Monthly Archives: February 2016

right-thinking

Three rules for right thinking

1.Accept your limitations. Be humble. It is surprising how many great minds have bowed before the Christian religion in all ages. It does not follow a thing that  is contrary to reason because it is beyond reason. It may transcend the power of reason, as an ob-ject may be beyond the vision, but it may be no less a fact than what is beyond the reach of sight. While great minds accept great truths, small minds often construct idols, not of wood or of stone, but, as the Duke of Argyle says, “of their own abstract conceptions”

2.Be intellectually honest. Mental candour is something rare. Tennyson long ago said that “the truthful man generally has all virtues.” Sin is born of presumptuous intelligence. Satan is the embodiment of intellect without God, and he is the father of lies. We know few things so rare as absolute intellectual integrity—a type of manhood where there is an honest desire and determination to follow truth wherever it leads, and at any cost to one’s self; but it pays. There is much that is seen, which will soon pass away like the vapour or cloud which envelopes the mountain; but the unseen mountain, itself glorious, like the Great White Thorne, will stand unmoved when fifty centuries of cloud and mist have fled Into nothingness. The man who desires to look for truth, and, when he finds it, sticks to it whatever it may cost him, has the essentials of the Eternal in him.

3.Be independent. If necessary, dare to stand alone and not blindly follow the multitude, or even some so-called great men, Francis Bacon long ago said that there were four idols that men follow-those of the tribe, the den, the market place, and the theatre; in other words, the national idols, the scholar students, the demagogues, and the orators. If one would keep his beliefs he must guard his company. It is far easier to suggest a doubt than to answer it. Any fool can ask questions which no wise man can answer, but no wise man can propound a question which he will not find some fool ready to attempt answer. One needs to guard himself against the subtle influences of current, doubt which is in, the very air we breathe. Dare to stand, as we have said, if necessary, alone.

Devotional by Dr. AT Peirson

Taken from ‘The balance of truth’ August 1961 issue.

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Power in Unity

Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church, “I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing . . . that ye perfectly joined together in the same mind” (1 Cor. 1 :1 0)

Story is told of a man whose car skidded off the road into a ditch. Because of the slushy mud, the car could not be driven out of it. So the man approached a farmer in the nearby farm house for the help of a tractor to pull out his car. The farmer didn’t have a tractor, but he said that he will help as his old mule Blue could do that job. The man was doubtful whether a mule could pull out the car and expressed it to the farmer. The farmer said, “you don’t know about my Blue” and took the animal. After hitching it to the car by a chain, the farmer called out to the mule, “Pull, Blue” but the car did not move. And then the farmer called out loudly, “Pull Elmer”, the car did not move. And then the farmer yelled out “Pull Biscuit”. Suddenly the car was pulled out over the embankment.

The owner of the car thanked the farmer and then asked him why he called the mule three different names. The former replied, “my mule Blue is blind; he first thought that he was pulling alone. When other names were called out, thinking that two other animals were also pulling with him, he pulled harder and it worked”.

“Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their labours” (Eccl.4:9)

Ex.17:12; Judg.20:11; Neh.4:6; Mk.18:19

Taken from the book ‘Honey for the Soul’ by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj.  

Page: 266

Price: 195

Publisher: Gospel Literature Service

 To purchase this book online, please visit our e-store on this site.

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HE was HUMBLE

Jesus said “He who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke l4: 11)

Jesus humbled Himself “He humbled Himself and became obedient to death…” (Philippians 2 : 8).

On at least four different occasions Jesus said that ‘He who humbles himself will be exalted.’ He spoke from experience.

He laid aside His majesty. He forfeited high privilege. He gave up the glory of heaven. He left behind the wonder of eternity. He turned His back on the splendor of heaven. He forsook the grandeur of His eternal abode. He stooped to become as one of those He had created. He accepted the restrictions of a human form. He exchanged the riches of heaven for the poverty of earth. He deigned to become a sacrifice. He ‘emptied himself of all but love’.

He humbled Himself. In doing so, He came from a throne to a manger, from ruler to servant, from plenty to poverty. He came from honour to insults, from immortal freedom to human restriction, from streets of gold to dusty roads. He came from divine transportation to pedestrian travel, from receiving high respect to doubt and disbelief in His authority. He came from adoring worship to carping criticism, from angelic choirs to howling mob.

He humbled Himself.

He who in heaven reigned,

Taking man’s place He deigned

To take a lower place

To save the human race.

Earth was the lowest place

 For Him to come in grace.

 A place of sin and shame.

But that is why He came.

In grace and mercy came –

O blessed be His Name!

Stepped down from heav’n above

Because of His great love.

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Missing God's Best

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile”
(Mark 6:31a NLT).

Jesus said this to his disciples because they had become so busy that they did not have time to eat. I am really busy is one of the most common retorts today when asked how you are doing. As Christians we be so involved in good things that we miss God’s best.

In Exodus 31: 17 the Lord gives a very busy man Moses a pattern to follow. It was the same plan that God used in the work of creation, one day in seven for rest. We often tax our minds and bodies in ways that God never intended. We fill in our weekly schedules with little time for rest, reflection, or spending time with source of strength, God. Someone once said, “if your output exceeds your input, your upkeep will be your downfall.” We make the mistake of believing that through good intentions and determination we can maintain our physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. God did not try to live like this so why should we? He (God) knows what we need and there is no substitute for one on one with him. I am not saying that our day of rest has to always be filled with Bible reading and prayer, but in activities where at least God can get our attention.

What is the practical point here? Make your schedule around God and not God around your schedule. It’s all about priorities. My prayer for all of us is that we won’t come to the end of this earthly journey and realize that we have experienced good and missed God’s best.

 Devotional by Ken Barnes

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Types of Prayer

There are different types of prayers, and each one is distinct. Some of the basic types of prayers are:

  1. Public prayer
  2. Private prayer
  3. Family prayer

Public Prayer

Prayers prayed before an audience or prayers done before the congregation are called public prayer. “I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting”. 1 Timothy 2:8.

Private Prayer

These prayers are the backbone of believers. If there is no private prayer in a man’s life, there will surely be private sins. We can get right with the Lord only when we keep a personal time of fellowship with the Lord. All our private sins should be confessed in our private prayer. The basics of confession is, “Confess public sins publicly and private sins, privately”. The Lord teaches about personal prayer in detail, because He gave lot of importance to this. “But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6.

Family Prayer

Family prayers have an important role in the shaping of a child of God. A child grows in three ways. They are physical growth, mental growth and spiritual growth. It is the duty of the father to give physical food, mental food and spiritual food to his child. If the father is away or absent for some reason, then it becomes the responsibility of the mother. Physical food is for the growth of the body, mental food is for the growth of the mind, which helps him to grow into maturity, and spiritual food is from the Word of God, which help him to grow in the fear of God and into wisdom. It is through family prayer that a child is given spiritual food.

We have already seen that prayer is a vital part in the life of a child of God. The Lord taught that a man should be a man of continuous prayer. Cf. “That men always ought to pray and not lose heart”. Luke 18:1. Also see. 1 Thessalonians 5:17. “Pray without ceasing.” Again the Bible says that we ought to pray, in the morning, noon and in the evening daily. Psalms 5: 3; 55:17; 86:3. Daniel prayed three times a day. “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” Daniel 6:10.

Taken from the book ‘7 Steps to Christian Maturity’ by Sabu Varghese.

Published by Gospel Literature Service

Price: 185

Pages: 216

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He Became Poor For Us

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matt 20:28).

Recently, a lovely young couple got married at our local church. During the ceremony the beautiful bride washed her beloved’s feet. Then, the handsome groom cherished his better half by doing the same. Ever so often, something memorable comes along. Can you imagine what a special marriage this will be if they continue yielding to one another? Not that it will be smooth sailing every day, but humility goes a long way. Much like oil…making a car’s engine purr.

I marvel at Jesus’ demeanor while instructing the disciples. On one occasion, He heard them arguing over who would be exalted and sit with Him in lofty places of honor (Luke 22:24). By any means possible, they wanted to be admired for greatness. I’m certain this type of behavior gave Christ a saddened heart. In light of that, let’s consider one final lesson He taught before the crucifixion. During the last meal, taking off His outer garments, Jesus washed the disciples feet and dried them with a towel hanging from His waist (John 13:5). We note here: He alone, began a good work in His followers and He intended to complete it (Phil 1:6).

You’re probably familiar with Peter’s attempted refusal of this menial task. In his arrogance, he thought it beneath Jesus to act inferior. Jesus assured him, “…if I do not wash you, you have not part with me” (John 13:8). Indeed, our Heavenly Father placed all things into the Son’s hands, yet He stoops to cleanse dirty feet. Jesus’ ‘bowing the knee’ was not born of poverty, but from richness (2 Cor 8:9). He does the same for us.

Meditation by Darlene Edmondson

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Protected and Prized

One’s perspective on what is important changes over time.

The discerning realizes that good health is to be protected and prized.

“Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper (2 Kings 5:1 NKJ).”

Seemingly, the Syrian commander had it all; the respect of his master, and subservience of soldiers in his command, plus bravery to boot. He had it all, all but a clean bill of health. Read the following passage in your Bible for details on his life changing experience.

Healing in his body led to healing of spirit.

“And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, ‘Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel (2 Kings 5:15aNKJ).”

Devotional by Pam Ford Davis

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Perverted Views

Sex, as created by God, is sacred and pure. This is evident from the fact that it was created before man fell into sin and existed in a world which God Himself considered “Very Good”. But ever since the Fall of, man, his view of sex has been perverted and he himself has become a slave to sexual desire. As soon as Adam and Eve sinned, they became sex—conscious and ashamed of their nakedness and immediately sought to cover their bodies. We live in a world which is still reaping the sad effects of that Fall. As a result, sex which was meant to be a blessing to man has become a burden instead.

The word “sex” itself has an impure connotation in the minds of most people today because of man’s repeated abuse of this God-given function. The cinema, the advertising world and much of the cheap literature sold on book stalls today have all served to give a crooked and perverted conception of that which God intended to be pure, beautiful and holy.

There is abundant evidence to prove that our thoughts about sex are perverted. In Christian Behavior; C. S. Lewis writes, “You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act — that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let everyone see, just before the light went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, wouldn’t you think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And wouldn’t anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was something equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us?”

A Christian is called to shine as a light for God in this perverted world. He must therefore stand against the world’s low views of sex, which reduce it to a mere physiological phenomenon and a source of pleasure. He should allow the Spirit of God to renew his mind so that he begins to look at sex as God looks at it — not as something sinful to be ashamed of, but as something sacred and intrinsically beautiful.

Many religions and philosophies hold perverted views of sex either because they look upon the human body as something evil to be cast off at the earliest opportunity, or because they go to the other extreme and worship the body, fulfilling its every desire without question.

The Christian View is that the body is as much a part of God’s good creation as the spirit and the soul — although of lesser importance than these latter. The body therefore has a definite purpose in God’s plan. The Bible teaches that the Christian should glorify God in his body since it is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1Cor. 6: 1320). We are exhorted therefore to present our bodies in an act of worship as a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1).

Martin Luther reminded those who felt that the body was the cause of sin, that the Lord Jesus had a body on earth but was yet sinless, whereas the Devil who has no body is full of sin. The root of sin is to be found not in the body but in the human heart. Deliverance from sin comes not by eliminating the body and its desires but by a change of heart. We do not have to pray, as some do, that God will remove our sexual desires. That would mutilate our manhood and destroy a part of God’s temple. God wants us to be complete men living in victory. The fire in the fire- place does not have to be extinguished. We have only to be careful that the house does not catch fire.

Even in the realm of sex, God permits us to be tempted with a purpose – the same purpose with which He permitted Adam to be tempted in the Garden of Eden. Adam was innocent but God wanted him to be holy. Holiness is more than innocence. Adam could have become holy only as he made a moral choice and overcame temptation: so it is with us.

Taken from the book “Sex, love and marriage” by Zac Poonen

Published by Gospel Literature Service

Pages: 148

Price: Rs 105

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Two shall be one

Someone has said that marriage is such that those who are out want to get in and those who are in want to get out. Why do those who are out want to get in? It is because they have an unrealistic picture of marriage in their minds. They think marriage is lifelong honey moon with no nappies and dishes, colds and coughs and hurts and aches, etc. They think the marriage is what they have seen in the movies- singing and dancing in the park with their sweetheart or their prince charming. They have a fairy tale ending in their minds- ‘and they lived happily ever after.’

When such people get married they discover that the husband and wife relationship is not always soft, silky and smooth like ice cream. They discover that it has its inherent responsibilities and accountability to one another. They fail to understand that a happy marriage is made up by two people who are bent upon making it happy. They fail to understand that in marriage there has to be a lot of give and take and that you cannot always have your way. They regret because of their distorted and twisted view of marriage and want to get out of it if possible.

Someone has also said that marriage is like an old shoe. With the passing of time it gets comfortable. The shoe gets adjusted to the feet and the feet get adjusted to the shoe. But it takes time, patience and perseverance. A well adjusted marriage is not automatic. We have to work at it with dedication and devotion, with never a thought of divorce even in the dream.

Let us enter into the bliss of marriage with a biblical understanding.

What does the Bible teach us about marriage?

Taken from the book “Two shall be one” by Richard Masih

Publishers: Gospel Literature Service

Pages: 142

Price: Rs 150

This book will:

 1) Open our eyes to what the Bible says about sex, love, marriage, family and home.

2) Help us to differentiate between love and infatuation so that we take a right decision.

3) Teach us to pray rightly for a life partner.

4) Counsel us to marry a believer only if we are a believer.

5) Guide us how to find a right life partner in the will of God.

6) Show us the purpose of marriage.

7) Teach us how to establish a Christian home and a family.

8) Set us on the path of a happy and a blessed married life, family and home.

So, read on.

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HE BORROWED

“Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”’  (Matthew 8: 20)

“…..you will find a colt tied there….. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you ‘Why are you doing this? ‘tell him. ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’” (Mark 11:2-3)

Jesus said. “A man is life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 2: l5).

Life is more than possessions. After all, what is time compared to eternity? What isearth compared to heaven?

As Jesus said, “What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world yet forfeits his soul? ” (Matthew 16 : 26).

So Jesus, possessing little, needed to borrow things occasionally. Whether it was a manger in which to be born, water to miraculously turn into wine, or a boy’s lunch with which to feed a multitude, or a boat to use as a pulpit.

Whether it was a coin so that He could answer a trick question, or a room in which to celebrate Passover with His disciples, or an ass upon which to ride into Jerusalem, Jesus borrowed.

 It is an open question whether Jesus is still borrowing today. Someone wrote some beautiful words which began like this. ‘Christ has no hands but our hands, to do His work today. He has no feet but our feet…’

Have we gifts, or talents, or willingness He could utilise?

He borrowed the manger in which He was born.

He borrowed the ears from the head of the corn.

He borrowed a lunch and a large crowd was fed.

And He borrowed a room in which to break bread.

Borrowed the water, turned to wine that was new,

He borrowed a coin to give Caesar his due.

He borrowed a donkey to ride into town

And they borrowed the tomb whence He was laid down.

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