A special catering service

On this Sunday evening I looked through my window as I heard the caw caw of crows calling one another to share their prey. There were so many of them on the tree in the front of our house.

Every morning, even before the sun rises in the sky, if you were to join me on our morning walk you would hear a sound of flapping wings everywhere even above your head and be able to watch these scavengers feasting over the garbages and trash bins across the street corners.

These black birds are the type species of Ravens found in the story of Elijah.

In Leviticus 11:15 even though the raven is listed as an abomination among birds, it is interesting to find that God chose to use these scavengers of decaying matter to assist Him in doing a special catering service for His servant Elijah.

I took a moment to put myself in Elijah’s place, a person whose daily food supply was based on a catering service of ravens. Why ravens? They are birds of prey, unclean creatures, yet the ravens were faithful to Elijah. They feed on decayed meat, yet they brought the meat to Elijah.

Wait! Let me take a teachable moment to myself!

As the Psalmist says ‘Whatever the Lord pleases He does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps. (Psalm 155: 6) I would like to add, even when it means that our catering service just happens to be an unclean raven. He can make use of whatever He needs!

As Paul writes (Phil: 4:19) ‘But my God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus’. And I would like to add, even when the bearer of God’s gifts come from an unexpected source or from something we think is unclean.

This evening, this story encouraged me to trust God to care of my needs, no matter how small and insignificant or how large and overwhelming the need is!

Are you in need? Never doubt our God, for at the right moment His provisions will arrive to surprise us by an unexpected source like a raven!

Prema Sunder Raj

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Give me a listening heart oh God!

On this Sunday evening, just returned from the Covenant Service at our Church.

While sitting in the church I was praying for God’s direction in this new year. My mind wandered to the days when I used to make plans and decisions in the beginning of a new year.

While growing up I was a shy, quiet, reserved young girl. I was a book-learning girl who constantly was reading and studying. Of course all the studying certainly paid off and I definitely had good grades in my education.

But the more I studied books, the more I came to rely on my mental thought process. Everything had to be planned, down to the smallest detail, and I thought I was clever in detailed decision making.

But as the time passed by, I hit a speed bump which completely turned my world upside down, and after living with the consequences of a number of bad decisions, I began to look at God’s direction in my life.

King Solomon says in 1 Kings 3: 9,
‘Here’s what I want: Give me a God listening heart so I can lead your people well’.

The ‘heart’ in the Biblical sense is not just our inward life, but the whole being surrendered to God. Solomon longed for a heart that could listen to God and follow His direction!

If we look closer at the very wise decisions Solomon made, the root of his good decisions was that his mind and heart were under God’s control.

Thou rulest the raging of the sea; when the waves thereof arise, Thou stillest them. (Psalm 89: 9)

Do I have a listening heart this evening? A heart that listens to His still small voice through the perils of life?

Do I have a listening heart this evening? A heart that listens to His still small voice saying ‘Fear Not’ when my voyage over life’s sea trembles, when the storm of suffering roar by?

As I meditated on Solomon’s request for a listening heart this evening, my prayer and longing is to have my heart focused on the One who speaks to me with His Word and to follow His directions!

God give me a listening heart!

Prema Sunder Raj

HE IS LISTENING!

On this Sunday morning,as I closed my eyes to pray, I remembered a statement my daughter made at a friend’s house where we had lunch yesterday. She was telling her friend that Daddy always prays loud but Mummy is quiet when she prays! So true! Both of us are so different in our way to communicate with God.

In the Psalms we read that David had some very direct conversations with God.
He had lots of guts to say , Search me O God, look in me, and see if there is any evil in me. I don’t think I can ever say that to God like David said. What if God said, Yes yes Prema I see in the corner of your heart you are holding a grudge that needs to go – what will I do?

But this is what is so beautiful about the way Moses, David and Job and the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah and other people in the Bible talked with God. They were open and honest.They did not hold back anything from God. They talked to God like He was someone they could share everything!

Above all each of them had unique technique to themselves in the way they communicated with God!

Some times we are too concerned about using right techniques in prayer. If you ever think God won’t pay attention to us unless we talk to Him with right technique, remember that Job argued with God, Moses challenged God, Abraham begged, Paul pleaded, and David cried. Whether you rejoice, beg, cry, scream, praise, call, or even show your depression through anger – He is listening, He doesn’t turn a deaf ear to any voice that calls to Him.

All He asks us to do is CALL. No magic formula, No special technique, No special words. Just look up to Heaven and call out any way that you know, or just say, Father t’s me. I called to tell you I love You! I called because I need you…. This is what calling your Heavenly Father is all about!

Try talking to Him today! It can be a quiet whisper from your heart or a loud cry! HE IS LISTENING!

I’ll call to the Lord…and find myself safe and saved. (Psalm 18: 3)

God bless!

Prema Sunder Raj

Pressed under burdens?

Ouch, this morning! was the feeling that came upon me when I woke up this Sunday morning and I felt as though I was pressed under a heavy weight and felt it in the muscles of back and neck.

Recently had a road trip to Valparai. As we climbed the mountain, my eyes caught the lovely plants, or some wild flowers peeking out from under the big rocks. It is as if the plant is shouting, ‘big rock, you cannot weight me down, you cannot destroy me.

The effect of burdens in our lives is like the weight caused by heavy rocks on plants.

But as I witnessed that from under the heavy burden, new life sprang up and blossomed, I looked back at my own life and realized that the life’s burdens brought about over the years, by strong rocks of embarrassment, unworthiness, and disgrace have neither crushed me down nor destroyed because the Lord who promised me the following has truly dealt wondrously with me! Hallelujah!

And I will restore for you the years that the locust has eaten … and you shall be satisfied and praise the name of the Lord, your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. ( Joel 2:25)

Prema Sunder Raj

Our Restorer!

On this Sunday evening I was reading from Psalm 51:12 where David after his fall says ‘Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation’.

Fall????? My God David did fall big! Whenever I review David’s life, I always wonder what made him a leader after such a disastrous fall! He had multiple wives, rebellious children, and then added to that was his own sin of adultery and murder.

What a winning record! But while in man’s eyes David looks unfit for leadership, in God’s eyes David’s messed up life had potential. How? Because God looks at you and me through His restorative eyes. Our heavenly Father sees you and me not as we are but as we can be. And in this Psalm David told God he longed for Him to ‘restore the joy of salvation’.

I continued to study to understand why David used the word restore in Psalm 51. And of course the Hebrew definition gave the answer. It means “turn back” and carries with it the idea of returning to the starting point.

David asked God in Psalm 51, to turn the clock back to a time when his heart was pure and steadfast before God. He looked at God and said, I want things like they used to be between us. I want the young David back Lord, the David you chose and anointed.

How lovely were those days in David’s life when his focus was directed to his Heavenly Father whom He loved.
He looked back to that time when he did not have a divided heart and he was so faithful to God.

Now after his disastrous affair with Bathsheba, he was reminded of those lovely days when his walk with God was on the right track. Oh how he longed to be restored into the relationship he once enjoyed.

I can imagine David as he wrote the Psalms, thinking back on the days when he cared for his father’s sheep on the hills. Out there under the blue sky with a soft breeze passing through the leaves of the trees, he began to sing as he played on his harp,

The Lord is my Shepherd 🎼 He restoreth my soul!

Praise God! When David came to his Heavenly Father asking for “restoration” He not only accepted his request also restored him back to his fellowship with Him! This is what God, our restorer promises to do for us today!

Prema Sunder Reaj

Safety? Nowhere else!

Recently I was traveling back from Valparai, and eyes caught the beauty of tall trees. Their trunks were like made of iron and the roots embedded on the rock looked like rock itself.

As I looked at those mighty trees, I thought about all the years it took to grow so large and tall! How many storms and winds they had to face to become so strong like iron!

This evening I was looking at the life of David where he said in his heart,

I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than that I should escape into the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will despair of seeking me any more within the borders of Israel, and I shall escape out of his hand. (I Sam 27: 1)

David, like many people, knowing he was not safe in Israel, decided to head off to the land of the Philistines.

Yes, the very David, who killed the Philistine giant Goliath, decided it would be safer to run to the Philistines than to stay in Israel and ask his heavenly Father to keep him under the “shelter of His wings.” In the valley of discouragement, David forgot who his protector really was and he went, seeking shelter, from the enemy of God.

Like David when we face challenges in our life, we long for life to be easier. We want things to improve. This is not a ridiculous desire. Who among us loves to have trouble heaped on our heads all the time? I know I don’t and I imagine you don’t like living under a cloud of adversity either.

In the case of David, faced with a future that appeared to be filled with one difficulty after another, he took things into his own hands and decided to take shelter in the land of Philistines.

BUT very soon as he writes one of my favorite Psalms,
‘As for you, the one who lives in the shelter of the sovereign One, and resides in the protective shadow of the mighty king’ ( Psa 91:1) David found out that He is safe only under the protective wings of the Father!

It is my prayer this evening that in times of discouragement and adversity I should not try to solve the problems by myself BUT allow my Father to make a way for me through my difficulties!

Prema Sunder Raj

WATCH YOUR STEPS!

On this Sunday evening after a heavy rain fall here, dark mist covered the mountains.
As I stepped out on the pathway that leads to our front gate, from under our coffee bush I saw something slither quickly across in front of me.

Fortunately, what I saw was not a snake but just a long worm. But it was a good reminder that during these dark, gloomy and misty days especially after a rain such as we had today , it is very wise to WATCH where you place your steps.

Our daily lives need a warning, too, and this is exactly what the Bible gives us in II Samuel 11: 2, which says that David ‘ saw ‘ or David looked upon and viewed a woman.

With time off to relax, while walking on his roof top, he had some free time to direct his steps and his eyes to anything and everything that came within the reach of vision, and when he saw a beautiful woman he decided to direct his attention on her.

When I study about David, I find that he was God’s chosen, he was God’s child, he had a heart that yearned for his heavenly Father, he repeatedly showed himself to be merciful, even compassionate, and he was also a man of strength. Wow! This is what most of us want to be in our lives.

But we find that David could also be a H U G E failure! All I can think now is, can’t we all? Yes! Some of us can fail everyday!

I am very sure, many a time David must have regretted that in a moment with a wandering eye, the direction of his vision and walk pointed him downward rather than upward.

This evening I looked unto the Lord with a longing for my life to be directed by Him and the focus of my eyes and my steps to be on my Father’s will and way.

Be careful! Watch your steps!
As Paul said, ‘And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ’.
(II Thes. 3: 5)

Prema Sunder Raj