ATTEMPTING GREAT THINGS FOR GOD
P. Samuel Manoharan
August 21, 2012 is an important milestone in my life, as I am completing my God-gifted eighty years. I am very grateful to God for His abundant grace on me. I can only exclaim in great delight, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family, that You have brought me this far?," in deep gratitude.
The words of God, in Psalms 9:11, 66:16 and 73:28, among others, exhort us that we should declare to the people, the mighty and gracious deeds and works of God, in our life, for His glory. This is basically what I am doing in this message.
While stepping into my new personal year (81), I am inspired to review my past, recalling briefly what the Lord had so graciously done and is still doing in my life, with a grateful heart. Owing to space limitation, I focus only on the spiritual dimension.
The Lord has been doing great things in my life, continuously showering His mercies and goodness upon me and my family in innumerable ways, in very tough, complex and critical situations and even helping me in many unsolvable problems of diverse kind. Many miracles have been performed by the Lord Jesus in our lives for which, I think, there can be no human explanation. These miracles were really mysterious, which we observed while facing extremely critical times, with no human help in sight. This made us to look to God only, to trust Him only and to depend on Him fully, for every need, seeking His help and comfort, which we desired so desperately.
The Lord faithfully rescued us and miraculously delivered us from all those problems, inspiring us to live with hope, even in the darkest hour also. This taught us the vital lesson that we can safely trust the Lord Jesus, in the dark as well as in the light, and that He is totally dependable and trust-worthy in all circumstances, whatever they may be. We have also learnt from our experiences that we can totally trust the Lord, even when He is silent, in answer to our desperate cries to Him. We were made to understand that God has His own plans and purposes for our lives and He answers our prayers in His own time, and what He does finally is only for our best. So, we were guided by Him to leave everything in His strong hands and just wait only upon Him, in faith and with patience. When we followed Him, we ultimately found that what happened to us was really only for our good. Psalm 62:5 says, "My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him."
All these experiences led me to have a closer walk with the Lord Jesus every day, and to develop an intimate personal relationship with Him, as the word of God emphasises is necessary for growing into a real Christian. Walking with God is a great privilege granted to every one of us.
Testings Of God
God desires to test our faith and trust in Him all the time, through various problems, calamities, sicknesses, losses and even tragedies. The Holy Bible says so in Jeremiah 17:10, Psalms 44:21, 26:2 and 139:23, among others.It is good to know this truth for us to be alert all the time in order to firmly stand God's testings and prove our true faith in Him, for us to receive His blessings. These testings have the effect of increasing our faith in God and drawing us closer to Him gradually, to make us His true followers. They will make us lean entirely on Him to receive His grace.
The Lord had put me through very severe testings for many years, through different kinds of suffering. I am glad to say that I kept my faith unwavering. Finally my faith in God has become stronger. I certainly believe that God's testings, involving a certain amount of pain and suffering, are actually His blessings in disguise. We should therefore welcome them, instead of detesting them. God uses our sufferings only for good e.g., Job's life. Our highest good can come from our deepest suffering. This is the experience of many of God's children.
I must gratefully acknowledge the very significant and immeasurable contribution of the Light of Life magazine to my spiritual growth. God used it as a great channel of blessing in my life, in my long and delightful eighteen years of association with this wonderful magazine. It really toned up my Christian life, fulfilling its motto, "The magazine for Christian growth," drawing me still closer to the Lord. I thank the Lord for this God-ordained magazine, which is becoming a great blessing to many of its readers. It really made me what I am today spiritually. It guided me in the Biblical direction, enriching my mind and my heart, through the well-written messages by the dedicated authors, and the superbly-written editorials by an erudite scholar. May God richly bless this magazine and its ministry, enabling it to provide the needed spiritual nourishment to many believers in Christ for their Christian growth and maturity.
Commitment To Jesus
I have learnt that ordinary people can make an extraordinary impact on the world, even to the extent of turning it upside down, through the extraordinary, supernatural power of God. For this, we must first have faith for the future, keeping the Lord Jesus with us always. This is very essential. Only by this we can be effective in our daily living. It is said, "If there is no faith for the future, there is no power in the present." This alone can help us to live victorious Christian lives. I am experiencing this in my life. The secret is our firm commitment to the cause of Jesus Christ and to His kingdom.
This definitely calls for tremendous sacrifices and painful struggles on our part. There will be many hardships and humiliations to be endured for the sake of Jesus. We cannot live a life of ease and pleasure. The former American President, Theodore Roosevelt said inspiringly, "There has never yet been a man who led a life of ease, whose name is worth mentioning." This says that enduring much hardship is a must to really serve God.
All saintly men of God have suffered greatly for Jesus, while serving Him, impacting the world. The present world needs such people. Spirituality is on the wane and morality has almost collapsed. It is true that man's limitation is the beginning of God's mysterious working in our life, if we are committed to Him. Christians should take this up, as a challenge, to bring about some semblance of sanity, through revival first in the church, and then in society.
Titles And Honours
It is very sad and painful to watch so many Christian dignitaries serving the church going after titles and honour, forgetting that Christian service is essentially a sacrificial service, which many early Christians, our role models, willingly practised. Jesus Himself is the example for us. Should not Christians be different from others? What is our testimony? It is said, "It is not titles that honour men, but men that honour titles."
Let us not live like mediocre people, while believing in Jesus who gives us necessary potential even to become great saints. It is said that mediocrity knows nothing higher than self. It really requires sufficient ability to recognise the merit in others. Jesus wants us to impact the world, reflecting Him in our very lives.
In the Bible, the Christian is called a 'saint.' Very few believers nowadays dare to think of themselves as saints or as holy. Most of us are nominal Christians. How can we be witnesses for Jesus? Who will believe us? How can we preach to others about Jesus? Let us examine ourselves to know how we are!
Are we aware that the eternal rewards or crowns God has planned for us will be so amazing, so fulfilling and so overwhelming that we will be made to forget all our problems, trials, hardships, sufferings and all the disappointments of our present life, if we live as God-pleasing Christ-like Christians? It is worth every effort we have ever made, every humiliation ever endured, and every price ever paid, to obey God. Should we not then run our Christian race, making all possible efforts, even to willingly prepare to make some sacrifices, with our eye on the eternal prize? Let us consider this seriously.
Jesus is greatly concerned about the lost and perishing souls among us. What are we doing for them? Proverbs 24:11 says, "Deliver those who are drawn towards death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter." This refers to the lost and perishing souls. Let us be prepared for the battle to bring these souls back to godly path. Nothing gives us more satisfaction than knowing that we have helped some of these souls to thirst for the saving grace of the Lord, especially when His second coming seems so imminent. Let us not forget, we will become answerable to the Lord Jesus, for disobeying His commandment at the time of judgement. This is inescapable. Surely, when we attempt to do really great things for God, we will experience really remarkable things from God.
May the Lord Jesus help us, by enlightening the eyes of our heart, to do all our best for Him, while living now in this world.