All posts by Virjil Selvan

13 Sep 2020

Mental Health – Peace During Stress

The dictionary defines stress as “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension.” Some stress is necessary and even good—such as the physical strain we put on our muscles to make them stronger. But when we talk about “stress,” we are usually referring to excessive or negative mental or emotional strain or tension. While “stress” is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, Scripture does speak to things such as anxiety, worry, and trouble—things we often associate with stress

Wanted to share a story about a person X, who looks and compares with others and gets stressed. The Person looks at his children and their needs which he / she can’t meet and gets stressed. The Person looks at his provision and thinks about the future and he / she gets stressed. The Person is no one else than you and me. We Can’t runaway from Stress.

Everyone suffers from stress at one time or another. How we naturally deal with it depends in large part on who we are. For some, emotional stress causes physical illness. Others might become hyper-productive. On the other hand, some people under stress shut down mentally and emotionally. And, of course, there are a variety of other responses. Stress is a common human experience, particularly in a world where the demands for our time and attention seem to be unending. Our jobs, health, family, friends, and even ministry activities can overwhelm us.

The top physical symptom reported is fatigue, and the top psychological symptom is irritability or anger.

When we look at Genesis 3, we remember why life is hard. We sinned. Adam and Eve chose independence over dependence on God in the very beginning of the world, leaving all generations to wrestle with learning how to depend on God the way we were designed to. From the moment that we chose independence, God has been calling us back to him. Uncertainties in life are opportunities to depend on God the way he intended us to.

Some of the common cause of stress is finances, our future, our job, career, health etc

John 16:33 – In this world we will have stress

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

We might also find ourselves stressed when facing a hardship or trial.

James 1:2–4 counsels, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

Here are a few characters in the Bible who had experienced pressures in their lives while serving God.

Daniel– Put yourself into his situation when he was thrown into the lion’s den. Without his sincere prayer, he might be attacked and eaten by all wild and hungry lions.

Esther– Convinced by her thought with only one choice to save her fellow Jews, she was determined to put her life at risk. Whatever things you might be thinking in her situation, it is still considered as stress.

Joseph– He was blamed and was punished for accusations that he didn’t do. He was sentenced to jail and that could become a great trouble for him. If other men would be placed into his tempting situation, most would fall in the seductive hands of Potiphar’s wife. All other struggles that Joseph faced can be regarded as a form of ‘acute stress.’

Elijah– One of his biggest stresses was when he saw the Cherith brook gradually drying. This compares to the dryness of your bank account, so it is still a stress.

David– if you were David, you might be highly pressured for your new position to rule the Kingdom as anointed by Samuel. It gives you more burden since King Saul is very much fugitive that he doesn’t want to leave his throne.

Moses– Imagine being a servant-leader just to free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. Think also of the time when he was disobeyed by the Israelites, when he was cursed and was teased by the Egyptians. Even though he had accomplished a great mission for God, some of the stress we are experiencing now can be incomparable to his struggles.

Paul– If only there is an award for a person who experienced several stresses in his/her life, nothing beats the experiences of Paul especially starting from the time he became a Christian. It started from an argument when Barnabas did not join him in his mission. He even experienced shipwrecks, snake bites until he came to the point of being put into jail. Paul faced a lot of sufferings and inconveniences and you can read more in the Bible.

Let us answer some practical questions:

  • What are the primary sources of my stress?
  • How often do I pray about the factors in my life causing me stress?
  • Do I trust God with my work, finances, health, relationships, and future?
  • What effects does my stress have on my loved ones?

Let us look from the story of Jehoshaphat

2 Chronicles 20:

20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites[a] came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.

2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom,[b] from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard 6 and said:

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us

When we are stressed , let us follow these guidelines which God is asking us to do.

  1. Look up:

Our first response would be to look up. We need to look up to God, whenever we feel stressed out look to God in Prayer. It can just be as simple as this, looking into the heavens and saying, “God please help me”. Jehoshaphat went to the Lord. He did not plan; he went to the Lord First. He said , You are God , You rule over all Nations. That means God you are in Control of this situation.

Matthew 11:28-30:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

  1. Look Back:

Jehoshaphat reminds himself about the past. In verse 7, Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel.

Look at your past, How God has been faithful from the time we were born. How we have experienced supernatural miracles in the past. How God worked for us in bigger situation than this.

Romans 8 :28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.

  1. Look Down:

In Verse 7 it says , God gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham.

Open our book/ your mind, where we have written all the prophesies and promises which we have received for us. Read that out, remind ourselves of those promises.

Proverbs 3:5-6:

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.

  1. Look Straight:

Walk in confidence ,In verse  9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us

Walk in confidence that God will hear and save us. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Psalm 55:22

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

The most stressful seasons in my life climax is that moment when I realize that I can’t do it all. I am reminded of my human finiteness and fallibility. Instead of losing my breath in anxiety, I should be able to breathe a deep sigh of relief. I can’t do it all, but I don’t have to. I am not enough, but Christ is.

Philippians 4:6-7:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

06 Sep 2020

Mental Health – Being Still in Anxiety

Being Still When Anxious Before, I begin with my sermon, I would like to share a short testimonial of a Christian person who faced severe anxiety Testimonial I’ve always considered myself to be a person who handles stress pretty well. I like to be busy. I enjoy taking risks. I never thought anxiety was my problem. Then, a little less than a year ago, I hit a wall. I could never seem to get enough sleep. Small tasks I had normally done with little thought or stress were suddenly accompanied with an almost crippling anxiety. One day as I was driving, it suddenly felt as though my heart was malfunctioning. That was my first panic attack. It was also the moment I realized I could no longer ignore the stress and anxiety that was slowly taking over my life. Something had to change. After that day, I began seeking counsel. I saw a doctor. I began making changes. By God’s grace, I am now no longer on any medication, the panic attacks are gone and my anxiety is at an all-time low. I still have days that are harder than others, but those days are increasingly few and far between. I continue to meet many people who find themselves in a similar place to where I was just a year ago. Those conversations have confirmed that we the Church have a long way to go when it comes to addressing issues of mental health. Many aren’t sure how to understand or respond to their struggle as Christians.” Definition of Anxiety: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety is the feeling of fear, worry, or unease, which most people experience occasionally. The stressful or unfamiliar situations and events that cause these feelings are what people call anxiety triggers. Anxiety resembles fear, but when a person experiences fear, they know what they are afraid of – whereas anxiety is often less specific. Mild anxiety is vague and unsettling, but severe anxiety can be extremely debilitating. Some people are more vulnerable to anxiety than others, but even those who become anxious easily can learn to manage it well. Negative self-talk, where people always tell themselves that the worst will happen, can cause anxiety. In fact, there are a wide range of causes and coping mechanisms; here we will explore some of the most common ones. Common reasons for feeling anxious include: social pressure work related stress financial difficulties medical worries Some of the Triggers that can cause Anxiety: Avoiding triggers (avoiding triggers and then facing it at some point in time, will definitely ignite anxiety to an extreme level). Sitting a test Socializing (People feel difficult to initiate conversation, therefore anxiety could be triggered) Being bullied (this could be in a work scenario or even in a social setting) Experiencing financial difficulty Experiencing a bereavement Becoming a parent (this could be because everything is new and one is unsure of how to go about a new born’s schedule. Also, financial constraints to bring up children can cause anxiety) Receiving a diagnosis of a severe illness Some people start avoiding everyday activities including: shops crowded places lectures and tutorials meetings and work situations social events It can be so easy to just give in to feelings of worry and negativity. What’s going to happen next? If you’re a Christian, however, we have hope in a Savior that cares for us.  He gives us strength in hard times, and he wants us to look to Him in prayer when our circumstances start to overwhelm us. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 Anxiety can be crippling, but we can replace it with thankful prayers and thoughts and look to Christ for peace. There’s a saying that ‘A hundred load of worry will not pay an ounce of debt. – George Herbert’ Proverbs 12:25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. 1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Many times, we will be caught in a very helpless situation. We feel so nervous, anxious, and fearful, as if the whole result or the consequence of it depended on us. Let’s look at a case study from the bible itself: Mark 4:35-41 35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” What is the event here? It’s a storm, in the middle of the sea. There is no way one can be rescued, other than a life boat or a rescue intervention in today’s terminology. What are the kinds of feeling one would have? It would be feelings of hopelessness, fear, anxiety, all is gone feeling, some may be picturising their family and the feeling of helplessness. Some may also contemplate the decision of following Jesus. Some may be cursing him in their heart that why this man is behaving in this manner. Therefore, all kinds of anxiety along with anger, or some kind of frustration is welling up. What is the response of the disciples? They panic, fear grips them, they become anxious or worried about their life. We are focusing on anxiety here. What does Jesus do? He stills the storm. He says where is your faith? It’s a clear-cut response by Jesus, when we are anxious or worried or fearful, have faith. Have faith not in yourself or your ability to rescue yourself but have faith that God is able to handle this situation. Being still is so difficult in an extremely urgent situation. Let’s look at some of the ways we can practice curbing anxiety, frustrations and panic:
  1. Taking few deep breaths: Calm yourself.
Find a place where you just don’t think about the situation. Settle your thoughts, give yourself time to think about your calling, the purpose for which God made you. Even Jesus would have times with Himself.
  1. Admit there’s a problem: Disciple knew that they are fearful of the storm. pushing through without addressing the problem can lead to an inevitable and ugly crash
 
  1. Take Care of Yourself Physically:
Exercise Firstly, it decreases levels of stress hormones within the body. Secondly, it makes people focus on the task of exercising, and this can distract them from ruminative thoughts. In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul encourages believers to remember that our body is a living temple, one that has been bought at a great price, and therefore we ought to glorify God with it. Taking care of our bodies, therefore, is a spiritual endeavour Eat Well Sleep Well Avoid procrastination: People with anxiety may be prone to putting off important tasks or projects to temporarily avoid stress. However, procrastination often results in a last-minute rush to complete tasks before a deadline. This causes even greater stress and anxiety.
  1. Be Intentional About What Goes into Your Mind:
Philippians 4:8 says this: “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.”
  1. Don’t Neglect the Spiritual:
You and I are spiritual beings, which means there is always more going on than meets the eye.You must make a habit of utilizing the power of prayer, the gift of the Scriptures and the support of Christian community who can help you discern the lies you are tempted to believe and who will remind you of who you truly are in Christ. Prayer: Last time we investigated the aspect of prayer. We said we need to pray. However, we didn’t discuss how we need to pray. We need to specifically address the issue of what is causing the anxiety. Disciples did not start with a psalm or something. They genuinely blurted out the words that was causing them fear. Lord, we are going to drown, rescue us. We see this with King David also, he would tell God what he is going through at that point, be it an attack from his enemy or be it betrayal from his army, and so on. Jesus poured out His agony in the garden of Gethsemane. Only talking to God – heart to heart, will relieve us. Ask for Anointing Prayer Ask people in your community to pray a prayer of anointing and also for all that gets you anxious and panicked. Philippians 4:6-7  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.
30 Aug 2020

Mental Health – Depression & Restoration

We rub shoulders every day with people who are desperate, hurting, and lonely. To be honest, many days, we might be those people, the desperate, the hurting, the lonely.

The Series on Mental Health is being discussed during this season to HELP us (Maybe we need it) and to equip us (Maybe others need it)

For those afflicted with depression, please understand you are not alone in how you feel. A sad truth is that many Christians suffer from depression and, either do not know it (they are miserable but do not know why) or cannot admit it because they think that it could be a spiritual problem. So, they suffer in silence hoping and praying for deliverance; but the consequences of doing nothing often results in further complication.

Clinical Depression can sometimes be caused by a physical disorder that needs to be treated with medication and/or counselling. Of course, God can cure any disease or disorder. However, in some cases, seeing a doctor for depression is no different than seeing a doctor for an injury. For this message , I need to take lot of help from online sources and bring together the word of God for our community. Let us begin..

Misconception: It is shameful to discuss mental illness openly.

Reality: Church community should be a safe environment for people to discuss mental health without judgment.

Misconception: You can always tell if someone is depressed by outward appearances or actions.

Reality: You cannot always tell that someone is depressed from how they look or act.

Misconception: Depression will go away if you pray hard enough or have enough faith.

Reality: Depression usually needs to be treated with more than prayer.

Misconception: Depression is a punishment from God.

Variation: If you feel depressed, it is because you have unconfessed sin.

Reality: Depression is not the fault of the person who is suffering. It is a difficult trial that can refine someone’s faith, but it is not a punishment for sin.

Misconception: Depression is just an excuse for laziness or not doing your “Christian duty.”

Variation: You are letting God and your church down if you are too depressed to serve or minister.

Reality: God loves you however much you do to serve Him.

Though the Bible doesn’t use the word “depression” except in a few translations and verses, it’s often referenced by other similar words, such as “downcast,” “broken hearted,” “troubled,” “miserable,” “despairing,” and “mourning,” among others.

Depression is not new to us in today’s world , it existed in the bible, there are a number of stories about godly, influential men and women of faith, who struggled and battled through dark times of hopelessness and depression.

  1. Complete loss or absence of hope: David

Depression:

David battled with despair. In 2nd Samuel 12:18

18 On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”

Restoration:

20 Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate.

21 His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!”

22 He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

24 Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her.

As we mentioned before, it is ok to be depressed but we can move out from it by the strength of God.

All these stories of these great men of God is penned down in the bible, that itself gives us the hope. David expresses his feelings, so it is alright, even for us to share and express if we are depressed. The Bible does not hide his feelings but gives us a hope and direction on how we can overcome it.

“My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.” Ps. 38:4

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Ps. 42:11

  1. Discouraged, Afraid & Weary : Elijah

Depression:

Elijah was tired, weary , exhausted as he was running for his life from Jezebel

1 Kings 19 :4

“I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”

Restoration:

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.

It was an Instant response from God , he sent and Angel and then we see in the later verse that God himself met him. This Bread and Water can symbolically signifying anything to us . it can be a word of God, Coming to the living water etc.

  1. Angry and wanted to run away from God : Jonah

Depression:.

3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Restoration:

5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant

God showcases the concern to Jonah and teaches him from the plant. We all know the latter part of the story; God sends a worm which eats the leaf and then God demonstrates to him about the concern which he had for the people of Ninevah.

Feelings of depression can often be solved when those suffering with depression move the focus from themselves to Christ and others

As for whether to take medication for depression, the Bible does not address that specifically. But Jesus, in His life and ministry, made it clear that healing — and seeking healing — is a good thing. He also acknowledged that the sick need a doctor (Matthew 9:12). And Paul, when he mentioned Timothy’s chronic stomach ailments, didn’t indicate he should suffer in his illness but rather take measures to alleviate it (1 Timothy 5:23).

  1. Loss, physical illness & devastated: Job

Depression:

“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb?” Job 3:11

even his own wife said, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9

“Terrors overwhelm me…my life ebbs away, days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones, my gnawing pains never rest.” Job 30:15-17

Job literally lost everything, his fortune, children, and he had physical illness with sores in his body. He was going through a phase of depression

Restoration:

Even with all these, he never gave up and we see God.

12 The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters.

 

  1. Deeply anguished (severe mental or physical pain or suffering) about what is yet to come: JESUS

Depression:

Isaiah prophesied that Christ would be “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Isaiah 53:3

Mark 14:34-36

“And He said to them, ‘My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.’ And He went a little beyond them and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by. And He was saying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.'”

Restoration:

And we all are aware that it was God’s will that Jesus must undergo the process.

And Jesus did not give up to Depression but rather he overcame it.

From all these stories, we know that God was with all of them. Each story, we read we saw how God was speaking , directing , comforting them.

“The LORD is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Ps. 34:18

Help is available. Don’t feel the need to try to hide your pain or struggle through on your own. Talk to a friend or counsellor or our NHC community. Seek out professional treatment and care.

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

23 Aug 2020

Mental Health – Emotional Wellbeing

This pandemic has exposed our mental state or emotional state. We are stuck in our homes. There is no way we can take a chance to go out for a breather. There are times when our family members are sick, and we are unable to help them as we could have in a normal circumstance. These are times when all kinds of emotions come out. We become frustrated, anxious, stressed out, fear grips us about our future, Joblessness or pay cuts make us vulnerable to depression. Also, being a Christian adds into the pressure that we cannot behave in a certain manner because we know Jesus. As subtle this thought looks, so is the consequence of it. We have certain burnout symptoms, which we keep ignoring till it affects us completely.

Before we investigate what is emotional health, we need to identify what is not healthy. Just like we take care of our body, we need to take care of our mind. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, MIND, strength, and soul.

  1. Pent up emotions: When we start doing that, we are accumulating a lot of disasters. Passive Aggression is one of the most dangerous emotions.
  2. Former affects us even now: We take decisions based on the past emotions or feelings and no new rational methods are introduced. We don’t allow others to grow in faith or dependency on God because we want to take control.
  3. Workaholism: Working ourselves to tiredness, so that we forget the pain or hurt. Keeping ourselves busy is different from workaholism. It’s a way of escapism, rather than dealing with the problem. Even sitting idle for a long duration of time causes a lot of unhealthy outcomes. We need to balance it out.
  4. Refraining Self care: It looks selfish, it is not biblical, (Even Jesus took time out), feeling guilty because of a good laugh, is not unhealthy or a sin. It’s always good to keep it in perspective.
  5. Projecting to be strong: Only God is strong. He can only give us the strength. It’s two different aspects, projecting means, we are not strong, but we look strong and on the other hand we are really able to take on problems cheerfully. Even Jesus broke down in the garden of Gethsemane.

If we continue with our unhealthy behaviours then we’ll either harm our body or get into a psychosomatic disorder. So what is emotional health or well being? We will be looking at it on a weekly basis as a series.

How do I recognize that my emotions are harmful and not helpful? Anything extreme and obstructing our daily functioning is not healthy. Be aware that the Enemy is out to steal kill and destroy. He attacks the mind which eventually affects our health.

A useful definition of emotional wellbeing is offered by the Mental Health Foundation: ‘A positive sense of wellbeing which enables an individual to be able to function in society and meet the demands of everyday life; people in good mental health have the ability to recover effectively from illness, change or misfortune.’

What many don’t realize is that common symptoms like stress, anxiety, and depression are also tied to mental health. Among Christians, it’s easy to dismiss these emotions as personal flaws in our moral character, but nothing could be further from the truth.

For Christians, practicing emotional self-care can be extremely difficult. Things which benefit our mental health can often feel selfish or self-indulgent, so we avoid them out of guilt and misplaced shame. Yet our mental health affects how we think, feel and respond on a daily basis. It can even take a toll on our spiritual life if we’re not careful. It’s important to remember that God does not want his children to suffer unduly, and we cannot be faithful disciples if we’re avoiding our own problems. So if you find yourself overburdened with anxiety or worry, here are 5 ways you can invest in your own mental well-being.

  1. Pray

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. – 1 John 5:14

Prayer should always be our first approach to any problem. Before we set out to face our inner demons, it helps to take a moment and return our hearts to God. Scripture tells us that the Lord hears our prayers and will walk with us through any trial (Psalm 102:17), so we shouldn’t worry about standing alone. God knows our fears, he knows our suffering, and he loves us through it all. That knowledge alone can be very encouraging.

So take a moment and present your troubles to God. Tell him about your anger, your sadness, and your fear. Don’t be ashamed, because he wants to hear your worries. Who knows? By the end, you may discover your burden has grown a little lighter.

  1. Lean on Your Community

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2-12

Never be embarrassed to share your struggles with other Christians. The Church was created so that fellow believers could nurture, protect, and inspire one another as they pursued Christ. Many  put on a showy display of being happy, wholesome individuals when inside they’re barely holding together. This type of thinking is neither healthy nor holy.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s ok to reach out to your community for help. Find someone within the congregation whom you trust and let them know what’s happening. No Christian was meant to go through life alone. So instead of toughing it out, lean on your fellow believers and remember we’re all strongest when we work together.

3.Read Your Bible

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

This one should be an easy verse. Scripture is filled with multiple, encouraging passages for anyone going through a rough period. For starters, it helps to know several Biblical figures also struggled with depression and anxiety. Job was so miserable he cursed the day of his birth (Job 3:1). A dejected Elijah actually went into the wilderness and begged God to kill him (1 Kings 19:4). Even Jesus knew how it felt to suffer mental anguish (Luke 22:44). If you’re feeling depressed, just know you’re in good company.

Thankfully, the message doesn’t stop there. The Bible teaches us that God will give us strength (Isaiah 40:31), provide shelter (Nahum 1:7), and walk with us through these dark times (Psalm 23:4). His message is one of hope, grace, and ultimately, joy. Whatever this world may throw at you, remember that Christ will see you through.

  1. Practice Gratitude

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18

There’s an old song for children which goes, “Count your blessings, name them one by one. Count your blessings, see what God has done.” It’s a fairly useful piece of advice. When you’re angry or upset, it’s easy to forget all the good things which are happening in life. So it always helps to pause and count your blessings. Do you have a roof over your head? Clean drinking water? A family who loves you? That’s more than most have.

Counting your blessings may not mitigate your suffering, but it will remind you things aren’t as bad as they seem. Practicing gratitude is one of the most effective ways of staving off bitterness and depression. It might even be worthwhile to combine this step with #2, and create a journal of gratitude to revisit when you’re feeling low.

  1. Rest

“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” – Genesis 2:2

This may be the hardest entry for Christians to accept. Our modern society moves at a blinding speed, and we’re constantly told to work longer, achieve higher, and contribute more often. Even on the weekends, our schedules overflow with tasks like doing laundry, cleaning the house, fixing the car, or shuffling the kids off to sports practice. We have effectively forgotten how to rest.

True relaxation is necessary for a healthy mind. If even God was willing to take a break, so should you! Spend some time reading a fun book, do a puzzle, take a nap, go see a movie, or grab a massage at your local outlet mall. Self-care isn’t necessarily selfish, it just ensures you’re not burning yourself out. So take the afternoon and treat yourself.

There are other ways we can take care of our emotional well – being is just trust God to heal. Rejuvenate, laugh, most important factor is forgiveness. Love and forgive. Most of our ways of forgiveness is very different. We forgive children very instantly, because we know that what they do is very unintentional or we are far more grown up to hold a grudge against a child. Similarly, when we practice this with adults, we will be able to forgive better. Jesus said on the cross, ‘Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.’ He considered the same that we do for children. Forgive and allow God to intervene.

Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

05 Apr 2020

Overcoming – FEAR

The bible talks about “Fear” more than 500+ times and “Fear Not”, some believe it’s mentioned 365 times in the bible and could be used for 365 Days .

Two explorers were on a jungle safari when suddenly a ferocious lion jumped in front of them. “Keep calm FEAR NOT” the first explorer whispered. “Remember what we read in that book on wild animals? If you stand perfectly still and look the lion in the eye, he will turn and run.” “Sure,” replied his companion. “You’ve read the book, and I’ve read the book. But has the lion read the book?”

We are all like the second explorer .We all Fear about something but God says Fear Not and we need to overcome this fear. We are doing a 4 week series on Overcoming and Today we are going to see how to overcome Fear.

I believe that there will be transformation of Hearts. During this one month, with the help of God, NHC will become overcomers. We are going to look at this in 3 different steps:

  • What is Fear?
  • What has caused this Fear?
  • How to overcome this Fear?

We all have Fears in Life. Fear of Failures, Fear of lack of Provision, Fear of Persecution, Fear of Identity, Fear of Situation. We will face all these challenges, but we are called to be overcomers.

  1. Fear of Failures

What if we Fail, we are used to failures so much in Life that whatever we do , we feel that we will fail in our lives. We will lose things in life but God is saying this day to overcome this “fear of failures” and FEAR NOT.

Let us look from the Life of Gideon. Judges Chapter 6:12-13

12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

As per Gideon , The Lord has abandoned him , his family , his community. Don’t call me a mighty warrior, Gideon said. The Lord has abandoned us.

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

Judges 6:

for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. 2 Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 4 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys. 5 They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count them or their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it. 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help

All there efforts were in Vain. They did not see any fruit of their work.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

Deuteronomy 31:6

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Today our God is promising us, Do not fear of failures. Continue , don’t give up and keep pursuing . The Lord God is going before you.

  1. Fear of Lack of Provision :

Provision can be anything, a lack in our daily needs. It can be a good Jeans or an owned house or lack of Food. To put it in a simpler way, it’s a Lack in our basic needs like FOOD , CLOTHING & SHELTER

Are we facing Fear because of lack of provision.

Let us look from the life of the Widow of Zarephath 1 kings 17: 12

12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug

Currently when we look at our provision , we feel so feared. It’s handful, what about our children fees, what about our EMI and we feel so feared.

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.

There was a prophesy , There will not be any rain. So there was no way the widow had any hope of provision.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

Luke 12:6-7

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.

We need to trust God that he is our provider. We need to understand that all our provision only comes from him not by our work , our efforts. Is he who provides us.

  1. Fear of Persecution

We fear being persecuted . We fear losing our lives. A Fear of Death

Let us learn from the life of Disciples , Matthew 26:56

56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

3 Years they were all together but they deserted him.

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

Fear of being recognised as the disciples of Jesus so they fled. They were afraid to testify that they were with Jesus or they believe in Jesus.

69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.

70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

All of them denied because of fear of death or being persecuted.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

Psalm 23:4

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

We have to trust God that he will save us , protect us and we need to testify about Jesus wherever possible because God is with us.

  1. Fear of Identity

Fear of identity is caused when we are insecure about who we are. There is a fear which grips us, and we feel so insecure because of the other person. Maybe the other person has better talent than us, he/she is an influencer and we forget who we are in Christ. A unique personality.

Let us learn from the life of Saul, 1 Samuel 18:7-9

7 As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,

and David his tens of thousands.”

8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

Fear of loosing his kingship & kingdom to David (verse 8 , What more can he get but the kingdom)

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

When he heard Praises from Others for David. He felt so insecure and there was fear of losing his identity.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Our Identity is in Christ Alone. We need to be secure in his calling , his purpose. We need to be more worried of what Christ thinks about us than what people think about us.

  1. Fear of Situation

When there are circumstances, challenges & difficult situations. We have fear of how to face it .

Matthew 8:23-25

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

A. FEAR : What is the Fear?

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake. Everything was good but suddenly everything changed. All was well, the climate was well , things were so good and everything was so good in my family but everything just changed because of a situation.

B. CAUSE : What has caused this Fear?

so that the waves swept over the boat. Initially there was a storm but now it started coming inside the boat and it started affecting them . The waves / storm started affecting our life , our family.

C. FEAR NOT : How to overcome this Fear?

Faith in that Storm , however furious it may look like? We need to stand still and know that our God is in Control.

We can overcome this fear by Faith. Jesus said in that same verse . 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Let us Read Psalm 23 the backbone of overcoming all our fears. We always need to remind us about this Psalm EVERYDAY

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

2     He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3     he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths

for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk

through the darkest valley,[a]

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff,

they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

forever.

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

29 Mar 2020

Being Sheep

Being Sheep, or rearing sheep

Peter was Jesus’ disciple. He was getting to know him. He was in a state of repentance and at the same time filled with passion. He had denied Jesus 3 times. Hence, he was all the more eager to spread the message of truth. We’ll look at the conversation that Peter and Jesus had. We are also very similar to Peter. We love Jesus. We are getting to know him. We are repenting for our iniquities just like Peter. Now imagine this conversation between you and Jesus.

John 21: 15 –

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.

three things: Feed my lamb, take care of my sheep, feed my sheep

Who is a sheep? To make it easier, let’s look at the characteristics of a sheep and it’s rearer.

Sheep : The average lifespan for sheep is 10 to 12 years. Sheep are ruminants (multi-stomached animals) and consequently, they rely mainly on hay or pasture for their dietary needs. They will need at least eight hours of grazing time per day. When working with sheep, be very calm and gentle in your approach. Sheep are suspicious animals by nature and will spook easily if you yell or handle them roughly. Handling your sheep too roughly will actually cause them to struggle more, so the best approach is to apply just enough restraint to keep them still while you work with them. We recommend allowing one acre of land for every three to six sheep. This acreage may vary, depending on the type of land available. In areas that experience hot weather, pastures should have shaded areas for the sheep to prevent them from overheating. Sheep should always have access to their barn and to fresh water at all times, especially during hot weather. Sheep need to have their hooves trimmed every six to 10 weeks. This is a very important task because neglecting hoof trimming can lead to lameness and infection in your sheep.During your daily contact with your sheep, always be on the lookout for any physical or behavioural changes. Symptoms indicating illness include loss of appetite, weakness or staggering, labored or fast breathing, diarrhea, or lameness. If any of these symptoms occur, pull the animal from the flock and conduct a full health check. If you cannot determine the cause of the condition, consult your veterinarian.

There are a few points that I understood that will help us. Peter was a fisherman and now God is calling him to take care of sheep (people). God has called us. We may be very different people. But there are few points that we can ponder upon.

Firstly, who is my sheep? Is this verse written for a church pastor only? I don’t think so. It is written to every believer and disciple of Jesus. Then you’d ask me, who is my sheep? Who do I feed or take care of? I believe, sheep is anyone under our custody or care. By God’s grace we have our workplaces, whatever position we are in, that work area is my custody. God expects me to pray for my area of influence, not only for promotion or an increment but for blessing over my work place. My family is in my custody, or care. They are my sheep. My neighbourhood, my friends, not only believer friends but mostly unbelievers, they are all my sheep. Can we think of five people whom you can call your sheep? People in your care. Think of 5 people  in your care. You may have more.

When Jesus says my Sheep, he knows them and wants our participation in helping them grow. So now, since we know our sheep, what is my action plan?

  1. They will need at least eight hours of grazing time per day – in other words feed them

“Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding. Jeremiah 3:15

Feed them with the word of God

Feed them with a vision

Feed them with prayer

Feed them with guidance

  1. When working with sheep, be very calm and gentle in your approach, because they are highly suspicious.

This you know, my beloved brethren But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; James 1: 19

A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger. Prov 15: 1

I need to watch my behaviour when I am with my sheep. If I need my sheep to listen to me, I need to build that trust in them. I need to show my concern and care. I need to keep stable, so that I don’t create a suspicious atmosphere for them. In other words, I train myself, I seek my shepherds help to shepherd his sheep. Sometimes the sheep can be really difficult. They can be hard to manage, we need to to apply just enough restraint to keep them still while we work with them. We need to know the impact that our words can make towards the other person. We need to be firm but not harsh or overbearing. At the same time we can’t let go, and say that I am gentle with them. We have to address the concerns / issues wisely and immediately or else it could have a severe side effect.

  1. Sheep should always have access to their barn and to fresh water.

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? Psalm 139: 7

No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 1 John 4: 12

We need to keep ourselves available. Keep ourselves ready for mentoring and discipling. Fresh water means help them to get the revelation of God afresh. Keep them safe. Being accessible at all times is humanly impossible but we must teach them to run to the word of God. Teach them to run to prayer, and hear from him. The safest place in this whole world is the presence of God. Why I say that is because, wherever, I am only His presence can hide me from every danger and at the same time only His presence can comfort us. Therefore, we need to teach them to run into the presence of God for safety.

  1. Always be on the lookout for any physical or behavioural changes.

do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2: 4

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; Romans 12: 10

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13: 34 – 35

It says in our daily contact, LOOKOUT. Many times, we get so busy with our routine, that we forget to intentionally LOOKOUT. We overlook OR NEGLECT many symptoms that could lead to poor relationships. Jesus said take care of my sheep, means, I am responsible for their well being. Sheep are very susceptible to infections and other illnesses, which can be fatal. If we overlook, these we may lose them forever or it’ll be too late to heal. Checkout, be accountable, help them to open up to their problem areas. Let’s not be quick in judging but we need to take on the role of helping them out of the situation or helping them heal or help them identify the issue.

Shrek the sheep became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Of course, during this time his fleece grew without anyone having shorn (shaved) it. When he was finally found and shaved, his fleece weighed an amazing sixty pounds – 50 lbs more than normal and enough to make twenty men’s suits.

Shrek carried six times the regular weight of his fleece simply because he was away from his shepherd. It took a professional sheerer less than a half hour to rid him of his burden.

Shrek died back in 2011, but his story has just recently resurfaced in news outlets and social media sites alike due to a new interest in the science of fleece growth: Modern Farmer an internet resource for the farming community was curious: can a sheep’s wool grow forever? Its writer, Jesse Hirsch, interviewed Dave Thomas, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s head of sheep studies. Thomas says a Merino sheep like Shrek will grow wool indefinitely.

APPLICATION

Apparently, when God created sheep he had their need for people in mind. More specifically, their need for a shepherd. The same is true of us. Life involves the accumulation of burdens. Burdens that can’t be tended to without the help of the Good Shepherd.

One internet blogger had this to say of Shrek’s plight:

Shrek is much like a person who knows Jesus Christ but has wandered. If we avoid Christ’s constant refining of our character, we’re going to indefinitely accumulate extra weight in this world—a weight we don’t have to bear.

When Shrek was found, a professional sheep shearer took care of Shrek’s fleece in twenty-eight minutes. Shrek’s sixty pound fleece was finally removed. All it took was coming home to his shepherd.

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Are we willing to be that Peter?

Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

22 Mar 2020

Hope , Affliction & Prayer

Romans 12:12

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Hope, Affliction and Prayer

Paul the author, is writing this letter to the people of Rome, predominantly Gentile.

Most likely the place where it is written is Corinth.

Themes that emerge from this book are (a)Basic Gospel (b)God’s plan of salvation, (c)Jew and Gentile alike.

Let’s look at the specific verse in Romans 12:12

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

He wants us to be rejoicing in Hope and be patient when we face tribulation and be constant / or be faithful in prayer.

Let us divide the verse in 3 parts, and see what God is speaking to us this day.

  1. Be Joyful in Hope

Romans 5:2-5

Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

There are people who are so optimistic , confident of future or success.(We know so many of them , our friends ..They are positive thinkers) In contrary to that, when we look at the bible, it is the blessed assurance of our future destiny and is based on God’s love, which is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit and objectively demonstrated to us in the death of Christ.

When we first believed in Christ, the holy spirit poured out his love in our hearts and his love for us continues to dwell in us.

And this morning we carry that Love and it dwells within us. Therefore, we need to be confident, secured and be joyful, in this Hope that his LOVE will not put us to shame.

 

1 PETER 1:3-9

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Though we have not seen him, we love him and believe in him. We have this Joy in our heart. God has given us inheritance that can never perish. Can we say Amen.

So, we should be joyful of this hope because, his love dwells in us and we will have an inheritance that will never perish.

 

  1. Patient in Affliction

 

John 16:33

 

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

 

Matthew 10:22

22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved

 

We need to stand firm when we face challenges / loss. It should not be a surprise to us that why we are facing tribulation. Jesus said we will face challenges; we will have trouble. We will face those challenges which no one has ever faced.

Enduring triumphantly is necessary for us.

 

  1. Faithful in Prayer

One must not only pray in hard times, but also always maintain communion with God through prayer .

Luke 18- 1:8

18 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give upHe said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

In verse 1 Jesus was teaching his disciples, that they should always pray and not give up. God will hear our prayers, who cry out to him.

Now what are the challenges which we face in our regular routine which doesn’t allow us to be Joyful in Hope, to be Patient in tribulation and constant in our prayer lives?

  1. Breakdown in relationship with God: How this happens? It is because of our sinful nature. God speaks to us about his Love but we don’t care about it, however, he pursues us each and every day, even though we may have gone far away from him.
  2. When things are stretched out of limit, we slowly start losing the Joy and Patience. We end up with no prayer life. And Who doesn’t want to be happy, we all want to be happy. Are we going to be happy when we lose a Job, lose something which is important? It depends upon circumstances or Lack of faith.

When we look at the life of JESUS , He knew what he’s going to do, it’s not an end.

I need to ask myself regarding verse 12, “Do these three phrases describe me? Is my life full of joy in hope? Do I joyfully persevere in tribulation? Am I devoted to prayer?” To the extent that you and I fall short of these qualities, we need to grow!

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

15 Mar 2020

Fear Faith and Me

Fear Faith and Me

Amidst all the news of Corona Virus, also known as Covid – 19, we are here today. Really appreciate us. While I was preparing this message, I was reminded of Noah and His Ark. Imagine just like this virus, the whole Earth was filled with water. In the news you could only see, one country being affected, then it comes to the other, and in this manner, it comes to us. Probably, Noah is blaring out his voice saying believe and come into the Ark. I am sure, the reactions of people those times would have been very similar like today. Creating memes, showing extreme confidence that it would not affect me, it’s only hyped or on the other hand we might be extremely fearful, wondering who the last person was, with whom we have shaken hands and think all his whereabouts. Extreme reactions. So where are we trying to get at? Some of us are already nodding with me. So today we’ll learn about how to respond in the midst of a global crisis. What you’re talking? do you mean to say, our response is not right? Nothing of that sort. It’s only, that how we need to learn from each other to respond to this global scenario.

 

  1. Let’s not Panic.

The US Peace Corps train their workers to deal with any kind of eventuality they might meet in the field, and since they work in the jungles of South America, it’s quite possible that they might encounter an Anaconda, the largest snake in the world. A full grown Anaconda is not just a snake. It is a telegraph pole with a temper! It takes 10 men to carry one — if it is in a good mood. Here are the instructions in one of the Peace Corps’s manuals, posted on the Internet:

1: If you are attacked by an Anaconda, do not run. The snake is faster than you are. Don’t try to outrun it.

2: Lie flat on the ground. Put your arms tight against your sides and your legs tight against one another.

3: Tuck in your chin.

4: The snake will come and begin to nudge and will climb about your body.

5: Do not panic.

6: After the snake has examined you, it will begin to swallow you from the feet, always the feet. Permit the snake to swallow your feet and ankles. Do not panic.

7: The snake will begin to suck your legs into its body. You must lie perfectly still. This will take a long time.

8: When the snake has reached your knees, slowly and with as little movement as possible reach down, take your knife and very gently slide it into the side of the snake’s mouth, between the edge of its mouth and your leg. Then suddenly rip upwards, severing the snake through the top of the head.

9: Be sure you have your knife.

10: Be sure your knife is sharp.

Of course, if you get to number nine, or even ten, and find you’ve forgotten your knife, or that it’s blunt, the rest doesn’t really matter!

So, yes, let’s not panic and cause others to panic. It only shuts down our capacity to think of practical ways of problem solving. We need to know exactly how to keep ourselves from such panic situations. We need to sharpen our knife and our mind.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Tim 1: 7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6 – 7

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1: 9

  1. Be equipped:

So here, I am also, not trying to say that we need to walk right in front of this Virus, and say, come, I am not afraid of you. Don’t invite it. Keep ourselves updated. Ask God, be wise, on how we should proceed with next steps. Noah did tell them to come into the boat. He did make an effort to make the boat. He did not rely on his swimming skills. He thought about himself, his family, community, the nature and everyone. We need to learn from this experience as well. Let’s prepare our self, our family and community. Take all the precautionary measures, just like we did today in the morning. We need to love God not only with our heart, and strength but also, with our mind. We need to practice our faith. Put it into action. We need to be alert on what the precautionary measures are. So we need not panic but at the same time have the presence of mind to proceed with given safety measures.

  1. L. Moody wrote the following words next to Isaiah 6:8 in his Bible: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do.”

Isaiah 6:8: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2: 10

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Eph 6: 11

  1. Think for everyone:

Yes, I meant, think FOR everyone not think ABOUT, when we say FOR, we are putting ourselves into their position. Let’s not be self-centred. Faith is not operated by hurting someone else’s life. We need to definitely act in Faith but see to it that we don’t harm others. We may move out to showcase, how we can operate in Faith but at the same time, we need to think about all those people who might get affected because of us. Also, each one has been granted, with the capacity of their faith. Therefore, not only should we take caution for ourselves but also for others. We love enthusiastic believers, but enthusiasm channelized in an appropriate way.

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. Luke 6: 31

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2: 3

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is near sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-11

Scripture speaks about faith, goodness, knowledge, self – control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love.

  1. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. :- How do we get this knowledge of Him? Through His word, through people who are spiritually mature, through our time with God.
  2. …you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires:- Promises are given, so that we may participate in the divine nature and escape.. ESCAPE the corruption in the world.
  3. they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ:- These qualities will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive. So it’s not only faith but very evidently knowledge, also called understanding. We need to think, that’s what the scripture says. Think ahead, in other words persevere. How do we persevere? Only by planning ahead, understanding that this is going to take long.

So this is how we go about the situation at hand. We need to have faith, that God is in control, He is sovereign and He needs no direction from us. Every work of his is a testimony (those affected will have a testimony, those protected will have a testimony and those who couldn’t survive will have the biggest testimony when we meet them). We can witness it in our lives. Let’s spend time in asking God for his guidance, his direction into this situation. We need to read the bible, know his navigation plans, if we are in the Ark of Jesus Christ, we can’t sit idle. Noah never sat idle, I think he couldn’t. he had to feed the animals, clean them, and do all sort of filthy work. However, end of the day in a washed out world, he obeyed the voice of God. Let’s hear from Him who knows the destiny. He is the alpha and the omega. No need to panic and let’s not depend on our understanding of over confidence. Let’s think of each other. Protect and help each other. Let’s not be unaware or pretend to be unaware, but let’s gear up for this phase. Let’s pray, intercede, unite, read the word, and march on. Also, importantly, let’s encourage each other. We are God’s big family, all sailing in the same Ark, that is Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sandra wife of Virjil .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

08 Mar 2020

What is Grace?

GRACE

What is grace

 

  • The word grace in English means “smooth”, “pleasing” or “good will”
  • Usage of word grace in English is as follows
    • She handles her problems with grace and dignity
    • He has shown remarkable grace during this crisis
  • The above grace is a product of human goodness or of human spirit.
  • The original word “grace” taken from French mean “favor”
  • In the bible “grace” however means the goodness that comes from God’s Spirit “favor for undeserved”, “unworked for favour” or “unmerited favor”  from God to mankind.

 

What is the source of grace

  • Source of grace is Jesus Christ : John1:16&17 – Out of his fullness we have all received grace. For the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
  • Grace is gift from heavenly father given to us through Jesus Christ
  • Grace enables us to not only full fill the law but also to live a much higher standard of life enabled only by the Spirit of God who lives in us.

 

Grace explained through parable

  • Jesus explained grace through the parable of the Prodigal son

The Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15)

  • 11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
  • 13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
  • 17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
  • “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
  • 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
  • 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
  • This story represents a good family, father had two children elder one obey the father in everything, keeping the house clean, but the younger one, after playing football come in the and throw sox here and there, as he seems convenient. Father’s instruction on cleanliness, not able to spend enough time the way he wants, might has made younger son feel suffocated at home so he finally he said to himself enough is enough, and said to his father “give me my property, let me have the freedom”. Father being gentle, has given half the property to him, he went away, called friends “common guys” let us enjoy life. He went ahead and lived wild living satisfying his senses. But then famine struck unexpectedly, he was not prepared, no more money, no friends, he was forced to take the job of feeding pigs. He struggled, starved, one day he thought to himself “even servants at home are much better of than his present stage”, he came to his senses, decided to go back to the father. But while he was still far away, his father sees him, filled with compassion for son he ran to him, hugged him, ordered the servant to cut the calf, prepare the meal, celebrate son’s return, this shows heart of the father full of grace given to the undeserving son.
  • But the elder son who came in from field just could not take it…continue reading from verse 25,
  • 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
  • 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
  • 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
  • The elder son obeyed the father in everything all his life, so what was the problem? Since he has given all his energy to obey and honor the father as per the his order, he could not reconcile with this free welcome to the undeserving younger son, free party, he just could not accept it, he blamed and accused the younger brother as one who spend the money with prostitutes. This is what obeying the law does to us, it makes us proud and demanding and judgmental. Where as response to grace can only be “gratitude”.
  • What if the elder son demanded that father you have given half the property to the brother already remaining half belongs to him?
  • What flashed through my mind was that the father, being so gentle would have given the property to the elder son and now left with nothing to give to the younger son would have told him “ I have nothing else to give, I will give myself to you”, Abraham when Lot took the better portion of the property was discouraged, God told him “Abraham I am your reward, your great reward.
  • That is what Jesus did. He has given himself to us. John 3:16, God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son so that who so even believes in him shall not perish but shall have everlasting life.
  • Salvation (Rom 3:23). All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God and are justified freely by his grace through redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
  • We are saved by grace through redemption on the cross of Calvary

 

What grace is NOT

  • Grace is misunderstood greatly today.
  • Grace is free but not free since Christ did pay the price
  • Grace is not lawlessness. Lawlessness is sin not grace.
  • Grace takes away pride and does not boast of self.
  • Law was given for man to obey and pay the price if he can’t obey.
  • Grace is not work: But Grace is given by God himself making the payment so that man may go free !!. So If “God is not making the payment” and “you are making the payment” then it is not grace at work in you.
  • Grace does not promote sin: Should you use the freedom to indulge in sin so that grace may abound? Certainly “NO”. If that which is in you make you indulge in sin then it is not grace.
  • Grace not only make man go free but it also make him like Jesus in his image back again !!. As he is so are we in this world.
  • So grace in us is complete only when this transformation work of becoming like Christ is complete.
  • If that which is working in you, is not making you like Christ, then that is not grace.

  • Picture above represents todays Christians operating in mix of Law and grace
  • X-Axis is Law and Y-axis is grace
  • Many Christians give all their effort like the elder son to do things that the father want them to do and live along the D box
  • Many depend partially or 50% on God’s grace and 50% put their on effort to live good Christian life acceptable to all. This is good but we become partially judgmental with half God half me approach.
  • What about Box A ?. Looks Good but we put minimum effort to do what is right, possible that we may live so called believer life with almost 90% God and 10% our own effort.
  • We should live in the Y-axis which is the correct place to live where we know 100% grace and nothing of ourselves, it is possible only when we die to ourselves, as Paul said “I have been crucified with Christ, I no longer live but Christ lives in me”. This is where supernatural can become natural. This is where the Church should be, all of Christ.
  • Now should we obey the law when we live by grace ?. No, God want us to live Christ like living, anything less than that is not living by grace, It is a life much above law, since law does not say pray for your enemies, forgive, pray for those who persecute you. As he is so are we in this world. We don’t live to full fill the law but we are here to reflect Christ in everything we do.

 

How grace work in us ?

 

  • Grace of God teaches us to say “no” to ungodliness.
  • There are two ways to say no to ungodliness – by our effort or by applying the truth in the bible.
  • We are justified through grace (Rom 3:23) : Col 2:13-15 Christ took away everything that stood against us and nailed it to the cross
  • There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Rom 8: 1-12
  • Rom 8:2 “Law of the Spirit” which frees us is grace
  • Rom 8:3 Law which is supposed to give life was weakened and made powerless by my flesh
  • Rom 8:4 Christ did by sin offering. Sin is condemned on the cross so what Law requires is fully met in Christ hence I become free of wrong doing.
  • Rom 1:17 This belief imparts righteousness to us. So I know I am made righteous by grace
  • Rom 5:1-5 Therefor since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God
  • No only that we can live free of sin by the grace of God “PS 23 He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name sake”.
  • Rom 8: 33 Who will bring any charge against us ? (If you are feeling guilty, or accused of wrong about a sin that we have already said sorry to God, Tell the devil Rom 8:1 or 32/33 no more guilt and shame.
  • Rom 8:34 Jesus is interceding for us at God’s right hand.
  • Ps 32 : Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him, don’t be like the mule or horse which have no understanding but be controlled by bit and bridle, be a child , be a son, reflecting God’s glory

 

Conclusion

  • Grace is God’s unmerited favor to us
  • We are justified by grace
  • We are transformed by grace
  • No more condemnation because we are under grace
  • God himself intercedes for us (Rom 8:34)
  • If God does not condemn us we will not condemn ourselves
  • Psalm 23:3: He will guide you in paths of righteousness
  • Psalm 32 God will counsel you and watch over you

James Raj worshipping at New Hope Community .The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.

01 Mar 2020

Who is the Greatest?

We all want to be the Greatest and the Best. As Professionals, we all strive to be the greatest and best at our workplace, at our home and even in the Church. I still remember we used to have a KRA rating, in which we used to have rating for CE, ME , NME, OUT. It was given to all the individuals to rate themselves. Guess what each one may have rated “CE”. Everyone rates themselves as CE.. As the greatest in the team.

When we want to buy a product online , we buy the best product . We check reviews, cost, and so on. We don’t buy a product which is second best, we buy that, which is best , or good.

In our setup only the winners are remembered . No one remembers the one who lost a final match but everyone remembers the one who won the FINAL match. The one who is a winner.

Let us Read Matthew 18 :1-14 ..

(After reading is completed)

We see here 3 different parts in chapter 18

It starts with The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven , then Causing to Stumble , then The Parable of the Wandering Sheep .

The key theme in this chapter is who is the Greatest? And Jesus brings a child into a picture (context) and asks the disciples to be like a child (Little one).

Can the disciples become a child? It is to be childlike.

This question did not arise among JEWS but it was among the Disciples. So what made them ask this question to JESUS?

One of the CAUSE

What made some of them (Disciples) to think that they are greatest?

Let us read the previous chapter , let us go to chapter 17 ..where the transfiguration takes place.

..He wanted to be settled with others.

Let us look at their heart:

  1. Only three of them were taken along with JESUS (Peter , James & John)

(Kind of a mission trip where he selects only selective disciples (Peter, James & John) )

  1. Witnessed JESUS’ transfiguration.

(They (Peter, James & John) saw something Special / very different which no one among them saw ..Jesus’ Transfiguration)

  1. Moses & Elijah

(And also they saw two famous personalities from the scripture, that is, Moses and Elijah. Peter was so overwhelmed with this opportunity which JESUS gave him )

All of these happened , in verse 4

  • Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

It is good for us WE’LL ALL be here . we don’t want to go back. And question arises what about Others?

And after they returned , they may or may not have discussed with other disciples the privilege which they (3 of them) had.

In another scripture portion Matthew 20:21– A mother’s request:

James and John wanted to be seated on the right and left hand of Jesus

The dispute was about who was the greatest?

When the disciples were with JESUS , JESUS was building their character ,envisioning them.

Jesus addresses this question and it is one of the important aspect in our life.

Lucifer’s downfall was because of the desire to become the greatest or just a thought that he was greatest.

When do we think that we are greatest than others. When we have a checklist and we tick mark it in comparison with others.. Check , check , check and for the other person is cross , cross , cross.

Today Christians struggle with the same thing. We want to be great in the world’s eyes. We so desperately want the approval of the world / People

Jesus addressed this question in a different way, he does not say a parable. Instead he brings a Visual Aid. I.e. he calls a child and places a child among them. (Below scripture portion is just for reference)

Matthew 18: Part 1

  • At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
  • He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
  • And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
  • Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
  • And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

So now the scenario is 12 disciples with a small child.

There are three parts here – 1: Willing to Change yourself 2: Becoming like a Child 3: Our behaviour towards people who are like a child.

  1. Unless you change (verse 3) : It is very clear , unless you change and become like them ( eagerness to learn, the innocence , the simplicity, enthusiasm, trust or love?,). Change our status, what we think, who we are, and develop a heart that is willing to Change. A heart willing to change is the first step.
  2. Become like little children (verse 3 : Willing to change and try to become like a child. Jesus is not only addressing the issue of pride (verse 4 Lowly position) but he is addressing the disciples’ character . To have a character like a child
  3. Welcomes one such Child (verse 5) : We have to welcome and respect those people as well who are childlike (No Pride, innocent , enthusiastic , Loving …etc) . Not only we become one of them but we welcome them , we honour them.
  4. Causing them to stumble (verse 6) : Don’t cause them to stumble . Love them , Care for them , Learn from them . JESUS warns them.
  5. DESPISE them (verse 10) : Strong dislike for someone , hatred

(10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven[11] )

God wants us to be Greatest. JESUS did not say that you can’t be Greatest .

John 12:24-26

  • 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
  • 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
  • 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

Virjil Selvan is Pastoring the New Hope Community. The New Hope Community is situated in the heart of the city between Old and New Panvel. We can confidently share that New Hope Community is a Church in Kamothe, Church in Khandeshwar, Church in Khanda Colony, Church in Panvel, Church in New Panvel because we are centrally located and these places surround our church Venue.