PO Box 550170 Waltham MA 02452

  • Name Rev. Francis Balla, M.Div

  • Designation Pastor

  • Posted On 02-12-2010


Rev. Francis Balla, is the senior pastor of Evangelical Congregational Church in North Quincy MA. He served with Youth With A Mission in Hyderabad, India for twenty years. He holds a M.Div in Urban Ministry from Gordon-Conwell theological seminary. Please checkout the Church Website. http://www.eccquincy.org View all articles by Rev. Francis Balla, M.Div


    February 14th is observed in many parts of the world as “Valentines day” We give and receive Valentine’s Day cards and gifts. Watch out what you might get in the mail: A guy walks into a post office one day to see a middle-aged, balding man standing at the counter methodically placing "Love" stamps on bright pink envelopes with hearts all over them. He then takes out a perfume bottle and starts spraying scent all over them. His curiosity getting the better of him, he goes up to the balding man and asks him what he is doing. The man says, "I'm sending out one thousand Valentine cards signed, 'Guess who?' "But why?" asks the man. "I'm a divorce lawyer," the man replies. Some cards may be not as bad as these. Some children’s Valentine’s Day cards seem to communicate the crying need for love and friendship. During the winter, even more so around “Valentines day” many people feel rather lonely and depressed. According to a new study by sociologists at Duke University and the University of Arizona “Americans' circle of close confidants has shrunk dramatically in the past two decades and the number of people who say they have no one with whom to discuss important matters has more than doubled.”[1] Chuck Swindoll talks about a Kansas newspaper where someone took out a one-line ad that reads, “I will listen to you talk for 30 minutes, without comment, for $5.00.”Swindoll said, “It wasn’t long before the person was receiving 10 to 20 calls a day. The pain of loneliness was so sharp that some were willing to try anything for a half hour of companionship” Mother Theresa once said, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness and the feeling of being unloved.” Everyone needs a friend. Everyone needs to love and be loved. Everyone needs someone to watch over their soul. Right!! We all need someone who doubles our joy and divides our grief. We all need someone who understands our silence. We all need someone who comes in when the whole world has gone out. Let me introduce to you someone who must have felt lonely, depressed, and abandoned. At age five he lost all his family in a war, while being hurried to safety by a nurse he fell down and was left paralyzed. He lived in obscurity and isolation in his servant’s house. He had all the reasons to consider his situation was hopeless. But one day he was blown away by an unexpected invitation from one of the most powerful Kings of all time which changed his life forever.


    This story is found in 2 Samuel 9th Chapter. Let me break it for you. King Saul and his son Jonathan both were killed in a fierce battle. In the course of time David defeated the Philistines and eventually was confirmed as King over Israel. Soon after that he remembered the promise he made to his best friend Jonathan. Remember the amazing friendship between these two? A great example of a deep, healthy male friendship. He wanted to find out if there was any one who survived from the household of Saul to whom he might show kindness for the sake of Jonathan. Through a servant by name Ziba he found out that there was still a son of Jonathan. His name was Mephibosheth. The king sent an invitation to Mephibosheth who was crippled in both feet. It is not every day that one gets to be invited by the president of the United States. It’s a once in a life time opportunity. It is not that easy to get the invitation in the first place. Let’s say out of the blue you get an invitation from the President to come for a dinner party. How would you respond? When you finally get to see the president what would you say to him? Mephibosheth represents an unworthy and undeserving person like you and me. In Biblical times, persons with disabilities were often overlooked and had to struggle to be recognized and valued as human beings. Certainly that was true of Jonathan’s crippled son, Mephibosheth. He considered himself to be no better than the scum of the earth. We may not be crippled physically like him but we may be crippled nonetheless spiritually, emotionally and in some cases physically. We reap the consequences of sin as a result we carry the wounds and the pain caused by sin. We often do not like the way we see ourselves and certainly we can not carry a high opinion of ourselves either. We could even get angry at God for our situation. We see our weakness as a reason for God not to love us. But that is the very thing that qualifies you and me to get a royal invitation. David’s invitation to Mephibosheth has a parallel to God’s invitation. When God wanted to restore the nation of Israel he sent an invitation through Jeremiah saying, Jeremiah 30:21, “I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me declares the Lord.” Another version reads “I will invite him to approach me," says the LORD, "for who would dare to come unless invited”? Jesus gave a similar invitation to a hurting world. Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” The invitation is open for all.


    Whether we like it or not there is a certain aura that surrounds earthly Kings, Prime ministers and the Presidents of nations. We may fumble, mumble and be awkward in their presence. Jack Hayford, pastor of the Church on the Way in Van Nuys California was touring Great Britain in1977 and had a chance to watch the royal procession on the day of the silver Jubilee anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. The procession drove the royals down The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where an estimated one million people lined the pavements to see the family wave to onlookers. A further 500 million people around the Commonwealth watched on live television. There were parties and celebrations in the honor of the Queen and their country’s rich history. ”[2] Seeing all the glitter and the glamour surrounding a mortal queen Jack Hayford imagined how awesome it would be to see the King of Kings in his absolute splendor and glory, this led him to write down one of the all time favorites in recent Christian history “Majesty, Worship His Majesty”. Rightly so, when Mephibosheth entered the presence of King David, he bowed down to pay him honor. Can you imagine how frightening it must have been to poor Mephibosheth who was crippled in both feet, lived in isolation and all of a sudden find himself in the presence of a mighty King? He must have been visibly shaken by looking at the royal palace and the imposing presence of the King. He must have wondered whether this was pay back time by David for all the harsh treatment he received from the house of Saul. If earthly Kings and rules command such authority and honor how much more should we tremble in the presence of the almighty and awesome God? Do we have any clue of how majestic our God is.? The following scriptures describe the splendor, the glory and the majesty of our God. He is truly indescribable. “1 Chronicles 29:11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.” Psalm 93:1 The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved. Psalm 72:11 “All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.” Psalm 22:27 “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him.”David being a mighty King himself confessed that God is the great King above all Psalm 95:3-6 “For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.” When we could have a glimpse of the splendor and the majesty of God how could we not tremble in his presence? Yet there are so many these days who take God for granted and some behave like “little gods in France” And others instead of trembling before God they are angry at God and even curse God. There is a challenge to such people through the prophet Jeremiah 5:22 “Should you not fear me?" declares the LORD. "Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.” One day whether you like it or not we all will have to stand in the presence of that Glorious God.


    2 Samuel 9 Vs 6, “When Mephibosheth first came to David he bowed down to pay him honor, David said, “Mephibosheth!” “Your servant” he replied. Mephibosheth is showing us a position that prophets, priests and even kings have taken in the presence of God. It is a position of humility, giving honor and submission. David affirmed and assured frightened Mephibosheth saying “Don’t be afraid” It is assuring to know that whenever God approaches a man or a man approaches God the first thing we hear from God is “Fear Not” With these two words God can put all our fears to rest. One of Wilma’s and my favorite scenes in the famous children story of the Chronicles of Narnia is the allegorical conversation between the beavers and the children: The book has more details than the movie. The children ask: who is Aslan? Well, Aslan is the King and the Lord of the whole wood, Narnia, but he isn’t always there. But the word is, Aslan is back, or at least on his way back. And he would fix the situation in Narnia. There’s an old saying, "Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight, At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more, When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death, And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again." You see, Aslan is not just a lion, but he’s a great Lion. He’s the King of the Beasts, and the real ruler of Narnia. Now, Susan asks the beavers, "Is he safe?" Mrs. Beaver says, "If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly." Lucy asks, "Then he isn’t safe?" And Mr. Beaver says this famous line about Aslan: "Of course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you." The Witch, whose favorite tactic is turning people and creatures to stone, can’t do that to Aslan. This is the King certainly not safe, but most certainly good. And when he arrives, he will dispel the winter and bring in the spring and break the Witch’s curse and bring new life.” Aslan in the movie represents the Lion of Judah that is Jesus who broke the curse of fallen humanity, in a world of always winter and never Christmas. How about you, has your heart been turned to stone by pain and suffering? Does life feel like an endless winter? Be assured before long there will be spring time and you will find life again. Mehpibosheth received a royal invitation; he was blown away by the royal presence after that he received royal treatment. 2 Samuel 9:7 “Don't be afraid," David said to him, "for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” Before his encounter with David, Mephibosheth’s self-worth was at an all time low. He considered himself not worth more than a dead dog. But when he met David his life took a new turn. David not only restored his lost dignity and self-worth, but also gave him an identity by bringing him back to the royal family. His live took a new turn. He moved to Jerusalem and ate from the table of the king for the rest of his life. What a powerful presentation of the gospel in this story. We see here how God reaches out to hurting, broken, wretched and lost people like us. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” If you feel like Mephibosheth today, thinking that your situation is beyond redemption, there is hope for you. All you need to do is to respond to the royal invitation and come into the royal presence of God and he will provide a table for you. He can heal and restore what the enemy has stolen from you, He can give you a new identity so you can walk once again as His sons and daughters. . Jude 1:24-25 “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-- 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen

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