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2:05 AM   [08 Sep 2011 | Thursday]

Thoughts on Praise- 8

I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God! (Deuteronomy 32:3)

Moses was 120 years old. It had been a long journey for him leading the people of God through the wilderness for the last 40 years of his life. Moses proclaimed that God's works are perfect and all his ways are just. He confessed that God is faithful, he does no wrong and that he is upright and just.

Moses reminded the Israelites the goodness of God in the midst of their unfaithfulness.
"For the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted inheritance. In a desert land he found him, in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions." (Deuteronomy 32:11)

God sheilded them and cared for them. He guarded them as the apple of his eye. He made his people ride on the heights of the land and fed them with the fruit of the fields. He nourished them with honey from the rock, and with oil from the flinty crag, with curds and milk from herd and flock and with fattened lambs and goats, with choice rams of Bashan and the finest kernels of wheat.

God is your shield if you have trusted in him. He will guard you as the apple of his eye. Praise him for his faithfulness.

Praise: O Triune God, I praise you because your works are perfect, your ways are just, you are faithful and you do no wrong. I praise you because you are upright.

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2:12 AM   [07 Sep 2011 | Wednesday]

One wrong turn!

 One wrong turn!

The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. (Galatians 2:13)

A learner driver took a wrong turn during her driving lesson in Austria and landed up in a fast flowing river. The 17 year old had just crossed a bridge over the River Enns with her dad in the passenger seat when she suddenly turned straight back to the river bank. Her father's friends rescued the pair after they realised they were trapped in the river and dialled 999.

Sometimes things happen when we least expect it. Often it may be due to some carelessness like it happened in the case of this new learner driver. There are many things that believer's tend to do carelessly and land up in trouble. The Apostle Paul writes about Peter the Apostle who was not careful regarding his being a right example to other believers at a timepoint in his ministry.

Paul writes,
"When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs? "We who are Jews by birth and not 'Gentile sinners' know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:11-16)

If we are careful, we can avoid unwanted troubles that not only makes us miserable but also brings misery to others.

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2:30 AM   [06 Sep 2011 | Tuesday]

Thoughts on Praise- 7

He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. (Deuteronomy 10:21)

The book of Deuteronomy, known as Devarim in Hebrew, is a review of the laws in the previous 3 books of the Bible, namely Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. Traditionally, it's contents were spoken by Moses during the last 37 days of his life, after which he died in the 40th year following the exodus from Egypt.

The last 40 years of Moses' life was so very different from the first and second 40 years. The first 40 years he spent in Pharaoh's palace, the second 40 years in Midian where he married and had two children and the last 40 years in the wilderness, travelling to and leading the Israelites to the promised land. But the experiences of the first 80 years of his life was nothing compared to the awesome experiences in the last 40 years. Moses had close fellowship with God as a man has with his friend.

The Israelites on the other hand were out of slavery and bondage and experienced the mighty acts of God on their behalf. Moses recounted the great works of God and told them that "God is their praise."

It's always good to reminisce God's wonders on our behalf and praise him for it.

Is God your praise too? Or have you given that place to someone else? Perhaps a friend or a member of your family or a relative? Remember, no one can love you more than God does, so make him your praise, if you haven't already done so.

Praise: O Triune God, I praise you because you are my praise. I praise you for your great and awesome wonders on my behalf.

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3:25 AM   [04 Sep 2011 | Sunday]

God is merciful!

Before very long, a wind of hurricane force, called the "northeaster," swept down from the island. (Acts 27:14)

'Dawazi' or high-wire walking is a traditional stunt with a long history in Xinjiang, China. A Chinese high-wire artist lost his footing as he attempted to walk across a tightrope 100m above the ground with no safety net in August 2011. Strong winds left him desperately clinging on to the 15m long steel wire in front of stunned onlookers in China's Hunan Province. The wire was attached to two hot air balloons which were affected by the winds. After successfully walking across the wire at 30m in just five minutes, he took on the 100m challenge. He failed.

The man failed in his attempt because of strong winds. He must have been disappointed but surely he would try again. Luke, the physician and Paul, the apostle were on a ship, travelling to Rome but as Luke writes in the book of Acts, the winds were against them and they landed in trouble. Deep trouble, in fact. The "northeaster" or "Euroclydon" hit them hard.

Luke writes,
We took such a violent battering from the storm that the next day they began to throw the cargo overboard. On the third day, they threw the ship's tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved. (Acts 27:18-20)

They gave up all hope of being saved. They were at their wits end. But God was in their midst during the crisis and saved them in his mercy. None of the people on the ship lost their lives though the ship was destroyed. Paul and Luke were saved miraculously by God.

God is merciful. He saves us just in the nick of time from so many perils. We can sing along with the Psalmist regarding God's mercies in our lives too.
I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 89:1)

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3:57 AM   [03 Sep 2011 | Saturday]

Do not neglect your gift!

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you. (1 Timothy 4:14)

Kann Trichan of Chiang Mai, Thailand, has the nickname "Superhands" for his amazing ability to scoop up pieces of chicken from burning-hot oil with his bare hands. He holds the Guinness Record for picking 20 pieces of chicken from oil heated to 480 degrees Celcius, in just one minute. He says he can feel the oil is hot when he dips his hands in it, but it simply leaves no damage. His amazing ability has won him international fame. People from all over the world come to his “Fried Chicken Iron Hands Man” food stall to see Kann use his hands to scoop out the chicken and he and his wife travel all around the world showing off his gift. "Superhands" has no idea why he can do what he does, but he’s just happy it brings a lot more customers for his business.

None of us, I guess can equal or even come anywhere near this man in his unique ability; but there's one thing noticable. He's putting his gift to good use even if it is for his own good.
Christian believers too have God given gifts, but many neglect these gifts. Gifts which can be vital in strengthening other believers spiritually. Paul, the Apostle, is advising Timothy (title verse) not to neglect the gift that was bestowed upon him. Infact, he advices him to fan into flame, the gift that he has been given by God.
I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)

The Bible speaks in detail of the gifts given to New Testament believers in the 1st book of Corinthians, Chapter 12:4-11. We read of a few more gifts in Romans Chapter 12:6-8.
Using these God given gifts will definitely be a blessing to believers and unbelievers alike, so if you have been given any such gift, fan it into flame. If you feel that you have no such gift (which is unlikely), here is a piece of advice from the Apostle Paul:
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. (1 Corinthians 14:1)

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3:20 AM   [01 Sep 2011 | Thursday]

Training to be godly!

 Training to be godly!

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives' tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. (1 Timothy 4:7)


In 1955 in a small village in Morocco, 26 year old Zahra Aboutalib was looking forward to giving birth to her first child, but after 48 hours of painful labour, she was rushed to the local hospital where doctors informed her that she would need a caesarean section. She fled the hospital after she saw another woman die in labour. In the ensuing days Zahra continued to suffer severe labour pains but the baby remained in her womb. After a few more days the pains ceased and the baby stopped moving. In Moroccan culture, it is believed that a baby can sleep inside the mother to protect her honour. Zahra believed this myth and put the pregnancy out of her mind. She adopted three children. When Zahra was 75 years old, the pains suddenly returned. Her son took her to a specialist, Professor Taibi Ouazzani who suspected the distended belly was being caused by an ovarian tumour and did an ultra-sound scan which revealed a large mass that he could not identify. He referred Zahra to a specialist radiographer who took a detailed MRI scan to reveal that it was the baby Zahra had conceived 46 years earlier.

The woman in question believed in a myth and it came back to trouble her 46 years later. There are many myths propogated regarding the Christian faith too that people believe in and are led astray. Christians should check what the Word of God says regarding what they are taught and what they hear. The Apostle Paul adviced young Timothy to refrain from going after myths, as we read in the title verse.

Luke, the physician, writes about a good quality of the Bereans.
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11)

Christians should examine the things that they receive as teachings to see whether what they are being taught are true and according to the Word of God.
Test everything. Hold on to the good. (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

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