Friday, December 17, 2010

Use Your Gift - A true story

' us use them...' Romans 12:6 

 The Bible says, 'Having the gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them...' (Romans 12:6)

God has 'graced' you to do certain things well. Now, that doesn't mean doors will automatically open, and, like cream, you'll just rise to the top. Indeed, what you get overnight you can lose overnight.

You must first discern your gifts, use every opportunity to sharpen them, learn from your mistakes, and be tenacious about what God's called you to do.

In high school 'Sparky' flunked Latin, algebra, English and physics. He made the golf team but promptly lost the only match of the season, then he lost the consolation match. He was awkward socially-more shy than disliked. He never once asked a girl out on a date in high school.

One thing, however, was important to Sparky-drawing. He was proud of his artwork even though nobody else appreciated it. He submitted cartoons to the editors of his high school yearbook but they were rejected.

Even so, he aspired to be an artist. After high school he sent samples of his work to The Walt Disney Studios.

Again he was rejected. But Sparky didn't quit.

He decided to write his autobiography in cartoons. The popularity of his cartoon strip eventually led to countless books and television shows.

You see, Sparky was Charles Schulz,  of the Peanuts comic strip, the most famous cartoonist of all time. Like his main character, Charlie Brown, Schulz seemed unable to succeed at many things.

But he made the most of his God-given talent, refused to quit, and ended up winning. So, use your gift.

The Passover - Detailed information

The First of the Months

It is significant that God deliberately set the beginning of the spiritual calendar on the month of Abib (later called 'Nisan') on which the Passover occurred. This is the first indication that there is order, a beginning and an end to the cycle of feasts described in Leviticus 23. It requires that Passover be the first feast of the set (Tabernacles is the last); and indeed it was foundational to all the rest. If there had been no Passover to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, they would not have been able to have the priesthood, days of ceremonial rest, crop harvests, and Tabernacle/Temple necessary for the celebration of the subsequent feasts.

The grand theme of the Passover is redemption.

The Passover and resultant crossing of the Red Sea in the Old Testament stands in an analogous position to the death of Christ and climactic resurrection in the New Testament.

Members of the covenant community throughout all ages were to consider themselves part of that community God redeemed out of Egypt. Consequently, the inner motivation for a life of obedience was to arise from a heart grateful for this deliverance. The Passover memorial was to refresh their memory and rekindle their sense of devotion to God.

New Beginning
Passover was also the celebration of Israel's birth as a nation. Prior to this God had dealt with individuals and families, but now He was to enter into a special relationship with Israel as a national entity.
Their departure from Egypt allowed them the autonomy and divine leadership requisite for the formation of this national identity. As the sons of Israel crossed the sea and left Northern Africa for Sinai, they were leaving one sphere of existence for another (antitypical fulfillment: Col. 1:13; John 5:24).

Centrality of the Lamb
The center of attention throughout this feast is undoubtedly the unblemished lamb that would be with the family for a little over three days, and then killed and its blood applied to the doorposts of the house. This motif is rich in typology relating to the death of Christ on the cross (which occurred concurrently with the slaughter of the lambs in the Temple precincts. The New Testament alludes to Christ in Passover language so as to make the connection all but unmistakable:

There are many points of resemblance between the Passover lambs and the Lamb of God:
An innocent, unblemished lamb had to die to secure redemption and avert God's judgment (death of the firstborn male).
The lamb was to appear at the house on the 10th (corresponding to the triumphal entry of Christ), and then be killed between the 14th and 15th (corresponding to the day and time when Christ sacrificed).
The blood of the lamb had to be applied to be rendered effectual (faith was required).
The lamb was to be roasted.
It was to be eaten as food.
No bone was to be broken.

Uniqueness of the Egyptian Passover
It should be pointed out that there were several unique features of the Egyptian Passover that differentiated it from all subsequent Passover memorials. Edersheim makes mention of the fact that, "Jewish authorities rightly distinguish between 'the Egyptian' and the 'Permanent Passover.'" (Alfred Edersheim, The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, p. 211).

Christ, the One Who Brought Israel Out of Egypt
It is important to realize that according to Judges 2:1, it was Christ, the preincarnate "Angel of YHWH', who Himself brought the children of Israel out of Egypt in the Passover:
Then the Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said: "I led you up from Egypt and brought you to the land of which I swore to your fathers; and I said, `I will never break My covenant with you. (Judges 2:1, NKJV).

How ironic that the Jewish leaders in John 11:47-57 were seeking to kill Jesus while preparing the celebrate the very deliverance that He Himself wrought!

Outline of the Passover
PASSOVER OBSERVANCES: (Ex. 12:43. Num. 9:12, 14 2 Chron. 35:15)
Preparations for the festival were to begin on the 10th day of the first month.
Abib (Deut. 16:1; later the Babylonian name of Nisan was substituted--Neh. 2:1; Esth. 3:7).
A Passover lamb was selected according to the number in the household.
The lamb was to be without blemish, a yearling and male.
The animal was to be kept under special care until the 14th day of the month, when it was to be killed "between the evenings" -Ex. 12:6 (margin), Lev. 23:5 (margin).
This is understood to mean "in the evening at the going down of the sun" (Deut. 16:6).
The blood of the animal was to be smeared upon the two doorposts and the lintel of the house.
A later development was to have the blood sprinkled on the altar or poured at its base (2 Chron. 35:11; Jub 49:20; Pes. 5:6)
The flesh was to be roasted by fire with its head, legs, and inner parts.
No bone was to be broken. (Ex 12:46; Num 9:12) It was not to be eaten raw or boiled with water.
The roasted meat was to be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
Nothing was to be left over until the morning; any remains were to be burned (Ex 12:10; 34:25).
The meal was to be eaten in haste, with loins girded, shoes on, and staff in hand.
Israelites who were prevented from keeping the feast for reasons of Levitical uncleanness or travel were to celebrate a month later (Num 9:10ff; Pes 9:3).
Exodus 12
New Testament
"Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover (lamb)." (Exodus 12:21)"
For Christ our Passover has been sacrificed." (1 Corinthians 5:7)
"Your lamb shall be an unblemished male" (Exodus 12:5)
"but the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, (the blood) of Christ." (1 Peter 1:19)

Daily benefits from God

“Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits...” (Psalm 68:19, NKJ)
This morning when you woke up, what was the first thing that went through your mind? Maybe you have a deadline to meet or a big appointment at work. Maybe you are facing a challenge or going through a difficulty in a relationship that seems to consume your thoughts. Today, I want to encourage you; instead of focusing on what your circumstances have to offer, focus on what God has to offer you.

His mercies are new every morning, and His compassion never fails. He has victory in store for you today; He has provision in store for you today; He has joy in store for you today, and He has peace in store for you today. He daily loads you with blessing!

The key to accessing these daily benefits is setting your focus in the right direction. You can’t wait to see how you feel, what kind of mood your spouse is in, what the traffic is like or what the stock market is doing. No, you have to choose to set your focus by saying, “This is going to be a great day. I am blessed and cannot be cursed! I know God is directing my steps; something good is going to happen to me today!”

A PRAYER FOR TODAY Heavenly Father, today I choose to focus on You. I open my heart and mind to receive Your daily benefits. Show me ways to be a blessing to others and a good example of your love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

God's mercies begin afresh each morning

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning” (Lamentations 3:22–23, NLT)
Isn’t it good to know that no matter what happened yesterday, no matter what you said, no matter what you did, God’s mercy is new for you today? Mercy is empowering. It frees us to make the right choices and live in a way that is pleasing to God. We have to always remember that God is not condemning us.

Romans tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. God wants to love us and equip us to overcome in this life.

Do you need new mercy today? Receive it by faith. You don’t have to beg God to forgive you. He forgives you the first time you ask, but it’s up to you to receive that forgiveness. Open your heart today and receive His mercy. Let Him wash over you with His peace and joy. Then choose to extend that mercy to others. Remember, you are God’s representative in the earth. As you show His love and character to others, He’ll pour out His blessing upon you and use you in ways you never dreamed!

A PRAYER FOR TODAY Heavenly Father, today I choose to receive Your mercy and forgiveness. Thank You for cleansing me of all unrighteousness. Thank You for making me new. I love You and bless Your Holy Name. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Authority to overcome all the enemies' power

“I have given you overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19, NIV)

TODAY’S WORD from Joel and Victoria
God has given you all power and authority to overcome every obstacle you may face in life. That means you are well able to do what God has called you to do. You can accomplish your goals. You have the ideas, the creativity and the talent to be successful. You have been armed with strength for every battle!

God has already lined up the right people to come across your path; He’s already lined up the right opportunities. You have everything you need to live a victorious life.

Not an average life, not a barely-get-by, mediocre life — you were created to excel. You have seeds of greatness on the inside.

You may not have seen it in the past, but if you’ll stay in faith, it’s just a matter of time — victory is on the way. Don’t settle where you are. Rise up in strength today and begin to declare, “I will accomplish my dreams. I can overcome any obstacle. I’ve been equipped and empowered to live in victory in every area of my life.”

Heavenly Father, thank You for the power to overcome every obstacle I may face. Help me to see myself the way You see me. Help me to embrace the victory You have in store for me today. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The night Jesus came

It was the night Jesus came and all through the house,not a person was praying, not one in the house.

The Bible was left on the shelf without care,
for no one thought Jesus would come there...

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,
not once ever kneeling or bowing their head...

And Mom in the rocking chair with babe on her lap,
was watching the Late Show as I took a nap...

When out of the east there rose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter...

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutters and lifted the sash...

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but Angels proclaiming that  Jesus was here...

The light of His face made me cover my head...
was Jesus returning just like He'd said...

And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,
I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself...

In the Book of Life which he held in his hand,
was written the name of every saved man...

He spoke not a word as he searched for my name,
when He said "it's not here" My head hung in shame...

The people whose names had been written with love,
He gathered to take to his Father above...

With those who were ready He rose without sound,
while all of the others were left standing around...

I fell to my knees but it was too late,
I'd waited too long and thus sealed my fate...

I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight,
Oh, if only I'd known that this was the night...

In the words of this poem the meaning is clearthe coming of Jesus is now drawing near...

There's only one life and when comes the last call,
We'll find out that the Bible was true after all.

B  - Basic
I  - Instruction
B  - Before
L  - Leaving
E  - Earth

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who is Santa Claus?

It’s the Christmas Season. The most waited month of all.

Almost the entire world is in Christmas fever right now.

US stops working; Europe takes a Vacation, Indians work double and the folks all around look earnestly for rest and a gathering.

Santa is the talk of the town. Children await the gifts that he would bring as a present.

The elders solemnize the season with dazzling trees and decors.

Its all good when we truly rejoice. Do you know who Santa is? Do you like to know about this iconic figure?

Please read ahead:

Santa Claus, also known as St. Nick, Kris Kringle and Father Christmas, is known across the globe as a jolly fat bearded man sporting a red suit trimmed with white fur.
On Christmas Eve Santa Claus enters the home of good children, usually via the chimney, bearing gifts of toys that his elves have been busy making all year long. Parents know Santa Claus as a symbol of the magic and joy of childhood, if not a bruise to their pocketbooks!
Despite the well-known attributes of the man named Santa Claus, he actually has a long, rich history. The western idea of Santa Claus is a combination of the European traditions of Kris Kringle, Father Christmas and the Christian Saint Nicholas.
Kris Kringle derived from the German "Christkindl" which translates to Christ Child in English. The German version of Kris Kringle portrayed a sprightly young boy that brought gifts to the children in the Germanic countries. Although Kris Kringle is used interchangeably with Santa Claus in the U.S., the traditional Kris Kringle is very different from the modern idea of Santa Claus. In fact, the idea of Santa Claus as we know him today has been imported to these countries replacing the traditions of the Christ Child.
Like Chris Kringle, Father Christmas shares some attributes with Santa Claus. Father Christmas was a traditional figure during the Pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice. Instead of bringing gifts to homes, Father Christmas also known as Old Man Winter, would travel from home to home where the people would offer him food and drink. In return he would grant them the blessings of a kind winter.
During the 1800s, the American version of Santa Claus spread to Britain where Father Christmas assimilated Santa’s attributes. To this day, Father Christmas serves as Britain’s version of Santa Claus. Like Chris Kringle, Father Christmas is used interchangeably with Santa Claus in the United States.
St. Nicholas was the biggest influence on the Santa Claus we know today. St. Nicholas was a man of Greek origin born in the third century C.E. His family was very wealthy but both died in a plague. Surviving the epidemic, St. Nick took his strict Christian upbringing very seriously and devoted his life to God.
St. Nicholas rid himself of all his material possessions and set out to help the poor, the infirm, or anyone else who was suffering. Word of his generosity and kindness spread and he quickly earned the reputation of a gift giver and saint. The historical St. Nicholas died in December of 335 C.E. As often happens, stories of his good deeds became grander and grander and it is difficult to determine fact from fiction.
One popular story of St. Nicholas describes how he secretly left bags of gold to three poor women who had no dowries. In St. Nick’s time, a father could only secure the marriage of his daughters by providing a dowry to her would-be husband. If a father could not afford a dowry, his daughters would likely be sold into slavery. In order to prevent this, St. Nicholas threw the bags of gold through a window which landed in stockings left by the fire to dry. News of this deed resulted in children leaving their stockings out for St. Nicholas to fill with goodies.
The stories of St. Nicholas certainly did not die with him. In fact St. Nicholas achieved a sort of immortality as the man behind the legend of Santa Claus.

I hope you read about this legend. But my message is yet to be complete. The truth of Christmas is neither Santa nor the celebrations.

It is the Birth of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.

This truth is robbed many times in homes, streets and even in countries.

Its time to restore the true Christmas reason in this season.

Lets not Proclaim the Lord’s birthday alone but also His Second coming…..

I wish you all that this Christmas eve would reveal to you the real joy and fervor of our Lord’s birth. Amen

Toons of Endurance

Are you on the right track?

 Do you feel you can do it alone?

 Its time to enjoy the rain….

 Can you listen to His Voice?

 Do you wear your own shoe?

Toons to Listen

Are you pinned for doing good?  Keep doing…. The Lord shall do the needful

 Are you hurt and find yourself desolate and empty? Our Lord is beside you…..

 Are you waiting for an answer?  Wait Perseveringly…

 Have you faltered?  He will send His rescue….

 Are you feeling condemned?  Christ doesn’t see you the way you see yourself. He came to forgive you…..

Monday, December 6, 2010

Against the Tide

"He who is holy, let him be holy still" (Rev 22:11)
Reading: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13

In order that you may survive these evil days, spare no pains to live holy. As the world becomes filthier and filthier God commands His people to become holier and holier (Rev 22:11). Go up and up on the rungs of the ladder of holiness and never come down.
Those who came out of Egypt perished in the desert because of lust for evil things, idolatry, sexual immorality, testing God and murmuring. "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they are written for our instruction, on whom the ends of ages have come" (1 Cor 10:6-11).

There is filth in the media, both electronic and print. The very air has become sin-toxic. Bribery, crookedness, extramarital affairs, love of money and lack of love have become common. Temptations abound. But for every temptation God has provided a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13). His grace is sufficient for any situation. God works in us both to will and to do and we are to work with Him as well (Phil 2:12, 13). Let us not blame the circumstances or the society. Joseph lived holy in Egypt. Daniel lived holy in Babylon. Dare to swim against the tide! It's not easy but not impossible.

"Everyone does it!" This is the common excuse. But aren't we "the royal priesthood" (1 Pet 2:9)?
Only the backboneless say "yes" to sin. If we do not conform to the filthy, the world might mock at us. If we embrace filth, we will lose eternal life. Which is important? Let us hold fast our courage which has a great reward.
Our cities are becoming like Sodom and Gomorrah. Sin is the fashion. God's destruction of those cities is "an example to those who afterward would live ungodly" (2 Pet 2:6). The challenge: "What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?" (2 Pet 3:11).

The secret of holy living is in the mind: a transformed mind that refuses to be conformed to the standards and the trends of the world (Rom 12:2). Keep the mind ever under the Blood of Jesus. Don't entertain the suggestive thoughts of the tempter. Take refuge under the shade of Almighty. Run to Him and hide in His Name. Absolute safety is there only!
"Lord, make me as holy as a pardoned sinner can be!"
(Robert Murray M'Cheyne, 1813-1843)

The more you Share...

Reading: Matthew 9:1-8
"He who believes in Me, out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water" (Jn 7:38)
God wants us to share the faith in us with others. Sharing increases and improves our faith. "He who waters others will himself be watered" (Prov 11:25). Let us meet in the Bible a few folks who shared their faith with others.

"Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and strong in faith. And large numbers of people were brought to the Lord" (Acts 11:24). The faithful sharing of the Gospel by an individual was responsible for an explosive Church growth. Do we see regular additions to our congregations? If not, our lethargy is to be blamed.

Oratory skill is not a must to share our faith with others. All we need to do is to present the Gospel in simple language. Eventhough Paul was a learned man, he never depended on his knowledge and skill. He trusted in the power of God's Word. That was the secret of his successful ministry (2 Cor 2:1-5). The Gospel itself is the power of God to save anyone who believes (Rom 1:16).

Four Friends
"Four men arrived carrying a paralysed man on a mat...Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralysed man, My son, your sins are forgiven" (Mk 2:3-5). There's no greater service we can do to our friends than to bring them to Jesus. They cannot make it themselves. They have given up on themselves. No case is too difficult for Jesus. He will be pleased with our faith and concern for others. He will honour our humble efforts. Our faith will be further strengthened and rewarded.

Mummy & Granny
"I know that you sincerely trust the Lord, for you have the faith of your mother, Eunice, and your grandmother, Lois" (2 Tim 1:5). These are the words of Paul to Timothy. Ladies should be encouraged here. Even if you are not able to go out as much as you desire, there are ample opportunities for you right at home. When you share your faith with your family folks and neighbours, wonderful things will happen. It may not be done in limelight, but your name will be in God's Book of World Records as Eunice and Lois. Church growth in a strong non-Christian Community in and around Sivakasi, a South Indian town known worldwide for making crackers, has been mainly due to women- folk sharing the Gospel with others on one-to-one basis.

Blogs/Websites for your reference