Fireside

Praising in Pain

Manna for the Soul rgb

Praising in Pain

“Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).
Hanna R. Higgins, the author of the book “Cloud and Sunshine“ was a bedridden invalid for over 50 years. As a young girl, she was afflicted with a strange bone disease, and her legs had to be amputated. She lived through intense suffering and pain, bearing everything patiently and cheerfully as she was a completely committed Christian. She was rooted in Christ, had faith in Him and abounded in thanksgiving. Everyone who came to meet and talk to her, went away feeling blessed. She used to call her bed the “Thanksgiving corner”. She rejoiced in her Lord and radiated Christian joy, peace and glory. Her prayer list for intercession for missionaries and workers included over 200 names and she prayed without ceasing. She used to pray for each one by name and send a letter of encouragement to each one of them at least once a year. Her book was written when she was 77 and she says, “I long for all to prove, as l do, that with our loving Savior’s help, it is possible to be happy under trying conditions.” Read Phil. 4:6; Hab. 3:17-18; Acts 15:25; 1 Peter 4:12-13; Heb. 10:34.

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

Published by GLS Publishing

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Optimism built on solid foundation

 

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Being content and happy pay rich dividends in our lives. If we have an attitude of looking on the bright side of life, there is a chance of good health. According to a report appeared on Daily Mirror regarding optimism and health, people who have high optimism may engage in a healthy lifestyle that minimizes health risks and increases health and well-being. Perhaps, when people have a positive outlook on life, they undertake actions more likely to produce good outcomes. Research team led by Dr Eric Kim of Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health in Boston conducted a study on 70000 women about the positive effects of optimism. They found out that optimistic people a third less likely to die from conditions like cancer, heart diseases and stroke than more pessimistic people. Dr Eric Kim said, “While most medical and public health efforts today focus on reducing risk factors for diseases, evidence has been mounting that enhancing psychological resilience may also make a difference. Our new findings suggest that we should make efforts to boost optimism, which has been shown to be associated with healthier behaviours and healthier ways of coping with life challenges.”

Christians have one of the greatest optimistic teachings imparted by our Master. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6: 25-26). While the world’s optimism is totally depend on things on earth, a Christian’s optimism is completely relied on his faith in Jesus. Biblical optimism does not give much stress on earthly things. It can cope with any hard situations because it believes that “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Randy Alcorn’s writing about Biblical Optimism is an eye opener. “If we build our lives on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ’s eternity-shaping redemptive work, we can be optimists. Why? Because even our most painful experience is but a temporary setback. Our pain and suffering may or may not be relieved in this life, but will certainly be relieved in the next. That is Christ’s promise—no more death, crying or pain; he will wipe away all our tears (Revelation 21:4). Indeed, any other foundation is sand, not rock. It will inevitably disappoint us.”

Jack Wellman in Patheos.com puts reasons for Christians to be optimistic. “Don’t we have every reason to be optimistic?  We have had our sins forgiven (Colossians 1:14).  We have had the righteousness of Christ imputed or accounted toward us (2 Corinthians 5:21) and we who have repented and trusted in Christ have eternal life (John 3:16).  This means that when Christ returns, we won’t have to face the so-called second death (Revelation 20:14) and that gives believers every reason to have optimism about their future.”

“Christ said to His disciples, who would suffer much, “Rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). Our optimism isn’t “health and wealth gospel” wishful thinking which claims that God will spare us from suffering here and now. Peter said, “Rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:13). Christ’s future glory, in which His children will participate, is the reason for our present rejoicing while suffering,” writes Randy Alcorn. Biblical optimism is much higher than the worldly optimism. It is rejoicing in sufferings and it helps us to trust in heavenly things, not the things on earth.

By Prakash P Koshy

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Life Changing New Year Resolutions

    1. Resolve to prepare for His second coming

Earth quakes, terrorist attacks, natural disasters and war wreck havoc in many nations. Even the safest places are not free from such unpredictable catastrophes. Such events indicate that the coming of Lord is at hand. So it’s time to seek things that are above and live in hope of eternity. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” Colossians 3:1-2

    1. Resolve to fight sin.

Sin is easily accessible now than ever before. Human inventions, technology, mobility, communication facility and the new world order make sin viable, affordable, accessible and fashionable. The word of God does not change according to times and evolving technology. Recognize the aspects, people and situations that set off temptations and resultant sin. Keep away from such things. “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6: 20. “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.  Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.” Colossians 3: 5- 6

    1. Resolve to be grateful.

Be grateful to God for the wonderful life and the greatest gift, Jesus Christ. Also, be thankful for the innumerable blessings in our lives. Many people around the world are in pathetic situations because of war, calamities and famine. They may be near to us or on the other side of the globe. Think about them and do not worry about what we do not have. Praise God for spiritual and earthly blessings. A thankful attitude brightens up our own lives and lives around us.  “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Colossians 3: 15

    1. Resolve to spend more time on Scriptures

It is a common resolution most Christians take and follow it during the initials days of the new year. But, later many ignore this resolution. If we are away from the word of God, we are closer to Satan. Though many will not accept this fact, it is true. Scripture is the light in our dark paths, a right indicator at crossroads, a solace in gloomy situations and a purifying factor in culture cauldron. Make reading and meditation of the Scripture a strict habit.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly….” Colossians 3: 16

    1. Resolve to know Jesus better

Paul has known Jesus Christ for thirty years and has experienced celestial visitations and visions. But still he wants to know Him more. We cannot compare our lives with Paul’s. He was the greatest warrior of the Lord, fighting till the last breath.. Paul was a truly passionate follower of Jesus Christ. If such a person wants to know Him better, where are we?   “But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in  Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” Philippians 3:7-9.

    1. Resolve to allot time for prayer

Prayer is power, so less prayer means less power. It is a dominant spiritual tool. “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18. Jesus Christ, son of God had shown us a great example that He spent a considerable time in prayer when He was on earth. The effectiveness of a prayer depends not on its length, but on its intensity. When we grow in Christ we will understand prayer is not about asking things, but it is a continuous communication between two closed persons.

    1. Resolve to consider others’ needs

We live in a world where brands revolve around ‘I’. And people believe nothing is wrong in selfish motives and selfish gains. Be different. Take a decision to offer small help to others. Sometimes a smile can bring cheers on others’ faces. Separate a portion of our materials, wealth and time for others and the unfortunate. We may not spend our entire life in serving others, but we can make others happy by offering timely help in their distress. Instead of focusing on our lives and its troubles look around and be aware of the needs of others.  “Not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Philippians 2:4

By Prakash P Koshy

 

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