RSS

Monthly Archives: February 2015

What is Lent?

Lent

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and is derived by counting back 40 days (not including Sundays) from Easter day. Ash Wednesday is so called because of the imposition of Ashes on the foreheads of faithful, which serve as a reminder of the call to repentance and to believe in the good news. The period of Lent is a reminder of the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert before taking up the mission he received from his father.

Immediately after the sixth antitheses (5:21-48) in the Sermon on the Mount, there follows instructions on three practices that were common among the Pharisees as a sign of closeness to God namely, alms-giving, prayer and fasting. All three though only a means to reach god can be made ends in themselves. Alms-giving can be ostentatious, prayer can be used to show-off and fasting can be used to point to one’s self. Jesus cautions the listeners about these dangers and challenges them to make them all internal activities that will lead the way to God rather than being made ends in themselves. The focus thus is on motivation with which one does what one does. If the motivation for doing good is to win the admiration of the human beings, then that action is selfish and self motivated and so does no good at all. If the action is done out of a sense of duty or obligation, it cannot be called pure and is instead diluted. However, if one does the action and accepts that the reward is in the performing of the action itself, such an action can be salvific. This is the challenge not only of Ash Wednesday, but of the whole season of Lent, “to give and not to count the cost, to labor and to look for no reward.”

For us Christians, Jesus has simplified matters. There is absolutely no obligation to love. When there is love then all our nations come from our hearts and spontaneously without counting the cost. Alms-giving becomes generous and spontaneous, prayer becomes union with God and leads to action and fasting is done in order to show our dependence on God and not on earthly things. How often have made “means” ends in themselves?

Taken from the Daily Reading, God’s Word 2013.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 18, 2015 in My Christianship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Abram Inherits Canaan

Abram_w_Lot_26-41

Facing a potential conflict with his nephew Lot, Abram took the initiative in settling the dispute. He gave Lot first choice, even though Abram being older, had the right to choose first.

Abram’s example shows us how to respond to difficult family situations:
i) take the initiative in resolving conflicts
ii) let others have first choice, even when it means not getting what you want
ii) put family peace above personal desires.

Arguments, rivalries and disagreements among us can be destructive. They damage goodwill, trust and peace. They make us self centered rather than love centered.

Life is a series of choices. We too can choose the best by ignoring the needs and feelings of others. But this kind of choice, as Lot’s life shows, leads to problems. When we stop making choices in God’s direction, all that is left is to make choices in the wrong direction.

The verse that has touched our hearts while reading the chapter is as follows:

Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred.

The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;

Let’s Pray: My father, as You are all knowing, you know that every day we make a lot of choice and some lead us to you and others drift us away from You. At times we fail to recognize the wicked and let temptations destroy our families. Lord, help us to be careful and ever work for the peace, love and keeping You in our families.Amen

Chapter 13: Abram Inherits Canaan

1 So Abram went up from Egypt, he and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the Negeb.
2 Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.
3 He journeyed on by stages from the Negeb as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Ai,
4 to the place where he had made an altar at the first; and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. 5 Now Lot, who went with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents,
6 so that the land could not support both of them living together; for their possessions were so great that they could not live together,
7 and there was strife between the herders of Abram’s livestock and the herders of Lot’s livestock. At that time the Canaanites and the Perizzites lived in the land.
8 Then Abram said to Lot, “Let there be no strife between you and me, and between your herders and my herders; for we are kindred.
9 Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
10 Lot looked about him, and saw that the plain of the Jordan was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar; this was before the LORD had destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.
11 So Lot chose for himself all the plain of the Jordan, and Lot journeyed eastward; thus they separated from each other.
12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled among the cities of the Plain and moved his as far as Sodom.
13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD.
14 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Raise your eyes now, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;
15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever.
16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth; so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted.
17 Rise up, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
18 So Abram moved his tent, and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron; and there he built an altar to the LORD.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 17, 2015 in My Christianship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

God Speaks to Abram

altar-color-n-1
God promised to bless Abram and make him great, but there was one condition. Abram had to do what God wanted him to do. Abram obeyed, walking away from him home for God’s promise of even greater blessing in the future. Don’t let the comfort and security of your present position make you miss God’s plan for you.

We see the building of altars by Abram. He regularly built altars to God for two reasons:
i) for prayers and worship, and
ii) as reminders of God’s promise to bless him.

Abram regularly renewed his love and loyalty to God. Building altars helped Abram remember that God was at the center of his life. Regular worships help us remember what God desires and motivate us to obey Him.

The verse that has touched our hearts while reading the chapter is as follows:
I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing

Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Let’s Pray: Lord, we believe that You don’t want us to just drift through our lives. You want us to be an influence for You. We surrender ourselves to You and ever promise to follow You in faith and word. Amen

Chapter 12: God Speaks to Abram

1 Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.
2 I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
Abraham’s first journey to the land
4 So Abram went, as the LORD had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
5 Abram took his wife Sarai and his brother’s son Lot, and all the possessions that they had gathered, and the persons whom they had acquired in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they had come to the land of Canaan,
6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh. At that time the Canaanites were in the land.
7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram, and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.
8 From there he moved on to the hill country on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the LORD and invoked the name of the LORD. 9 And Abram journeyed on by stages toward the Negeb.
First story of endangerment of the matriarch
10 Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to reside there as an alien, for the famine was severe in the land.
11 When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, “I know well that you are a woman beautiful in appearance;
12 and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife’; then they will kill me, but they will let you live.
13 Say you are my sister, so that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared on your account.”
14 When Abram entered Egypt the Egyptians saw that the woman was very beautiful.
15 When the officials of Pharaoh saw her, they praised her to Pharaoh. And the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house.
16 And for her sake he dealt well with Abram; and he had sheep, oxen, male donkeys, male and female slaves, female donkeys, and camels.
17 But the LORD afflicted Pharaoh and his house with great plagues because of Sarai, Abram’s wife.
18 So Pharaoh called Abram, and said, “What is this you have done to me? Why did you not tell me that she was your wife?
19 Why did you say, ‘She is my sister,’ so that I took her for my wife? Now then, here is your wife, take her, and be gone.”
20 And Pharaoh gave his men orders concerning him; and they set him on the way, with his wife and all that he had.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 16, 2015 in My Christianship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Tower of Babel

Babel_Tower

The Tower of Babel- an idea; a structure that will link the heaven with the earth. The tower would have been a great human achievement- perhaps the wonder of the world. But it was a monument to the people rather than to God. Like the Tower of Babel, we too build monuments around us everyday example the expensive clothes, big houses, fancy cars, important jobs etc., to call attention to ourselves and our achievements. These things come with a price to be paid, and that is., it replaces the place of God in our lives. So, what towers have you build in your life?

In this chapter we also find mention of Abram (Abraham) – who too lived with full faith in Lord.

The verse that has touched our hearts while reading the chapter is as follows:
And the LORD said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.

Therefore it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

Let’s Pray: Lord, my heavenly king, in these times when there is a rat race to acquire everything that’s pleasing, keep me safe from such hoardings. I pray to You, that you become my monument, my refuge and my master and my every work and possession should be there only to honor you. Amen.

Chapter 11: The Tower of Babel
1 Now the whole earth had one language and the same words.
2 And as they migrated from the east, they came upon a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.
3 And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.
4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
5 The LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which mortals had built.
6 And the LORD said, “Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.
7 Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”
8 So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city.
9 Therefore it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.
10 These are the descendants of Shem. When Shem was one hundred years old, he became the father of Arpachshad two years after the flood;
11 and Shem lived after the birth of Arpachshad five hundred years, and had other sons and daughters.
12 When Arpachshad had lived thirty-five years, he became the father of Shelah;
13 and Arpachshad lived after the birth of Shelah four hundred three years, and had other sons and daughters.
14 When Shelah had lived thirty years, he became the father of Eber;
15 and Shelah lived after the birth of Eber four hundred three years, and had other sons and daughters.
16 When Eber had lived thirty-four years, he became the father of Peleg;
17 and Eber lived after the birth of Peleg four hundred thirty years, and had other sons and daughters.
18 When Peleg had lived thirty years, he became the father of Reu;
19 and Peleg lived after the birth of Reu two hundred nine years, and had other sons and daughters.
The descendants of Shem
20 When Reu had lived thirty-two years, he became the father of Serug; 21 and Reu lived after the birth of Serug two hundred seven years, and had other sons and daughters.
22 When Serug had lived thirty years, he became the father of Nahor;
23 and Serug lived after the birth of Nahor two hundred years, and had other sons and daughters.
24 When Nahor had lived twenty-nine years, he became the father of Terah;
25 and Nahor lived after the birth of Terah one hundred nineteen years, and had other sons and daughters.
26 When Terah had lived seventy years, he became the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran.
Introduction of the Abraham story
27 Now these are the descendants of Terah. Terah was the father of Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran was the father of Lot.
28 Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans.
29 Abram and Nahor took wives; the name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milcah. She was the daughter of Haran the father of Milcah and Iscah.
30 Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.
31 Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, his son Abram’s wife, and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan; but when they came to Haran, they settled there.
32 The days of Terah were two hundred five years; and Terah died in Haran.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 15, 2015 in My Christianship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nations That Descended From Noah

photography-wallpaper-wallwuzz-hd-wallpaper-22725

Everything about this chapter is how Noah’s generations flourished after the floods. It also highlights about Nimrod. Who was Nimrod? We don’t know much about him apart from that he was a mighty hunter. And we all have witnessed personally, professionally and even politically about ourselves and people with great gifts- how they become proud. And that is probably what happened to Nimrod. Some consider him the founder of the great, godless Babylonian empire.

The verse that has touched our hearts while reading the chapter is as follows:
These are the families of Noah’s sons, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.

Let’s Pray: Lord, make me a humble person. May, we never be too proud of the gifts You have bestowed upon us. Lord, let all our work and prayers be for You. Help that humility and peace never leave our hearts. Amen.

Chapter 10: Nations that Descended from Noah

1 These are the descendants of Noah’s sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth; children were born to them after the flood.
2 The descendants of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.
3 The descendants of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.
4 The descendants of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim.
5 From these the coastland peoples spread. These are the descendants of Japheth in their lands, with their own lang age, by their families, in their nations.
6 The descendants of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan.
7 The descendants of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.
8 Cush became the father of Nimrod; he was the first on earth to become a mighty warrior.
9 He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the LORD.”
10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, and Accad, all of them in the land of Shinar.
11 From that land he went into Assyria, and built Nineveh, Rehoboth-ir, Calah, and
12 Resen between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city.
13 Egypt became the father of Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim,
14 Pathrusim, Casluhim, and Caphtorim, from which the Philistines come.
15 Canaan became the father of Sidon his firstborn, and Heth,
16 and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites,
17 the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites,
18 the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites. Afterward the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.
19 And the territory of the Canaanites extended from Sidon, in the direction of Gerar, as far as Gaza, and in the direction of Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, as far as Lasha.
20 These are the descendants of Ham, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations.
21 To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the elder brother of Japheth, children were born. 22 The descendants of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram.
23 The descendants of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.
24 Arpachshad became the father of Shelah; and Shelah became the father of Eber.
25 To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg, for in his days the earth was divided, and his brother’s name was Joktan.
26 Joktan became the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah,
27 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah,
28 Obal, Abimael, Sheba,
29 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the descendants of Joktan.
30 The territory in which they lived extended from Mesha in the direction of Sephar, the hill country of the east.
31 These are the descendants of Shem, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations.
32 These are the families of Noah’s sons, according to their genealogies, in their nations; and from these the nations spread abroad on the earth after the flood.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 14, 2015 in My Christianship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

God’s Promise to Noah

Gods promises
Genesis 9 is a very crucial chapter
Firstly, he tells us that we cannot kill another human being without being answerable to God. A penalty must be paid. Justice will be served.
Secondly, God gives us a reassuring promise that has three parts;
i) never again a flood do such destruction;
ii) as long as the earth remains , the seasons will come as expected;
iii) a rainbow will be visible when it rains as a sign to all that God will keep His promises.
The third and last crucial aspect is Noah- the great abider of God’s word, got drunk- a poor example of godliness to his sons. However, it could be also perceived as showing that even godly people can sin and their bad influence affects the families.

The verses that have touched our hearts while reading the chapter are as follows:
For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.
Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.

I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,

Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, we all have our shortcomings. Noah was an abider of your faith. He had done everything you had commanded and thus received your grace and protection. Lord, I too like Noah surrender myself to You. Take my hand and help me walk through this transient life in Your care. Amen

Chapter 9: God’s Promise to Noah

1 God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
2 The fear and dread of you shall rest onevery animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered.
3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.
4 Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.
5 For your own lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning: from every animal I will require it and from human beings, each one for the blood of another, I will require a reckoning for human life.
6 Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person’s blood be shed; for in his own image God made humankind.
7 And you, be fruitful and multiply, abound on the earth and multiply in it.”
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him,
9 “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you,
10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark.
11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:
13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds,
15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and
every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”
Noah and his sons
18 The sons of Noah who went out of the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Ham was the father of Canaan.
19 These three were the sons of Noah; and from these the whole earth was peopled.
20 Noah, a man of the soil, was the first to plant a vineyard.
21 He drank some of the wine and became drunk, and he lay uncovered in his tent.
22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside. 23 Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father; their faces were turned away, and they did not see their father’s nakedness.
24 When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him,
25 he said,
“Cursed be Canaan;
lowest of slaves shall he be to his brothers.”
26 He also said,
“Blessed by the LORD my God be Shem;
and let Canaan be his slave.
27 May God make space for Japheth,
and let him live in the tents of Shem;
and let Canaan be his slave.”
28 After the flood Noah lived three hundred fifty years.
29 All the days of Noah were nine hundred fifty years; and he died.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 13, 2015 in My Christianship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Floodwaters Recede

The Floodwaters Recede

Are we as obedient as Noah? Noah did everything god will ask him to do. He did not walk out of the ark till God had spoken, though the waters had receded. Such obedience comes with deep faith. And trust in God. How marvelous it would be to follow and believe in God!
In today’s world where humanity is very rarely to be found and there are things that allure us away from God. And it is the word of God which is provided to us in the form of Bible that we can hear God speak to us. By the grace of God we would just not be saved from this world but we shall be granted eternity eve n after we are long gone.

The verses that have touched our hearts while reading the chapter are as follows:
“Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.
And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.
As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Let’s Pray: Lord, it is through you that my soul shall be delivered. Your grace had guided Noah through the great floods. Help, me too, Lord, in my day-to-day endeavors, that I may seek Your counsel always. Amen

Chapter 8: The Floodwaters Recede

1 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and all the domestic animals that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided;
2 the fountains of the deep and the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained,
3 and the waters gradually receded from the earth. At the end of one hundred fifty days the waters had abated;
4 and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.
5 The waters continued to abate until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared.
6 At the end of forty days Noah opened the window of the ark that he had made
7 and sent out the raven; and it went to and fro until the waters were dried up from the earth.
8 Then he sent out the dove from him, to see if the waters had subsided from the face of the ground;
9 but the dove found no place to set its foot, and it returned to him to the ark, for the waters were still on the face of the whole earth. So he put out his hand and took it and brought it into the ark with him. 10 He waited another seven days, and again he sent out the dove from the ark;
11 and the dove came back to him in the evening, and there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf; so Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth.
12 Then he waited another seven days, and sent out the dove; and it did not return to him any more.
13 In the six hundred first year, in the first month, on the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and saw that the face of the ground was drying.
14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.
15 Then God said to Noah,
16 “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.
17 Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh — birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth — so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”
18 So Noah went out with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives.
19 And every animal, every creeping thing, and families.
20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing odor, the LORD said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of humankind, for the inclination of the human heart is evil from youth; nor will I ever again destroy every living creature as I have done.
22 As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 12, 2015 in My Christianship

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,