Monday, December 24, 2012

Without Jesus Christ.... It’s beyond our imagination.







He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Colossians 1:15

I want you to try to imagine what the world would be like without the birth of Jesus Christ. It’s beyond our imagination, but just try to picture it. We certainly wouldn’t know God as we know Him. In fact, we’d be fortunate to have even heard about the God revealed in the Old Testament. 


So what changed on that first Christmas so long ago? Well, when Jesus Christ came, the Bible says He was Immanuel… “God with us.” God was no longer a distant Deity. He was no longer an unfathomable, unapproachable image. But God became flesh and blood; God was with us! That’s why Jesus would later say, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).

When Jesus was born into the world, He was God! He wasn’t a man acting like God; not even God acting like a man; but God who was fully man and a man who was fully God! When Christ was seeing, that was God seeing. And when Christ was walking, that was God walking!


If Jesus hadn’t come, and if He wasn’t God, we’d never have the knowledge of God we have today. So thank God today for sending Jesus to Bethlehem all those years ago so that you might have a clear picture of a God who loves you unconditionally! (1)


A while back, it was in vogue for believers to make comments like “I’m saved, but I’m not a Christian.” Then the person would explain, “Well, I’m not worthy to call myself a Christian because I’m not living like one.” Let me nail this down for you. Have you believed upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and repented of your sins? Have you called upon Him to save you from the judgment of hell? If so, then you are the next of kin to the Trinity. You are a child of the King! Since you are part of God’s family, Jesus is not only your Lord and Savior, but He is your Friend and Brother.



God has not only created us, but he has created us as free beings, and in our freedom we are given possibility and choice. I would like for you for a moment to imagine God freely calling you toward his good purposes. And as you journey in that direction you may find yourself caught between the present and the future. That in-between place of present and future can create all kinds of anxiety because of the freedom of choices God has given us in our life. Perhaps we are anxious because the experiences of our past have shaped us in such a way that we are in dread of making a free and deliberate choice. Or perhaps just the mere possibility of making a wrong choice has left you feeling anxious.

Here's a promise you can stand on when your world has been shaken: 'But God is faithful.' Jesus said, 'Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away' (Luke 21:33 NIV). In a world of uncertainty you can sing, 'On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.' Your job, your health, your relationships and your investments are all 'sinking sand'. But God's faithfulness is as solid as a rock. He will be faithful to you in the delivery room, in the operating room, in the nursing home, in the unemployment line, in the criminal proceedings, and in the divorce court.

The Psalmist wrote: 'I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...' (Psalm 27:13-14 NKJV). Focusing on God's faithfulness will keep you from falling apart, giving up, having a nervous breakdown or losing your mind. Be honest; hasn't God been better to you than you've been to Him? Hasn't He been faithful when you've been unfaithful, and consistent when you've been inconsistent?

Maybe you've experienced death and disease, divorce and conflict, physical and emotional trauma. And maybe those things have stirred up so much anxiety in you that you don't know if you can step out and take any more risks. Or maybe you find yourself in the midst of some major life transitions, and all the options before you have you paralyzed in the grip of anxiety.

But I want you to know that God is not finished with us. He has only just begun. And if we take the risk and step out in faith, he is there to guide our anxiety toward a fruitful endeavor in order that we may grow into the person he desires us to become. I'm here to encourage you today, and to tell you that you can face your anxiety, and God can use it in a way that breathes new life into you.

The Apostle Paul reiterates this in Philippians 3:13, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”Few things bring us greater joy than serving our Creator. When we are serving God, we are focused on what we can give and not on what we are lacking. We focus on what is good in our lives and not what is wrong. When we contribute to God’s world we feel good about who we are instead of upset about who we could or should have been. When we bring joy to others, we can’t help but light up with joy ourselves!

What’s more, serving the Lord is something that we can do anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstances. In times of abundance, we can give. In times of scarcity, we can have faith. When things are easy, we can sing out praises to God. And when times are tough, we can call out to Him in prayer. In our homes or in our workplaces – there is always someone to help or God’s Word to share. The possibilities are endless.

We can always worship God, which means that we can always be happy. No matter what! We don’t have to pursue happiness. We just have to stop running away from it – and serve the Lord today!

(1)  Reference: Dr Jack Graham, Power Point Ministries, 24 Dec 2012 .


Blessings,


Raj Kosaraju

Friday, December 21, 2012

"What is the true meaning of Christmas?"


Every family has its own stories. These stories may become embellished over time, but they are part of our families’ history and help us discover our own identity. We tell these stories over and over at family gatherings, which helps us discover who we are as part of our family.

We Christians also have our stories that we tell often. Matthew and Luke tell us about the birth of Jesus. God became one of us on that first Christmas morning in a stable, not a palace, to teach us the true values of life. What is inside of us is more important than what is outside of us. Because of Jesus’ birth, we can have the divine life within us. We just need to take time and discover it.


The real Christmas story is the story of God's becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Why did God do such a thing? Because He loves us! Why was Christmas necessary? Because we needed a Savior! Why does God love us so much? Because He is love itself (1 John 4:8). Why do we celebrate Christmas each year? Out of gratitude for what God did for us, we remember His birth by giving each other gifts, worshipping Him, and being especially conscious of the poor and less fortunate.

Jesus was born so one day the price could be paid for the things we have done that are wrong. The Bible says that all have sinned. We are all born with a sin nature. We do things that do not please God. Through the sins of Adam and Eve, we have all inherited that sin nature. We need to have that removed. The only way is through Jesus. Jesus came so He could die on the cross for ALL of our sins. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, we can ask Him to come into our hearts and forgive us. Then, we are clean and made whole. We can know that heaven is a place where we can go to when this life is over.

    "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong." I John 1:9

The true meaning of Christmas is love. God loved His own and provided a way—the only Way—for us to spend eternity with Him. He gave His only Son to take our punishment for our sins. He paid the price in full, and we are free from condemnation when we accept that free gift of love. "But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
We can truly be happy at Christmas! No matter what may be happening, we can know that we are His children. We then become sons and daughters of God. Heaven will be our home one day.

Look at Christmas in a new way this year. This is the year to invite Jesus into your heart. You will then have a "Merry Christmas." The joy and peace you will receive will last all year as you look to God for all your needs to be met.

Merry Christmas!

Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Heartbroken."Worst school massacre in our nation’s history.





In Washington, a visibly shaken President Obama, wiping away tears, said he was "heartbroken."

Our hearts are broken today," a tearful President Barack Obama, struggling to maintain his composure, said at the White House. He called for "meaningful action" to prevent such shootings, saying, "As a country, we have been through this too many times."

"These were "beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old,'' Obama said. "They had their entire lives ahead of them. Birthdays. Graduations. Weddings. Kids of their own."

Police shed no light on the motive for the attack. The gunman, Adam Lanza, was believed to suffer from a personality disorder and lived with his mother, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the investigation but was not authorized to discuss it.

Panicked parents looking for their children raced to Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, a prosperous New England community of about 27,000 people 60 miles northeast of New York City. Police told youngsters at the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school to close their eyes as they were led from the building so that they wouldn't see the blood and broken glass.
Sandy Hook is in a residential, wooded neighborhood about 60 miles northeast of New York City. The school, which serves kindergartners to fourth-graders, has 39 teachers and nearly 700 students. A reverse 911 call went out to parents warning of an incident, shaking the quiet, middle and upper-middle class community of 27,000 to its core.

As people react in anger and sadness to Friday’s shooting spree at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., police are still looking for answers about what prompted the incident.
Asked what they might tell those parents and others affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
 
"I think it's indicative of the condition of our culture in this nation that this kind of thing continues to happen,".  A lot of people are hurting today and it's very sad when you have to ask God for His help to comfort them, and not only for the healing but just for answers as to why this kind of thing continues to happen."

"Life can seem unfair, but God is not the author of this kind of thing and He does love people and He does care for people and He wants to be there to help them in their time of need.

Where is God when it hurts.....

The unfortunate reality is that all around the world this same thing is happening in another fashion and form. Tomorrow another family will endure a tragedy and the day after that and so on. Until sin is destroyed this is the reality we face. For those who want to blame God you only evidence your ignorance. It is because of sinful, willful, rebellious hearts that satan can continue to bring death to this world...

Tens of millions of young people in this culture seem to have no fear of God. It’s becoming too commonplace that some frustrated person will go on a killing spree of random people. If they kill themselves, they think it’s all over. But that’s like going from the frying pan into the fire. Where’s the fear of God in our society? I don’t think people would do those sorts of things if they truly understood the reality of hell.

This is a very sad event and  there is nothing to say that will make it better for those who have lost a child. The only thing, if I may, this will continue to happen as long as those in government and schooling think they can continue to remove moral law in the form of removing avenues to God from school, prayer, ten commandments etc. Kids that have no moral teaching about God and the attributes of being raised under biblical knowledge will keep committing these acts . If you look at Iraq or any such country there is no moral law written in the hearts of the people , therefore they are governed by dictators and a police state. This is what those who are against the God Influence are missing .. take away a relationship with God and the moral Law from the hearts of children and men they will not be responsible with the arsenal in the closet.

We have been given the power to bring joy to the lives of others. In this season of God's gift of joy to us, we ought to think of ways that we might spread happiness to those who have little to be happy about. God heals the broken hearts of His children, often through His servants: you and me. Reach out in love to heal the wounds of loneliness and despair.

Heartbroken........

Today’s elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. is a terrible tragedy and my condolences and prayers are for all those that were impacted by the terrible events that took place today. The utmost disrespect was shown for human life today.

Some have used the day’s tragedy to promote conversations about gun control and other political agendas, but these emphases miss the heart of the issue.

As our nation mourns the loss of precious, innocent children and the staff members who were responsible for guiding and teaching them, we must consider the true source of the problem, which is not guns--it’s morality. We must return to the source of absolute truth--God and His Word--and recognize that abolishing of these Biblical principles from our society leaves the opportunity for pure evil to take root and the result can be what we saw today: the worst school massacre in our nation’s history.

The sixth commandment is clear: You shall not murder. And yet, there are so many today who don’t know the commandment, don’t know why it is wrong, and don’t know that God’s truth is absolute--there is no justification for breaking it. We must return these laws and principles, as well as discussion of them, to our homes and dinner tables, our schools, and our public squares. By teaching God’s morality, we will raise up a generation in which fear of the Lord will help to prevent tragedies like the one experienced in Connecticut today. (1)

Don’t forget what the battle is about! The battle is about what God is doing to draw more and more people to turn to Him for forgiveness and a new life empowered and directed by Him. That is what God has been working for in this world all along. It is the reason why He has not brought history to a conclusion yet. 

Our most heartfelt and sincere prayers go out to the families and victims of the Connecticut tragedy. May our loving God be with every single one of them and provide the comfort only He can provide.
 

Reference:

(1)  Dr. Alex McFarland is an author, speaker, and Director for Christian Worldview and Apologetics at the Christian Worldview Center of North Greenville University in Greenville, S.C. and founder of Project 2026, a 15-year initiative to return Biblical principles to American society.



Blessings,


Raj Kosaraju 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Question: "What is the year 2012 Mayan prophecy?"





Answer:
The ancient Mayans, in their “Long Count” calendar, had December 21, 2012, as the end of the calendar. This “end” of the Mayan calendar leads to many different interpretations. Some see it as nothing more than a reset, the beginning of a new cycle. Others see it as the date for the end of the world (or at least some type of universal catastrophe). So, what is the Mayan Long Count calendar, and does it have any relation to the end of the world?

The Mayans developed their own calendar (The Long Count) ca. 355 B.C. They were able to use their observations and mathematical prowess to calculate the future movements of stars across the sky. The result was that the Mayans discovered the effect of the earth’s wobbling as it spins on its axis. This wobbling rotation causes the stars’ movements to drift gradually in the sky (an effect called “precession”) in a 5,125-year cycle. The Mayans also discovered that once every cycle the dark band at the center of the Milky Way (called the “Galactic Equator”) intersects the Elliptical (the plane of the sun’s movement across the sky).

During the year of the intersection, the sun reaches its solstice (a brief moment when the sun’s position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observer) on December 21 for the Northern Hemisphere and June 21 for the Southern Hemisphere. At that time, the solstice occurs at the same moment of the conjunction of the Galactic Equator with the Milky Way. The year this occurs (in relation to our Gregorian calendar) is A.D. 2012, and happened last on August 11, 3114 B.C. With Mayan mythology teaching that the sun is a god and the Milky Way is the gateway to life and death, the Mayans concluded that this intersection in the past must have been the moment of creation. Mayan hieroglyphs seem to indicate that they believed the next intersection (in 2012) would be some sort of end and a new beginning of a cycle.

All the so-called “Mayan prophecies of 2012” are nothing more than wildly speculative extrapolations, based on the yet-uncertain interpretations by scholars of Mayan hieroglyphs. The truth is that, apart from the astrological convergence, there is little indication that the Mayans prophesied anything specific regarding the events in their distant future. The Mayans were not prophets; they were not even able to predict their own cultural extinction. They were great mathematicians and accomplished sky watchers, but they were also a brutally violent tribal people with a primitive understanding of natural phenomena, subscribing to archaic beliefs and the barbaric practices of blood-letting and human sacrifice. They believed, for example, that the blood of human sacrifices powered the sun and gave it life.

There is absolutely nothing in the Bible that would present December 21, 2012, as the end of the world. The Bible nowhere presents the astronomical phenomena the Mayans pointed to as a sign of the end times. It would seem inconsistent of God to allow the Mayans to discover such an amazing truth while keeping the many Old Testament prophets ignorant of the timing of the events. In summary, there is absolutely no biblical evidence that the 2012 Mayan prophecy should be considered a reliable prediction of doomsday.



Also included in the ancient Mayan prediction that December 21, 2012, would be the end of the world are the following theories: our sun is a god; the sun is powered by the blood of human sacrifice; the creation moment occurred at 3114 B.C. (despite all evidence that it happened much earlier); and the visual alignment of stars has some significance for everyday human life. Like every other false religion, the Mayan religion sought to elevate the creation instead of the Creator Himself. The Bible tells us about such false worshipers: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25), and “since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20). To accept the Mayan 2012 prophecy is also to deny the clear biblical teaching about the end of the world. Jesus told us, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32).(1)

Reference:

(1) GotQuestions.org

Monday, December 3, 2012

More to Life

 

First things first

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” Matthew 6:34

In the crucible of His wisdom and the ecology of His grace, God has ordered some trouble for you today. And every day of your life.

We’ve been blessed with difficulties. Yes, you read right—blessed! The worst thing that could happen to us would be not to have any difficulties. If that were the case, we’d never know our need of the Lord. So God in essence says, “I’m going to give you sufficient difficulty for the day.”

God gives you enough difficulty to draw you close to Him, but then God gives you enough grace to meet those difficulties every day.



We don't mind suffering some things as long as someone else is suffering too; we don't like to be the only one. Few things make us feel worse than when everything seems to be going well for everyone else and we are in the throes of suffering. The writer of Hebrews encourages us to endure our present sufferings as Christians in this world by reminding us that Christ suffered for us and that we ought, therefore, to be willing to suffer for Him. One of Jesus' highest points of integrity is that He never asks us to do anything for Him that He is not willing to do for us.


Trials shape you

Some trials come into a Christian's life to bring that individual to spiritual maturity. When we read "count it all joy when you fall into various trials" (v. 2), we can mentally assent to the wisdom of that. But in real life, when the duration and intensity of our trials goes beyond what we deem to be reasonable, we pass the point of caring. We begin to question the goodness of God. We question the rationality of the Christian life. We just want relief. By the grace of God we must accept that we are finally experiencing what James  is talking about. Take courage. Be strong. God has not forgotten you. And as He is testing you, you will become spiritually mature - though you probably will perceive the growth only in retrospect.
 

Will we live forever?

  When he reached the age of 70, historian Will Durant said, "To live forever would be the greatest curse imaginable."

Will we live forever? The answer is "yes" and "no." Will our bodies live forever? No. Will our bodies cease to exist at one point? Absolutely. But the soul is immortal. Each one of us has a soul. It is the soul that gives each of us uniqueness and personality. . .and that part of us that will live forever.

Today, many people are searching for immortality, that elusive fountain of youth. Sometimes, it's hard for us to accept the fact that life is passing and death is approaching. One day, you will wake up and realize you have more life behind you than you have in front of you. But the question we should be asking is not, "Can I find immortality?" Rather, it should be, "Where will I spend my immortality?"

If you have put your faith in Jesus Christ and have asked Him to forgive you of your sin, the Bible teaches that you will go immediately into the presence of God in heaven when you die. That is God's promise to you.

But God not only promises life beyond the grave. He also promises life during life, not just an existence, but a life that's worth living. Jesus said, "My purpose is to give life in all its fullness" (John 10:10 NLT).

In Romans 5:17, the apostle Paul declares: "For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ" ( NIV).

Reign in life! No matter what our circumstances, we are sons and daughters of the great King. He will watch over us through our days on earth, and take us home to be with Him when this brief life is over. That's the hope and promise for all Christians. And that's why the believer does not have to be afraid to die. . .or afraid to live.(1)


Reference:

(1) Greg Laurie "The Fountain of Youth?" -- Harvest Weekend Devotion for 11/24/2012


Blessings,

Raj Kosaraju

Monday, November 26, 2012

Struck down, but not destroyed.





The Word of God is energized by the Spirit of God. Whenever Scripture goes forth, it never returns without accomplishing the work it was intended to do. This is because the written Word of God is "living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword" (v. 12). As we minister to others, the Bible must be central to all that we say and do. We must always remember that it is the Word which is alive, not our own insights, clever arguments, or interesting stories.

There was a period in church history that extended from A.D. 100 to A.D. 314, during which thousands and thousands of courageous Christian men and women sealed their fate with their blood. Secular historians are in agreement that there were 10 great persecutions—10 major attempts to wipe Christianity off the face of the earth.

It started with the wicked Caesar Nero, who presided over the death of Paul. Christians were fed to wild animals. They were killed in the Roman arenas for sport. They were torn apart. They were tortured. They were burned at the stake. The Roman emperor Diocletian thought he was so successful at eradicating Christianity that he actually had a commemorative coin struck with the words, "The Christian religion is destroyed, and the worship of the [Roman] gods is restored." Well, things didn't turn out as well as Diocletian thought, because the church marches on. And what is left of Rome? What is left of Caesar? A salad, perhaps, but not much else. As Jesus said of His church, the gates of hell will not prevail against it (see Matthew 16:18).

When someone mocks us or criticizes us or wants to do physical harm to us because we are followers of Jesus Christ, we tend to think of this as the worst thing that can happen. But it is also a badge of honor. Because if you are being persecuted, then it means you are doing something right.

God will allow persecution in our lives. The Bible says, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (2 Timothy 3:12).


We're quick to remember God's promises of provision and protection. But we're not so eager to hold on to God's promise of persecution. Yet it can have a positive impact on our lives. (1)

God has been kind enough to trust us with this work. That's why we never give up. We don't do shameful things that must be kept secret. And we don't try to fool anyone or twist God's message around. God is our witness that we speak only the truth, so others will be sure that we can be trusted. If there is anything hidden about our message, it is hidden only to someone who is lost.

God has been kind enough to trust us with this work. That's why we never give up. We don't do shameful things that must be kept secret. And we don't try to fool anyone or twist God's message around. God is our witness that we speak only the truth, so others will be sure that we can be trusted. If there is anything hidden about our message, it is hidden only to someone who is lost.

The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like. We are not preaching about ourselves. Our message is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He also sent us to be your servants.

The Scriptures say, "God commanded light to shine in the dark." Now God is shining in our hearts to let you know that his glory is seen in Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:1-6 CEV

It Is Not Ours to Ask "Why?"

  

 “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him.” 2 Samuel 22:31


When bewilderment enshrouds you and despair looms at your door, when trials storm the beaches of your life, you may want to ask God, “Why? Why? Why?” Friend, you may never understand why things are happening the way they are in your life, but that’s not your job. You see, it is not necessary for you to know why. That is God’s question. Your response is all that matters. When we can’t feel His hand, we must trust His heart. Our job is to simply trust and obey.

Is there something happening in your life for which you have no explanation, but long for answers? Ask God to give you peace and grace to trust Him.

Our Lord goes with us into the dark times of our lives. He holds us by the hand and lets us know that we have nothing to fear. Darkness and light are the same to the Lord. He will lead us through our times of fear and bring us back into the light every time.
 

 Reference:


(1)  Pastor Greg Laurie,"The Church Triumphant" -- Harvest Devotion for 11/22/2012



Blessings,


Raj Kosaraju