Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

– Philippians 2:5 (KJV)

Paul describes the mind Christ had from the beginning, before he came to the world, and during his life on earth. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8).

From the Beginning: Even though he was in the form of God, he never ‘thought’ or considered himself to be equal to God. It never occurred to him to steal that equality. On the contrary he willingly surrendered his divine status, degraded himself to become a much lower being – a man. Shall we develop in ourselves this Christ’s mind of, ‘not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think’ (Romans 12:3).

His Birth: Though he had the option to choose the way he would be born, God did not choose the for His only beloved son to be born in royalty to a king in a palace, but rather opted for the most ordinary or way below that! ‘And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

His growth/childhood: He grew up ‘hearing’ and ‘asking questions’ to the elders; Luke 2:46: And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. Back in Nazareth, he subjected himself to his parents. (Luke 2:46, 51-52) and grew up in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man! Do we grow up in Christ insisting that our family, brothers and sisters in Christ, friends, coworkers, managers, or even God, listen to us, or the other way around?

Preparation for Ministry: Jesus did not rush into Ministry immediately after his baptism. He rather waited patiently for John’s powerful ministry flourish to completion, remaining in Galilee, equipping himself, recruiting his disciples and gaining their trust, (Mathew 4:12-13, 17) until John’s arrest. John 2:11: What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him. Do we wait for God’s time for anything to happen, while equipping ourselves?

Ministry: He maintained His zeal for God and cleansed the temple off money changers and traders. (John 2:17). He did not succumb to the allure of being perceived as a miracle worker. “Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. (John 2:23-25). He stayed focused to fulfill his purpose on earth – both when his Sabbath healings and violating customs and traditions antagonized the Pharisees and Sadducees to kill him (John 5:16-18) and when the multitude witnessing his miracles wanted to forcibly make him their King (John 6:15), he never bulged or compromised or wavered. He never considered feeding or healing millions or extending His magnificent ministry by decades or across the globe!

Poorna Jeeva

Hearing to obey

As I was thinking about writing this blog article, was racking my brain on what would be a good series that will be informative, interesting and keep a momentum going for the rest of the year! Let’s start with a great hero Abraham, the father of faith and the father of nations. Chapter 12 begins by saying how the Lord tells Abram to get out of his country, his kindred and his father’s house to a land that will be shown to him. There were some blessings to follow – Lord will make of him a great nation, make his name great and he will be a blessing. The command was straightforward though not easy! Imagine Abraham packing up his belongings and having to tell his family that he is leaving but doesn’t know where he is headed! Most times in the past when I read this portion I always focused on Abrahams’s obedience, since the very next verse 4 says “So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him:

Read that verse again and like me maybe you are wondering why is Lot going with him? Wasn’t Abram supposed to leave his kindred behind? The bible doesn’t state what exactly happened – if it was Abram who asked Lot his nephew to tag along since he didn’t have a father and probably Abram and Sarai doted on him as their own child or if Lot convinced them to let him join along on their journey. Either way this opened up this scripture in a whole new light of “partial obedience” Yes, he left his country, his father’s house but did not leave his kindred behind! God was gracious and appeared to him and promised while he was in the plain of Moreh that He will give that land to Abrams’s seed. He was being blessed with cattle, silver and gold. But there arose a situation due to which Abram asked Lot to go his separate way. Chapter 13:14 states that the Lord spoke to Abram right after Lot separated from him “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:

15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever. 16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. 17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.

God was able to fulfill the promise of showing him the land promised to him and the blessing of a seed thereafter in Chapter 15 only after Abram obeyed completely!

Selina Moses

Opening Doors

The act of opening doors is a gesture of goodwill, friendship, and kinship. It is also a greeting and an invitation – welcoming a visitor, a guest or kinsman. It is a willing gesture of sharing and fellowship. It is an act of letting the sun in and letting darkness out. When darkness engulfs us, we respond by opening the door to the Son of God. Some have heard the knock on their door, on a night of thick darkness and opened the door – only to hear the caller say – “tend to my sheep.” A bright lamp is in His hand, to light up their path. He keeps His head covered so that the vision of the Creator, may not blind the kind dweller. 

The “sheep,” are our persecuted brethren, living in daily terror, in certain areas of India. Do we hear the knock on our doors? If we do, we may want to try relevant sites: If the site content causes pessimism, try to verify, and validate. But is all that information without basis? Because timing is a great servant but not a kind master, let us try and answer the call. A problem left untended, can become a chronic reality. Our worst antagonists are the ones who claim that they are born great. We cannot expect them to know the facts of history. Even if they do, they can bend facts to serve their needs. Any kind of procrastination is as productive as barren land. Nothing grows on it. In vain do we carry water to irrigate it – for its final destiny is a wasteful marsh. 

The late Mr. Jeyaraj Thomas, a faithful servant of the Lord, worked hard to serve Him. He even tried to bring together three Asian Indian Christian fellowships, for a united worship service – once or twice a year. He had great support from the senior AICC pastors. We spent many long hours on the phone, trying to make this symbolic event happen. The ‘hidden’ goal was to mentor a team of Elders and Youth leaders, to stand up to India’s political powers, to demand that India’s Christian population (particularly recent converts) have full rights to worship their God and Savior. There are many peaceful ways to negotiate with cruel and ill-informed regimes. But before we ask that doors should open; we must project unity and build structure. The late Mr. Jeyaraj Thomas was way ahead of his times. Should we not follow his example – given the gravity of the situation? 

The old year has thankfully faded and moved into virtual archives. And now, the gift of a New Year has been ushered in. Did the silent Usher wear a sober black suit and pure white gloves? So, should we then, mute our breath and blink back our tears of joy or just wipe away tears of trepidation? We may instead, want to turn to the Biblical Help menu. Let us scroll down to the books dictated by prophets like Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel – as they had been dictated to them by the only living Divine Poet, Jehovah God, our Father in Heaven. Then, remember to slide home to the first and second Kings. 

With the armor plate of the Word, and knees that will bend to no Man, except to the Lamb of God, who now transformed is a ferocious Lion of Judah; His eyes burning like fire. Let each young parent, choose which child of theirs, will carry the Lord’s words of fire to the hard-hearted Pharaoh, in each land of persecution. The Lord will pour steel into our knees, to stiffen them. Like Daniel, we will not bend our knees to any worshipper of lifeless ‘Gods’. Remember we share the promise made to Abraham, by the sacrifice, death, and resurrection of the One who chose us, the former Gentiles. Remember therefore, the plight of ‘Gentiles’ living in lands of persecution. If we open doors, many more will open in return.