Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)
On several occasions, we lament in loneliness, “I am an orphan forsaken by everyone; who is there to show me love? To whom would I share my worries?’ But the Bible says, ‘You are not strangers; or foreigners. You are joined together in Jesus Christ, who is the chief corner stone and are grown into a holy temple of the Lord.
Because of the various ups and downs in life and of family situations in life, so many worries fill our heart. It is indeed true. But if we keep on focusing on these, our heart will be filled with bitterness, exasperation and dejection. Hence, like Hannah, we should learn to pour out our worries, burdens and sorrows in the presence of the Lord (I Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22; 62:8; 121:1,2; 142:2).
When we thus become vessels united with the Lord, what are the blessings that He would give us? - Let us meditate on it:
Divine Life of getting United with the Lord
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” (James 4:7,8)
The Lord created the early humans Adam and Eve, and kept them in a glorious way in the Garden of Eden, where there were trees that were good for food and pleasant to the eyes. The Lord had kept them there in an innocent state where they did not know good and evil. Yes, He had made man as an upright one (Ecclesiastes 7:29). He walked with them in the cool of the day (Genesis 3:8). However, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (I Peter 5:8). Knowing that he has a short time, the devil is trying in many ways to pull multitude of people towards the sinful ways and draw them to him (Revelation 12:12). He enters into the heart of some people and causes much havoc to others through them. He gives troubles to God’s servants as much as possible and tries to separate as many people as possible from Jesus. He ruins the peace in family life.
Some mothers would be zealous in their godliness and other things. They would be very loving towards their child. So the devil would attack the child by making him/her suffer from fits or any other sickness and would try to ruin the godliness of the mothers. Similarly, seeing the weakness of ‘lust’ in Eve, he captured her and separated her from her life of union with God.
Once, a woman was travelling through a forest in Africa. On the way she saw a shining necklace lying on the ground. Fearing that somebody behind her would take it, she hastily took it and put it in her mouth. Soon after this, she fainted and fell down. The reason was, she had swallowed not a necklace but a poisonous snake living in that forest. Its mode of survival was to curve itself like a circle on seeing people walking around. It’s shiny outward appearance lured that woman’s attention which proved fatal for her.
Today, the devil easily deceives us also through such small lustful things. He brings big rifts in families through the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Adam and Eve did not give importance to the Lord’s word but to the devil as a result of which in the blink of an eye, they lost the glorious life living united with Him.
Even now time is near. Only days are left. If you say, “It is enough if my family and I are well”, He will not fight with you or contend with you. Nor will He be always angry. He will never compel man (Genesis 6:3; Isaiah 57:16). With the zeal, “I have to work for the Lord; I should do whatever I could, for the glory of His name’ let’s draw closer to Him to receive His grace fully.
Blessed Life of Holding on to the Lord
"for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had." (Luke 21:4)
Thus Jesus testified about the poor widow who offered her two mites. One woman brought an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard, broke it and poured it on His head. She did what she could. While talking about her the Lord said, ‘wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her" (Mark 14:3-9).
There was a blessed mother who was filled with the love of Christ. Several women used to share with her their burdens, difficulties and afflictions and she used to pray for them and also help them in whichever way she could. Her daughter was watching this good quality of her mother. She asked her mother, “Mom, you pray for all those who come seeking you; you give away all the things that you eagerly bought for you. Why do you do this?’’ The mother pointed out the verse from Proverbs 19:17, ‘He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given’ and said, “When we give whatever we could to the poor and the needy and comfort them, the Lord is pleased with us. He will write that good deed in our account in heaven. He will bless us in this world as well. When you too would become a wife in a family, you should do such good works with your whole heart and comfort the people”. That daughter kept this in her heart. After a few years, when she got married and had children, she followed her mother’s footsteps and did all good works. That mother’s exemplary life encouraged her to do such things. Like her mother, she too supported, comforted and helped the helpless people. Hence, the Lord honoured her in her family life and in the society.
Yes, good works such as praying for others in their times of difficulties, comforting them at their time of sorrow by sharing the Lord’s word, helping them in whichever way we could, etc., are the good things and qualities that ought to be there in women’s lives.
Dear parents, your children are observing your lives. When your life is exemplary before them, you will be respected by them. He will make this blessings get established in your family through descendants after descendants.
In Acts, Chapter 5, we read about the family of Ananias and Sapphira. Both of them were zealous in following the Lord. As the Apostles were selling off their possessions and giving the proceeds to the Lord, deciding to do likewise, they too sold off everything. Here also, the devil entered into them. He put in them the worldly thought, “If you give off everything, what would you do if you need something for tomorrow?’
The Bible says, “he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.’ (James 1:8) "How long will you falter between two opinions?” (I Kings 18:21)
“It is enough if we go to church regularly on Sundays. Otherwise we can lead our life as we like. There is no compulsion to be holy” – Thus many deceive themselves. Christian life should be a genuine life and not of deception. The Lord wants us to be pleasing to Him in everything. When we depart from Him in certain trivial matters, the end is miserable. Jonah, the man of God, discarded the Lord’s word and went on his own way, as he liked. However, the Lord, who had called him, did not allow him to go like that. Jonah had to go through several hardships and God did not leave him till he fulfilled His command fully.
“My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (I John 3:18)
Joseph was a godly young man. Unable to tolerate the wicked things done by his brothers, he told everything to his father because of which they sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 shekels of silver. The Ishmaelites took him to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian bought him and he was kind to Joseph and put everything under his authority. Hence the Lord blessed all that Potiphar had. Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. After these, his master’s wife cast longing eyes on Joseph and tried to deceive him. Even at that state, with the zeal, ‘How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9); whatever afflictions that I undergo, I will live holy for the Lord”, he kept himself away from that wicked deed.
‘A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished’ (Proverbs 28:20)
According to this Scripture, though he was put in prison unjustly, the Lord exalted him in the nation of Egypt, in the end. He made the brothers who betrayed him to fall prostrate before him.
Thus, when we hold on to the Lord with our whole heart, He will grant victory in everything. He will make you enjoy double fold blessings for all that you have lost, right in this world. The Lord who lifted up Joseph and blessed him will bless you and lift you up.
Blessed Life of Abiding firmly in the Lord
‘‘…rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;” (Romans 12:12)
Many wives would say with agony, ‘My husband never comes for prayer. In such homes, it is the wife who has to patiently pray for her husband and make him repent through her love and chaste conduct. Similarly, even if our children are going in the wicked ways, we need to pray diligently with fasting for them and the Lord will certainly change that situation. Before my son drew closer to the Lord, he was going in the wrong way and we tried to correct him by lovingly advising him and even punishing him. Yet there was no change in him. But when I knelt down before the Lord and prayed with fasting and tears for him, the Lord had mercy on him. David says,
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.” (Psalm 119:71).
The Lord Jesus says, "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19)
Zacharias and Elizabeth was an old couple. But both of them sought the Lord with oneness of mind (Luke 1:6). Since they jointly worked together in everything, the Lord granted them a precious treasure as a gift. Yes, He gave them a holy child called John. They held on to the Lord firmly, were righteous before God, walked in all the commandments of the Lord and were blameless.
“Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith.” (I Timothy 1:5)
I have given below the testimony of Sis. Geetha Evangeline (Puducherry) who is filled with love and is established in the Lord firmly:
“For 10 years I was living a sinful life, displeasing the Lord. I had no peace in my mind. I always had an empty feeling in my heart. I got married and had a girl baby. When my daughter was small, my husband died. I had no peace on one side and on the other side I was afraid as to how I would live in this world. That time, through my friend, I came to know the Lord and started visiting the Prayer Tower for prayers. As I thus began to pray by visiting the Prayer Tower, I received the Lord’s love. Also I became His daughter and left all the things that were displeasing to Him. Since I had accepted the Lord as my Saviour, all my relatives deserted me and my daughter. Yet the Lord did not forsake us and was of help to us. Then I received the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Though we were alone, we were experiencing the presence of the Lord with us. By the grace of God, I got a good government job.
Also, when my daughter was small, I joined her in the Young Partner’s Plan after which she started studying well. Now she is doing Nursing in Chennai. She too who loves the Lord dearly has received the anointing and is living for the Lord. She has formed a Youth Esther Prayer Group in her hostel and is leading 40 children to the Lord. From the day we received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the fountain of living waters started flowing from us. Both of us are firm in the Lord and He is helping us to be of blessing to many others.”
Dear ones, you are the temple of God (I Corinthians 3:16,17). Would you decide to keep your body, this temple, holy? The Lord asks us, “I died for you; what will you do for Me?’ So, let us unite ourselves with the Lord, hold on to Him with our whole heart and live a firm life in Him. May the Lord change every one of us into His temple where He dwells and help us to live a matchless life of glory and of being a blessing to everyone!
The crowd was overflowing. Shanthi was amazed to see such a huge crowd! Nancy aunty had compelled her to attend the meeting, saying that a reputed woman speaker from outstation was coming and that her message and prayer would be of much blessing.
Her 8 months old married life was hell for her and that was the reason for her attending the meeting. “Oh, I wish she would pray hard for my wicked mother-in-law and my short-tempered husband to change...It’s enough if she prays for the transformation of my husband who always finds faults with me and my mother-in-law, who always pricks me with her words...” She mused.
The meeting began. The woman preacher started her message on the topic, “Let us Examine ourselves in the light of the Scriptures’. She continued, “Today, most of us hate and turn against those who trouble us; we do not tolerate them and yield to God’s will and do not pray to God, standing on our knees. That’s why family life is not successful...”
Since the message was not in her favour, Shanthi did not like to hear it further and slowly walked out. She did not listen to even half the message. But while entering the meeting, she had bought two books of that woman preacher which she now took them back with her.
That evening, feeling bored, she began to read one of those books. As she kept reading it, she was fascinated by the things written there - the sufferings underwent by that woman of God, how she had lost her mother when she was a child, how she suffered at the hands of her step mother and how she got married to a godly and loving husband who guided her wonderfully. On reading this Shanthi skeptically wondered, “what’s the big deal in doing ministry for the Lord when she has such a loving and caring husband? Would she do ministry if she had got a husband like mine...”
So saying to herself, she continued reading. After a few lines, her heart began to race when she read about that woman’s husband who had died just when their son was four month’s old. Totally broken, she was in an utter helpless state and it was then her motherin-law and sister-in-law shattered her all the more by saying, “Hm... It’s just two years since she stepped into our family. She has already sent off her husband.” Tolerating this, she went to work where
she had to endure the sly looks of her colleagues and their subtle insults. Yet the Lord had given her the strength. The last few lines made a strong impact on Shanthi:
“I started praying for those who troubled me. Enduring my pain, I started doing my duties with love. The Lord gave me the strength to be loving and humble towards them. I went on knees for several hours and prayed with tears. Soon the Lord changed them drastically and made me stand with head held high, by giving me a promotion. Also, He has given me this honourable ministry and has kept me as a blessing to many.”
Something made Shanthi read this passage again and again. She was convicted of her own behaviour. She was the first to enter the next day meeting. That day she was changed completely through that dear servant of God. She came back home happily. Her husband and mother-in-law were amazed by the presence of God reflected on her countenance. Her family life blossomed.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (II Corinthians 5:17).