Our God wants us to respond to the needs of those around us, as He would do

Good Morning! Purposeful living in simple terms means, “Living every moment of our life with the sole aim of fulfilling the very purpose why God created us and is keeping us alive in this world.” It is very much true that as we go through different kinds of experiences in life God continues to fulfil His eternal purposes in our lives. Pastor Rick Warren in his book “Purpose Driven Life says, “Other people are going to find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” Our thought for reflection this Friday morning is, “Our God wants us to respond to the needs of those around us, as He would do.”

When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why are your faces so sad today?” (Genesis 40:6-7).

Joseph was in the prison for no mistake of his own or for any other despicable crime. In spite of becoming an innocent victim of circumstances and false accusation, Joseph continued to remain confident in God’s justice and vindication. He was like a wounded prisoner, with many deep hurts and grief in his heart. But instead of grieving over his own pathetic condition, Joseph responded compassionately to the pain and sorrow of his fellow prisoners. In other words, Joseph responded to needs of others than worrying over his own misfortunes or suffering:

  1. Joseph SAW Pharaoh’s officials as God saw.

The Bible says that Joseph saw that Pharaoh’s officials were “dejected”. Not only that, he asked them with compassion and concern, “Why your faces so sad today?” (Genesis 40:7). Looking within and worrying over one’s own misfortune or suffering is a sign of immaturity. But looking out and seeing the sorrow of others as God sees, in the midst of one’s own suffering, is definitely a sign of spiritual maturity. As someone who knew that God had a purpose in sending him to the prison, Joseph saw and responded compassionately to the dejection of his fellow prisoners. Are we wasting our sorrows by worrying over our own difficult situations or seeing outward and responding to the sufferings of others as God wants us to?

  1. Joseph SEIZED the opportunity to be witness for his God.

When Pharaoh’s officials informed Joseph that they both had had dreams but there was no one to interpret them, Joseph made one of the most important statements about his omniscient God: “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams” (Genesis 40:8b). In other words, Joseph, though was in the prison, seized the opportunity to be a witness for His God and His ability to interpret any dream or mystery. When we see others dejected and desperate in their lives, do we seize those opportunities to be a witness for our God and His ability to handle their situations?

Whether Joseph was in his papa’s home, or in Potiphar’s house or in the prison, he knew that God always had a purpose and plan in his life. Thus, wherever he was, Joseph fulfilled his purpose of existence. Are we living with a sense of purpose and fulfilling God’s plans in our lives?

Prayer

“Dear Lord, forgive my self-pity over my own challenges in life and self-centredness which have prevented me from seeing and responding to the sufferings and problems of those around me. Give me the grace to seize every opportunity to be a witness for you and your ability to handle any challenge in life. Help me to live with a sense of purpose in life and to respond to the needs of those around me throughout this day and all through my life. In Jesus’ name Amen! Blessed Weekend! Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9

Our God always Brings People into our Lives for Specific Reasons

 In everyday life we meet friends and strangers. Some we remember and many we don’t. But God never brings us into contact with someone accidentally or for no reason. Unless we are sensitive to God’s purposes, we may take our meetings with strangers or our work with colleagues lightly even without realizing why God brought them into our lives. Our thought for reflection this morning is, “Our God always brings people into our lives for specific reasons.”

 

“Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them” (Genesis 40:2-4).

 

It is quite clear that it was only under God’s providence and His plan that Pharoah’s two key officials were put in custody in the same prison where Joseph was confined. It was also under God’s providence that both of them had dreams for which they did know the meaning. Thus God had acted with a foresight when He put Joseph and Pharoah’s officials in the same prison.

1. God had already planned to keep Joseph as a blessing to Pharoah’s officials.

Encounter or contact with anyone in life is never to be taken for granted or as an accident. Joseph who had always enjoyed success in his life due to God’s presence, knew that God would never bring anyone into his life for no reason. Thus he did not take his meeting with Pharoah’s two officials in the prison as an accident. The Bible says, “The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them” (Genesis 40:4). Do we often forget God’s divine purposes of giving us a job in a particular company or place? Do we often forget that God’s desire always is to keep us a blessing to our colleagues and co-workers?

2.  God had already planned to promote Joseph by using one of the officials.

Knowing very well that God would have definitely had a purpose in bringing the chief cupbearer and the chief baker into his life, Joseph said to the chief cupbearer, “But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharoah and get me out of this prison” (Genesis 40:14). Do we often forget the fact that God could use others to bless us or promote us in life?

Just as Joseph interacted with Pharoah’s officials cheerfully and attentively in the prison, realizing God’s purposes, we are also called to be a blessing and to  serve our colleagues cheerfully at our work places?

 

Prayer:

“Dear Lord, thank you for reminding me this morning that you have kept me wherever I am now with a purpose. Thanks for those whom you have given me as colleagues and co-workers to work with. I may not understand why you have brought them into my life but help me to be a blessing to them. Just as Joseph was a blessing to Pharoah’s officials in the prison, keep me as a blessing to everyone with whom I live, work and serve throughout this day.

In Jesus’ name,...  Amen!”

Blessed day!

Our God Permits Incidents in our LIves which are Part of His Long Term Purposes for Us

Bad experiences, difficult situations and problematic circumstances often influence our thinking and conclusions about our own future. When things don't go well in our lives we even sometimes come to conclusion that, that's the end of everything. But we fail to remember that as children of God, we do not determine our future but God does, as He alone has our future and destiny in His hands. Our thought for reflection this morning is, "OUR GOD PERMITS INCIDENTS IN OUR LIVES WHICH ARE PART OF HIS LONG TERM PURPOSES FOR US."

 

"So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the Lord was with Joseph and have him success in whatever he did"

(Genesis 39:22-23).

 

The wiseman Solomon says, "... So you cannot understand the work of God, who is Maker of all things" (Eccleciastes 11:5).  Yes, we are shocked and displeased when bad things happen to us. But God may have good purposes in mind even when He permits bad experiences in our lives. That's what He did in Joseph's life

1. PROMOTION even in PRISON.

An innocent person who has been charged for attempted rape is normaly expected to be dejected and to be in deep sorrow over his predicament. We do not know what was Joseph's state of mind in the prison. But Joseph, the prisoner who was expecting to be severely punished for a crime that he had not done, was informed of an unexpected promotion. "So the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there" (Genesis 39:22). Had not God, many times in the past, set right injustices done to us?

2. PLANS even in PAIN

Even when Joseph was experiencing unbearable pain, disgrace and humiliation in the prison, God was quietly executing His divine plan to bring him from prison to palace. If Joseph had remained in Potiphar's house he would have ever remained as Potiphar's trusted attendant. But before promoting Joseph to the palace, God planned to first take him to the painful and disgraceful prison . As we are going through severe pain, are we finding it difficult to believe that God has His own plans for us?

Pain and problems can be part of God's purposes and perfect plans for our future. Though we may not understand why many bad things are happening in our lives now, we can be sure that God has His own plans.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, I wish to confess that I find it difficult to understand your mysterious ways. But I believe that you do have your own plans and purposes in my life. Give me more of your grace to bear the current pain and grief that I am experiencing. I surrender myself into your hands totally that your perfect will and purposes may be fulfilled in my life.

In Jesus' name, amen!

Blessed day!

Our God comes to the Rescue of Those who are Falsely Accused

When we are falsely accused, we feel unjustly treated, unloved, abused and rejected. And we also sometimes feel that, not only the people who falsely accuse us are unfair but even life itself is unfair to us. We question God and get frustrated. We even at times consider somehow getting even with those who falsely accuse us. But our thought for reflection this morning is,"Our God comes to the rescue of those who are falsely accused."

 

"But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him..."

(Genesis 39:20b).

 

Deprived of father's love, separated from home, sold by brothers to strangers, falsely accused of attempting to rape his master's wife and imprisoned, Joseph must have felt forsaken and dejected. But we read that God came to his rescue in that desperate situation:

1. God SUPPORTED Joseph in the prison.

Joseph who was confused and sorrow-stricken, must have been really comforted and strengthened by the divine presence of God in the prison. At a time when no one came to his rescue or to support, God intervened. The Bible simply says, "But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him" (Genesis 39:20b). Are we going through a prison experience and feel that there is no one to support us?

2. God SHOWED kindness to Joseph when others were unkind to him.

In fact, not only his own brothers but his master's wife as well as his master whom he had faithfully served, proved to be unkind to Joseph. His hard work and loyalty was rewarded by false accusation, character assassination and imprisonment. But the Bible says, "... He (God) showed him kindness and granted him favour in the eyes of the prison warden" (Genesis 39:21). Don't we often forget the truth that even when the whole world is unkind to us, God would be kind to us?

Thus it is quite clear that when we are falsely accused and left alone, God would definitely come to our rescue. He would support us by being with us and by showing kindness and showering His divine favour upon us.

Prayer:

"Dear Lord, you alone know how much I feel hurt and grieved when I am misunderstood and falsely accused. I believe that even when others subject me to unjustified ill treatment and false accusation, you would come to my rescue. Thanks for your divine presence and kindness at such times of ill treatment. Trusting in your support, strength, kindness and favour I begin this new day.

In Jesus' name,...  Amen!"

Blessed day!

Our God does not want us to React when we are Falsely Accused but to Leave the Matter to Him

Have we ever been falsely accused of a mistake that we were not guilty of? Was there a time when we were terribly hurt by false charges that affected our public image and our reputation? Are we still struggling to forgive those who once rallied false charges against us and still find it difficult to forget those wrongs done to us? One important thing that we need to keep in mind is that, we cannot control what people do to us or what they say about us but we can control how we respond or react to such false accusations. Our thought for reflection this Monday morning is, “Our God does not want us to react when we are falsely accused but to leave the matter to Him.”

 

“When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us” He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house”

(Genesis 39:13-15).

 

When Joseph refused to yield to the advances of Potiphar’s wife, she decided to destroy the life of Joseph who was an innocent, decent, honest, and trustworthy young man. Potiphar’s wife succeeded in twisting the truth by accusing Joseph of attempting rape and projecting herself as an innocent victim of sexual misbehaviour. Potiphar not only believed her false accusation as truth but also threw Joseph into the prison. The Bible does not say how Joseph reacted to the false accusations and unjust imprisonment. Joseph’s silence teaches us two key lessons.

1. It is better not to attempt to defend ourselves when we are falsely accused.

When we try to clear our names or defend ourselves when falsely accused, we normally aggravate the situation and the tension between us and the person who falsely accuses us increases. Though Joseph knew that Potiphar’s wife was falsely accusing him, he did not try to defend himself. Joseph knew that even if he had tried to defend himself, no one would have believed his words. Probably he realized that the best thing to do was to leave the matter to God and expect him to defend him. Whenever we are misunderstood or falsely accused do we try to defend ourselves?

2.It is better not to react when we are falsely accused.

Joseph had the right to react by making counter charges against Potiphar’s wife by saying that it was she who had spoken to him day after day though he had constantly refused to yield to her advances(Genesis 39:10). Even when Potiphar’s wife gathered witnesses by calling her servants to see for themselves that Joseph had left his cloak with her, Joseph did not react. Later when his master put him in prison, still Joseph remained silent without any kind of reaction. His behavior reminds us of Jesus: “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23). Do we react or retaliate when we are falsely accused?

John Milton said, “The best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set against dishonest words.” Thus shall we determine not to react or defend ourselves when we are falsely accused by others but to remain silent?

Prayer:                                      Dear Lord, forgive me for trying to defend myself and react carnally whenever I am falsely accused. Give me the grace to entrust myself and my situations to you, who judges justly. Help me not to retaliate but remain silent in any adverse situation, believing that you are in control of everything.

In Jesus’ name,...  Amen!

Blessed week!

Our God is Faithful and He wants us to be Faithful too, in Fulfilling our Responsibility in Overcoming Temptations

Temptation, at times, come in such a subtle and strong way,  that if we are not alert and resist it vehemently, we can very easily fall a prey to them. Temptations usually come in through doors that are delebrately been left open. And Theologian and Bible commentator Mathew Henry said, "We have no sufficient strength of our own. All our sufficiency is of God. We should stir up ourselves to resist temptations in a reliance upon God's all sufficiency and the omnipotence of His might". Our thought for reflection this morning is, "Our God is faithful and He wants us to be faithful too, in fulfilling our responsibility in overcoming temptations."

 

"One day he (Joseph) went into the house to attend to his duties, none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house"

(Genesis 39:11-12)

 

Richard Sibbes says, "Satan gives Adam an apple and takes away paradise. Therefore in all temptations let us consider not what he offers but what we shall lose". Joseph knew that by yielding to the temptation that came from Potiphar's wife, he would enjoy temporary pleasure but would lose God's eternal plan for his life. We learn from Joseph two important lessons on how to handle temptations:

1. Avoid PLACE of temptation.

When Joseph faced a strong temptation in Potiphar's house, where he was performing his duties, he literally "ran out of the house" to guard his sanctity (Genesis 39: 12). Joseph did exactly what Solomon, while giving instructions on avoiding temptation said, "Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house" (Proverbs 5:8). Are we spending more time in places where we can be vulnerable to temptations or totally avoiding them?

2. Avoid PERSON or object of temptation.

When Potiphar's wife kept up the pressure and tried to force Joseph into bed by grasping his cloak, he ran from her. As Joseph did not want to sin and betray his master or his God, he ran from Potiphar's wife, who was the object of temptation. He very well knew that it was dangerous to stop or stay near Portiphar's wife and thus he ran. If he had stayed it would have been like playing with fire. Knowing very well that we are being tempted by someone, are we still spending more time with that person or keeping a distance from that person?

We should not live with false assumption that we would never fall into temptation.  Apostle Paul says, "Flee the evil desires of youth..." (2 Timothy 2:22).  "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall" (1 Corinthians 10:12). We need to also remember that every time we overcome temptation we become more like Jesus.

Prayer:

"Dear Lord, give me the grace and spiritual strength to resist and run from temptations. Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from the evil one. Help me to avoid places of temptations as well as the persons who are the objects of temptations. Help me to overcome temptation today and all through my life so that I can become more like Jesus.

In Jesus' name Amen!"

Blessed and holy weekend!

Our God is Aware of our Temptations and He gives us His Grace to Overcome Them

When God blesses us and keeps us as a blessing to others, Satan is dissatisfied and is angry. He does everything he can to thwart God's purpose in our lives. Evangelist Billy Graham said, "Don't think of Satan as a harmless cartoon character with red suit and a pitchfork. He is very powerful and clever, and his unchanging purpose is to defeat God's plan at every turn- including His plans for your life." Our thought for reflection this morning is "Our God is aware of our temptations and He gives us His grace to overcome them."

Now Joseph was well-built and handsome and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he refused"

(Genesis 39:6-8a).

Baptist minister Rev John Piper said, "Sin gets its power by persuading me to believe that I will be more happy if I follow it. The power of all temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier". Potiphar's wife was attracted by Joseph's handsome looks. Satan must have tempted Joseph by saying that he could be happier by yielding to her advances and temptation. But Joseph did not yield to Satan's temptations.

1. God gives grace to overcome temptations when we are determined to keep ourselves holy.

The Bible bluntly says that when the temptation came to Joseph from Potiphar's wife, "...he (Joseph) refused" (Genesis 39:8). When God saw Joseph's determination to keep himself holy, He helped him to overcome sin and temptation. Whenever we are tempted are we determined to resist and to keep ourselves holy?

2. God gives grace to overcome temptation when we are determined to be heaven conscious.

When Potiphar's wife tempted Joseph to do a "wicked thing" he said, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God"(Genesis 39:9). She looked around but Joseph looked above as he was always God conscious. Joseph was always aware that he wouldn't be able to hide anything from God. Are we God conscious when we are tempted?

 

Franklin Graham said "We can be tempted and tested when we are full of the Spirit. In fact many of the greatest temptations confront us when we are in the centre of the will of God, because, being there has offset and frustrated Satan's method of attack". But the Bible says "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in everyway just as we are- yet was without sin" (Hebrews 4:15).

Let's pray: "Dear Lord, give me the determination to guard my holiness. Help me to be God conscious always especially when I am tempted. Thank you for your grace which is always there to help me when I am determined to be holy and fear you with the consciousness that you are watching me always!

In Jesus' name,...  Amen!"

Blessings!

Our God Intends to use Us as Channels to Bless Others

When God blesses us, we feel excited and duly rewarded for our own goodness and faithfulness. At the same time we selfishly conclude that all of God's blessings are for us and for our own families to enjoy. But the whole Bible talks about God always having a bigger picture whenever He blesses an individual or a nation. Our thought for reflection this morning is "Our God intents to use us as channels to bless others."

 

"From the time he put him (Joseph) in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field"

(Genesis 39: 5).

 

Yahweh had promised Abraham that through him, his descendants and all the nations would be blessed. In line with that promise Yahweh blessed the Egyptian because of Joseph. Thus God always blesses His children and keeps  them as a blessing to others.

1. God uses His TRUSTWORTHY children to bless others.

The abundance of blessing that Potiphar received because of Joseph is emphasized by the repetition of the word "everything" (Genesis 39:3, 4,5 & 6). When God was with Joseph, Potiphar found him as a trustworthy man, and "...he entrusted to his care everything he owned" (Genesis 39:4). He literally put his trustworthy servant Joseph in charge of his family and all that he owned (Genesis 39:5). Are our bosses and leaders able to see God giving us success  in everything we do?  Do they find us trustworthy like Joseph to the extent that they are ready to entrust us with key responsibilities?

2. God uses His FAITHFUL and loyal children to bless others.

As God was with Joseph, Potiphar found Joseph to be a faithful, committed, loyal, reliable and dependable servant. "So he left in Joseph's care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate"(Genesis 39:6). Are our bosses able to see God being with us and we being loyal and faithful stewards of everything that we are entrusted with like Joseph?

James W Roll said, "The Lord does not bless us solely for our own sake. He blesses us so that we can be a blessing."

Let's pray: "Dear Lord, thank you for all your blessings in my life. Thank you for reminding me that you are blessing me in order to be a channel of blessing to others. Help my bosses and colleagues to see that you are with me. Help me to be found as a trustworthy and faithful worker like Joseph so that they can entrust me with even key and bigger responsibilities wherever I am.

In Jesus' name,...  Amen!"

Blessed day!

Our God does Everything to Rebuild our Lives even when Others Try to Write us Off

When people vehemently oppose and do everything to put us down, emotionally we are drained. If those who do that to us have once been our close associates, colleagues, family members or friends,  it could really be very painful. But what we need to remember is that, our future is determined not by what they do against us or fail to do but by what God wants to do with our lives. Our thought for our reflection this morning is, "Our God does everything to rebuild our lives even when others try to write us off"

"The Lord was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favour in his eyes and became his attendant (Genesis 39: 2-4a).

Joseph's brothers sold him as a slave and even succeeded in deceiving their father Jacob by lying that Joseph was killed by a ferocious animal (Genesis 37:31-33). Though Joseph's own brothers tried to put an end to his life, God had his own plans to build him for His glory:

1. The Lord helped Joseph to prosper and succeed.

Three times we find the statement "The Lord was with Joseph  in Genesis ( Genesis 39: 2,3 and 21). Thus it was God' s presence that helped Joseph to be successful and prosperous. Is it not true that no one can stop us from being successful if our God is with us?

2. The Lord gave Joseph favour in the eyes of his master.

Joseph who was never in the good books of his brothers, always enjoyed God's special favours. That was the reason why Joseph found favour in the eyes of his Egyptian master, who promoted him from the position of slave to a trustworthy attendant, in charge of his household. Do we believe the fact that promotions that come God, can never be stopped by any human being?

Did not the Psalmist say "No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges; He brings one down, He exalts another" (Psalms 75:6-7).

Let's pray: "Dear Lord, I am encouraged and comforted to know that even when others write me off, you still have your plans to build my life. Thank you so much  for helping me to succeed in everything I do. Thanks for the unusual favours I receive from those above me and those who work with me. Let others see throughout this day that  you are with me!

In Jesus' name,...  Amen!

Our God’s Unseen Hands are at still at Work even when God seems to be Invisible

In life, there are times when we feel as if things are going out of control or nothing may seem to be going as planned. Sometimes life may seems to be filled only with uncertainties. And when things keep going wrong and problems keep increasing we may find it difficult to see God being with us. At such moments, we feel like crying out like the Psalmist: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalms 22:1).  Our thought for reflection for this Friday morning is, “Our God’s Unseen hands are at still at work even when God seems to be invisible.” 

When Reuben heard this, he tried to rescue him from their hands. “Let’s not take his life,” he said. “Don’t shed any blood. Throw him into this cistern here in the desert, but don’t lay a hand on him.” Reuben said this to rescue him from them and taken him back to his father (Genesis 37:21-22)

When Joseph approached his brothers, they were plotting to kill him. They wanted to ensure that Joseph’s dreams did not come true. They were determined to kill him and throw him into one the pits. Their reference to Joseph as a “dreamer” was full of sarcasm and hatred. But when we read the passage closely we realize that God’s unforeseen hand was working to protect Joseph.

1. Divine RESUCE from secret plots and dangers. 

At the time when Joseph’s brothers were determined to get rid of Joseph from their lives, we find Reuben advising them not to shed his innocent blood. As per his suggestion, the brothers put aside their plans to kill Joseph but stripped him of his robe and threw him into the pit. Though that seemed to be Reuben’s plan to rescue Joseph, in real sense, it was the unseen hand of God that rescued Joseph. Do we remember the times, when we had experienced serious problems and losses in our lives, help did come from unknown sources?

2. Divine RELIEF from serious pain and death.

If the brothers had left Joseph in the pit he would have died due to hunger and thirst. Outwardly it appeared as if it was Judah’s unexpected suggestion that saved Joseph. Judah said to his brother… “Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites and not lay our hands on him; after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” His brothers agreed (Genesis 37:26-27).  Judah might have been motivated by greed as he saw that as an opportunity to make profit from the sale of his brother Joseph. But who can deny the fact that God’s divine hand was behind Judah’s suggestion to sell Joseph to the Ismaelites? How many times we have taken God’s miraculous rescue from death and serious dangers for granted or have considered them as mere luck?

 Should not our belief be that nothing can happen to us without God’s permission and God will not allow any difficulty unless He has a divine purpose behind it?

Let’s pray: Dear Lord, it is true that often I find it difficult to understand many things that are happening in my life. I confess that I even at times find it difficult to feel you being with me in the midst of my struggles. But I thank you for your unseen divine hands which have been working behind everything that’s happening in my life. I know that it is you who rescues me from secret plots and dangers and it is you who brings divine relief for me from serious difficulties. Thank you Lord for, when I feel down I know that I can look above and you will be definitely there for me.

In Jesus’s name!...  Amen.

Blessed Weekend

Our God Definitely Understands Us and Our Predicament, even when Others Don’t

Someone said, “A single moment of misunderstanding is so poisonous, that it makes us forget the hundred lovable moments spent together within a minute. It is an irony that no matter how carefully we choose our words, we always end up being misunderstood. Have we not seen often, great friends of many years, turning suddenly into strangers due to a simple misunderstanding? Yes, it is true that the longest distance between two individuals is misunderstanding. Our thought for reflection this Wednesday morning is, “Our God definitely understands us and our predicament, even when others don’t.”

 

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him, all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had; We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it” (Genesis 37:5-7).

 

We know very well that the dreams that Joseph spoke of were not just stories concocted by him. Later on we come to know that those dreams were all from God and that they revealed what was going to happen in the life of Joseph in the future. Joseph should not have been faulted for having had the dreams yet the Bible says that he was seriously misunderstood by his brothers as one who was proud of himself. The misunderstanding created two more problems in the life of Joseph.

1. Misunderstanding resulted in hatred.

The siblings’ rivalry in Jacob’s family and the initial misunderstanding between Joseph and his brothers was primarily caused not by any words or acts of Joseph but by their father Jacob.  “When his brothers saw that their father loved him (Joseph) more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (Genesis 37:4). Thus Jacob became a victim of circumstances and a target of his brothers’ attacks due to no mistake of his own. Like Joseph, are we too, being misunderstood often by our family members, colleagues and friends, for no mistake of our own?

2. Misunderstanding resulted in jealousy.

We later find that the misunderstanding between Joseph and his brothers led to jealousy and deep animosity within Jacob’s family. When Joseph told his dream, his brothers interpreted it as indicating that Joseph would reign over them. The Bible says that his brothers rebuked him by saying, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said” (Genesis 27:8). Are we disturbed and troubled whenever we find others being jealous of us?

We do not find Joseph being in anyway disturbed by his brothers’ hatred or jealousy towards him. That was the reason why Joseph innocently told his father and his brothers of his second dream too (Genesis 37:10).

Let’s pray: “Dear Lord, you alone know how often my words and actions are being misunderstood by others. Though it is very hurting to see others misunderstanding me, I know that you alone understand me well. Give me the wisdom to speak and behave in ways that I may avoid being misunderstood. I need more of your grace and patience to bear the hatred, jealousy and misunderstandings of others like Jesus.

In Jesus’ name,...  Amen!"

Blessed day!

Our God Alone has Our Future in His Hands

Nothing is predictable and we cannot be certain of anything in our lives. Our limited knowledge and little understanding of today,  fail to help us to foresee what is in store for us tomorrow. Being ambitious, at times, we do plan to achieve many things in the future. But when nothing happens as per our plans, we are shattered. Thus, the best thing to do is to be faithful today in the little things God has entrusted in our hands and leave the things of the future in His hands. Our thought for reflection this Tuesday morning is, "Our God alone has our future in His hands."

 

Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, "Listen to this dream I had: We were binding shelves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your shelves gathered around mine and bowed down to it" (Genesis 37:5-7).

 

In Genesis 37 we read that Joseph had two dreams. From the first dream we come to know that Joseph would reign over his older brothers. From the second dream we realize that not only his brothers but even his parents would bow down before him in the future. The God given two dreams could have had two purposes:

 

1. To ENCOURAGE

 

We need to look at the context in which God gave Joseph the dreams.  It was definitely at a time when he was going through a period of discouragement. In Genesis 37:4 we read, Joseph's brothers "hated him and could not speak at kind word to him." He must have been really discouraged to be hated by own brothers. Then the Bible says "Joseph had a dream" (Genesis 37:5). God gave dreams to Joseph to strengthen him to handle discouragement. Has not God been faithfully sending His Word or an individual or other different ways to encourage us at times of discouragement?

 

2. To ENSURE

 

At a time when Joseph was despised by his brothers, God gave the dreams to indicate to him that that it was He and not his brothers, who would determine what would happen to him in the future. God's revelation of what was to come was to ensure Joseph that his future was in God's hands.  Does not God's Word ensure us of His plans for our future, though our current situations may be bad?

 

Are we discouraged by what's happening or not happening in our lives? Are we too worried about how our future is going to be? We may not know and we need not know anything about our future so long as we know our God and that our beloved God has our future in His hands.

Let's pray:

"Dear Lord I am comforted and encouraged to know that you always send your Word or someone or use someways to strengthen me whenever I am discouraged. I believe that you alone have the blueprint of my future. Thus, since I know you, I begin this new day with the joy and confidence that my future is safe in your hands.

In Jesus' name,...  Amen!"

Our God is Quite Aware of Both the Good and the Bad that Happens to Us

Our life is sometimes like a jigsaw puzzle. Often we find great difficulty in making sense of the incidents, events, circumstances, problems and difficulties that we face in everyday life. Sometimes we understand though most of the times we do not. At times our life may even appear to be in a mess and at other times things may appear to be slowly taking a shape. We are terribly disturbed by the gross injustices done to us, too. The more we try to understand the incidents that we encounter or find answers to questions that troubles us, the more we are confused. Thus the best thing to do is to leave everything to God. Our thought for reflection this Monday morning is, “Our God is quite aware of both the good and the bad that happens to us.”

 

“Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons because he had been born to him in his old age. And he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” (Genesis 37:3-4).

 

Chapter 37 is the beginning of a new section in the book of Genesis, which introduces to us Joseph as a young man. He is projected here as a teenager who experienced both love and hatred in his life. Joseph can be considered as a typical example of a Christian who experiences both good and bad in this fallen and evil world.

 

1. Joseph ENJOYED special blessings .

 

The Bible says, “Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons...” (Genesis 37:3a). Probably Jacob was doing what his own mother Rebekah did to him. Jacob definitely practised favouritism by loving Joseph more than any of his other children. Joseph even received a specially made robe from his father. Though they appear to be special preferences or partiality shown by Jacob towards Joseph, they are just glimpses of the special favours that Joseph received from God later in his life. Are we taking our blessings for granted without realizing that they are special divine favours which we do not deserve at all?

 

2. Joseph EXPERIENCED hatred.

 

Three times the Bible says that Joseph was hated by his brothers. Genesis 37:4b says, “…they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Genesis 37:5 says, “Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more.” Again the Bible again says, “And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said” (Genesis 37:8b). These experiences of Joseph emphasizes the truth that the sufferings to the righteous are definitely known to God. Are we terribly troubled when we experience hatred, abuse and ill treatment at the hands of those who live and work with us and those who are close to us?

 

Let’s pray:

“Dear Lord, I come before you with gratitude for all the special blessings and privileges that I enjoy though I really do not deserve them. Give me the grace and patience to handle the ill treatment, abuse and hatred that I experience every day in my life. I believe the words of the Psalmist who says, “For His anger lasts only a moment but His favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalms 30:5). Lord I am comforted by the thought that you are fully aware of what I am going through. In Jesus’ name I pray,... Amen!

Have a blessed week!

Our God Knows if our Worship is Genuine or Not and Responds to it Accordingly

Good morning! There is an old story about a man who dreamed that an angel escorted him to church one Sunday. There he saw the keyboard musician playing vigorously, the praise team singing joyfully, the musicians playing their instruments with gusto. But the man heard no sound. The congregationwas singing, but the sound was utterly muted. When the Pastor rose to speak, his lips moved, but there was no volume.  In amazement, the man turned to the angel for an explanation. "This is the way it sounds to us in heaven," said the angel. "You hear nothing because there is nothing to hear. These people are engaged in the form of worship, but theirthoughts are on other things and their heart's are very far away" explainedthe angel. Is it true that we often do many things in our own way and call them as worship? But what is important is whether God has accepted our worship or not. Our thought for reflection this morning is, "Our God knows if our worship is genuine or not and responds to itaccordingly."

 "Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar , and he called the placeEl Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing form his brother"
 
(Genesis 35:6-7).

God accepted Jacob's worship as it was a genuine and sincere worship, with an understanding of who He was. At the same time Jacob did not forget to continue to worship God when he was blessed by God. The Bible reveals that clearly:

1. God APPEARED to Jacob

When Jacob came to Luz in the land of Canaan he built an altar and called that place EL Bethel which means God of Bethel (Genesis 35:6-7).  The Bible says, because it was there that God revealed Himselfto Jacob he called the place El Bethel. Thus God responded to Jacob's worship byappearing to him. Do we worship God in such a way that it impacts God and force Him to respond?

2. God ASSURED Jacob of His Blessings. (Genesis 35:11)

The Bible later says that God appeared to him again and blessed him (Genesis 35:9). In response, Jacob set up a stone at the place where God had talked with him and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it (Genesis 35:14). That was Jacob's genuine response to God's blessing.Thus when Jacob worshipped,  God appeared and when God blessed, Jacob worshipped again. In spite of receiving and enjoying God's blessings abundantly, have we failed to worship Him as He deserves?

A W Tozer says,

"I am of the opinion that we should not be concerned about working for God until we have learned the meaning and the delight of worshipping Him."

Let's pray:

"Dear Lord forgive me for failing to Worship you with genuiness and sincerity. Pardon my insincere worship which has often been mere lip service. Forgive me for trying to serve you without worshipping you. Let my work, service and life be an overflow of my love and worship for you. Make me your true worshipper.

In Jesus' name,...  Amen!"

Blessed day!

Our God is Our only Reliable and all Sufficient God

Good Morning! It is quite natural for us get disappointed when family members and friends fail to do something that we want them to do or fail to show up at a place where we expect them to be or support us in the way that we need them. And we even at times come to the conclusion that there is no point in trusting anyone but always good to keep people at a distance. But are there times when we have been disappointed with God? Our thought for reflection this Tuesday morning is, “Our God is our only reliable and all sufficient God.”

 

“Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone” (Genesis 35:3)

 

Jacob was near Bethel but not close to the God of Bethel. Jacob’s condition was in no way different from that of many of us. At times we may appear to be close to God while the opposite could be true. So Bethel to Jacob evoked special memories of his earlier personal encounter with God for it was the place where he had felt very close to God. There he wanted to return to build an altar and worship him. As someone overwhelmed by gratitude towards God, Jacob declared to his family his desire to worship God at Bethel. While focusing on the reliability of God, Jacob mentioned two of His key attributes:

 

1. He is a God who ANSWERS US in the day of distress.

Jacob was in distress when he was exploited by his uncle Laban. But when he cried unto God, God answered, “I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you” (Genesis 31:12). When Jacob went to meet Esau, he was in great fear and distress (Genesis 32:7) and he cried unto to God (Genesis 32:9). God did protect him from Esau by giving favour in his eyes. Later God blessed him too (Genesis 32:29). Thus every time Jacob was in distress and called unto God, He answered him. Has not the same God been faithful to us too in keeping his promise:

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know?”
 
(Jeremiah 33:3)

2. He is a God who ACCOMPANIES US wherever we go.

When Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran, God appeared in his dream and promised,

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go…..”
 
(Genesis 28:15)

And God did keep that promise throughout his life. When he went in search of the future wife, God was with him and enabled him to find Rachel. When Jacob served Laban, God was with him and blessed the labour of his hands (Genesis 30:27). When Jacob fled from Laban secretly and expected Laban to harm him, God was with him and protected him (Genesis 31:29, 42). Is it not true that it is because God has been accompanying us wherever we go that we have been safe and successful?

Our God has truly been our only reliable support and our all sufficient God at all times. And will continue to be so today and in the future too. Let’s pray:

“Dear Lord, thank you so much for answering my prayers in the days of distress. Thank you for accompanying me wherever I go. It is because of you I am safe and successful in my life. I begin this new day with the confidence that you will be with me wherever I go and whatever I do. Lord I pray this morning like Moses, “If your presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here” (Exodus 33:15).

In Jesus’ name,...  Amen!

Blessed day!

Our God Sends His Right Word to us in Season

Sometimes, due to wrong decisions, we do face very serious consequences in life. At such situations we will be in a state of confusion, not knowing what to do next. But the very comforting part is, God does not easily give up on us. In spite of, we being unworthy of second or third chances, He still patiently reaches out to us, which is unbelievable. It is humbling to see our God, like a father whose love for his children never fails, coming after us always. The thought for our reflection this morning is, “Our God Sends His Right Word to us in Season."

Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau” (Genesis 35:1)

When we closely look at the context of the passage we come to know that Jacob was really in a troubled state of mind. Jacob’s sons had taken justice in their hands by killing every male of Shechem to avenge the wrong done to their sister Dinah by the son of the ruler of the area. When Jacob rebuked his sons for acting rashly, they brushed him aside by justifying their act as a fitting punishment for violating their sister. Thus, knowing very well Jacob’s state of mind, God sent His perfect Word to him.

1. God sent his Word to COMFORT Jacob.

Jacob was anxious that people living in that land might seek vengeance for what his sons had done to the males of Shechem. He said to Simeon and Levi,

“You have brought trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites, the people living in this land” (Genesis 34:30).

Thus when Jacob was frightened of retaliation for the murderous acts of his sons, God sent his Word to Jacob: “Go up to Bethel and settle there”. It was like God saying, “Jacob, don’t worry, I will handle the repercussions of your sons’ rash acts. But you go to the place where I want you to go.” Is it not true that whenever we are in a state of fear, God has never failed to send His Word to comfort us at the right time?

2. God sent his Word to CORRECTLY DIRECT Jacob.

The cause of Jacob’s troubles in Shechem was due to his disobedience. Instead of going straightaway from Paddan Aram to Bethel he settled in Shechem. So God directed Jacob clearly to go to Bethel and build an altar there for Him. Thus it was not only a word in season to comfort his disquieted mind but it was also a timely word to direct him to build an altar to worship God at Bethel. Are we in a state of confusion not knowing what to do next? Would not our God who directed Jacob correctly, direct us too?

Mathew Henry says,

“Bethel was forgotten by Jacob. But as many as God loves, He will remind of neglected duties, one way or other, by conscience or by providences."

The same God will comfort us when we are frightened and correctly direct us when we go in the wrong path by sending His Word. Let’s pray:

"Dear Lord, forgive me if I have neglected my duties or made decisions contrary to your plans. You alone know my fears and worries. “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy” (Psalms 94:19). “Direct my footsteps according to your Word; let no sin rule over me” (Psalms 119:133). Thanks for the perfect Word which you always send in season to comfort and direct me. In Jesus’ name, Amen!" 

Blessed weekend!

Our God Wants Us to Acknowledge Him in All Our Ways so that We May Not Miss His Path

Knowing God’s will and walking faithfully in His path is the greatest privilege and responsibility of God’s children. But finding God’s will at every stage of life is the biggest challenge that every child of God faces in his or her life. Billy Graham said, 

“God’s will is for us to commit our lives to Christ and follow Him. God’s will also is that we avoid sin.”

Distractions in life, attractions of the world, influence of the value systems of the world, and lack of sensitivity to His leading can easily deviate us from God’s will and path. Our thought for reflection this morning is “Our God Wants Us to Acknowledge Him in All Our Ways so that We May Not Miss His Path.”

“After Jacob came from Paddan Aram, he arrived safely at the city of Shechem in Canaan and camped within the sight of the city. For a hundred pieces of silver he bought from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, the plot of ground where he pitched his tent.”
(Genesis 33:18-19)

At first Jacob settled at Succoth (Genesis 33:17) which was on the borders of Canaan. That was Jacob’s strange decision as he was expected to return to Bethel. The key question is, “If God had called Jacob to return to his homeland, why he settled outside it? Later he moved in the direction of Bethel but again stopped short at Shechem, bought a piece of land and settled among the Hivites (Genesis 33:19). That suggests another departure of Jacob from God’s will and path. For that he paid a heavy price:

1. Jacob’s daughter Dinah was violated.

Shechem was just one day’s journey short of Bethel but yet Jacob disobeyed the call to return to Bethel and paid a heavy price for settling in Shechem. A young Hivite was infatuated with his daughter Dinah and violated her. That young man later wanted to legally marry Dinah which almost subjected Jacob’s descendants to lose their identity. If Jacob had accepted the proposal of the Hivites, surely he would have jeopardized God’s will of playing a critical role in bringing blessing to the nations by compromising the purity of the descent from Abraham. Are we too, at times, jeopardizing God’s perfect will in our lives by compromising our purity and doing our own will?

2. Jacob’s sons turned intomurderers.

In order to avenge the violation of their sister Dinah by the Hivite, Jacob’s sons plotted to murder all the men of Shechem. They deceived the men of Shechem by asking them to be circumcised before they could give their sister Dinah in marriage to the man who defiled Dinah. But after they all had been circumcised, Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi, attacked the unsuspecting city and killed every male (Genesis 34:25). Throughout the narrative in Genesis 34, we do not find Jacob seeking God’s intervention to handle his family problem. Jacob is portrayed as a father who had lost his moral authority to check his sons and allowed them to act as they liked. Are we too just remaining as silent spectators, when others are making major decisions for us and our families? 

Elizabeth Eliot warns us with these words: 

“The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God… or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.”

Let’s pray: 

“Dear Lord, we surrender ourselves to do only your will. Help us not to compromise our purity or remain silent, allowing others to make decisions for us. We decide to look up to you always for guidance. Give us the grace to be sensitive to your leading.
In Jesus’ name,... Amen!”

 Blessed day!

Our God Expects Us to Put Aside Our Self and to be Reconciled with Everyone

Our God is the True Source of All Blessings

We attempt to do many different things in life to be successful. There are times when we totally depend on our intelligence, past experiences, methods, and hard work to be successful in life. When we fail to succeed, we blame circumstances or others or ourselves. But we fail to understand that all blessings come from God. Did not Apostle Paul say, 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”
(Ephesians 1:3)

Our thought for reflection this Monday morning is, “Our God is the True Source of All Blessings.”

So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is day break.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
(Genesis 32:24-26)

In order to receive blessings, all through his life, Jacob had been wrestling with Esau, Isaac, and Laban. He even thought that just by using deceptive ways and strives he could always succeed in life. And he did outdo his brother Esau and uncle Laban and succeed in life, by using even devious methods. We learn two key lessons on receiving God’s blessings from the life of Jacob:

1. Goddoes hold the key to all blessings.

In this passage, Jacob was determined not to let go the angel of God without blessing him: Jacob replied, 

“I will not let you go unless you bless me”
(Genesis 32: 26b)

This incident shows that true blessing and even the possession of the Promised Land could come, not by deception or strife, but from Yahweh himself. Thus God who wanted to teach Jacob that true blessing was a gracious gift from God, intentionally initiated that incident in the life of Jacob. Jacob finally realized that it was Yahweh, who held the key to all blessings. Are we striving fruitlessly, too long, in our own ways, to receive blessings in our life, forgetting God, who is our true source of blessings?

2. God does at times, withholds His blessings.

When Jacob asked for blessing, the angel of God asked Jacob, 

“What is your name?”
(Genesis 32:27)

The moment Jacob confessed his name as “Jacob” which meant “deceiver”, the angel of God said,

“Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel” and then blessed him”
(Genesis 32:29)

Probably, it was Jacob’s realization of his sinful past as a supplanter or deceiver, resulted in God finally pronouncing his blessing upon him. Have we ever reflected on our past to know if there are any sins in our lives or disobedience to God which are causes for God withholding his blessings? 

A.W. Tozer said, 

“The goodness of God is the drive behind all the blessings He daily bestows upon us.”  

Let’s pray: 

“Dear Lord, forgive my own carnal attempts to be successful in my life. This morning I believe and confess that you are the true source of all blessings. Forgive me if my disobedience or sins have prevented you from blessing me. Like Jacob, I am determined to become a recipient of your blessings so that I can be a channel of blessing to many. Send me with your blessings as I begin another new day and a new week.
In Jesus’ name,...  Amen!” 

Blessed week ahead!

Our God, Being a God of Peace Wants Us also to be at Peace with Everyone

Differences and disagreements very often destroy relationships including marriages and friendships. No matter how much we try to maintain peaceful relationship, at the end of day we still sometimes face conflicts.  And we often come to the conclusion that the only way to maintain good relationship with those who are very “touchy” is to suppress our personalities and opinions when we are in conversation with them or totally avoid them. But God’s Word instructs us to be ambassadors of peace always. Our thought for our reflection this morning is, “Our God, Being a God of Peace Wants Us also to be at Peace with Everyone.”

“He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys”
(Genesis 31:1 3-16)

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
(Hebrews 12:14)

To be at peace or to reconcile means to make right or harmonize a strained relationship. And any attempt to make peace involves change of attitude and action. From Jacob’s action which is recorded in Genesis 31:13-16, we come to know two more important lessons on peaceful conflict resolution or reconciliation!

1. Positive action precedes peaceful reconciliation.

Jacob sent a variety of animals to Esau, thinking that Esau would understand his change of attitude and good will. He sincerely hoped that Esau would accept those gifts, forgive him and peacefully reconcile with him. For he thought, 

“I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.”
(Genesis 32:20)

Thus Jacob’s main motivation for his positive action was not just to pacify Esau but also to show him glimpses of his penitence and desire to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict between them. Have we ever attempted to do good to those who have been at loggerheads with us?

2. Personal preparation precedes peaceful reconciliation.

The Bible says that after sending away his flock Jacob spent the night there, alone, 

“So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.
(Genesis 32:21)

Following that we read, 

“After he had sent them (family) across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone….”
(Genesis 32: 23-24a) 

We read later that his time alone gave him the opportunity to have a spiritual encounter with God which turned out to be a life changing experience. Before attempting to reconcile with someone, do we spend time with God, asking him to show us our own follies which could have strained our relationships?

“Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
(Psalms 34:14)

Let us decide to do good to those with whom we have a strained relationship. May we spend more time in God’s presence to know where we have gone wrong! Let’s pray:

“Dear Lord, give me the grace to live in peace with everyone. Teach me to do good to those who have strained relationships with me. Help me to spend quality time with you to know my own weaknesses and follies. Prepare me spiritually so that living in peace with everyone and reconciliation wouldn’t be difficult for me.
In Jesus’ name,...  Amen!”