Always in God’s hands

HOPING TO BE MASTERS of their own fate, many Christians are seeking prophecies and revelations pertaining to their personal lives. ese people want to know their future with the view of either being prepared for those events or in the hope that they can take steps to turn the tide in their favour. eir justification: to be in control!

How did Jesus handle God-sent revelations? Matthew 16:13-28 captures a dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter. Peter’s inspired confession of Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” wins Jesus’ praise. Jesus tells Peter that this revelation was from the Heavenly Father Himself. Since Peter had been favoured with this spirit of discernment, Jesus bestowed a great responsibility on him. Jesus calls him Peter which means “a rock”, and goes on to say that upon that rock Jesus’ church would be built. However, within seconds, when Peter denied Jesus’ revelation about His death and resurrection, Jesus responded harshly to him, saying that he did not have in mind the things of God.

Revelations! Knowledge! Information makes one feel in control. Peter thought for a moment that he must take control of the situation by denying that Jesus was to die.

He did not choose to comprehend that Jesus had to suffer and die to fulfil the promise newly given to him. Peter was still thinking like all men who want to be in control of their lives. However, Jesus was seeking from His disciples that same obedience that He was exercising. He had put His entire life in the hands of His Father, even to the extent of going to the cross.

In Acts 1:6-8 the disciples asked “Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” and Jesus replied, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

The disciples were looking for information so that they might be in control of a new Kingdom of Israel, but Jesus was asking them to serve God with unquestioning obedience. Jesus had entrusted Peter with being the foundation on which His church would be built.

He wanted Peter to take that revelation that Jesus is “Christ, the Son of the living God”, and travel the road of discipleship with obedience and commitment.

You and I who have received this similar revelation of who Jesus is, is desired by Him to take that Good News, with reverence and obedience, and proclaim it so that the Church of Jesus Christ will continue to grow until it reaches all mankind.

Why seek to know what lies ahead, when we are assured that our future lies in the hands of the God who never changes?

The Rev James Nagulan is the President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference.



Christmas is Christ Alive!

CHRISTMAS IS MORE THAN shopping, partying and merry-making. It is more than giving and receiving presents – and attending the Christmas Day service.

Christmas is:

First of all, giving of oneself to Christ, for without Christ, there is no Christ-mas;

Giving of oneself to the service of Christ; Loving our neighbours (not always easy);

Loving those who hurt us (very difficult, but we should try); Giving generously to charities;

Helping to serve the needs of the poor, the marginalised and the sick;

And much, much more …

This has been said before – there is nothing wrong with shopping for presents for loved ones, friends and colleagues. In fact, it resonates with the spirit of Christmas.

But things get out of hand when we rush around for very expensive presents for only our loved ones and ourselves. Stop the madness. Stop the frustrating pursuit of the “perfect present”. Stop shopping till we drop. Have we forgotten that we have already received the greatest gift – Christ Himself?

And why think only of ourselves and our loved ones? What about gifts for the poor and the underprivileged?

A little teddy bear will bring great joy to a girl in a charitable home. A Subway sandwich will be gratefully appreciated by a resident in an old folks’ home. Spend some time chatting with these people and see how their faces light up with double the joy.

Gifts aside, there are so many everyday things we can do to bring joy to others. Helping a blind person with a white walking stick cross busy Orchard Road can help him “see” Christ; buying three packets of tissue paper from a limping man can help provide him with a meal; buying a bowl of noodles for a penniless man at a food centre will make his day.
Christmas, then, can be summed up thus:

* Caring for all, not just our loved ones;
* Hope for the lost and lonely;
* Rest for the aged and the infirmed;
* Inspiration for all those who share God’s Word;
* Success for those who struggle against all odds;
* Time (quality) for loved ones;
* Making time also for friends and strangers who need help;
* Always remembering the reason for the season;
* Sharing our blessings and love with everyone, irrespective of race, colour or creed.
Christmas is Christ Alive! Merry Christmas!