Drowned in Christ, Dead to the World

Drowned in Christ, Dead to the World

Ever felt a multitude of thoughts running in your mind troubling you, triggering fear, anxiety, and insecurity? Thoughts that put you into a place of feeling helpless, alone, depressed, rejected, and paralyzed? Me too!

As a child, I was deeply affected by whether somebody likes me or not. I always felt the need to be doing things to please others, the need to standout, speak out loud. An attention seeker. Yet, I would get anxious about things to the point of being frozen from action. In school, it was exams. Instead of starting somewhere in my portions, my anxiety would get the best of me and I would end up with a paralyzing headache making me unable to move forward at all.

I had amazing women in my life like my mom and granmom, who loved me. Still, I was filled with a lot about brokenness from family issues, some rough times in boarding school, and facing rejection often. My experiences summed up to me not knowing who I was, as the enemy tried to mar and disorient my identity.

Yet, the Lord is good. The Shepherd who comes through it all for His sheep, a Father who calls out to His son.  

John 10:3-4 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.


God called me out one day, when I was going through the lowest valley feeling depressed, broken, empty, left out and orphaned. And He whispered to me, “I’m with you and I’m for you”
That voice, that encounter set a joy in my heart. I knew this voice, I knew Him all along. He was near, but now that the Father had drawn me to Him. That very year the Lord started to speak destiny and purpose into my life through a Pastor, in a church away from my hometown. I encountered my beautiful Jesus there, committed to Him and to the church. God healed me through the process of just being in Him, as He wiped off every lie over my life with the truth that He is with me and for me. This truth lit up my whole world. I didn’t need validation anymore. I didn’t carry a weak, pity-party attitude anymore. He taught me to study from a place of victory, even after I failed during my boards. He taught me overcome fear and to just begin. To build from this present moment, to focus on the now and work on ahead. This would enable me to cover decent mileage, rather than never starting out in the first place.

Visualize this. You are sitting on the sea shore on a moonlit night and there’s water in front of you, and you are afraid that if you had to get in those waters you’d drown. But Papa God gives you another picture, saying “you’re already drowned in Me.” This thought sets you laughing out of joy, because now in this new life in Christ, you are already dead to the world. So for a person who is already drowned in this love, how can anything else of this world, be it thoughts, struggles, pressure, expectation, whatever you name it overwhelm him/her? Now you’ve been born again into His acceptance and love. As you taste him every day, nothing can be more real to you, and nothing has place to overwhelm you! You are drowned, you are surrounded and covered in this perfect lover Jesus. Rejoice!

Our Guest author for the week is Eston D’souza, a devoted lover of Christ and valued member of our church in Manipal. Eston embraces his experiences, allowing them to be used for the glory of God, ministering the good news to all whom he encounters in this new life with Christ.  

S01 E02 : Pink, not Pinky

And by that I mean, the pinky finger! The smallest, most pretty looking and most insignificant finger. In an overcrowded world where everyone is fighting for a voice and for space, I want to begin by saying, woman to woman, you may be pink but you’re not the pinky. You are definitely not made for the last, you’re made to last! Our purple colored God, when He made humans in His own image, just took some of the blue out of the purple that He was and made man, and took the pink out of the purple
and made woman.

Genesis 1:26 ESV
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion..” It’s interesting to note here that the Hebrew word for man (Adam) is the generic term for mankind and is used as the proper name Adam. It doesn’t denote the word meaning ‘male’, but stands for humanity or a human being. And that’s why God blessed and multiplied ‘them’, not him.

Genesis 5:2 ESV
Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man (Adam) when they were created. God named ‘them’ Adam! Them together! Both Male and Female were called Adam.

Genesis 2:23 KJVS And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman (feminine form of a mortal being), because she was taken out of Man. Now, this is the first time ever in the story of creation that there is a distinction shown between the genders, where the root word for man isn’t Adam but Iysh, which means male and woman is ‘Iyshah’, the opposite of male. As the splitting image of a spirit being, that is, God the Holy
Spirit, we are gender less spirit beings first before physical beings defined by gender in our capabilities for a specific
task, because here’s the thing: It takes both man and woman to represent God. That’s why, when Jesus talks of the afterlife, He describes how we would attain our original form that was lost in the garden of Eden, that we would be like angels, spirit beings that aren’t identified through a gender.

Luke 20:34-36 [NLT] Jesus replied, “…But in the age to come…they will never die again. In this respect they will be like angels. They are children of God and children of the resurrection. And that’s why, when the task at hand given to Adam (both male and female) was to have dominion over the earth, the
Bible says-
Genesis 2:18 [ESV]
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
Genesis 2:18 [ISV] Later, the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make the woman to be an authority corresponding to him.” How could someone be a helper to another had one not been equal to the other? How could a lower form of mankind ‘help’ the supposed superior? Think about it.

 

Pastor Rashmi Varghese from Bangalore Revival Center is our guest author for this week. God has been using her powerfully to impact lives in Bangalore and across various other cities. This blog is a continuation of  a previous blog piece by her, titled ‘My Pink God’. If you haven’t read ‘My Pink God’, click here- My Pink God

Lessons From Joseph – Part 3

Lessons From Joseph – Part 3

In our previous blog, we saw how Joseph found the right perspective as well as his purpose even when he was nowhere near the dreams that he had dreamt as a child. Imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, Joseph did not become dysfunctional and withdrawn, but he viewed his circumstances as a training ground where he was being prepared for the responsibilities that accompanied God’s promise. Today, let’s examine Joseph’s response to the different people who were a part of his incredible story.

There is always an opening for disappointment when we live on this earth among imperfect people. Yet, we are created to live in peace with all that’s around us, to live not as a reaction to fallen nature of men, but as a response to our lover Jesus, and the love He carries for others around us. This is the key to maintain healthy relationships. Joseph could’ve cried about his background, the crimes committed upon him. But he never complained neither about his brother’s betrayal and being sold by them to the Ishmaelites, nor about those who framed him of something as major as an attempt to rape, or even the chief of the butler forgetting the service Joseph had done for him. None of this stopped him from influencing or revealing God to those around him, even after so many years. The only reason being He had found God to be his everything, and that no matter what when he looked back on his journey He gave thanks to God who had orchestrated everything for good. 45:7-8.

In my life, I have always found myself in places where I never planned or imagined to be. At the time, I didn’t know the significance of those placements, but now, many things make sense looking at the completed journey. Sometimes not every reason is revealed at the very moment. Yet I would like you to know that God is setting you up for an elevation. If the butler had spoken of Joseph to the Pharaoh immediately, then maybe he would’ve gotten out immediately. But God was setting him up to influence, to serve a whole nation, for something much bigger than himself. Our purpose and callings are always bigger than us, but everything we need is already within us. Even when we are in the similar places in life, let’s assure and reassure ourselves that we are in God’s hands. Let’s stay tender and walk with him finding our purpose in the present with an elevated perspective of seeing what God is doing through it all. (Jer. 29:11)

The ultimate proof of His love and care for you was showcased on the cross. You are loved, accepted and everything concerning you and me has been made perfect because of Jesus’ sacrifice. Unlike the chosen few of the old covenant, all of us in the new covenant are called to live in God’s presence, experiencing, communing and dwelling with the Spirit of God.

No matter what your circumstances are, bring your mind to a place where you know you are guarded in Him, having faith that He is the One who has ordered your steps, finding purpose in your present, and experiencing Christ as your ultimate reward. This intimate life is made possible through the beautiful sacrifice of our lover Jesus on the cross all because God so loved us and the world.

 

Lessons from Joseph – Part 2

Lessons from Joseph – Part 2

In last week’s blog we saw how God’s presence granted Joseph favour and elevation at Potiphar’s house, the prison and the palace. No matter where he was placed Joseph excelled and influenced because God blessed him to have higher standards than others. Another lesson from Joseph to us lies in how Joseph’s experiences prepared him for his purpose.

The graph of Joseph’s life was dramatically crooked with sheer highs and lows. After his brothers betrayal came slavery and just when everything was going well with him at Potiphar’s house, Potiphar’s wife framed him and he was imprisoned, not just in any prison, but the place where the king’s prisoners were bound. The Lord was with Joseph in every rise and dip of his life.

In Genesis 39 we see how Joseph found favour and oversaw the matters of the very prison he was held at. From Genesis 40 onwards, we see how God’s hand uses Joseph in interpreting the dreams of the chief butler and chief baker who were imprisoned with Joseph. When Joseph’s interpretation was proven right he asks the butler to remember him.  The butler takes 2 years to remember Joseph when the Pharaoh’s dream turns strange. At this point we see, God orchestrated events such that no man, but Joseph could interpret the Pharaoh’s dream and this lead to Joseph stepping into a massively influential place, being the ruler over all of Egypt.

Even in the prison, Joseph had the right perspective and found purpose in the present. The bible says that while he served time in the jail the Lord prospered everything he did. We often become dysfunctional when we live believing that a particular place or country or a stage is required for us to reach out or serve or influence. But the truth is we, living from the truth of our position in Christ Jesus and reminding ourselves that our identity is not in the titles of the world but being the sons and daughters of God, makes us efficient and raises our standard of service. This attracts favour and more influence to reveal more of Jesus and the culture of heaven wherever we are placed.

Another thing we noticed was the chief butler failed to remember Joseph for two years, even though all of what he interpreted came to pass. But at the appointed time, the king had a dream and when nobody could interpret it, the man with the Spirit of God was already trained and prepared to step up and take charge to act with wisdom in the face of calamity.

Notice that it was not the destination of being the ruler over Egypt that is emphasised in this story but Joseph’s lifestyle throughout every dip and rise of his journey. What is revealed here is not just the palace or ruler’s position, but the posture of his heart-to serve and reveal and glorify God. The preparation throughout, enabled him to stand before the king and reveal the greatness of God.

Joseph teaches us to see our circumstances as the training ground where we are moulded to uphold the responsibility that accompanies the promises given to us by God. Joseph shows us that it is indeed possible to hold onto God’s promises even when our reality may seem to be the stark opposite. The purpose of the present pressure is to prepare you to push back against the pressures of the power that you will inevitably face.

Lessons from Joseph – Part 1

Lessons from Joseph – Part 1

Joseph’s story begins with a boy and depicts his growth into a young man of influence.

How can we relate this story to real life? Starting off from Joseph being sold as a slave to Ishmaelites(Genesis 37:28) after which the Ishmaelites brought him to Egypt and there he was bought by Pharaoh’s officer, Potiphar (Genesis 39:1 onwards), where he found favour, prospered and was successful in all he did. All of this was because the Lord was with Joseph and this was most evident in the scriptures (Gen. 39:4).

So Joseph found favour in Potiphar’s sight, and he served him well. His master made him supervisor over his entire household and Potiphar put all that he had in Joseph’s charge.  The revelation from this chapter of his life and growth is about how the one constant, i.e, Gods presence, brought him elevation, promotion, favour, influence in his life. Its relatable to most of us and as Christians, we don’t go to our workplaces or colleges, or anywhere we are placed, just to benefit ourselves and to be served. Rather, we go with a purpose to influence and to operate from a position to serve others as we carry the presence of God in us.

 Joseph was bought as a slave, but still found favour and had influence because of the presence of God. When the pursuit of our heart is to do everything according to God standards and to being lead by Him, and the desire to build and make every place look more like Him, we also will be noticed and given greater portions and influence.

 For example, when everybody around you finds a reason to blame the authorities and complain about their circumstances, you can stay grateful and faithful, knowing it is God who ordains your steps. When we renew our mind to our position and identity in Christ, it will enable us to reveal more of Jesus as it fills us with joy peace and hope.

 Dear brothers and sisters, in every place you are at, hold an elevated standard, not unto men but as unto God, and this comes from a place of being aware of the purpose in the present.