Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finding Jesus

Source: Our Daily Bread
Radio Bible Class
Romans 8:27-39
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? —Romans 8:32

After someone stole a valuable ceramic figurine of Baby Jesus from a nativity scene in Wellington, Florida, officials took action to keep thieves from succeeding again. An Associated Press report described how they placed a GPS tracking device inside the replacement figurine. When Baby Jesus disappeared again the next Christmas, sheriff’s deputies were led by the signal to the thief’s apartment.

There are times when difficult circumstances or personal loss can cause us to feel that Christ has been stolen from our Christmas. How can we find Jesus when life seems to be working against us?

Like a spiritual GPS, Romans 8 guides us to God’s never-failing love and presence with us. We read that the Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses and intercedes for us (v.27). We know that God is for us (v.31). And we have this grand assurance: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (v.32). Finally, we are reminded that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus (vv.38-39).

Look for Jesus in the manger, on the cross, risen from the dead, and in our hearts. That’s where we can find Jesus at Christmas. — David C. McCasland

But what to those who find? Ah, thisNor tongue nor pen can show,The love of Jesus, what it isNone but His loved ones know. —Bernard of Clairvaux

If we focus only on Christmas, we might lose sight of Christ.

He Doesn't Stand A Chance

Source: Our Daily bread
Radio Bible Class
Ephesians 6:10-18
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. —1 John 4:4

In 2004, Josh Hamilton was an outstanding pro baseball prospect, but he was suspended because of drug abuse. Then one night Josh had a life-changing dream. He was fighting the devil. “I had a stick,” he said, “and every time I hit him, he’d fall and get back up. I hit him until I was exhausted, and he was still standing.”

After that nightmare, Hamilton vowed to stay clean. The dream returned, but with an important difference. “I would hit [the devil] and he would bounce back,” said Josh. But this time Josh was not alone. He said, “I turned my head and Jesus was battling alongside me. We kept fighting, and I was filled with strength. The devil didn’t stand a chance.”

The Bible says that the devil doesn’t stand a chance because the Spirit, who is in us, is greater than he is (1 John 4:4). Christ came to destroy the works of the devil through His life, ministry, and sacrifice (3:8). At the cross, He disarmed and triumphed over the devil (Col. 1:13-14; 2:15).
Though defeated by the cross, the devil remains active in this world. But his final defeat is certain (Rev. 20:7-10). Until then, we take up the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18), standing firm against him by Jesus’ blood and His Word. He doesn’t stand a chance. —
Marvin Williams

And though this world, with devils filled,Should threaten to undo us,We will not fear, for God hath willedHis truth to triumph through us. —Luther
The devil is a defeated foe.

Joy In The Midst Of Grief

Source: Daily Bread
Radio Bible Class
Ezra 3:10-13
The people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping. —Ezra 3:13

After only a few art lessons, 10-year-old Joel decided to try his hand at painting a flower. By looking at a color photograph of a Rose of Sharon, Joel was able to paint a beautiful mixture of blue, purple, red, green, and white. This made the flower, which had been photographed on the day Joel’s aunt died, seem to come to life. To the family, his painting symbolized a bittersweet mixture of feelings. While it provided a lasting reminder of the loss they had suffered, it also carried a celebration of Joel’s newly discovered artistic gift. The painting gave joy in the midst of grief.

When the people of Judah returned to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon, they too had a bittersweet experience. As they began rebuilding Solomon’s temple, many in the crowd sang songs of praise. At the same time, some older people, who had seen the beauty of the original temple that had been destroyed by war, wept aloud. We are told that “the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping” (Ezra 3:13).

Grieving can be like that. While there is sadness in looking back, it also includes a promise of joy in trusting God for the future. Even in a devastating loss, we have this hope: The Lord provides joy in the midst of grief. — Dennis Fisher

We sorrow not as others do,Whose hopes fade like the flowers;There is a hope that’s born of God,And such a hope is ours. —McNeil

Even in the bleakest times, Christians have the brightest hope.

No Deal

Source: Our Daily Bread
Radio Bible Class
Luke 4:1-13
It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” —Luke 4:4

We’ve all seen and heard advertisements that entice us to take shortcuts to happiness. Buy our product and make no payments for one year! Instant gratification!
When the devil tempted Jesus (Luke 4:1-13), he offered a shortcut to “satisfaction.” He tried to tempt Jesus to take matters into His own hands rather than trust His Father.
When Jesus was hungry from 40 days of fasting (v.2), Satan suggested that He use His power to turn stones into bread. Had the Lord done so, He would have been using His powers for His own benefit, but He refused.

Why didn’t Jesus accept the devil’s offer of ruling all the kingdoms of the world right away? (vv.5-7). He could have avoided the cross. But that would have gone against God’s plan for Him—to give His life on the cross, to be resurrected, and to sit at the Father’s right hand in His kingdom. Satan’s offer of a shortcut was no deal at all.
Beware of enticements that seem to cost little for the present. Satan hopes to get you to do things his way. And he doesn’t give up easily. Even after Jesus overcame a third temptation, Satan left only “until an opportune time” (v.13).

Whenever you are offered a shortcut to happiness, watch out to see who’s behind the cashier’s counter! — C. P. Hia

Lord, help me see the devil’s offers for what they are—enticements to sin. Help me to keep my eyes focused on You and Your Word, and my ears attentive to You in prayer. Amen.

The best way to escape temptation is to run to God.

Fragile Existence

Source: Our Daily Bread
Radio Bible Class
Job 1:8-22
We should not trust in ourselves but in God. —2 Corinthians 1:9
The geological features at Yellowstone National Park fascinate me. But when I walk among the geysers, I’m aware of how close I am to danger. I am walking atop one of the largest, most active volcanoes in the world.

When I read the book of Job, I feel as if I’m walking through Yellowstone on a day when the volcano erupts, exploding the earth’s fragile crust and bringing disaster.

Like tourists at Yellowstone, Job was enjoying life. He was unaware that only a hedge separated him from disaster (Job 1:9-10). When God removed that hedge and allowed Satan to test Job, his life exploded (vv.13-19).

Many believers live in circumstances where it seems as if God, for some reason, has removed His hedge of protection. Others, also for reasons unknown, live in relative calm, seemingly unaware of their fragile existence. Like Job’s friends, they assume that nothing bad will happen unless they do something to deserve it.

As we learn from Job, however, God sometimes allows bad things to happen to good people. Although disaster can strike at any moment, nothing has the power to destroy those who trust Christ (2 Cor. 4:9).
No disaster can separate us from God’s love.

Though darker, rougher, grows the wayAnd cares press harder day by day,With patience in His love I’ll rest,And whisper that He knoweth best. —Pentecost

God’s love still stands when all else has fallen

God's Embrace

Source: Our Daily Bread
Radio Bible Class

Romans 12:3-11
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. —Romans 12:10

Soon after her family left for the evening, Carol started to think that her hospital room must be the loneliest place in the world. Nighttime had fallen, her fears about her illness were back, and she felt overwhelming despair as she lay there alone.

Closing her eyes, she began to talk to God: “O Lord, I know I am not really alone. You are here with me. Please calm my heart and give me peace. Let me feel Your arms around me, holding me.”

As she prayed, Carol felt her fears beginning to subside. And when she opened her eyes, she looked up to see the warm, sparkling eyes of her friend Marge, who reached out to encircle her in a big hug. Carol felt as if God Himself were holding her tightly.

God often uses fellow believers to show us His love. “We, being many, are one body in Christ. . . . Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them” (Rom. 12:5-6). We serve others “with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 4:11).

When we show love and compassion in simple, practical ways, we are a part of God’s ministry to His people. — Cindy Hess Kasper

Teach me to love, this is my prayer—May the compassion of Thy heart I share;Ready a cup of water to give,May I unselfishly for others live. —Peterson

We show our love for God when we love His family.

Helped by Fear

Galatians 9:1-12
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. —Proverbs 9:10

Fear means different things to different people. To professional golfer Padraig Harrington, it is a motivator to help him perform his very best. In 2008, when he won both the British Open and the PGA Championship, Harrington said, “Yes, fear is a big part of me. I’d like to say that I have all the trust and patience and I’m relaxed. No, that’s not my makeup. [Fear] pushes me on. Keeps me getting to the gym. I have to work with it and use it.”

Maybe it’s the fear of failure, or the fear of losing his edge, but Harrington finds fear to be a useful thing in his professional life.
The follower of Christ can also be helped by fear. We are challenged in the Scriptures to a reverential fear of God, which is the best type of fear that there is. It causes us to be concerned about disobeying Him or living in opposition to His ways. It’s being in awe of our great God, bowing to His perfect will, and seeking His wisdom for living. To that end, the proverb declares, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10).

By fearing God rightly, we can live wisely in an uncertain world. — Bill Crowder

God dwells in light and holiness,In splendor and in might;And godly fear of His great powerCan help us do what’s right. —D. De Haan
Fear God, and you’ll have nothing else to fear.

Prisoners Of Sin

Galatians 3:19-29
The Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. —Galatians 3:22
A 2008 report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said, “At any given time there are more than 10 million people imprisoned worldwide.” Since some prisoners are being released while new ones are being sentenced every day, there are more than 30 million total prisoners worldwide each year. Statistics like these have caused many people to work for prison reform and a reexamination of sentencing laws.

From a spiritual perspective, the Bible offers an even more staggering statistic: “The Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin” (Gal. 3:22 niv). In what is sometimes considered a difficult passage to understand, Paul says that although the Old Testament law could not impart life (v.21), it was an effective teacher in showing us that we need a Savior who can give life (v.24). The bad news is that “the Scripture has confined all under sin,” and the good news is “that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (v.22).

When we give our lives to Christ, who has fulfilled the requirements of the law, we are no longer imprisoned by sin. Instead, we enter a fellowship of people from every nationality and social status.
In Christ, we are free indeed! — David C. McCasland

The law reveals the mind of God,The prophets too made clear His will;But Christ alone brings life and peace,His words our deepest needs fulfill. —D. De Haan
Deliverance from sin is the greatest of all freedoms.

An Urge To Be Anonymous

When you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your . . . deed may be in secret. —Matthew 6:3-4

The urge to misbehave and the desire to be anonymous always visit me together. Like partners making a sales call, they do their best to convince me that I can afford to do something wrong because I won’t have to pay.

Human nature tells us to use the cover of anonymity to avoid taking the blame for the bad things we do. God, however, tells us something else. He wants us to use anonymity to avoid taking credit for the good that we do (Matt. 6:4). Why is it that the urge to remain anonymous seldom accompanies my desire to do good!

The Bible says we’re not to let one hand know the good that the other is doing (vv.3-4). In other words, within the body of Christ our deeds of charity should be done without calling attention to ourselves. This does not mean, however, that God wants good deeds to remain hidden; it just means that they should be done in a way that makes a good name for God, not ourselves (5:16).

When we volunteer our services or make donations to churches and organizations that do good work in the name of Jesus, we receive something much better than honor from our peers. We receive rewards from God, and God receives glory from others! (1 Peter 2:12).

God bless you and keep you and give you His love;God prosper your labor with help from above.Be His strength in your arm and His love in your soul,His smile your reward and His glory your goal. —Anon.
When we serve in Jesus’ name, He gets the glory.
Source: Our Daily Bread
Radio Bible Class

A leper's thanksgiving

Ten men silhouetted along the low ridge called to the leader of a small band below: "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us."

Bartholomew glanced up. Lepers, he thought. Ragged, pitiable lepers. From the time their skin disease was diagnosed, they were cut off from society, forced to live on their own in caves or huts away from towns. A fortunate few had relatives who would leave food for them, but many had no one. They weren't allowed close enough to beg for a living. Ragged, thin, rejected. Lepers. Even the word spoke an icy finality.

"Have mercy on us!"
Their pleading cut through Bart's thoughts. Jesus was cupping his hands now, and calling across the low valley which lay between the road and the ridge where the lepers stood. His voice rang out sharp and compelling in the stillness of the morning.

"Go! Show yourselves to the priests!"
The lepers looked at each other. You only went to the priests if your leprosy was gone. Only the priests could issue a clean bill of health so you could return to your family.
As they held up their decayed limbs, they were asking, "Why go unless we're healed?" They looked over to Jesus again, but he was conversing with Peter and John, and they didn't catch his eyes.
But then Bart heard a shout, a cry of exaltation, a loud eerie call that filled the valley and bounced off the hills: "I'm healed! I'm whole. My leprosy is gone! It's gone!"

Bart looked around in time to catch a smile at the corners of Jesus' mouth. The healing hadn't occurred as the lepers stood looking and wondering. It had taken place as they had begun to obey Jesus' words. "As they went" they were healed.

Suddenly a lone figure broke from the circle of rejoicing ex-lepers. He bounded over the little creek and raced towards them, rags fluttering behind him. He sped toward Jesus and then landed on his knees before the Master in a cloud of fine dust.
He spoke just a phrase -- "Thank you, Master" -- in a sort of broken accent, the accent of Samaria. Then he just knelt there sobbing.
Jesus spoke now, not really to the leper, but beyond him somehow, as if to the whole world. "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?"

Bart's mind spun. He thought of the countless times God had answered his prayers, provided for his family, given him work, healed his sickly daughter. How often had he really said "Thanks"? Too often he had taken these blessings for granted, rejoicing in his good fortune, but seldom racing back to the Giver with a word of heartfelt thanks on his lips.

As the man knelt, Jesus' hand instinctively rested on his head, blessing, and at the same time stroking and smoothing the tangles left from years of sojourn. Jesus wept as he caressed the man's head, tears making rivulets down his cheeks into his beard.
Bart looked up. The leper band was now heading off towards the priests' village. They had received physical healing, indeed, but the man at Jesus' feet had received a healing of his whole person. As Jesus helped him up, he said, "Rise and go. Your faith has made you whole."

The newly-whole Samaritan embraced Jesus. Then they stood there for a moment looking at one another -- smile meeting smile. The gift of healing had sent him the message of God's love, but thanks had brought him home.
This is a fictional retelling of the story found in Luke 17:11-17.

The Origin of Silent Night

Tonight is Christmas Eve and St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, north of Salzburg, will be chock-full of people. Father Joseph Mohr has a homily in mind, a message for his flock on this sacred night, but he needs a carol, something special to cap off the service.Silent night, holy night,All is calm, all is bright...The words won't go away. "I need a tune!" he says out loud, shaking his head. "I wonder if Franz can help me. I hope it's not too late." Franz Gruber is the schoolteacher in the nearby village of Arnsdorf -- a gifted musician, organist at the Arnsdorf church, and occasional substitute organist at St. Nicholas. "Franz will help me!" he says to himself. "He can't resist a musical challenge."Franz Gruber, Schoolteacher and OrganistQuickly now he slings on his heavy coat, dons a fur cap and gloves, and ventures into the brisk December morning. The snow is crunchy underfoot as he makes his way across the churchyard towards Arnsdorf, just a 20 minute walk. "Silent night, holy night ... silent night, holy night." The rhythm of the words echoes with each step.Elizabeth opens the door at his knock. "Father Mohr, how nice of you to stop by. Franz will be glad to see you." She takes his coat and ushers him in. Franz is picking something out on his guitar."Franz, remember that poem I told you about: 'Silent Night'?" says Mohr. "I know it's too late to ask, but could you help put a tune to it? I want to sing it tonight for Christmas Eve."Gruber's face lights up. A challenge. A song. He takes the lyrics from the priest and begins to say them over and over, looking for a cadence. Then he hums a line and scratches it down.Mohr soon tires of the process and begins to play with the children. But within an hour or so, Gruber seems to have a melody and is working out the chords on his guitar. "Father, how does this sound?" he calls and begins to sing the words:Silent night, holy night,All is calm all is bright...He stops to make a correction in the manuscript, and then continues:...'Round yon virgin, Mother and Child,Holy infant so tender and mild,Sleep in heavenly peace!Sleep in heavenly peace!Father Mohr is ecstatic. On the second verse Gruber's deep voice is joined by Mohr's rich tenor. Elizabeth, baby on her hip, who has been humming along, now joins them on the last verse. The song fills their home with its gentle words and memorable melody.New Year's Eve at St. Nicholas Church, Oberndorf, 1818That night, December 24, 1818, the song fills St. Nicholas Church at Midnight Mass. Mohr sings tenor, Gruber bass, and the church choir joins the refrain of each verse, while Mohr accompanies on the guitar. By the time the last notes die away, the worshipers are a-buzz with joy and wonder at the song. On Christmas Day, the song is being hummed and sung in dozens of homes around Oberndorf. "Silent night, holy night."And in Oberndorf, they would sing their beloved carol again and again each Christmas. The song might have stayed right there had it not been for an organ builder named Karl Mauracher, who came to repair the pipe organ at Arnsdorf in 1819 and made several trips to Oberndorf over the next few years, finally building a new organ for St. Nicholas in 1825.The Song Finds Its Way to Emperors and Kings -- and to AmericaWhether Mauracher found the music and lyrics on the organ or they were given to him by Gruber, we don't know. But he carried the song to the Ziller Valley east of Innsbruk, where he shared it with two local families of travelling folk singers, the Rainers and the Strassers, who began to sing it as part of their regular repertoire. The following Christmas of 1819, the Rainer Family Singers sang "Stille Nacht" in the village church of Fügen (Zillertal).Three years later they sang it for royalty. Emperor Francis I of Austria and his ally Czar Alexander I of Russia were staying in the nearby castle of Count Dönhoff (now Bubenberg Castle). The Rainer Family performed the carol and were invited to Russia for a series of concerts.In 1834 the Strasser Family Singers sang "Silent Night" for King Frederick William IV of Prussia. He was so taken with what the Strassers called their "Song of Heaven," that he commanded it to be sung by his cathedral choir every Christmas Eve. It spread through Europe and in 1839 the Raniers brought the song to America as the "Tyrolean Folk Song." Since then it has been translated into over 300 languages and dialects.Various English translations blossomed, but the definitive English version of the song was penned by Rev. John Freeman Young and first published in The Sunday-School Service and Tune Book (1863).Why Is "Silent Night" So Popular?Why has "Silent Night" become our most beloved carol? Is it the words -- tender, intimate, gentle? Or the tune -- so peaceful, so memorable, so easy to play or pick out with one hand on the piano?It is not a joyous, fast-paced carol like Handel's "Joy to the World." Nor theologically-rich like Charles Wesley's "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing." Nor does it have a complex tune like "Angels We Have Heard on High."Rather, "Silent Night" is quiet and reflective, calling us to meditate on the scene. It is the ambience conveyed by both the gentle words and melody that create from this carol an oasis of peace."All is calm, all is bright."It calls us to dwell on the Madonna and Child --"'Round yon Virgin, mother and Child,Holy Infant, so tender and mild,Sleep in heavenly peace."You feel as the "shepherds quake at the sight." You can imagine as "heavenly hosts sing Alleluia." And you begin to sing "Alleluia to the King" right along with them.Rays of backlit brilliance highlight many a religious painting, but here the picture of light is painted in words:"Glories stream from heaven afar....""Son of God, love's pure light,Radiant beams from Thy holy face...."Just Who is in this manger? What is the significance of this birth? What is Christmas about -- really? Perhaps most of all, "Silent Night" is beloved because it reminds us in its simple, but exceedingly clear way, the truth behind it all -- the truth that changes everything:"Christ, the Savior is born!"Sing it again this Christmas and let its gentle peace wash over you and its bold assertion renew your soul."Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!"Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!"While the first few paragraphs of this story have been fictionalized, the historical events are true. Joseph Mohr (1792-1848) wrote the words to "Silent Night" in 1816 while priest at Mariapharr. On Christmas Eve 1818, he asked his friend Franz Gruber (1787-1863) to write the tune for Mass that evening at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf where Mohr had been assigned in 1817. I've been careful to rely on recent historical research into the origin of the carol, much of it gathered since 1995, when a manuscript of the carol in Mohr's hand was found, dated 1820-1825. Some of the most helpful (and accurate) information sources are: Bill Egan's Silent Night Museum, Egan's article "Silent Night: The Song Heard 'Round The World," "Silent Night, Holy Night -- Notes," Hyde Flippo's "Silent Night and Christmas," the Stille Nacht Gesellschaft by Manfred Fischer, director of the Silent Night Museum and Chapel in Oberndorf, Austria.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Preserve a marriage by using this 7 letter Phrase

Marriage, we sure understand the word; but in general, it is like a thing that a person must have before he or she will leave this world, even if the latters belief of its being sacred is only very small. Many of the marriages today are in a gloomy situation. The husband or the wife have hidden affairs, not the affair that is Godly, but one that is dedicated to the flesh. Now, what if this said thing corrupts the relationship between a husband and a wife, is there any hope for them to refresh that once blissful feelings of love they had? of course, there is always hope. How? by using the 7 letter phrase, with honesty and sincerity. What do you think is that phrase? Don't bother to think of the phrase, I will give it to you. It is the phrase "I am sorry".

Why Others Don't Celebrate Christmas

As we grow in age, our beliefs also change, most often. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst. Before, I don't have any interest of knowing why others don't celebrate christmas, but now, I do. The reason is, we can understand others more by knowing what's behind their minds. Here are a few reasons why others don't celebrate christmas. The first reason, because Christmas is not in the Bible. Based on that declaration, they further state that God did not expect any of us to do the celebration, and there is no celebration whatsoever that was done in the Bible dedicted to Jesus' birth. Second reason, Jesus was not born on December 25. Indeed this is true. Third reason, Christmas celebration is a recycled pagan celebration, and because it has a pagan origin, God abhors it.Ok, there are many more, but that is enough to give you a taste of why others don't celebrate christmas.

Do You Believe Christmas?

This month is December, the end of 2009. We often hear the phrase "Merry Christmas", it is a common thing, but do you really believe Christmas? Of course, you do, right? Almost all the people breathing in this planet believed Christmas; but not the same Christmas. That's the distinct difference. Others thought of Christmas as a festival, a theory, a story not real, but only a celebration of giving. Unlike to some, who believed christmas in relation to that small baby boy, lying in a manger, and later died on the cross. The latter is the son of God in human form. Yes, it is a celebration, a celebration of gratitude, because God in heaven has given man an opportunity to connect to God through Jesus Christ his son.

Monday, December 7, 2009

English Skill is an Advantage

When I was in the elementary ( am talking about an educational level) I learned english because it is required. Then came highschool, I continue to learn english just enough to understand textbooks. However, as years pass by, specially now that am a full fledged adult, I observed that good english speaking and writing is an advantage. I remember a recent talk with an australian friend, he said that he is a regular letter writer of a Saudi guy who is giving him $20 dollars per letter. The surprising thing is, the letter is just a simple one. It is indeed an advantage to be a good writer and speaker of the english language. I admit I still need to learn more, and that is what am doing at the moment. If you are good in english, try to make friends with others around the world, you can use it to open opportunities that others without your ability can only dream about.