See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
Oleander, an attractive flowering shrub, is one of the most poisonous of all commonly grown garden plants. It grows in many countries, and with beautiful, fragrant blossoms, it is tempting to include it in any garden. But touching it or tasting the leaves or stems can pose serious health problems. Handling leaves itself can cause symptoms. Upon consumption, the poison causes vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation, and cramping. It can also cause a rapid, irregular heart rate, poor circulation, tremors, seizures, coma, and death.
Oleander is attractive because of its beautiful fragrant flowers but it is deceptively dangerous. Anyone without the knowledge of the truth regarding it can be cheated and many are. And so are many Christians deceived by hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world. They are fed what is attractive but way away from the truth. They are not told the true gospel and fall prey to lies which seem attractive but are deceptively fatal leading to eternal punishment.
Writing to the churches in Galatia, The Apostle Paul writes,
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel; which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! (Galatians 1:6-8)
The message to us is clear: Beware of them who pervert the gospel of Christ.
Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. (2 Timothy 2:16)
A 39-year old woman, talked for more than half a day while on an Amtrak train going from Oakland to Salem. The loud mobile conversation lasted sixteen hours after which police stopped the train to arrest the woman. In the train compartment, a few passengers asked the woman to end the call but she kept on talking. Staff members were unable to convince the woman to end the conversation; finally they stopped the train and police arrested the woman.
What could a person possibly talk for 16 hours? For most of us, even speaking for an hour would be an ordeal. Godless chatter is forbidden by the Bible. Some believers have the habit of talking without restraint. This the Bible says, will lead to more ungodliness.
The Apostle Paul advices Timothy,
Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith......(1 Timothy 6:20, 21)
Believers should exercise self control while talking among themselves and with unbelievers. Better to be hearers than talkers and while speaking adhering to the Apostle Paul's advice to the Colossian believers:
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6)
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers. (1 Peter 3:7)
A Finnish pair won the country's annual wife-carrying competition for the third year in a row in June 2011. Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen defended their title in front of 6,500 spectators who turned out to watch the event in Sonkajarvi. The 46-year-old lawyer, his partner's legs wrapped around his head, sprinted 253 metres, leaping hurdles and negotiating a water pool along the way, all in a time of one minute.
Even if this pair did it for the sake of competing, it has some significance when we see that they did it in public for 3 years in a row.
Being considerate and treating wives with respect and as co-heir of the gracious gift of life is not commonly seen. But the Word of God advices husbands to be like that. Even followers of Christ fall short in this matter unless they are committed to obeying God and his Word.
The commands given to husbands and wives in the New Testament of the Bible are not optional. Only obeying them would bring lasting peace in a person's married life. Often husbands and wives complain about their partners not being conformed to the Word, when in fact, what they should be doing is checking whether they are doing their part to perfection.
Lasting peace, satisfaction and joy can be achieved by husbands and wives in their married lives by knowing God's requirements of themselves, as is put forth in the Word of God and striving to achieve that by the help of the Holy Spirit of God.
He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." (Jonah 1:9)
A pony who escaped from a circus in Germany tried to board a tram in its getaway attempt, only to be prevented by the driver and other passengers. The stallion was waiting patiently with people at a tram stop in central Germany, and wasn't shy about trying to board when the doors opened. Other passengers and the tram driver were not in favor and held the animal back. It was later known that the pony had just escaped from a circus that was in town. Circus employees finally put an end to the pony's adventure by taking it back.
Jonah the prophet, was told by God to go to the city of Nineveh and tell them of God's impending judgement upon the city's inhabitants. Instead he ran away and headed for Tarshish in a ship. He lay fast asleep below the deck though a storm had hit the ship.
The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?" (Jonah 1:6-8)
And that is when Jonah gave the answer that we read in the title verse. True he was a worshipper of God Almighty, but he had defied the orders of the Lord. Thus the storm. Jonah advised the sailors to throw him in the sea so that the storm would subside. They threw Jonah into the sea and he was swallowed by a fish in whose belly he was for three days and three nights. There he repented and the fish vomited him onto dry land. He submitted to God's command to go to Nineveh and told the inhabitants of God's judgement coming upon them. They repented and God withheld his judgement upon them.
The Bible advices us,
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5, 6)
Have you been going astray lately? Better to obey the voice of the Lord and have peace rather than disobey and land in troubled waters.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)
A German chemicals company reported that its managers have begun keeping their mobile phones in biscuit tins during meetings in order to guard against industrial spying.
"Experts have told us that mobile phones are being eavesdropped on more and more, even when they are switched off," said an official. Biscuit tins have a so-called Farraday cage effect, she said, blocking out electromagnetic radiation and therefore preventing people from hacking into mobile phones, not only for calls but also to get hold of emails.
The managers here were not going to be outwitted by rivals. They found a way to secure their cellphones from scheming spies. We should secure our spiritual lives too by putting on the full armor of God, as the Apostle Paul says in the above verse. He tells us of how to dress up for warfare against the evil one.
"Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests....." (Ephesians 6:14-17)
Looks tough wearing all that and at all times, but it's possible if we take the help of the Holy Spirit, the Counselor. You have been wearing the full armor, haven't you? It's not optional. It's imperative if you have to overcome the wiles of the evil one and be acknowledged as overcomers by Jesus.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
The migration of diamondback terrapin turtles happens every year at New York's Kennedy airport, which is built on the edge of Jamaica Bay and a federally protected park. In late June or early July the animals heave themselves out of the bay and head toward a beach to lay their eggs. About 150 turtles crawled onto the tarmac at New York's Kennedy airport on a Wednesday in June 2011 in search of beaches to lay their eggs, delaying dozens of flights. Within three hours starting 6.45 am, there were so many turtles on Runway 4L and nearby taxiways that controllers were forced to move departing flights to another runway. Flight delays averaged about 30 minutes. Workers from the Port Authority scooped up the turtles and moved them across the airport.
Sometimes people, even believers, may seem like an unwanted intrusion in our lives. But it maybe because they are not as strong as we are spiritually or may be they are in need of help because of their weaknesses. Like the turtles that we read of, they may not realize that they are causing trouble to others. They would be going about their businesses, yet causing discomfort to others. The Apostle Paul exhorts believers in this manner,
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." (Galatians 6:2)
Writing to the believers in Rome, Paul reminds them,
"We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves." (Romans 15:1)
We can pray to the Lord that he grants us more grace that we maybe able to fulfil these teachings, which if we do fulfil, would be pleasing to the Lord.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)
21-year old Taisia Sidorova, from Saint Petersburg, Russia, was involved in a terrible car accident that crushed her skull and bone fragments were wedged in her brain. Doctors were not sure whether she would survive, but even after she had the left hemisphere of her brain removed, she did not die. The family never gave up on her. The girl’s mother stayed by her bedside praying, massaging her limbs and talking to her. On New Year’s Eve, while she was crying on Taisia’s bedside, the girl moved her arm trying to wipe away her mother’s tears. It was a miracle and in two years’ time she regained her strength, started to speak and even learned to hold a pencil and paintbrush. Although she had shown no interest in drawing and painting, before the accident, Taisia began sketching to pass the time, and when her family saw some of her sketches, they decided to buy her some paints. Her art teacher remembers Taisia showed no artistic talent before her ordeal, but says she now has a natural talent for art and is at the top of her class. Doctors who treated her opine that her brain seems to have compensated for the missing section, and has activated a previously undiscovered talent for art.
The human body is a marvellous creation of God. Scientists are still discovering many new things regarding the human body. It's amazing that so many organs function in so many varied ways. As long as every organ functions smoothly, we hardly realize the significance of it. But when any one organ ceases to function or is decreased in its capability, how much it affects our lives. Another thing notable in the above story is that the mother never gave up. She did what she had to and they experienced a miracle. She hoped against hope and things happened for the good.
Some of the gifts that God has bestowed upon an individual lie latent and need to be discovered. Even natural inborn talents often go unnoticed and unless they are nurtured when noticed, they may not bloom to perfection.
The Psalmist praised God because he realized that God's creation of him was a wonderful piece of work. He sang,
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)
Best if we all lived with the kind of acknowledgement of the Creator as the Psalmist did.