“Hated for My Name’s sake.”


“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.” — Matthew 10:22; Mark 13:13.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” — John 15:18, 19.

We are not alone!

The devil has always hated Jesus (God) and the world, under the devil’s influence, hates Jesus (God) too. It is an extended hatred. It is evident that Satan is behind this hatred. We who bear the name of Jesus are experiencing the old enmity. God declared it in the Garden of Eden : “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” — Genesis 3:15. The woman’s Seed is Jesus. He bruised Satan’s head and Satan’s bruised Jesus’ heal on/at the Cross.

A spiritual warfare is raging and we are caught up in it!

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. — Ephesians 6:12.

The hostility of the world (under the devil’s influence) towards Christ and His followers is a result of the enmity which began in the Garden of Eden.

However, the Lord has not left us defenseless in a hostile world. He has promised to be with us. — Matthew 28:20.

We are exhorted to remain strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” — Ephesians 6:10.

He has provided us with the necessary armor to withstand the spiritual attacks.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. — Ephesians 6:11.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—“ — Ephesians 6:13-18.

What are the pieces of “the whole armor of God”?

  • The Truth
  • Righteousness
  • The Gospel
  • Faith
  • Salvation
  • The Word of God
  • Prayer

We would do well to be fully dressed and ready to take a stand for the Lord against the wiles of the devil.

This war will continue until the Day of the Lord.

“[W]hen He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” — 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12.

Then the devil will be finally destroyed. Needless to say, his followers will also meet his fate. — Revelation 20:10.

“[T]he lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” — 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

The devil and all evil will be destroyed at Jesus’ glorious return at the end of time.

Until then, “he who endures to the end will be saved,” said Jesus.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Here Am I! Send Me.

Isaiah 6: Isaiah Called to Be a Prophet
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple.
2 Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.
3 And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”
4 And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.
5 So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.
7 And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”


Isaiah has a vision of the LORD of hosts sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. He sees seraphim with six wings above the temple. They proclaim the thrice-holy nature of the LORD and “The whole earth is full of His glory!” The doorposts of the temple are shaken by the voice of the seraphim. Isaiah is overwhelmed by the vision and fears for his life because he realizes his current state of being in the light of “My eyes have seen the King, The LORD of hosts.” One of the seraphim takes a live coal from the altar and flies to Isaiah and touches his mouth with it saying, “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.” Then the Lord says, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah replies, “Here am I! Send me.”

When we encounter the Lord Jesus Christ, we become aware of our fallen state. We fall at His feet. He forgives our sins, takes away our iniquity by His blood shed on the cross. Consequently, we should be in awe of Him and be ready to do His bidding.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:19, 20.

We should say, as did the Prophet Isaiah, “Here I am! Send me.”


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Praise and Warning

Psalms 95: Praise to the LORD, and Warning against Unbelief.

1 O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 3 For the LORD is a great God And a great King above all gods, 4 In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. 5 The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker. 7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness, 9 “When your fathers tested Me, They tried Me, though they had seen My work. 10 “For forty years I loathed that generation, And said they are a people who err in their heart, And they do not know My ways. 11 “Therefore I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest.”


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Members of God’s Household


family

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” – John 1:12, 13.

He gave us the right to become children of God because we have believed on and received Him as the Son of God, Who could give us life, eternal life. He birthed us into His family.

Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” ~ John 10:14-30.

Jesus, The Good Shepherd, is now in our midst. He is with us because He knows us, His sheep. We surround Him because we know Him as our own. We hear His voice. He knows us, and so we follow Him, our True Shepherd. He gives us eternal life. He promises that we “shall never perish”; “neither shall anyone snatch” us out of His hand.

The Father has given us to Him. The Father is greater than all. Hence, no one is able to snatch us out of the Father’s hand. Jesus and the Father are one in intent and purpose. They are one. Since we are His, we have surrendered our will to Him. Now, we are subject to Him and do His will. He is our Father and we are His children. Thus we are family; in His household.

Jesus said: For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” ~ Matthew 12:50.

For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” ~ John 6:38, 40.

Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God. ~ Ephesians 2:19.

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” Romans 8:15, 16.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Galatians 4:6.

For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, Hebrews 2:11.

Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and sisters. For this reason we count Him worthy of great respect and adoration. To us He is more than just a brother or friend. He is our Lord and Savior, Redeemer and God.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” – Titus 2:11-14.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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I Am Your God


I am your God

“You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord God. ~ Ezekiel 34:31.

God is in our midst. We surround Him like sheep surround the shepherd. We eagerly look up at His face. We are expectant. We wait for His bidding. We wait for Him to speak. He says,

“You are My flock.”
You belong to Me. What a great sense of belonging!

“The flock of My pasture.”
There is no lack in His pasture. His pasture abounds with abundance of blessings.

“You are men.”
As humans, there is only so much you can do and no more.

“I am your God.”
I can do “exceedingly abundantly above all that” you could ever ask or even think.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:20, 21.


Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” ~ John 10:27, 28.

When we hear His voice, our hearts leap for joy! He knows us. We know Him. We follow Him. Oh! What a joy! He knows the way. He knows where the grass is the greenest and water the coolest! He knows where it is safe to be. We know He will protect and defend us. He gives us eternal life. We shall never perish because He says so. No one can or shall snatch us from His hand. We are His; we belong to Him forever.

Jesus said: “And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” ~ John 6:40.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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God, The True Shepherd


the great shepherd

Digital Art by Sachin


Ezekiel 34:
11 ‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.
12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.
13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.
15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God.
16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

The shepherds of Israel had failed to take care of the people. Instead of feeding the sheep, they had been eating the food meant for the sheep. They were eating the choice food and wearing the best clothing. They had not strengthened the weak, nor healed those who were sick. They had not bound up the broken, nor brought back those who had been driven away. They had not sought the lost. They had ruled with force and cruelty. Since they had neglected those entrusted to their care, the people had scattered because there was no shepherd. They became fair game for those who sought to harm and plunder them.

“My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” – Ezekiel 34:6.

Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.” Ezekiel 34:10.

God expresses concern for the lost and scattered sheep. He refers to them as “My sheep”. They are personal to Him. He is talking about the lost and scattered sheep of the house of Israel and He looks forward to their future restoration to their land. However, from the Lord’s declaration we catch a glimpse of His concern and care for all His people who are lost and scattered all over the world.

The Lord God declares that He is against the shepherds who have failed to care for God’s people. He will hold them accountable for the plight of the sheep, His people. He will remove them from oversight of the sheep so that they may no longer have authority over His people; that they may not be able to prey on the sheep.

Therefore the Lord says, “I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.” Vs.11.

This declaration evokes great hope and assurance. The Lord God Himself sets out in search of His sheep, to seek and restore them. To return them to their fold which would be “on the high mountains”; a safe and secure place. There He would feed them in good pasture. In a safe and secure place they would lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture.

“I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. – Ezekiel 34:14, 15.

True to His word, He came down from His glory and dwelt among us.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself declared:

“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.” – Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. – John 10:11, 14.
“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10b.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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The LORD Our Keeper


Sohra Hills


Psalms 121: A Song of Ascents.
1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun will not smite you by day, Nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul.
8 The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in From this time forth and forever.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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I Could Never Forget You!


The LORD’s Expression of Love and Compassion.

Rose

Image: Thomas Dohling.

“Can a woman forget her baby who nurses at her breast? Can she withhold compassion from the child she has borne? Even if mothers were to forget, I could never forget you! Look, I have inscribed your name on my palms.” Isaiah 49:15,16a, NET.


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God’s Great Faithfulness


Lamentation 3
19 Remember my affliction and roaming, The wormwood and the gall.
20 My soul still remembers And sinks within me.
21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.
22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, ” Therefore I hope in Him!”
25 The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him.
26 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.
—————————–
Isaiah 40
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall,
31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Everything Has Its Time


Ecclesiastes 3:
1 To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
2 A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
3 A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, And a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
7 A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
8 A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.

The God-Given Task
9 What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?
10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.
12 I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,
13 and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor — it is the gift of God.
14 I know that whatever God does, It shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, And nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him.
15 That which is has already been, And what is to be has already been; And God requires an account of what is past.


Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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