfort, Promise, and Relief in trusting you as you fight my battles, I pray.

Even Now?

Excerpt - At The Potter's Wheel

So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. John 11:6

Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead.

This probably was the most remarkable miracle Jesus performed. “There is no parallel whatever for the raising of a man who had been dead for four days and whose body had begun to putrefy.” (Barclay)

Jesus had a close relationship with and loved the family of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. When Lazarus was sick it was only natural for Mary and Martha to bring their need to Jesus. They send word for Him saying, Lord the one you love is sick. It was enough to simply tell Jesus what the problem was.

But Jesus responds with a delay.

Jesus stayed back for two more days. The delay was probably mystifying to the disciples and agonizing to Mary and Martha. Jesus deliberately waited to bring Lazarus back from the dead until he had been in the tomb four days. He knew the Jewish superstition of that day that said a soul stayed near the grave for three days, hoping to return to the body. It was accepted that after four days there was absolutely no hope of resuscitation.

Jesus demonstrates that He does things according to the timing and will of God, not man. He also reminds us that His delays are not denials, but would bring greater glory to God.

Martha was not confident that Jesus would raise her brother, but she says she would still trust Jesus despite the disappointment. She believed that even now God would answer Him (v22). That was a remarkable demonstration of faith.

Do you have this even now faith to trust God even when your situation may seem too far gone?

Lord give me the faith to trust even when things are seemingly impossible, I pray.

Excerpt from At the Potter’s Wheel – Day by Day

(READING FOR 29 OCTOBER)

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Would You Dare?

Excerpt - At The Potter's Wheel

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Daniel 1:8

Nebuchadnezzar confiscated more than the holy things from the temple.

He brought to Babylon the young and brightest minds of Judah. Daniel, and his three friends were among these slaves who were brought back to Babylon. They were put under the care of Ashpenaz, to be groomed for civil service.

Indoctrination was the simple purpose of grooming. The young Jewish men were to leave behind their Hebrew God and culture and look to Nebuchadnezzar for all their needs. But Daniel and his friends refused, insisting that they would look to God alone.

Daniel did not object to the change of name. He knew who he was in the Lord, so it didn’t matter what others called him. Daniel also knew what he believed in and hence he did not object to the foreign education.

But Daniel and his friends objected to the food and wine, on at least three counts. The food served did not follow the requirements of the Jewish law. The food was probably sacrificed to idols. And eating the king’s food implied fellowship with the Babylonian culture.

Daniel and his friends were committed to obedience at all costs. Refusing the king’s order could mean punishment, even death. The food itself was a much better alternative to a vegetarian diet and water for three years. Being separated from family and home would have made it only more difficult not to compromise.

It took courage for Daniel to choose to honour God. Would you dare to be a Daniel?

Lord, give me the courage to obey you against all odds, I pray.

Excerpt from At the Potter’s Wheel – Day by Day

(READING FOR 14 SEPTEMBER)

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Plow and Prepare

Excerpt - At The Potter's Wheel

This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Break up your unploughed ground and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts. Jeremiah 4:3-4a

God is calling His people to repent.

Fallow ground is uncultivated farmland. Land that was ploughed before but now has been dormant for an extended period. Land that was fruitful at one time has become hardened over time. And unless it is ploughed and broken up, no useful crop can be grown on it.

Fallow ground implies resistance. To break up fallow ground is hard work. The Lord says, do not sow among the thorns. It is not that fallow ground does not yield anything, it only yields weeds and thorns. Nothing useful comes out of it. Fallow ground needs work and preparation to be made useful.

Jeremiah is using circumcision as a metaphor. Spiritually speaking, Judah was to work on having repentant, prepared hearts. They were to return to the Lord with hearts softened by repentance. God is interested in the inward change of heart rather than the physical conformity to rules. Ultimately, it is not the physical circumstance but a changed and purified heart that the Lord desires.

A circumcised heart is a pure heart separated unto God (Romans 2:29), a heart that is aware of its own sin and the need for God’s forgiveness. True circumcision is a matter of the heart, performed by the Spirit of God. Only the Holy Spirit can purify a heart and set us apart unto God. And only when our hearts are ploughed and prepared by the Spirit, can we be used by the Lord.

Is yours a circumcised heart?

Spirit God, purify my heart, I pray.

Excerpt from At the Potter’s Wheel – Day by Day

(READING FOR 08 AUGUST)

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Beyond the Questions

Excerpt - At The Potter's Wheel

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’? Isaiah 45:9

Israel’s deliverance is coming but from unexpected sources.

This chapter begins with the Lord addressing Cyrus as his anointed. The Lord says that he will take Cyrus by the hand to subdue nations and strip kings of their armour. And this form of deliverance was most unexpected and even unacceptable to some of the exiles.

It is to those exiles who resented deliverance through a foreign conqueror, that these verses (v9-13) are addressed. They are likened to a clay pot scolding the potter for his design. A woe is pronounced on such a person, who would “quarrel with his Maker.”

There are many events around us that cause us to wonder at God’s ways. Natural disasters, the rise of oppressive governments, deprivation among those who are hardworking, suffering from sickness, the difficult people or situations in our lives, the list seems long.

And we don’t understand. We have questions. And that is okay. But when we come to Him with our questions, we are to come with a humble spirit, not as one who quarrels with his Maker.

God’s Word says when we don’t understand, we humbly submit to the One we trust. We trust our just God, who will ensure righteousness and salvation will prevail on earth and in His people’s lives. We trust in the sovereignty of our loving Father who holds our future.

Who needs to be encouraged by your humble trust in the Lord, today?

Lord, help me trust you more, especially when I don’t understand, I pray.

Excerpt from At the Potter’s Wheel – Day by Day

(READING FOR 27 JULY)

Now available at bookstores The Book Room, OM, ELS and online at Bibleshopindia , Amazon and Flipkart.

Miserably Miserable

Excerpt - At The Potter's Wheel

while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:4

Elijah was depressed.

God had used Elijah mightily. Elijah’s prophecy, under God’s direction, had closed the skies. There had been a drought in the land for three whole years. Rains would come again only at Elijah’s word. During the drought, God had so wonderfully provided for Elijah through a raven and a brook. And when the brook dried up, God sent him to a widow in Zarephath.

And then came the spectacular victory on Mount Carmel. Elijah contested the prophets of Baal and Asherah and proved that Yahweh, the Lord God of Israel, was God indeed. God had sent down fire from heaven and consumed a soaking wet sacrifice and a waterlogged altar. The victory was decisive.

And yet, when Jezebel, King Ahab’s evil queen, threatened to kill him, Elijah ran. He was ready to give up everything and simply die. Forgotten were the recent amazing victories. Forgotten was God’s faithfulness experienced in abundance. All forgotten.

But God did not judge or blame him, instead provided Elijah with what he needed for the moment. He gave him food and rest. God did not give up on Elijah. He prepared him for the next phase of his ministry.

God does not give up on us either, nor is he done with us yet. Will you remind yourself to trust God when you feel like just giving up?

Lord, thank you for reminding me that you have not given up on me.

Excerpt from At the Potter’s Wheel – Day by Day

(READING FOR 27 JUNE)

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A Set Apart Privilege

Excerpt - At The Potter's Wheel

The sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart, he and his descendants forever, to consecrate the most holy things, to offer sacrifices before the Lord, to minister before him and to pronounce blessings in his name forever. 1 Chronicles 23:13

Aaron and his descendants were set apart forever.

David now old and full of years makes his son Solomon, king over Israel (v1). And then, David proactively gathers all the leaders of Israel, to organize them to help Solomon with the work of building the temple and administering the affairs of the kingdom.

The Levities were numbered and organized. Although all the tribe of Levi was involved in different work in the temple, only Aaron and his descendants were to offer incense and minister before God. Incense is a picture of intercessory prayer. The priest had to represent the people before the Lord.

Intercessory prayer simply means praying on behalf of others. There were many in the Old Testament who were mediators and intercessors, like Abraham, Moses, David, Samuel, Hezekiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Christ is pictured in the New Testament as the ultimate Intercessor.

By dying on that cross, Jesus closed the gap between God and us. And so, we can now intercede in prayer, on behalf of other Christians or for those who are lost. 1 Timothy 2:5 says, for there is one God and one mediator between God and humankind, the man Christ Jesus.

Every Christian is called to be an intercessor. Intercession is work and commitment. To pray for the needs of other believers and those who are lost is also a privilege.

Who needs your prayers today?

Lord, give me a burden to raise my brothers and sisters to your throne of grace, I pray.

Excerpt from At the Potter’s Wheel – Day by Day

(READING FOR 25 MAY)

Now available at bookstores The Book Room, OM, ELS and online at Bibleshopindia , Amazon and Flipkart.

Authentication, And Proof

Excerpt - At The Potter's Wheel

Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. 1 Chronicles 1:1-3

Genealogies have their own place of significance.

Chronicles opens with a genealogical record. This to most of us seems irrelevant and boring. We tend to skip over these pages, right? But if it is in the Bible it has to be there for a purpose; for all scripture is God-breathed says the Bible in 2 Timothy 3:16. So, what are genealogies and why are they in the Bible?

Genealogy is the study of families tracing their lineage and history. They have a powerful part in the Bible. Genealogies help prove the Bible’s accuracy historically. Often, we come across people who insist that the Bible is a mere story or parable by which we are to live our lives. But genealogies help prove that the Bible is a historically proven account of people with names, who did really exist in specific times.

Genealogies also confirms prophesy. Jesus’ birth was prophesied through the line of David (Isaiah 11:1). The Scripture confirms that Jesus was indeed born of David’s line (Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 3:23-28).

Genealogies reflect the character of God, who is interested in each of His people, by name. The detailed lists tell us that God did not see Israel as a group of people. Each one mattered to Him, by name.

Genealogies reveal that Gentiles like Ruth, Rahab were in the Messianic line. God valued these people, though they were not part of His covenant people. The Bible is the inspired Word of God, who is lovingly interested in each of His people by name.

How does knowing these truths change your relationship with God and His Word?

Lord, may this refreshing reminder help me love you and your Word more, I pray.

Excerpt from At the Potter’s Wheel – Day by Day

(READING FOR 23 APRIL)

Now available at bookstores The Book Room, OM, ELS and online at Bibleshopindia , Amazon and Flipkart.

Why Not Me?

Excerpt - At The Potter's Wheel

The Lord said to Moses, “Take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites. After that, you will be gathered to your people.”

Numbers 31:1-2

The Lord tells Moses to exterminate the Midianites.

This is the first time in Israel’s history that God is mandating a war of extermination. And this is a story that troubles a lot of people. God told Moses to have the army take vengeance on the people of Midian, except very young girls. And it was done. The question that arises in many minds is how
could God give a command to kill the people?

The Midianites were guilty of seducing Israel into sexual immorality and idolatry (Numbers 25). This was God’s decision not the Israelites’. God alone gives life and He alone has the right to decide death. When we see war and calamities around us, we tend to ask how does a good God allow such bad things to happen? But there is a basic problem with that question.

We often tend to forget our own sinful nature. We assume we deserve better. But the fact is that the Bible says for all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). And so, the real question we need to be asking is why not me? Why have I been spared? The fact is that not one of us is righteous or deserving of anything less than eternal hell.

Only when we are able to see ourselves for the sinners that we are and to see who we are without Christ, that we can truly seek forgiveness and accept the salvation that Christ offers through His death and resurrection. For the Bible says, unless we repent, we will perish too (Luke 13:5).

Would you ask God to give you a contrite and repentant heart?

Lord, help me to be ever-conscious of my sin and your grace, I pray.

Excerpt from At the Potter’s Wheel – Day by Day

(READING FOR 08 MARCH)

Now available at bookstores The Book Room, OM, ELS and online at Bibleshopindia , Amazon and Flipkart.

Washed, Dressed, Anointed

Excerpt - At The Potter's Wheel

Moses then said to Aaron and his sons, “Cook the meat at the entrance to the tent of meeting and eat it there with the bread from the basket of ordination offerings, as I was commanded: ‘Aaron and his sons are to eat it.’ Leviticus 8:31

Moses did as the Lord commanded him.

This is one phrase you will find repeated over and over in these chapters of Leviticus. What an amazing relationship between God and Moses. Moses knew and understood God. The Lord found Moses reliable and obedient. Would the Lord be able to trust you as He did Moses?

The next task Moses had was to consecrate Aaron and his sons as priests. He was to wash, dress and anoint Aaron and his sons. Then there were sacrifices to offer. And finally, Aaron and his sons had to cook the meat and eat it.

To consecrate is to set apart as holy. As the preparation for this awesome responsibility, Aaron and his sons had to be washed, as a symbol of being cleansed. They then had to be dressed in clothes specifically made for them to make them presentable before the Lord. They were then to be anointed with oil as a symbol of being set apart. All these were done by Moses for them. But finally, Aaron and his sons had to cook and eat the meat in full view of the people, as their symbol of acceptance.

Jesus Christ’s perfect sinless sacrifice paid the price, once and for all. Everyone who believes in Him is saved and made righteous before God. But like Aaron and his sons, each one needs to accept this salvation that is ours for the asking.

Have you accepted Him?

Lord, I choose to accept your gift of salvation today.

Excerpt from At the Potter’s Wheel – Day by Day

(READING FOR 15 FEBRUARY)

Now available at bookstores The Book Room, OM, ELS and online at Bibleshopindia , Amazon and Flipkart.