Before affliction…

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word.- Psalm 119:67 (NIV)

I went astray. Often, it has a negative connotation. It means that we have chosen the evil paths of this world. We have become adulterers, liars, thieves and murderers, by the standard of this world. But, a Christian life has a higher standard. We may not do any of these things that are considered evil in the eyes of the world; actually we may be living a moral life, yet in the eyes of the Lord, we may have gone astray.

Isaiah 53:6 says, that each of us have gone astray and the prophet goes on to explain that – each of us turned to his own way. Now, nowhere it is said that our own ways are evil and immoral. But just simply that we turned to our own ways. We turned away from the Way, from Jesus Christ and we have gone astray.

Sometimes, we hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and realize that we have left His guidance and turn to His ways. But at times, we become strong headed, as in our eyes, there is nothing wrong in the way we are travelling; actually everyone is telling us how good we are and how we have chosen wisely. And, to abandon all that and to follow the voice of the Lord, actually, looks like foolish and we are worried about what others would say… and then the tender hands of our loving Father afflicts us in a sweet manner… now we obey His Word.

Oh, heavenly Father, thank You for Your infinite love and mercy. We thank You for giving us Jesus Christ, our Good Shepherd. We also thank You for Your loving hand that afflicted us, so we realize the folly of choosing our own ways over Your way. Now, we obey Your Word. Thank You. Through Your Son and our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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Proverbs 1:33

Whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.

In this new month, let us listen to the voice of our Lord and Shepherd Jesus Christ. Let us all dwell safely and be secure; let us live a life without fear of evil. May the peace of our Saviour and Redeemer be with us. Amen.

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Psalm 4:7

You have put gladness in my heart, more than in the season that their grain and wine increased.

The Bible never tells that the things of this world does not make us glad. But the things of this world are fickle in nature. In one second, things could change so drastically and if our joy is based on those ephemeral things, so will be our joy. But Jesus Christ does not change, yesterday, today and forever. So, let our joy be based on the unalterable nature of Jesus Christ. May He fill our hearts with such gladness this morning.

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Philippians 1:29

For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

Granted – the word used here denotes something given as a gift, given as a favor. So, we have two-fold gift from God. One is to believe in Jesus Christ, His Son. And the other is, to suffer for His sake.

Suffering for the sake of Jesus Christ is not a burden that the Lord has imposed upon us; it is not something that we need to clench our teeth in pain and have to suffer through. It is a gift given to us. It is a favor that God is doing to us. For those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their God and Savior, let us not stop there; let us also accept, with joy, that we are counted worthy to suffer for His sake. For those who have not made up your mind, trust in Jesus Christ. For His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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Psalm 20:7-8

Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.

Even Christians often end up trusting in their possessions, their education, jobs and other things. And when we have nothing to trust in, it has become a fashionable to say, “Oh, don’t worry. Trust in the Name of the LORD our God.” No, no, dear friend, no matter what we have in our life, all those things are ephemeral; only the LORD our God is eternal. Trust in Him always and He will strengthen you and you shall rise up and stand firm.

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Psalm 86:10

For You are great, and do wondrous things; You alone are God.

Yes, LORD, You alone are God and You are great. And You do great things, too wondrous for us to even fathom.

You are great in Your love for us. And, Father, You did a wondrous thing – You gave Your only Son, Jesus Christ, for us. How wondrous You are! How amazing great Your love is! I praise You, Lord, for You are great and do wondrous things; You alone are God. Amen.

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