Messages From the Pastor
You can call or text Pastor Solomon at 1-815-681-8892 or 1-773-936-8979
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Pastor Solomon's Daily Devotions and Sermons
August 8, 2020
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like the cedars of Lebanon.
Psalm 92: 12
The Bible mentions several species of plants and trees. If we try to find about the Cedar tree, Cedar is mentioned throughout the Old Testament as an item of luxury and wealth. David used cedarwood in building his palace (2 Sam5: 11; 7:2), and it was also used in building the temple (1Kings 5:6; 2Kings 19:23), which was almost completely paneled with cedar (1Kings 6:6, 16, 18). Solomon used it in his Palace of the Forest of Lebanon, with cedar columns, beams, and roof (1Kings 7:2). It was also used in the construction of the second temple (Ezra 3:7). The abundance of cedar was seen as a sign of prosperity (1Kings 10:27). David and Solomon acquired their cedar from Hiram, king of Tyre, a city in Lebanon (1Chronicles 14:1) where the best cedar was to be found. The fact that God planted the cedars in Lebanon was a sign of His power and goodness (Psalm 29:5).
In biblical times the wood from a Cedar tree is considered to have special qualities like its aroma, its strength, and its resistance to bugs and decay. These qualities are believed to be gifts from God. It is also believed that all good gifts in creation are a precious gift from God. A good individual is compared with a Cedar tree. Even the scripture above reminds us that all the righteous are like the cedars of Lebanon. As we talk about Lebanon, I also want all of us to take some time and pray for the people of Lebanon today. As we heard there was a violent explosion in the center of Beirut, Lebanon this week. Several lost their lives and livelihoods, several got injured and maimed and left homeless. Let us pray for the people of Lebanon and all others in troubled states and countries. Let us pray for our own country and our community.
Dear God, the giver of all good gifts, help us to live righteously, and live like Cedars of Lebanon in this world. We pray for the people of Lebanon and all those in areas of turmoil, conflict, disease, and need. Help us to be helpful to those in need. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen.
August 7th, 2020
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Whenever I approach the throne of Grace, whenever I come to o church or to God in my personal prayer time, the welcome words of Jesus ‘to come’ gives me confidence and I feel approaching God ‘just as I am’ at that point. In my daily approach to God the hymn, “Just As I Am’ has greatly impacted me from childhood. I sing and meditate on it very sincerely. Later in my life, I was able to find the story behind this inspiring and motivating hymn and it is profound and important for us to know about it.
“Just as I Am, Without One Plea” - Charlotte Elliott, UMH, No. 357
“Charlotte Elliott, a Victorian hymn writer, was born in the south London district of Clapham in 1789 and died in Brighton, England, in 1871. Her grandfather was a famous evangelical preacher. Her family, who belonged to the evangelical wing of the Anglican Church, taught her Christian piety. Elliott was a famous humorous poet during her youth. At the age of 32, she suffered from a serious illness that left her disabled for the rest of her life. Then her lifelong spiritual mentor César Malan, a Swiss minister and hymnologist, counseled her to replace her rage and inner conflict with peace, and simple faith in God; from that day on, she turned her literary talents to writing hymns. “Just as I Am, Without One Plea” was written in 1834 and first published in leaflet form in 1835. It was then published in the 1841 edition of The Invalid’s Hymn Book. In 1834, Elliott moved to Brighton and lived with her brother, the Rev. Henry Venn Elliott. One day when everyone in her family had gone to a church bazaar to raise funds for a charity school, Elliott was left alone, confined by her sickness. Though depressed with feelings of uselessness and loneliness, she recalled the message “Come to Christ just as you are,” which she had received from César Malan during the darkest period of her soul. She then overcame her distress to write this hymn. The repetition of the short line, “O Lamb of God, I come,” is a commitment to Jesus-centered life. Hymnologist J.R. Watson notes that there is a beautiful structure in this hymn, “from the nakedness of ‘Just as I am’ to the climax of ‘O Lamb of God, I come!’”
To listen or to prayerfully sing along, click the link below:
Dear God, thank you for your unconditional welcome for me through your son Jesus. I come to you ‘just as I am’. Accept me, redeem me, heal me, and transform me. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen!
August 6th, 2020
The poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb, which he bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, and was like a daughter to him. 2 Samuel 12:3
Many people across the world have pets in their homes. We find the presence of a cat or a dog, a hamster, or a turtle and some have aquariums with all sorts of fish and delicate plants and corals. I have also heard of people having pythons, lizards, rabbits, and I know of a young boy who collected earthworms and cockroaches and kept them in small boxes or cages. Every morning our street is busy and alive with people walking their dogs. The scripture quoted above is one of the most tender, caring, and affectionate story of a poor man who had a delicate lamb as his family pet. It says that the lamb ate and drank and lied in his bosom like a child. These days whenever I see our puppy Archie, this story comes to my mind. Archie invoked that affection in all of us by his looks, actions, and all his funny and silly activities. I also see the love and trust he has in all of us. Psalm 147: 9 tells us that God is concerned for all His creation, including the animals He created: “He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call.” In Psalm 104:21, we see that “the lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God”; it is implied that God feeds them. Also, in Luke 12: 6 Jesus says, “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” The story above also reminds us of the famous Psalm 23 which says that the LORD is our shepherd. If a human can love a pet so much, we can imagine the love of God for you and for me and the entire creation.
Dear God, we come to you our good shepherd. Thank you for your unconditional love and care for us. Thank you for sending your son Jesus Christ for me. Guide me and protect me. In the name of your son Jesus, we pray. Amen!
August 5th, 2020
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
The words of St. Paul is directing us to something radical that is capable to transform our fundamental outlook of life, particularly life in Christ. Most biblical scholars believe that Paul had some form of physical ailment, or as he refers – a thorn, all his life. With his own experience, he is able to affirm that ‘the power of God is perfected in our weaknesses. Paul admits that he could not do anything on his own due to his limitations and thorns in his life. Each of us has ‘thorns’ of sorts in our lives too! Each of us shares in the weakness that Paul is referring to. The secret of Paul is that he admits that he is weak. The greatest struggle some of us face is to admit that we too are weak and vulnerable. In stubborn denial, we do not seek to be filled by the power of God. The power of God is perfected and unleashed in our weakness even as we submit and surrender our lives to God. Our weakness can be a place where we can experience and participate in the power of God.
Dear God, we come to you with all our weaknesses and thorns in life. We ask that by your grace the power of Christ may dwell and be perfected in our lives. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!
August 4th, 2020
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. Colossians 3:16
Our faith journey is strengthened and empowered by inspirational songs, hymns, and psalms. I recently read about the impact of the hymn, ‘Rock of Ages’. The story goes as follows:
“Onboard the ill-fated steamer Seawanhaka was one of the Fisk University singers. Before leaving the burning steamer and committing himself to the merciless waves, he carefully fastened upon himself and his wife's life preservers. Someone cruelly dragged away from that of his wife, leaving her without hope, except as she could cling to her husband. This she did, placing her hands firmly on his shoulders, and resting there until, her strength became exhausted, she said, "I can hold on no longer!" "Try a little longer," was the response of the wearied and agonized husband, "let us sing 'Rock of Ages.'" And as the sweet strains floated over the troubled waters, reaching the ears of the sinking and dying, little did they know, those sweet singers of Israel, whom they comforted. But, lo! as they sang, one after another of the exhausted ones were seen raising their heads above the overwhelming waves, joining with a last effort in the sweet, dying, pleading prayer, "Rock of Ages, cleft for me," etc. With the song seemed to come strength; another and yet another was encouraged to renewed effort. Soon in the distance, a boat was seen approaching! Could they hold out a little longer? Singing still, they tried, and soon with superhuman strength, laid hold of the lifeboat, upon which they were borne in safety to land. This is no fiction; it was related by the singer himself, who said he believed Toplady's sweet "Rock of Ages" saved many others besides himself and his wife.
Let us pray or sing:
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure, Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress; Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly; Wash me, Saviour, or I die!
While I draw this fleeting breath, When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown, See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee. Amen.
August 3rd, 2020
Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning. Luke 12:35
Get up, get ready, get dressed up – these are some common phrases and words we use every day. Parents use them all the time to get their children ready for school, or some outing or when it is time to go to church. Coaches remind the teams always with these words, they want the players to be ready all the time – to be ready for action. The scripture above is a call to get ready, to be dressed up with lamps burning to receive Christ. When we talk about Christ coming, we think about his second coming in glory and we don’t know when it will happen. But we often forget Christ also tells us that he comes to us always, sometimes in the form of a hungry person, or a homeless person with no clothes, sometimes as a sick or a person in prison. He also said that he will judge us by saying, ‘when I was hungry you fed me’ or when ‘I was naked you clothed me’. Are we ready and dressed up for this action? How well are we living out our commitment to Christ? Our life as a Christian is to be active and ready to make a difference in this world, to bring the light of God into this often dark world. Our actions should transform our everyday simple activities to glorify the name of God.
Dear God, thank you for a new day and new opportunities to live for you. Help us not to be passive and indifferent but to be ready and dressed up for action – action to make a difference in the world and also to channel your light into this dark world. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen!
August 2nd, 2020
The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
The Word of God is understood to be the source of light and life. We all need light. Light has some excellent properties. Light shows us the way. Light manifests itself and all things in the world. Light directs our paths in darkness. It exposes our consciences; the light of God quickens our consciousness. it exposes our follies and it also exposes our righteousness. And the light of God gives us understanding. Scripture reminds us that the Word of God is like a light that shines our life’s journey. The Word of God is the light of our life. The light of God directs us in all our life’s conditions and situations. Jesus is the eternal Word made flesh that dwelt amongst us. And Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world’. Therefore, let us come under the radiance of the Son of God – the source of eternal light.
Dear God, as we come before you, let your light shine on us. Dispel the darkness of our lives and help us to live as children of the light. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen!
August 1st, 2020
And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
Reflecting on the above scripture, someone once said, ‘here the story of the Christian faith is reduced to one sentence’. St. Paul begins by pointing to us that ‘God is able’. We often forget this fundamental truth in our lives that ‘God is able’ no matter what and how. The ability of God is filled with power and awe. We hardly pay attention to connect to this source of power and ability of God. We try to do things on our own. We depend on our own power and abilities – and that is the reason for the weakness of a Christian and the weakness of the church. Sometimes, as individual Christians and as churches, we wonder, why we cannot accomplish certain things. When we ignore ‘the power of God’, we become weak and we cannot accomplish ‘every good work’ for which we are called. Therefore, let us tap into the ability and power of God and let us be filled by the complexity of the power of God for us to work and live as children of God in this world.
All-powerful God, we come to you to be filled by your power to be able to accomplish the good work for your glory. Amen!
July 31st, 2020
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. Psalm 103: 1-2
How Is It With Your Soul?
John Wesley, on his monthly visits to different congregations in his Circuit, used to ask this question. It is believed that after service, he used to conduct Bible Studies and bean with this question. He would like to hear the answer: It Is Well With My Soul. This morning, I want to ask you my friends: How is it with your soul? I hope you all are aware of the hymn: "It Is Well with My Soul" by Horatio G. Spafford. UMH, 377. It is one of my favorite hymns and whenever I hear or sing, it stirs my soul and challenges my life. The story behind this hymn is even more heart touching.
The author, Horatio G. Spafford (1828-1888), was a Presbyterian layman from Chicago. He had established a very successful legal practice as a young businessman and was also a devout Christian. Spafford’s fortune evaporated in the wake of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Having invested heavily in real estate along Lake Michigan’s shoreline, he lost everything overnight. In a saga reminiscent of Job, his son died a short time before his financial disaster. But the worst was yet to come. Desiring a rest for his wife and four daughters, Spafford planned a European trip for his family in 1873. In November of that year, due to unexpected last-minute business developments, he had to remain in Chicago, but sent his wife and four daughters on ahead as scheduled on the S.S. Ville du Havre. He expected to follow in a few days. “On November 22 the ship was struck by the Lochearn, an English vessel, and sank in twelve minutes. Several days later the survivors were finally landed at Cardiff, Wales, and Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband, ‘Saved alone.’” Spafford left immediately to join his wife. This hymn is said to have been penned as he approached the area of the ocean thought to be where the ship carrying his daughters had sunk.
To listen to the hymn click on https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=36&v=yzxKz08_bow&feature=emb_logo
Dear God, help us to sing and proclaim that: When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul, It is well With my soul. It is well, it is well with my soul! Amen!
July 30th, 2020
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58: 11
Recently we moved and trying to adjust to the new community, house, and surroundings. My family is trying to clear stuff around the house, planting a garden and filling a few places with mulch and so on. I am also doing some minor projects in and around the house, some of them required some sort of skill. I am learning as I continue on the projects, and it is lots of fun. My wife and girls are proud of their little garden and I love it! I slowly realized that a frame or an inner core of things makes them strong, firm, and durable. I started reflecting on this particular verse from Isaiah in light of this transition and realized the importance of the human frame. We see the mastery of our God if we pay attention to the structure and complexity of our own frames on which our bodies hold. God is promising us that our frames will be strengthened. He also promises that we will be like well-watered gardens. The promises of God are still there and new every morning, it is for to claim them in our lives. Some of us might be going through ailments and pains, some of us might be experiencing a lack of nurture in our bodies and souls. Let us approach our God, the giver, and bestower of all that is good for us according to his will.
Dear God, we come to you with all our weaknesses and needs. Help us, fill us, and strengthen us in our lives journey. In Jesus' name we ask. Amen!
July 29th, 2020
You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care and visitation has preserved my spirit. Job 10: 12
The writer of this scripture verse attributed to the life experiences of Job. We are reminded that from the womb to the tomb, our lives are a gift from God and is preserved and sustained by the very grace of God. John Wesley in his commentary said the following about this verse:
“Life — Thou didst not only give me a curious body, but also a reasonable soul: thou didst at first give me life, and then maintain it in me; both when I was in the womb (which is a marvelous work of God) and afterward when I was unable to do anything to preserve my own life”.
Faith, hope, and love are all gifts of God. We are also preserved by the divine visitation and abundant supply of divine grace, pardon, and blessings from time to time. Scripture reminds us that the divine visitation in our lives happens in a way of new mercies every morning. Therefore let us live each day as a gift and make the most of it by bringing glory to God’s holy name.
Dear God, we thank you for the gift of life and your providence of new mercies every morning. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen!
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
This text for me is a great deep mystery which makes it difficult to explore and comprehend it in all its essence and totality. Yet we ask God to help us as we journey through the maze of this mystery. On a surface level, it seems so simple. That God through the blood of Jesus on the cross reconciled us, saved us, and restored us to Godself. Though not explicitly explained, Paul says that there was a state of estrangement and hostility. A loss of the relationship between God and God’s entire creation, including humanity. A Humanity that was created in God’s own image.
Therefore there was a great need for Reconciliation, Renewal, and Restoration of Peace.
A need for Shalom – Peace of God in the deeper sense of the term.
However, for our devotion this morning briefly, in English, "reconciliation" refers to the:
Restoration of a relationship.
To bring back a former state of harmony.
And St. Paul reminds us that the basis of our reconciliation with God and with the rest of God’s creation is that peace was made through Christ’s bloodshed on the cross for us. Through the work of God the Father through the very sacrifice of his son Jesus Christ on the cross, has brought the entire rebellious and disobedient creation, including humanity back into the embrace of our God. An embrace that will allow us to hear the very heartbeat of our God. Dear Friends: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – fundamentally manifests the gravity and complexity of our own existential experiences today. As those who experience disrupted relationships, division, disharmony, hostility, enmities of various kinds in our day to day lives – we have a call and a challenge. A challenge to live as transformative channels empowered by the power of the blood of Christ.
Dear God, thank you for the sacrifice of your Son Jesus for me on the Cross. Guide us to follow your heartbeat even as you embrace us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
July 27th, 2020
I was watching the news this morning and was listening to the recent data of COVID-19 pandemic along with several other burning issues of the day and it made me pause and pray. I laid everything that was troubling my soul and then submitted to God’s will. Sometimes, I realized we have very little control over the happenings of the world and our lives. I am sure many of us share the experience. God is good, all the time. Let us allow God to work through us and others. Prayers for all essential workers, doctors, nurses, health care professionals, and scientists along with the leaders of our country and other nations. The following prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr came to my mind, I am sure several of us are aware of it:
(Composed in the 1940s)
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
July 26th, 2020
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8: 26, 27.
Dear Friends, last couple of Sunday’s we have meditated at church on the 8th chapter of Romans. Today we come to the conclusion of this passage for our meditation. I also thought these verses might guide us as we have had our daily meditations on prayer. In the above scripture, St. Paul talks about a kind of prayer that transcends our human language and all our limitations in approaching our God in prayer. We are told of a God who searches our innermost being and our hearts and understands our groanings and longings. St. Paul also talks about the Spirit of God joins in both the longings of our lives and the groaning of the entire creation in order to intercede on our behalf. Just last week, I was included in the Prayer chain list of the Grace UMC. I feel glad to be a part of this group because we are doing what the Spirit of God does. We pray and intercede for others and on behalf of others. I consider this one of the important Christian practices. Therefore, let us pray for one another.
Dear God, we come to you lifting up all those around us who are going through difficult life situations, health, and other concerns. We pray for our leaders and our governments, we pray for the world and your entire creation. We join your Holy Spirit in prayer and we ask you to hears our prayers in the name of Jesus. Amen!
July 25th, 2020.
Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors that the King of glory may come in. Psalm 24:7
This Psalm of David is thought to be sung in the context of David entering the city of Jerusalem with the Ark of the Covenant. The ark represented the holy presence of God in their midst. In a more theological sense, these words could also foreshadow the resurrection of Christ from the dead and His ascension into the holy and heavenly realm. In 1 Corinthians 2:8, St. Paul refers to Jesus Christ when he says the following: “None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the King of Glory”. In several of his letters, Paul also talks about the glorious perfections of Jesus’ divine nature reflecting the glory of God the Father. He underscores that the glory of God is fully manifest in the resurrected Christ. And now in a more personal and spiritual sense, we, our bodies are considered to be the temple of God. Therefore, this scripture calls us to lift our heads and lift up the ancient doors of humanity within ourselves so that the King of Glory may enter into our hearts and lives. Let us look unto ourselves, deep into our spirituality identify the doors that we can open and lift, hat the King of Glory may enter in. Jesus is knocking on the doors of our hearts and lives, will you allow him inside?
Dear God, thank you for your son, Jesus Christ. I stand here with my heart and arms open to welcome Christ into my life. Let me be a temple of the King of Glory. Amen!
July 24th, 2020
“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
Great is Thy Faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) had a difficult early adult life. His health was so fragile that there were periods of time when he was confined to bed, unable to work. Between bouts of illness, he would have to push himself to put in extra hours at various jobs in order to make ends meet. After coming to Christ at age 27, Thomas found great comfort in the Scriptures, and in the fact that God was faithful to be his strength in time of illness and weakness and to provide his needs. While away from home on a mission’s trip, Thomas often wrote to one of his good friends, William Runyan, a relatively unknown musician. Several poems were exchanged in these letters. Runyan found one of Williams’ poems so moving that he decided to compose a musical score to accompany the lyrics. Great is Thy Faithfulness was published in 1923.
For several years, the hymn got very little recognition, until it was discovered by a Moody Bible Institute professor who loved it so much and requested it sang so often at chapel services, that the song became the unofficial theme song of the college. It was not until 1945 when George Beverly Shea began to sing Great is Thy Faithfulness at the Billy Graham evangelistic crusades, that the hymn was heard around the world. Thomas Chisolm died in 1960 at age 94. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 1,200 poems and hymns including O To Be Like Thee and Living for Jesus.
Dear God thank you because Great is your faithfulness. We repent of our sins and our unfaithfulness towards you. Redeem us and bless us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen!
July 23rd, 2020
Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! Lamentations 3:19
I can relate with several people and I believe some of you may too, relate with those who have hit rock bottom in their lives. The personal, spiritual, emotional, and the entire life might look like wormwood and taste like gall! This scripture reflects the life situation of the writer, especially this scripture, which is linked to Jeremiah, who is also called the weeping prophet. He feels that God abandoned him, and his life is about to be destroyed. The emotional stress and its load have has become so heavy and massive that Jeremiah experiences depression of sorts and hopelessness in his life. Many people can relate to this phenomenon or reality in their lives. Like people don’t discuss their problems with others, we too don’t reflect on these lamentations in our worship services. Yet, it’s important to know people and their experiences that sometimes reflect ours. Jeremiah once says, ‘My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the Lord.’ I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness, and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.” (3:17-20)
But dear friends, in our anguish and sorrow, we are not alone nor are we abandoned. Because in the very same scripture, a few verses later, we hear the following words: “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (3:21-23)
Dear God, thank you that today, because of your great love, I am ‘not consumed.’ I praise you that your ‘compassions never fail—they are new every morning.’ Thank you for your great faithfulness. I remember all those who are going through rough situations in their lives, be with them O Lord. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!
July 22nd, 2020
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law. Galatians 5: 22-23
As a parent myself, I want, as all parents do, to have their children to be polite and kind. As parents, and also as grandparents, we must teach children to treat others the way they would want to be treated. By teaching children some particular manners from an early age, children grow up to be individuals who treat others with respect and kindness. We all know the five golden words that every parent and guardian should teach their children. Thank You, Please, Sorry, Excuse me and May I. These words not just ensure that your children are well mannered but also have the potential to light up someone else’s day. These words make a big difference in the life of an individual. It will be difficult to teach or train an adult but it will be easier to do the same with a child and expect the child to make a difference in the world. In the same way, the scripture also teaches us that a well-trained child or an individual will bear good fruits of the Spirit. And these fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Let us look into our own lives if we can find these fruits if the Spirit. If we miss any of these fruits in our lives, then we have some work to do!
Dear God, help us to reflect your grace in and through our lives each and every day. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen!
July 21, 2020
And from his fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1: 16
William Barclay says that fullness or pleroma is "the sum total of all that is in God." Christ is fully God (Col 2:9) and we are fully complete in Him (Col 2:10). John MacArthur says "As a result of the Fall, humans are in a sad state of incompleteness. They are spiritually incomplete because they are totally out of fellowship with God. Humans are morally incomplete because they live outside of God’s will. They are mentally incomplete because they do not know the ultimate truth. At salvation, believers become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4) and are made complete. Believers are spiritually complete because they have fellowship with God. They are morally complete in that they recognize the authority of God’s will. They are mentally complete because they know the truth about ultimate reality."
Over and over again the Bible shares with us that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He takes His ultimate place in everything! Because He is the ultimate revelation of God we can know God. Because He is the ultimate sacrifice for the sin we can be forgiven. As believers in Jesus, we are reminded that full grace has been given to us through Jesus Christ. Grace in Christ is never exhausted. Grace in Christ covers all sin.
Dear God, we come to you asking that we experience the fullness of your Son Jesus Christ in our lives each and every moment. Amen!
July 20, 2020
“Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” Exodus 20: 12
The Ten Commandments continue to be a source of how God instructs His people to live. This particular verse teaches people to honor their fathers and mothers. Peter repeats by saying, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1. Parenthood and the parent-child relationship are very important in the holistic growth of the child. The scripture teaches that whether we are children or grown-ups, we are to honor our parents. Those of us who lost their parents are still encouraged to honor the memory of their parents. We are encouraged to teach our kids initially to honor their parents through basic lessons of discipline and obedience, which in practice develops and blooms into respect. These simple principles of life will eventually allow us to honor our parents out of love and trust acknowledging all the love and sacrifice of the parents. I like to encourage this honor of parents to all the elders in our lives too. Also, several people may not have fond upbringing by a parent, or several may not have experienced a parent in their lives, also for some, parenthood may have been troubling. But the scripture at the end teaches that our God is like a parent is out-pouring love and waits with outstretched arms to embrace us all the time. Today let us also take some moments to pray for those who have lost a parent recently. Pray for me too, as I remember the passing of my mother a year ago and could not be with her during her transition to eternal life.
Dear God, thank you for the gift of parents in our lives. Bless them and help us honor all our parents and others who have loved us and cared for us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen!
July 19th, 2020
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
The praise and poetic words as well as words of penitence by David have inspired millions of people over hundreds of years. Yesterday we have meditated David pleading his God to create a clean heart and a willing spirit. In today’s scripture verse from Psalm 19, we see David asking God for purity both inside and out. The words that he speaks as well as the unseen meditations of his heart. This is a prayer we are used to hearing every Sunday before the sermon. David is teaching that he should be the case every waking moment of our lives. The sanctity of our words and the humility of our hearts reflect on the meditations of our lives.
Dear God, may the words of my mouth and all the meditations of my heart are pleasing to you, for you are my rock and my redeemer. Amen!
July 18, 2020
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51: 10-12
I consider Psalm 51 as one of the most important psalms written by David. While he was the king, the power and privilege he had both on the land and its people made him think that he had a pass to do whatever he wanted, anything that satisfied him. During this time he became very selfish and also thought that he was above the law and that all the ethics and morals of this world did not apply to him. If we look at his story he planned and executed his plots and tried concealing all of his sins, for example, if we look at his attraction and story with Bathsheba and her husband Uriah. At the time he wrote Psalm 51 David was a changed man, he knew he can no longer live with the guilt in his heart and he approached God with a contrite heart and confession requesting God to clean his heart and restore a right spirit within him. Most importantly he asked God to give him a willing heart to change his ways and experience the joy of salvation.
David’s story can be seen as a mirror to most of our own lives, that question now is, are we willing to have a changed heart approaching God to give us a right spirit? Are we willing to approach God with a contrite and confessing hearts? Today, if there is anything in us that relate to David’s situation, are we ready to intercede for spiritual recovery and revival? If so, our God is a compassionate and forgiving God who can set us free. Therefore let us approach him with confidence and trust.
Heavenly God, we come to you as we are, we come to you confessing our wrong-doings. By your grace and mercy, set us free. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen!
July 17th, 2020
But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your constant love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress. Psalm 59: 16
David has written this Psalm during one of his trying times. Saul sent people to watch David’s house and find a perfect time to kill him. In verses 14 and 15, David says his enemies are back in the evenings and all night long they roam like hungry hounds to devour him. David is known for his deep faith in God and his dependence on God’s mercy and protection. He experiences God’s saving hand in his life all the time and especially in the mornings he likes to sing and praise God and acknowledge that God is like a fortress and a refuge.
Dear friends our troubles, trials, and problems may be different. We might go to bed with the fatigue of the day as a result of all our problems and a long litany of troubles, anxieties, and struggles. We may have loved ones who are going through difficult times in their lives too. This psalm is a reminder that every morning brings new opportunities and renewed hopes. It reminds us that if we cast all our burdens and surrender to the comfort and strength of God, each morning brings a renewed sparkle of life.
Dear God, we thank you for being our fortress and strength in times of trials and temptations. We thank you for all the promises of your faithfulness. We join the psalmist in praising you with all that is within us every morning. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen!
July 16th, 2020
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. Mark 1:35
The Gospel of Mark opens up with various aspects of the ministry of Jesus that includes healing, preaching, and a demonstration of his authority on the scriptures. He also goes into Jesus’s personal routine of communing with his Father at various times especially at the break of the dawn, i.e., the first appearance of light in the morning followed by sunrise. Wow, what a time to get in fellowship with the divine! I am personally experiencing the preciousness of these early moments of a day and the freshness it brings to our often tired and fatigued lives. I grew up in India where ‘Surya namaskar” or salutations of the Sun is done by most of the people, especially in the Hindu tradition. There is something important for us to learn about other cultures and religious traditions! I really admired people doing this because ‘Surya” means Sun and my Dad’s name is Surya! Several of my friends from other religions practice what we call the ‘Surya Namaskar’. What does this mean?
In Sanskrit, Surya means "sun" and namaskar means "salutations." The practice of Surya Namaskar awakens the body’s intelligence to create energy directly from the sun. In the Vedic tradition, the sun is symbolic of consciousness and, therefore, has been worshiped daily in the Indian culture. Surya Namaskar is designed to access the ethereal energy that exists all around us. Every morning at dawn, the air is filled with prana shakti or life energy.
I can personally say that there are some energy and beauty in the early hours of the day. I can say that these delicate moments of the morning allows you to participate in the divine and allows you to have meaningful fellowship with your God. I personally encourage you to spend these beautiful moments each day with your God in prayer and fellowship, the rest of the day will be different!
Dear God, as we approach you every day in prayer and meditation, help us to realize your presence and soak in your grace and mercy, in Jesus name we pray. Amen!
July 15th, 2020
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Psalm 90:14
Mike Lindell, popularly known as the My Pillow guy, is passionate in his advertisements for his brand of pillows, mattress covers and etc., and promises that people will get a great night's sleep. So also several other mattress companies do the same. In fact, even Coffee bean companies do the same as promising a beautiful morning with their cup of coffee. Some of these are partly true that they give you some happiness in the mornings. Yesterday, we missed having our first coffee and you can imagine our unhappiness. A happy and good start for a day is all that we look forward to every morning.
Psalm is believed to be written by Moses, especially in his later part of his life. He was almost 100 years of age and reflecting on his life and experiences. He was questioning the meaning and purpose of his life and found that the only important thing in life is to turn to God in prayer and ask for God’s mercy and his steadfast love in his life every living day of his life. He knew the joy of experiencing God’s love in his life each and every morning. Dear friends how many of us have that sacred time in the morning to experience God’s love that satisfies our souls. Let us make sure that in this busyness of our lives that we can find some time early in the mornings for this sacred gift of God that satisfies our lives.
Dear God, grant us your blessings each morning to experience your love and mercy in our lives. Amen!
July 14th, 2020
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
From womb to tomb, throughout our life’s journey trusting someone at different stages of life happens. Our lives begin with our complete trust and dependence on our parents, especially our mothers. Along the way, we are taught about trusting in God. Scripture teaches us that we need to trust in God with all our hearts and not to lean on our own understanding. For we have promises of God for being always and in all situations with us. We are reminded to have trust in God completely, entirely and exclusively and acknowledge his presence and will so that our paths a straightened. As some of you know we recently added Archie, our puppy who is 15 weeks old, to our family. He is active, energetic, and funny. In his first behavior training session, he became popular and in fact became his trainer’s favorite. Our life and experience with Archie are teaching us several things in life, especially the ‘trust’ factor! His little eyes and wagging tails convey to us that he has complete and unwavering trust in us. Many of us who have pets or little children will understand what I am saying. The scripture above is doing the same in reminding us that we need to have that unwavering and complete trust in our God.
Dear God, help us to experience your presence with us and help us to trust you completely. Help us in all our short-comings and weaknesses. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen!
July 13, 2020
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:23
The early morning rays of the rising Sun wee warming up my face as I was writing this meditation for all of us. It is a new day and the beginning of a brand new week in our lives. I was reminded of one of my favorite childhood songs, “count your blessings and name them one by one”.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
*Count your many blessings, see what God has done.
[*And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.]
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
The scripture above also reminds us that God’s mercies and blessings are new every morning. Therefore my friends, today, even as we are being blessed by God, let us try to be a blessing to others who cross our paths today!
Dear God, help us to realize and experience your mercy and grace afresh every morning and help us to be a blessing for others, in Jesus' name we pray. Amen!
July 12th, 2020
Then Hannah prayed and said: “My heart rejoices in the Lord; in the Lord, my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance. “There is no one holy like the Lord; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
1 Samuel 2:1-2
Hannah’s Prayer of Praise and gratitude
Dear Friends, a blessed Sunday morning! We have been meditating on the theme of prayer the whole week. I thank God for the scripture as it still speaks and teaches us several things in life. We all pray. We pray for several things. We pray before meals. Our prayers get answered and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we don’t pray back to thank God for the blessings received or not received. For example, we pray before eating to bless our food but we don’t pray after eating to thank God for the good food. Hannah through her prayer of praise and gratitude as we find in 1 Samuel, teaches us this important aspect of our relationship with our God. As we know Hannah’s story is one of the most well-known stories of faith-filled women mentioned in the Bible. Her longing for a child and dark season of waiting sometimes is heart-wrenching. She finally receives what she wants and then goes back to God in prayer to thank and acknowledge God’s blessing. This is a great teaching for us today.
Dear God, we come back to you to acknowledge and thank you for all the blessings in our lives. We thank you for the smaller and greater things in life. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen!
July 11th, 2020
In You, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in You; do not let me be put to shame, not let my enemies triumph over me…Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long. (Psalm 25 1-2, 4-6)
Guidance – this is something we all look for in our lives most of the time. If you are planning on a road trip you depend on the GPS for guiding you along the way. We try to have mentors for various reasons for guidance in our careers, finances, education, and marriage, and so on. We just got a puppy named Archie. E is full of energy and we love having him around. He is fifteen weeks old and we are trying to train him for several things. We know if we do not guide and train a dog when it’s young, it will be difficult to teach something when they grow up. Therefore, we planned to take some help and guidance from a professional dog trainer. The scripture quoted above points us toward the same human need. We find David giving us a great prayer for God’s guidance in our everyday lives. He says that he is sure to find help and guidance from God if he puts his trust in Him. Like David let us pray and allow God to unfold God’s will and plan for us each day.
Gracious God, we submit ourselves to your will unfolding in our lives and we seek guidance for our lives. In faith and trust, we ask you in the name of Jesus. Amen!
July 10th, 2020
Friends, for our devotion this morning, I want us to meditate on the prayer of a person who has hit rock-bottom in his life and eventually experienced God’s salvation in his life. This is Jonah’s prayer of Salvation. Like Jonah we may not have the fish swallow us or things like that but most of us might have experienced situations where things looked bleak and hopeless, yet we have a faithful God who promised his presence and salvation in our lives. Therefore let us now look at the prayer of Jonah:
“In my distress, I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
July 9th, 2020
One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray and spent the night praying to God. Luke 6:12
The ministry of Jesus was at its peak with calling people to repent, by forgiving sins and preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God in all the towns he was able to travel. Along the way he was healing every disease, casting out demons, feeding people in thousands. During one of those hectic times, Jesus went alone to a mountainside to be in solitude and enter into deeper communion and fellowship with God the Father. In doing so, Jesus demonstrated the importance of setting aside some private and personal time with God. Jesus sets us a good example of setting aside extraordinary times and seasons of devotion, meditation, and personal fellowship with God in our often chaotic lives. Many of us are so caught up and are busy multi-tasking and rarely find the time or seldom think about spending some quite personal time with God in prayer. The hustle and bustle of our lives do not give us opportunities of solitude and as a result, we miss some of the precious personal moments of fellowship with the divine. Jesus taught and instructed us the art of personal fellowship, prayer, and communing with God in his demeanor. Jesus demonstrated that our true personal prayer helps our souls ascend up to God, therefore it is important that we exercise this practice in our lives always! I encourage you all to plan for these seasons and opportunities of personal prayer and moments of solitude with God.
Heavenly Father, we come to you as we are. We come to you in the midst of the chaos of our life’s journey, we come to you for peace and direction. Speak to us and help us hear you speak to us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
July 8th, 2020
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
Dear Friends, continuing on the theme of prayer, today let us look at one of the problems most of us have with ‘how to pray’. Many of us stumble or get tense if someone asks us to pray. The disciples like us also admitted to their Master that their prayer lives were inadequate and often do not know how to pray. Therefore they ask Jesus, “Teach us to pray, Lord, teach us to pray.” So Jesus gave them a model by which to do it, what we call the Lord’s Prayer. Sometimes, the scriptures can be painfully honest and direct and right on target as we find in the above-quoted text by St. Paul. He says that sometimes we do not know how to pray as we ought.
But then why is praying the right way difficult? Someone once said, and I believe it, that prayer is a risky business. Prayer, by its very implication, is that we are entering or treading the mind and heart of God. Dangerous yet gracious and loving territory! So what do we do?
The story is told of a young minister just three months out of seminary, serving as an associate pastor of a large church. The pastor had gone out of the country, leaving his inexperienced associate in charge. A young couple in the church had adopted a little boy from El Salvador. He was the love of their life. The father, a dentist, was backing out of his driveway, didn’t see his young son behind the car, and ran over him. He was dead by the time they got him to the hospital. “I entered that home to the wailing, horrible sounds of those young parents,” the young minister says. “I knew how badly they had wanted a child, how long they had waited. It was just terrible, those howling, grief-filled screams. I entered the living room and she reached out to me and I just lost it. I cried, wept with them. Eventually, I said, ‘Would you like to have a prayer?’ They said yes. I began to pray, my voice cracked, I broke down again and the mother put her arm around me and tried to comfort me! It was terrible, horrible. I left that home feeling like the biggest failure as a pastor. “Two days later we had the funeral. After the funeral, the mother said to me, ‘Your ministry was such a comfort to us.’” “A comfort?” I thought. “I was terrible.” “When I saw that you were just as heartbroken as I was,” she continued, “it really helped me. I felt that I could go on as long as my pastor really felt how terrible all this was.’”
Now, hear the words of Paul again: “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” Prayer is not a matter of saying the right words. Prayer is opening up your heart to God’s Spirit and letting God have you, really have you… unconditionally, fully, gratefully. Today if you do not have the right words for prayer, stay still, and let the Holy Spirit of God pray on your behalf. It works! I say it with my own personal experience and conviction.
Lord, we do not know how to pray as we ought. And because we do not know how to pray, sometimes we do not know how to live. May your Spirit intercede on our behalf and take us beyond the limits of our understanding, that we might indeed live according to your will and do your will here on earth as it is in heaven. Through Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.
July 7th, 2020
Pray for All People
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people….1 Timothy 2:1
Dear friends, today let us look at another aspect of prayer. St. Paul to one of his youngest disciples Timothy teaches the importance of daily prayer and particularly the importance of praying for others. Praying and interceding for others pleases God. Jesus promised us that he always intercedes for each of us. We all must have experienced at some point in our lives the power of others praying for us or us praying for someone. Some have witnessed miracles too!
The following quotes about praying for others were very helpful for me to think and practice:
“It is not only our duty to pray for others, but also to desire the prayers of others for ourselves.” – William Gurnall
“When you pray for others God listens to you and blessed them. So when you are safe and happy remember that someone is praying for you.”
“We never know how God will answer our prayers, but we can expect that He will get us involved in His plan for the answer. If we are true intercessors, we must be ready to take part in God’s work on behalf of the people for whom we pray.”
“True intercession involves bringing the person, or the circumstance that seems to be crashing in on you, before God, until you are changed by His attitude toward that person or circumstance. People describe intercession by saying, “It is putting yourself in someone else’s place.” That is not true! Intercession is putting yourself in God’s place; it is having His mind and His perspective.” ― Oswald Chambers
“Intercession is the truly universal work for the Christian. No place is closed to intercessory prayer: no continent, no nation, no city, no organization, no office. No power on earth can keep intercession out.” Richard Halverson.
Dear God, I lift up all those who are in need of your presence, your healing, and protection today. I lift up all those who are in need of direction in life, I pray for your guidance. I pray for the hungry, homeless, and destitute persons. Help us to be helpful to others in need. I pray for our church and all its ministries. In Jesus’’ name I pray, Amen.
July 6th, 2020
"Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you.
For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.
Matthew 7: 7-8
The beginning of this week, I like all of us to focus on the importance of prayer. Prayer is an important element of Christian living. As a child, I remember my Mom telling me about the importance of prayer life. When I did not understand the meaning of prayer, she mentioned that it is nothing but having a little chat with our God, who always like to have small conversations with us. She also mentioned that this conversation should be a two-way conversation. We need to speak and at the same time also pay attention to what God is trying to say to me. That teaching has become a foundation for my relationship with my God. The above scripture also teaches us the importance of asking seeking and knocking in the act of our personal and collective prayer. These acts or metaphors of asking, seeking, and knocking are intended to be continuous acts rather than an onetime act pertaining to our prayer life. This practice in prayer teaches us the importance of humility and submission to God’s will in our lives.
Let us pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom comes, your will be done, on earth as in heaven Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours. Now and forever. Amen.
July 5th, 2020
Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.
This psalm is titled To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. These sons of Korah were Levites, from the family of Kohath. By David’s time, it seems they served in the musical aspect of the temple worship. Like several psalms, we find here people praying for revival and restoration of their families, communities, and their land. In several ways, it fits our context today. Even as we come back for services in the church after almost 3 months because of COVID 19, we pray for God’s blessings and to bestow all that is good on us, including revival and restoration of our faith life and journey. In praying for revival, pray for other churches in your community. In praying for revival, pray for the community in general. Praying for revival means praying that God’s work among His people would cause them to find their joy in nothing else than in Him. So we pray: Full of confidence, knowing that God can revive. Full of boldness, pleading with God for revival. Full of humility, desiring God’s glory and praise. Revival is a work of God’s mercy. God graciously grants true revival. True revival demonstrates that salvation is God’s work.
Dear God, as we come together, we plead for your presence. Revive us, restore us, and strengthen us both spiritually and physically and to bring glory to you. Amen.
July 4th, 2020
“The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.”
This year, the 4th of July feels entirely new due to the virulent presence of COVID 19 and the painful, impossible to ignore, revelations of systemic racism in our country. I reach out to you to join me in a prayer of grief and of hope - each holding the other - as we walk through the landscape of this nation together. "The Lord bless you and keep you" is a setting of the Priestly Blessing, also known as the Aaronic blessing, from the Book of Numbers in the Bible (Numbers 6:24–26). The blessing, sung or spoken, is used at the conclusion of worship, baptism, ordination, marriage, and other special occasions in Christian worship. I invoke this blessing for all of us, especially our country today. I want to share with you all today a prayer sent to me by one of my friends:
Let us pray: God, please bless America. Like all of us, she is waking up to her flaws and failures, while trusting her gifts and goodness. God, please bless America as she navigates a needed transformation to maintain a safe home for all of your children that live here. Bless her, O God, as she seeks to offer a light to those hurting in the world. Amen.
God bless each of you, dear friends,
July 3rd, 2020
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”. Philippians 4:6-8
Greetings in the name of Jesus our Christ!
Hope you all are ready for the holiday weekend and also getting ready for our Sunday worship services. Several churches, including our church, is really prepared for our phased-in re-opening. Even as we are coming back to church, we are coming back during this pastoral transition. I am excited to meet and worship together with you. As I mentioned earlier transitions and change comes with excitement as well as with anxiety too! But we are reminded in the scripture above that in every situation we approach our loving God by prayer and petition with thanksgiving. This applies to all our life situations too! Therefore, as we begin our faith journey together, let us pray for one another. God be with you.
Gracious God, we thank you for all guidance and blessings. We submit ourselves unto your will, lead us, bless us, and guide us today and always. Amen.
July 2nd, 2020
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:15)
The above verse is attributed to Joshua who made this bold proclamation confirming his service to his God and all God’s people. This has become a very famous scripture verse that many of us have plaques adorning our living spaces. This verse also motivates people in how they live both individually and as families. We started our ministry here at LaSalle today and want to re-dedicate our lives to the service of God and all people. I want to give glimpses of our family and experiences of growing up in India to you all through these meditations and messages. I am a fourth-generation Christian in my family and third in answering the Call of God to ministry. My grandparents and parents are ordained ministers. My grandfather Solomon was the Moderator and Bishop. My wife is also a Methodist minister. We are glad to be in ministry and serve the Lord. The bold proclamation of Joshua challenges all of us as to how we can live our faith in the world today.
Heavenly God, we submit ourselves unto your will and guidance. Help us to make use of every opportunity to serve you and all your people. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
July 1st, 2020
Paul, Silas, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:1-2
Dear friends at Grace UMC: Solomon, Satya, Nima & Christina bring greetings in the name of our LORD Jesus Christ. As St. Paul greeted the church in Thessalonica: Grace and peace to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We arrived in LaSalle on June 29, 2020, and thank you for the warm welcome some of you gave us. Thanks for all your prayers for us. I also encourage you all to pray for Pastor Brett as he settles down in his new church. Transitions are interesting and challenging, they bring both joy and sadness. Therefore, I echo the words of St. Paul for God’s grace and guidance for all of us. We look forward to our ministry here and that together bring glory to God’s holy name by serving all God’s people. At this time I also want to greet you with the word that I grew up in India:
NAMASTE I bow to you —used as a respectful greeting in India, meaning: ‘all that is holy within me greets all that is holy within you’. In this way, we recognize God’s presence in all people! Namaste is usually spoken with a slight bow and hands pressed together, palms touching and fingers pointing upwards, thumbs close to the chest. Dear Grace UMC, Namaste to you in Jesus' name!
Prayer: Almighty God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit lead us and guide us by Your grace both today and all the days of our lives. Help us to live according to your will and bring glory to your name. Amen!