(Num 14:2 [NET]) And all the Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished in this wilderness!
There are murmurers amongst Christians now, as there were in the camp of Israel of old. There are those who, when the rod falls, cry out against the afflictive dispensation. They ask, “Why am I thus afflicted? What have I done to be chastened in this manner?” A word with thee, O murmurer! Why shouldst thou murmur against the dispensations of thy heavenly Father? Can he treat thee more hardly than thou deservest? Consider what a rebel thou wast once, but he has pardoned thee! Surely, if he in his wisdom sees fit now to chasten thee, thou shouldst not complain. After all, art thou smitten as hardly as thy sins deserve? Consider the corruption which is in thy breast, and then wilt thou wonder that there needs so much of the rod to fetch it out? Weigh thyself, and discern how much dross is mingled with thy gold; and dost thou think the fire too hot to purge away so much dross as thou hast? Does not that proud rebellious spirit of thine prove that thy heart is not thoroughly sanctified? Are not those murmuring words contrary to the holy submissive nature of God’s children? Is not the correction needed? But if thou wilt murmur against the chastening, take heed, for it will go hard with murmurers. God always chastises his children twice, if they do not bear the first stroke patiently. But know one thing—“He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” All his corrections are sent in love, to purify thee, and to draw thee nearer to himself. Surely it must help thee to bear the chastening with resignation if thou art able to recognize thy Father’s hand. For “whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons.” “Murmur not as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer.”
Note: Are you a Child of God or a murmurer? God has disciplined me the past many years, but not delivered me over to death. I learn to be a responsible son and able to handle when others ill-treat me. I also ;see how much I lack the Divine Nature of my Father in Heaven. And I learn.
The one who says he remains in Him should walk just as He walked.
Why should Christians imitate Christ? They should do it for their own sakes. If they desire to be in a healthy state of soul—if they would escape the sickness of sin, and enjoy the vigour of growing grace, let Jesus be their model. For their own happiness’ sake, if they would drink wine on the lees, well refined; if they would enjoy holy and happy communion with Jesus; if they would be lifted up above the cares and troubles of this world, let them walk even as he walked. There is nothing which can so assist you to walk towards heaven with good speed, as wearing the image of Jesus on your heart to rule all its motions. It is when, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you are enabled to walk with Jesus in his very footsteps, that you are most happy, and most known to be the sons of God. Peter afar off is both unsafe and uneasy.
Next, for religion’s sake, strive to be like Jesus. Ah! poor religion, thou hast been sorely shot at by cruel foes, but thou hast not been wounded one-half so dangerously by thy foes as by thy friends. Who made those wounds in the fair hand of Godliness? The professor who used the dagger of hypocrisy. The man who with pretences, enters the fold, being nought but a wolf in sheep’s clothing, worries the flock more than the lion outside. There is no weapon half so deadly as a Judas-kiss. Inconsistent professors injure the gospel more than the sneering critic or the infidel.
But, especially for Christ’s own sake, imitate his example. Christian, lovest thou thy Saviour? Is his name precious to thee? Is his cause dear to thee? Wouldst thou see the kingdoms of the world become his? Is it thy desire that he should be glorified? Art thou longing that souls should be won to him? If so, imitate Jesus; be an “epistle of Christ, known and read of all men.”
There was a man called Jacob who was the son of Isaac and the grandson of Abraham-a man of God who is also called the friend of God. The meaning of Jacob is impersonator, liar, thief. Jacob really was a very clever man and a deceiver and thief and swindler. He tricked his elder brother into selling his birthright to him for some food. And then he put on his brother’s clothes when his brother was gone hunting for his father’s favourite food, deceived his father by bringing food that his father liked and stole the blessing which his father wanted to give to the elder brother. Such was Jacob. Jacob got into trouble after he deceived his father and took the blessing meant for his elder brother, Esau. Esau said that he stole my birthright and now he has stolen my blessing. The time will come when my father passes away and I am going to kill my brother Jacob the same day. So, Jacob said good-bye to his parents (he did not know, he would not see his mother again) and ran away to his maternal grand-parents’ house in another country.
The Lord made it clear, He did not like Esau. Esau was a bad and unpleasant man. He was given to bitterness. He had married two women from the people living around his father’s house, although his father had, following his father Abraham’s directions, refused to settle down with the people around them and married Rebekah who stayed in the far country among Abraham’s relatives. And later, when Jacob ran away after grabbing his birthright and blessing, with instructions to settle down there, and he saw that his parents did not like the women he had married, the women who had made life difficult for them, he married two more. In fact, a prophecy had been spoken about him that the elder brother would serve the younger brother. But, instead of coming to a need, he had acted wickedly and made life difficult for his parents and the people around him. Even later, the nation of Esau (also called Edom because he liked red meat) are among the enemies of Israel (Jacob) and God has to destroy them because they were against the Jews who are God’s people.
Jacob, when he woke up from the dream, on his part promised the Lord, if you will do all this for me, then you shall be my God and I will give you a tenth share of all that I have. (This was a tradition that his grandfather, Abraham had set when he gave 10% of the spoils of war when the Lord gave him a victory in a very difficult situation where he went and fought and defeated a number of kings to rescue his nephew and others who had been kidnapped and defeated them). So Jacob went to the house of his maternal uncle, Laban.
A lot of things happened when Jacob went to his uncle, Laban’s house. I believe God let these things happen as Jacob was called to be a prince of God. He deceived his uncle telling him that I am Rebekah’s son. He did not mention the elder brother. The uncle welcomed him. Jacob was a very smooth talker, but he was willing to work hard when necessary and the uncle loved him. Jacob knew how to get along with people. So he did the right acts-helping his cousin at the well right at the time he arrived in the locality and doing other things and gained his uncle’s confidence. And the uncle went to the extent of giving him both his daughters in marriage.
Even there, Jacob loved the younger sister, Rachel but did not love the older sister, Leah.But the uncle also took advantage of him, because it was obvious to him that Jacob would be willing to pay any price for Rachel (the younger sister). He tricked him into marrying both the daughters and made him work hard for seven years for each of them. And, afterwards, fourteen years later, when he had about 10-12 children, Jacob told his uncle, “It is time I provided for my own house” and there also the uncle struck a hard bargain trying to pass on left-overs to him. But there was a plan in this also. God was with Jacob and He blessed him in everything he did. Also, Jacob was very clever and able and Jacob’s wealth increased well while his uncle’s wealth did not increase so much. Laban kept changing the contract they had made trying to get back his wealth, but did not succeed. His uncle started looking askance at him seeing how things went, that Jacob became richer and he did not have much and even Laban’s sons’ hated him. Jacob began to realise that his uncle is not happy with him and God was making it clear, it is time to leave.
So, he called his wives out to the field and explained what was happening to him. Leah and Rachel were also unhappy. They said, “Our father has sold us to you for fourteen years of hard labour to increase his own wealth and provide for our brothers and not even given us any share of the property. You have earned so much and given him, but he has given us nothing. He has kept us empty-handed and does not even pay you properly. They knew that their father had ill-treated his son-in-law and tried to keep all the income and property for himself and they also wanted to leave. So, without informing his uncle, Jacob ran away with his children and wives. The uncle pursued them, but God appeared to him in the same night and told him, “Don’t do anything to Jacob, otherwise I will punish you.” Laban understood that he had acted wickedly in trying to grab everything while his son-in-law was working day and night and he sent them in peace.
The story does not end here. Jacob knew what he had done to everyone. He knew he was a swindler and cheat and deceiver and he had continued like that even when he went to his uncle’s house. He also remembered Esau’s words when he ran away from Canaan (his parents residence). So, while going back home, he sent a message to Esau, his elder brother, that I am coming back home and I have got many flocks and herds. The news came back that Esau had started with two hundred men. Immediately, Jacob was afraid. “Now he is going to kill me, he has not forgotten all that happened” and he became very afraid. So he prayed to God in much need and prepared an elaborate gift for his brother and sent it all ahead in several groups led by his servants, then the two maids with the children they had borne him, then Leah and children and Rachel with her son, Joseph, in order to soften him.
That night, a man is fighting with Jacob. They go on fighting all night, but nobody wins. In the morning, the man is telling him, “Let me go, the day is breaking.” Jacob knows it is the Lord and he says, “I will not let you go till you bless me.” Then, the Lord touches the socket of Jacob’s thigh and he is limping, leaning on his staff. As we see later on, this breaking is essential. A vital change takes place and Jacob is broken and humbler. Jacob knows he is in need and also that he is in trouble. He has two wives and many sons and a daughter and his brother is coming with two hundred men and he knows, unless God intervenes, he may be killed today. So the Lord asks Jacob, “What is your name?” Jacob answers, “I am Jacob.” And the meaning of Jacob is: deceiver, supplanter, schemer, thief, impersonator. “Okay, from now your name will no longer be Jacob, it will be Israel, because you have prevailed with God – and with men!” and the Lord blesses him there, an able, strong man who is blessed of God. When Jacob met his elder brother, he honored him saying that I am your servant, bowing repeatedly to the ground in his presence,acknowledging that seeing him is like seeing the face of God.
And he had already sent a lot of gifts to him earlier. When Esau asks Jacob, why have you sent all these gifts, Jacob answers that God has blessed me with much and so I am giving to you also. Esau did not want the gifts, but Jacob gives him acknowledging his seniority and superiority and authority as the elder brother (whom he has wronged). The Lord saved Jacob from his brother Esau’s hand.
Many other things happened to Jacob, which are related in the the first book of the Bible: Genesis. He ends a broken man, a thigh broken during the fight and learns to worship God, leaning on his staff and praying, but a blessed man able to bless others.
Now let us go into this matter, what is this episode? How is it that a schemer, deceiver, impersonator, supplanter, thief, liar etc. is blessed? And his older brother gets nothing. One thing becomes clear here. A bad man who wants to change. He wants to leave his sinful way of life and become a good man, such a man is blessed by God. He will forgive the man his sins and bless him. We also see, how Jacob acknowledges his need and the Lord blesses. When we come to Jesus saying that we need forgiveness, we need help, we need salvation, we need a blessing, we need a good life, Jesus blesses us. Jesus gave His life for us on the cross, paying the penalty of death for our sins.
To know more about Jacob, I suggest you read the book, BEAUTY FOR ASHES by Zac Poonen. You can get a free download of the whole book along with other good articles, books, audio and video messages, all free from the website, www.cfcindia.com
We all work hard to have a good living, even going to serious extents like Jacob to make ourselves comfortable and well to do. But, Jesus said that no one can serve two masters, you cannot serve God and Mammon (wealth). Either you will love the one and hate the other or hold to one and despise the other. I knew the Lord, but went after money to make myself comfortable. The Lord was kind to me and spoke to me in my heart not to make a mess of my life and I repented of going after money, sinning to get it and gave my life to the Lord again. I can sincerely say that I have seen that money is not everything and living for the Lord is lasting and satisfying to a much greater extent. Living under an open heaven is any day better. The Lord does provide for me, He is faithful and, as the Bible says:
Psalm 37:24-26New American Standard Bible (NASB)
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. 25 I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread. 26 All day long he is gracious and lends, And his descendants are a blessing.
So I invite you to come to Christ and commit yourself to Him. Repent of your sins (that is turn away from that kind of life). Jesus gave His Life for us on the cross and took our place as we are all under the death penalty (eternal separation from God in a Lake of Fire which burns forever) and bore our punishment. The unblemished Lamb of God had to take our place. But, He rose again on the third day, never to die again and now lives forever and is our Advocate before the Father and our Saviour and Redeemer. Those who repent and believe in Jesus become the Children of God and live under an open heaven where the Lord hears our smallest, most silent prayer spoken in our heart. We also receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit who comes to be with us and in us – leading, teaching, guiding and giving us an assurance of God’s love fur us.
If you haven’t received Jesus into your life, you can do it now. Just kneel and pray this simple prayer:
“Lord Jesus I acknowledge that I am a sinner, I have sinned much and I need forgiveness and I want to change and live according to what you have shown to me. You have paid the penalty for my sins by shedding your blood for me on the cross. Please forgive my sins. Please come into my life, I accept you as my Saviour and Lord and Master and I will follow you in everything. Thank you Jesus for forgiving my sins. And now, please give me The Holy Spirit that He may come and be with me, guide me into a new life. Thank you Jesus. Amen”
The Lord Jesus will come into your life. You will become a child of God. The Bible says that as many as received Him, they became (had the right) to be the children of God. May the Lord bless you and we will be praying for you. Amen (it means, it shall be so).
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Michal left her house to fill water. Michal was a good-looking woman, but one who had gone through a lot of problems in her life. A number of men had married her for her good looks and then separated. She had not been able to get along with them. She did not have any children. Now, she was living with another friend. She had got fed up of marriage, she was only living with him. Even David, the man she was living with, was not happy to settle down, they had decided just to live together and consider marriage later. In this way, she was continuing. She used to go to work and on holidays, she stayed at home. She had felt a great sense of need, but did not know what to do. She wanted companionship and have a good relationship with people. She would like people to be friends with her and she should be friends with them and enjoy people’s company. She wanted to have a household like the other women of her age who were married and had children. But, instead, she was despised and complained against, the whole village despised her. They would forbid their children from speaking to her and question their husbands/brothers if they found them even speaking to her calling her a loose woman. Even when she used to go to collect water from the well, they used to push her aside telling her, “Stand aside, let us all take the water and then you take. (We are all responsible people with families, let us finish first.)” She did not feel like fighting, she just said that I will go at a time when nobody will be there. In this situation, she went to the well to collect water in the afternoon at a time when nobody would be there. They would be busy preparing lunch or doing other work.
There was a man sitting there and he asked her, “Please give me some water.” He was a Jew, but he was speaking nicely to her unlike the way other people treated her. She curiously asked him, “How can you being a man and a Jew speak to a Samaritan woman asking for water?”
Michal lived in a village called Sychar in the land of Samaria, which is now part of Israel. She was a Samaritan. The Samaritans were not like the Jews, they followed idols, whereas the Jews worshiped at the Temple and offered sacrifices there. Also the Samaritans and the Jews did not have a good relationship and even used to have public clashes. The Jews despised them.
The man replied to her, (look at the reply): “If you had known who was speaking to you, you would be asking him for God’s Gift of Living Water!” The meaning of Living Water is a full and good life. It also signifies the Holy Spirit who imparts this life. And she is thinking, “Yes, I am really thirsty and in much difficulty. If God really gives me a Gift of Living Water, then I definitely want it. My life will change!” So she asked him, “Sir, the well is deep! How will you draw this water and give it to me?” And he told her, “The water that I give you will be a spring. You don’t have to go putting your pot inside, trying to get water from the bottom way down, but it will be a spring which will spring up within you and your thirst will be satisfied.” Eagerly, Michal asked, “Sir, give me this water, I need it.” Then he said to her, “Call your husband.”
She is crying and thinking, “How can I tell this man what has happened to me?” So she told him, “I don’t have a husband.” And the man told her, “Yes, what you have spoken is true. You have been married five times and the man you are living with is also not your husband! This you have spoken truly.” And then, Michal got bewildered, “What! This man is a prophet, he knows about me” and decided to divert the topic. So she told him, “Sir, now I recognise that you are a prophet. I want to ask, you Jews say that we must worship only at the Temple, whereas our forefathers have taught us to worship on this mountain and offer sacrifices on this mountain.” Then, he told her, “Woman, I want to tell you,”(and he was speaking very gently)”the time will come when, neither at the Temple, nor on this mountain, will people be worshiping God! God is Spirit and those who worship Him, should do it in spirit and in truth (in reality). He wants people who come to Him as they are to worship Him.”
Michal replied, “I know the Messiah is coming, He will show us all things.” Then the man replied, “Yes, I am the Messiah.” This really was Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Messiah. He has come to show Israel, Samaria and the whole world, the Real-True Worship of the Father and God and the way of salvation from sin, death, bondage & misery and give people a new relationship of Child of God and Eternal Life. Michal had done one good thing, that is she acknowledged her true state (facing up to her need and not excusing herself) and also the fact that she had no husband – a person who was not able to get along with others. She also knew that she needed help, so that she can get along with people and enjoy daily life.
And so the conversation continued, as Jesus showed her the way to a new life. From a life of always asking, seeking and demanding, you will be a person who gives, lends and helps and become a blessing to your people. He told her about true worship, sin, repentance, forgiveness, the Holy Spirit and the new abundant blessed way of life and Michal got happier and happier. “Yes, this is what I need, I am getting it today! I have met the Messiah!” Jesus assured her, “I am the one who has come to help everybody-to save everybody from death and bring them out of their misery and the old sinful life and give you a new life-an abundant life full of blessing. Instead of asking-asking, give me this, give me that, you will be in a place where you give-and give-and give. All your sins will be forgiven, you will not be condemned. You will be giving Kindness, you will be giving Patience and you will be a Blessing to the whole village. And so, she is so happy that she leaves the water pot there and goes to the village and calls people, “Come and see this Man, He has given me the Good News, I can be a blessing, I can be a New Person.” And she stirred up the whole village and they came to Him, let us see this, maybe she has something, she is so excited, they leave their home and work. She was telling them, “He told me all that I did and He gave me Hope for the future! I can have a blessed happy life. We can all have a good life. Come and see Him. I think He is the Messiah” and they all came to see Him.
And after seeing Him and speaking to Him, they all told her, “We came because you came excitedly telling us about the Messiah. But, now, after meeting Him ourselves and listening to Him, we believe that He really is the Messiah who is to come and who will save everyone and show the Good Way of God and they persuaded Him to stay in the village. He stayed two days and went.
So, here is a person who knows her need and acknowledges it. She does not try to defend or excuse herself, but says that I am the person in need. I need forgiveness, I need salvation, I need to change, I need to live better. And, Jesus blesses her.
She decides to settle down with David whom she loves and who loves her also. She knows that it is God’s Kindness that He is giving her a husband and she is thankful. She understands that we all have faults and need to take it in our stride when we feel that someone does not care for me-because I also have blind spots and faults that others have to handle. When I am told that there is something wrong with me or the way I behaved, I will apologise and seek to change.
God’s Law prescribes death for all sinners- a judgement we richly deserve. But, Jesus has borne the penalty for us on the cross. So those who accept Him and believe in Him are forgiven and become the children of God – a brother/sister of Jesus Christ (Yes, that is why we call those who believe in Jesus as our brother/sister-it is the best title a person can have).
If you have not yet committed yourself to the Lord Jesus, do it now. Just kneel and tell Him (that is the meaning of prayer),
“Jesus I confess that I have sinned and thank you that you died and paid the penalty for my sins on the cross. Please forgive all my sins and cleanse me with the blood You shed for me. Now I want to turn away from that old sinful way of life and follow you doing the things that please you. Please come into my life as Saviour and Lord. Thank you for the privilege of becoming a child of God as I receive you as my Saviour and Lord. Give me your Holy Spirit. Make me enjoy the new life you want to give to me. Amen*”
*AMEN (which means, it shall be so).
Jesus will immediately forgive you however big and great your sins may be and come into your life as Saviour and Lord and you will be a child of God. May the Lord help you enjoy your new life and carry out His plan and purpose for you which is always for the very best. Commit your life to someone who would direct it a hundred times better than you ever could.
John 7:37-39 (NASB): Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ” If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Words of Jesus:
“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR . HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES , AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND , TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED , 19 TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”
I am presenting a small offering to present
A New Relationship with God as a child of God
The abundant life in Christ
The Holy Spirit.
I have experienced a small measure of it and I would like others also to enjoy it. Welcome.
Presenting a new series, “Rivers of Living Water” Articles and stories to help and encourage you to enjoy your daily life
Ps 138:5 Let them sing about the LORD’s deeds, for the LORD’s splendor is magnificent.
The time when Christians begin to sing in the ways of the Lord is when they first lose their burden at the foot of the Cross. Not even the songs of the angels seem so sweet as the first song of rapture which gushes from the inmost soul of the forgiven child of God. You know how John Bunyan describes it. He says when poor Pilgrim lost his burden at the Cross, he gave three great leaps, and went on his way singing—
“Blest Cross! blest Sepulchre! blest rather be
The Man that there was put to shame for me!”
Believer, do you recollect the day when your fetters fell off? Do you remember the place when Jesus met you, and said, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love; I have blotted out as a cloud thy transgressions, and as a thick cloud thy sins; they shall not be mentioned against thee any more forever.” Oh! what a sweet season is that when Jesus takes away the pain of sin. When the Lord first pardoned my sin, I was so joyous that I could scarce refrain from dancing. I thought on my road home from the house where I had been set at liberty, that I must tell the stones in the street the story of my deliverance. So full was my soul of joy, that I wanted to tell every snow-flake that was falling from heaven of the wondrous love of Jesus, who had blotted out the sins of one of the chief of rebels. But it is not only at the commencement of the Christian life that believers have reason for song; as long as they live they discover cause to sing in the ways of the Lord, and their experience of his constant lovingkindness leads them to say, “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” See to it, brother, that thou magnifiest the Lord this day.
“Long as we tread this desert land,
New mercies shall new songs demand.”
Note: Really it is the Lord’s Love, Kindness, Goodness, Patience, Long-Suffering that has sustained me all these years. I seek to fear the Lord (a reverential fear) and walk with Him every day and He sustains me with His Kindness and His Presence through the Holy Spirit. Many times, I have fallen, but He forgives, lifts me up and encourages me to continue following Him. Ps 23:6 NASB: Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Matt 6:26 Look at the birds in the sky: They do not sow, or reap, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you more valuable than they are?
God’s people are doubly his children, they are his offspring by creation, and they are his sons by adoption in Christ. Hence they are privileged to call him, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Father! Oh, what precious word is that. Here is authority: “If I be a Father, where is mine honour?” If ye be sons, where is your obedience? Here is affection mingled with authority; an authority which does not provoke rebellion; an obedience demanded which is most cheerfully rendered—which would not be withheld even if it might. The obedience which God’s children yield to him must be loving obedience. Do not go about the service of God as slaves to their taskmaster’s toil, but run in the way of his commands because it is your Father’s way. Yield your bodies as instruments of righteousness, because righteousness is your Father’s will, and his will should be the will of his child. Father!—Here is a kingly attribute so sweetly veiled in love, that the King’s crown is forgotten in the King’s face, and his sceptre becomes, not a rod of iron, but a silver sceptre of mercy—the sceptre indeed seems to be forgotten in the tender hand of him who wields it. Father!—Here is honour and love. How great is a Father’s love to his children! That which friendship cannot do, and mere benevolence will not attempt, a father’s heart and hand must do for his sons. They are his offspring, he must bless them; they are his children, he must show himself strong in their defence. If an earthly father watches over his children with unceasing love and care, how much more does our heavenly Father? Abba, Father! He who can say this, hath uttered better music than cherubim or seraphim can reach. There is heaven in the depth of that word—Father! There is all I can ask; all my necessities can demand; all my wishes can desire. I have all in all to all eternity when I can say, “Father.”