Count your blessings

May 20, 2015 by admin  
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John 21:8-11
The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish,
for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.

When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”

Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore.
It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. (NIV)

Count Your Blessings

The Bible teaches us not to put our trust in the numbers or strength of what we have,
but we are taught to give thanks.

A friend of mine took a boat trip on the Sea of Galilee some time ago.

He said, “During the trip, the boat stopped, the captain stripped to his shorts and dived overboard!
He surfaced holding a large fish which he manhandled on board.

We had no idea they could grow that big.
I had previously wondered why 153 large fish could cause the fishermen such a problem.

Thankful

Then I knew! A net with that many of such large fish would truly be a miracle.
No wonder Peter counted them and remembered the exact number!”
The disciples had not gone to fish with Jesus’ approval, but HE did not abandon them.
They did not ask for help, but He told them where to find the fish.

They had small expectations, but Jesus did far more than ever they expected.

Ephesians 3:20 confirms this:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us…”

When that happens we need to record what God has done and give Him thanks.

God is Good

Psalm 136 is an example of that – listing many things the Lord had done for His people –
and every verse ends: “His love endures for ever!”
” It is good to count our blessings;
not in order to boast of what we have got,
but so that we can properly give God the Glory “.

The soul who presumes on the blessing of God, values neither the gifts nor the Giver.

” But the humble soul knows
that when goodness comes to his door,
it is all of God’s grace “.

Grace

That person will treasure His gifts, rejoice and give thanks.
Then it is so easy to forget!

” So why not find a way of recording
what the Lord has done for you –
it will be a great encouragement to you
and to others in the future “.

- fwd: v c mathews

The grace of giving

May 18, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

How do you give to the Lord?

titheDo you just drop some money in the plate at church without much thought? Or do you just write a check to God at the first of every month and pay Him like you pay all your other bills?

You need to think about that because how you give is a matter of deep concern to God. He’s particular about how offerings are given. He won’t receive just any old thing however you feel like giving it.

In Malachi, for example, God refused to receive Israel’s offerings. They were bringing Him their defective animals, their blind calves and the injured ones they couldn’t do anything else with—and God said it offended Him. He told them, “You don’t have any reverence or honor for Me, and I’m not going to accept your offering.”

That kind of thing didn’t die out after the book of Malachi. Many today don’t have any reverence for God at offering time. People wait for the preacher to beat them over the head until they feel so guilty they have to reach down in their pocketbooks and get some money out.

But I want you to know, that’s offensive to God. In fact, He spoke directly to a friend of mine about it. The statement He made to her so impressed me, I wrote it down word for word.

It grieves Me when the Church takes offerings, He told her. I said to worship Me. Don’t take from the people, but let them bring their gifts and worship Me. Then they will see the fruits of their giving.

If you and I want God to be pleased with our offerings, we’re going to have to do what the Apostle Paul wrote about in 2 Corinthians 8:7. We’re going to have to learn to “excel in this grace of giving” (New International Version). We’re going to have to quit being casual about it and to learn to give with faith and reverence in worship.

Next time the offering plate is passed, don’t just drop your gift carelessly in the plate. Get serious. Determine to obey God. Worship Him with your money and be thankful. He’ll do more than simply receive it, He’ll open the windows of blessing for you.

- gloria copeland

Face to face with God

May 9, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

Encounter with ChristWhat happens when God shows up and He is totally other than we expected?

What happens when we encounter God?

Face-to-face with God, we are always aware of His total “other-ness.”

He is infinitely beyond anything we can imagine, and he is especially beyond being manageable.

How does life change when it runs head-on into an extraordinary God?

We get some clues when we study what happened when biblical characters encountered God, worshiped Him, and responded to His strong presence.

When we encounter God, He will disclose a heart not right with Him.

Encounter with ChristWhen God comes walking in the garden of our hearts, we may try to hide behind the fig leaves of our own righteousness if our hearts are harboring sin or unbelief (Genesis 3:7-10).

Before our sin, Jesus went to the cross to enable us to receive the mercy and grace of God.

When we encounter God in worship, we will surrender completely to God to put our “Isaacs” on the altar.  Worship precedes surrender.

Abraham told his servants,

“[The boy and I] will worship and then we will come back to you” (Genesis 22:5,9-10).

When they reached the place where God directed, Abraham built an altar and prepared the wood on it.

He bound Isaac and laid him on the wood as the sacrifice, and he took the knife to slay his own son.

At that moment, Abraham revealed his fear of the Lord.

Abraham and GodThen God revealed Himself in a new dimension, Jehovah-Jireh, the One who provides the Lamb.

When we encounter God in worship, we will have HIS courage to go against overwhelming odds and see Him do what only He can do in delivering those in rebellion.

God said to Gideon, “Have I not sent you? Surely I will be with you” (Judges 6:14,16).

In the strength of that promise and at God’s instruction, Gideon pared down his initial muster of 32,000 men to 300.

Fresh from worshiping God, he confidently told the men, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands” (Judges 7:15).

With the unconventional weapons of pitchers, torches, and trumpets, God provided His deliverance which only He could give.

When we encounter Him in our sorrow and broken dreams, He will come to us to open the Scriptures to our hearts.

Walking away from their disappointment, two dejected disciples met Jesus unawares (Luke 24:13-32).

As they talked with Him, He explained Scriptures they had never understood.

” Likewise, God will come to us with comfort and understanding in His Word when we think all hope is lost “.

There are truths in His Word that we will understand only when we bring our hopelessness to Him.

When we encounter Him in worship, we will be assured of His presence, go in His authority, and make disciples who in turn will repeat the process.

When the disciples saw Jesus after the resurrection, they worshiped Him.

Jesus said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations… And surely I am with you always” (Matthew 28:17-20).

Listen to GodDid you notice how many of these real people encountered God face-to-face in their desperation?

Think of Abraham at the altar with Isaac, Moses at the burning bush and at the Red Sea, Jacob before meeting Esau, Joshua before a walled city, Gideon before a hostile army, Jehoshaphat before three hostile armies, and David in great trials of every kind.

” Listen to God tell you how He wants to meet you and show you more of Himself, His will, and His ways in your present circumstances “.

In all your life, look for Him.  He is there.

- fwd: v c mathews

Prayer that shocked the world

May 8, 2015 by admin  
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Minister Joe WrightWhen Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

“Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance.

We know Your Word says, “Woe to those who call evil good”, but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

We have shot anti-abortionists and called it justifiable.

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem.

We have abused power and called it politics.

We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition.

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!”

The response was immediate. A number of legislators walked out during the prayer in  protest.

In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than 5,000 phone calls with only 47 of those calls responding negatively.

The church is now receiving international requests for copies of this prayer from India, Africa and Korea.

Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on his radio program, “The Rest of the Story,” and received a larger response to this program than any other he has ever aired.

- fwd: menino martis

What does a daily quiet time look like ?

April 29, 2015 by admin  
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“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5 ESV)

Having a quiet time is like many other activities you might do in life — in at least one respect.
To be successful, it helps to have a plan.
The Bible says, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5 ESV).

Pray

If you’ve never had a quiet time before, you may not have a good, simple plan for doing one.
Simplicity is important with any plan you develop.
If you make it complicated, you’re more likely to get off track.
All you really need for an effective quiet time is a Bible, notebook, and maybe a hymnal or songbook.
So what does a daily quiet time look like?

quiet time

First, be quiet before the Lord.
The Bible calls it waiting on God.
You start by simply sitting down and shutting up.
talking to God
Second, pray briefly.
Start off with a short opening prayer.
Ask God to open your mind and guide you. Ask him to cleanse your mind.

Read a portion of Scripture slowly.
This is where your conversation with God begins.
He starts speaking to you through his Word,
and then you speak back to him through prayer.

Read the Bible slowly.
Don’t try to read too quickly or too much.
The more slowly you read Scripture, the more you’re forced to think about what you’re reading.

MeditateMeditate on the Word.
Spend some time chewing on what God is saying.
Chew on the Word like cows chew on cud.
Ponder and wrestle with it in your mind.
There are lots of great methods for meditating on the Word.

Write down what you discover.
When God speaks to you through his Word,
care enough about what he is saying to write it down.
Writing enables us to remember what God has said to us and record our discoveries.

Pray again.

Be quiet.

Ask God to show you his Word.
Talk to God about what he has said to you.
Tell him what you’re thinking about what he is saying.
Talk to him about anything else that’s on your mind.

- fwd: v c mathews

Self – Appraisal

April 9, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

a young boy uses a public pay phoneA Little boy went to a telephone booth which was at the cash counter of a store and dialed a number. The store-owner observed and listened to the conversation:

Boy: “Madam, can you give me the job of cutting your lawn?”

Woman: ( at the other end of the phone line ) “I already have someone to cut my lawn.”

Boy: “Madam, I will cut your lawn for half the price than the person who cuts your lawn now.”

Woman: “I’m very satisfied with the person who is presently cutting the lawn.”

Boy: ( with more perseverance ) “Madam, I’ll even sweep the floor and the stairs of your house for free.”

Woman: “No, thank you.”

boy cleaning the lawnWith a smile on his face, the little boy put the receiver down. The store-owner, who was listening to all this, walked over to the boy.

Store-owner: “Son… I like your attitude; I like that positive spirit and would like to offer you a job.”

Boy: “No thanks.”

Store-owner: “But you were really pleading for one.”

Boy: “No Sir, I was just checking my performance at the job I already have. I am the one who is working for that lady I was talking to!”

This is called “Self-Appraisal”

Give your best and the world comes to you!

A minute with God

April 6, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

My name is God. You hardly have time for me. I love you and will always bless you. I am
always with you. I need you to spend 30 secs. of your time with Me today.

Don’t pray, just praise.

Praise

Why do we feel  sleepy in prayer, but stay awake through a 3 hour movie?
Why are we so  bored when we look at the HOLY BOOK but find it easy to read other books?

Read me

Why are prayers  getting smaller, but bars and clubs are expanding?
Why is it so  easy to worship a celebrity, but very difficult to engage with God?

God has no BLACKBERRY but he’s my favorite contact.

He is not on  FACEBOOK but he is my best friend.

He is not on  TWITTER but I still follow Him, and even without the INTERNET

God online

I am always  connected to him.
He is not on gmail but he’s always online.

- fwd: menino martis

When I say I am a Christian

March 26, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

When I say that ‘I am a Christian’….
I am not shouting that ‘I am clean living.
I’m whispering ‘I was lost, but now I’m found and forgiven.’

christian

When I say ‘I am a Christian’….
I don’t speak of this with pride.
I’m confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’….
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ ….
I’m not bragging of success.
I’m admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’….
I’m not claiming to be perfect.
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

Christian

When I say ‘I am a Christian’ ….
I still feel the sting of pain.
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say ‘I am a Christian’….
I’m not holier than thou,
I’m just a simple sinner who received God’s good grace, somehow!

- fwd: menino martis

God’s accuracy

March 20, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

God is ableWhen GOD solves our problems, we have faith in HIS abilities;

When GOD doesn’t solve our problems HE has faith in our abilities.

God’s accuracy may be observed in the hatching of eggs. . . . .
-those of the canary in 14 days;
-those of the barnyard hen in 21 days;
-eggs of ducks and geese in 28 days;
-those of the mallard in 35 days;
-The eggs of the parrot and the ostrich hatch in 42 days. (Notice, they are all divisible by seven, the number of days in a week!)

God's timingGod’s wisdom is seen in the making of an elephant. The four legs of this great beast all bend forward in the same direction. No other quadruped is so made. God planned that this animal would have a huge body, too large to live on two legs. For this reason He gave it four fulcrums so that it can rise from the ground easily.

The horse rises from the ground on its two front legs first. A cow rises from the ground with its two hind legs first. How wise the Lord is in all His works of creation!
-Each watermelon has an even number of stripes on the rind.
-Each orange has an even number of segments.
-Each ear of corn has an even number of rows.
-Each stalk of wheat has an even number of grains.
-Every bunch of bananas has on its lowest row an even number of bananas, and each row decreases by one, so that one row has an even number and the next row an odd number. Amazing!
-The waves of the sea roll in on shore twenty-six to the minute in all kinds of weather.
-All grains are found in even numbers on the stalks.

God's timingGod has caused the flowers to blossom at certain specified times during the day. Linnaeus, the great botanist, once said that if he had a conservatory containing the right kind of soil, moisture and temperature, he could tell the time of day or night by the flowers that were open and those that were closed!

The lives of each of us may be ordered by the Lord in a beautiful way for His glory, if we will only entrust Him with 0ur life. If we try to regulate our own life, it will only be a mess and a failure. Only God, who made our brain and heart, can successfully guide them to a profitable end.

- fwd: menino martis

St. Joseph is the model of the educator, daddy & of the father

March 19, 2015 by admin  
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St. JosephVatican city, March 19, 2014: Here is a translation of Pope Francis’ address this morning at the general audience, which in light of today’s solemnity, he dedicated to St. Joseph.

Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today, March 19, we celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, husband of Mary and Patron of the universal Church. Therefore, we dedicate this catechesis to him, who merits all our gratitude and our devotion for his having been able to take care of the Holy Virgin and her Son Jesus. Joseph’s characteristic is to be a guardian: it is his great mission, to be a guardian.

Today I would like to take up the topic of guardianship according to a particular perspective: the educational perspective. We look at Joseph as the model of educators, who takes care of and supports Jesus in the course of his growth “in wisdom, age and grace,” as the Gospel says. He was not Jesus’ father: Jesus’ Father was God, but he behaved as a father to Jesus, he behaved as a father to Jesus to make him grow. And how did he make him grow? In wisdom, age and grace.

St. JosephWe begin with age, which is the most natural dimension, physical and psychological growth. Joseph, together with Mary, took care of Jesus especially from this point of view, namely, he “brought him up,” taking care that he did not lack the necessary for a healthy development. Let us not forget that the diligent looking-after of the life of the Child entailed also the flight into Egypt, the harsh experience of living as refugees – Joseph was a refugee, with Mary and Jesus – to escape from Herod’s threat.

Then, once they had returned to their homeland and were established at Nazareth, there is the whole long period of Jesus’ life in his family. In those years, Joseph also taught Jesus his work, and Jesus learned to be a carpenter with his father Joseph. So Joseph brought up Jesus.

We pass to the second dimension of education, that of “wisdom.” Joseph was for Jesus an example and teacher of this wisdom, which is nourished by the Word of God. We can think of how Joseph educated little Jesus to listen to the Sacred Scriptures, above all accompanying him on Saturdays to the synagogue of Nazareth. And Joseph accompanied him so that Jesus could hear the Word of God in the synagogue.

And, finally, the dimension of “grace.” Referring to Jesus, Saint Luke says: “And the grace of God was upon him” (Luke 2:40). Here, certainly, the part reserved for Saint Joseph is more limited compared to the ambits of age and of wisdom. However, it would be a grave error to think that a father and a mother can do nothing to educate their children to grow in the grace of God. To grow in age, to grow in wisdom, to grow in grace: this is the work that Joseph did with Jesus, to make him grow in these three dimensions, to help him to grow.

FatherhoodDear brothers and sisters, Saint Joseph’s mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, because Jesus is absolutely unique. And yet, in his taking care of Jesus, educating him to grow in age, wisdom and grace he is a model for every educator, in particular for every father. Saint Joseph is the model of the educator and of the daddy, of the father. Therefore, I entrust to his protection all parents, priests – who are Fathers – and those who have an educational task in the Church and in society. In a special way, I would like to greet today, Day of the Father, all parents, all daddies: I greet you from my heart! Let’s see: are there some daddies in the Square? Daddies, raise your hand! But how many daddies! Best wishes, best wishes on your Day!

I ask for you the grace to be always very close to your children, letting them grow but being close to them, close to them! They are in need of you, of your presence, of your closeness, of your love. Be for them like Saint Joseph: guardians of their growth in age, wisdom and grace. Guardians of their path; educators, and walk with them. And with this closeness you will be true educators.

Thank you for all you do for your children, thank you. Many good wishes to you and happy Daddy’s Feast to all the daddies who are here, to all daddies.

May Saint Joseph bless you and accompany you. And some of us have lost our daddy, he has gone, the Lord has called him. So many who are in the Square do not have their daddy. We can pray for all the daddies of the world, for the living daddies and also for the deceased and for our own, and we can do so together, each one remembering his daddy, if he is alive and if he is dead. And we pray to the great Daddy of us all, the Father. An “Our Father” for our daddies: Our Father …

And very best wishes to the daddies!

- zenit

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