January 1, 2012

posted 29 Dec 2011, 23:03 by C S Paul   [ updated 29 Dec 2011, 23:14 ]

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January 1, 2012

SERMON OF THE WEEK 
                                   (Prepared by: Rev. Dr. V KurianThomas Valiyaparambil)
Provided by Mr. K. Kuriakose

This  Sunday is New Year’s day. According to our liturgical calendar, the first day of the year is the celebration of the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus. It is a Christian celebration in accordance with Jewish tradition which is eight days after the birth and is the occasion when the child is formally given his name. The custom was practiced to keep up with the Jewish law which then was that all males shall be circumcised eight days after his birth when the child is formally given his name. Thus Jesus fulfilled the law to show descent to the flesh of Abraham.

He was, as St Paul says, "made under the law", that is, submitted to the Mosaic tradition in order to fulfill all justice. He endured this human humiliation to bear the sins of the world which he had taken upon himself.

The second chapter of Luke records the circumcision of Jesus. When eight days were completed for the circumcising the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. Luke 2:21)

After the 1stcentury, the issue of circumcision was resolved and the non-Jewish Christians were not obliged to be circumcised. Apostle St. Paul was a leading proponent of this position. Circumcision soon became rare since that time in the Christian world.

Todays Gospel reading is from John 15:9-17.

9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 

10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Fathers commands and remain in his love. 

11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down ones life for ones friends. 

14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 

15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masters business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit, fruit that will last and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 

17 This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:9-17)Theme: How to dwell in Jesus love for a joyful life?

http://us.mg6.mail.yahoo.com/wiki/File:Albrecht_Dürer_018.jpg

Message:  Paul Dore was a well known German painting artist who lived in the 19th century. He was known for illustrating many paintings of spiritual art.  He said once that you have to love the object to be able to truly do justice to your work. The more you love the object, you would do more justice to it.

 Something similar is true of our Christian life. If we love Jesus more, we will serve him better; We will follow his ways; and we will obey his commandments. The stronger our love for Jesus, the greater our fellowship with him will be.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus then would direct our life. From his love, we will abide by obeying his will upon us.

 Our love for God will strengthen his will upon us. For this, we have to encourage Gods love to enter in us. In order to achieve that, we must cheerfully obey Gods Commandments.

When we increasingly experience Gods love by obeying Gods commandments, we will then realize the joy of Gods presence in us. The Holy Spirit will fill us with joy and happiness that cannot be expressed in any  words.

Bibles most important scripture, John 3:16 tells us, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  Just before going to the cross, Jesus took the opportunity to instruct his disciples and said to them, As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Fathers commands and remain in his love. I have told you that my joy is in you and that your joy may be complete.

Two things Jesus has told them: Obey my commands and remain in my love. These commands are given for the simple reason that we might have complete joy in God's presence. The first command is Obedience. Obedience results in joy. The purpose is not to limit the freedom so that to make our life miserable. The opposite is true. Obedience to God is the path to joy. By obeying the commands, we find significance and purpose in our life. Joy is a product of obedience to Jesus. 

The purpose of Jesus' teaching is is to experience his love, thereby experience his joy. It was for giving us a life full of joy. Jesus is the source our joy.  Jesus' joy came through his obedience to his Father's will. The command to obey his will results in our joy. Jesus had great joy in pleasing his Father's will. Jesus wants to share that joy with us. It is a gift of Jesus that he plans to give to his obedient disciples. It is simply more than human joy. It is the joy of knowing Jesus. It is the joy of knowing his love. It is an echo of God's life within us.

 The joy that Jesus offers is not worldly pleasure, but is spiritual happiness. Worldly pleasure is dependent on circumstances. Spiritual joy is inward and is not affected by one's environment. Pleasure is a changing phenomenon. The joy from Jesus is full  and everlasting. It is grounded in Jesus. It is the sacrificial giving of ourselves. It focuses on the needs of others.

Dwelling in Christ means living by His words. Living by His words leads to communion with Jesus which will make us fruitful and prove that we are true diciples of Christ. Love of jesus leads to obedience to christ. This love unites and strengthens our relationship with jesus. The resulting relationship will produce joy in us. 

BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST ***

by Lew Wallace


Part Two

Biblical references: Luke 2:51-52

Judah Ben-Hur is a prince descended from a royal family of Judaea. Messala, his closest childhood friend, the son of a Roman tax-collector, leaves home for five years of education in Rome. He returns as a proud and avaricious Roman. He mocks Judah and his religion and the two become enemies. Judah decides to go to Rome, as Messala had, for military training but use his skills to fight the Roman Empire.

Valerius Gratus, the fourth Roman prefect of Judaea, passes by Judah's house. As Judah watches the procession, a roof tile is loosed, falls into the street and hits the governor. Messala betrays Judah, who is arrested. There is no trial; Judah's family is secretly imprisoned in the Antonia Fortress and all the family property is seized. Judah vows vengeance against the Romans. He is sent to become a slave aboard a Roman warship. On the way to the ship he meets Jesus, who offers him water, which deeply moves Judah.


BOOK SECOND - CHAPTER I

It is necessary now to carry the reader forward twenty-one years,to the beginning of the administration of Valerius Gratus, the fourth imperial governor of Judea--a period which will be remembered as rent by political agitations in Jerusalem, if, indeed, it be not the precise time of the opening of the final quarrel between the Jew and the Roman.

In the interval Judea had been subjected to changes affecting her in many ways, but in nothing so much as her political status. Herod the Great died within one year after the birth of the Child—died so miserably that the Christian world had reason to believe him overtaken by the Divine wrath. Like all great rulers who spend their lives in perfecting the power they create, he dreamed of transmitting his throne and crown--of being the founder of a dynasty. With that intent, he left a will dividing his territories between his three sons, Antipas, Philip, and Archelaus, of whom the last was appointed to succeed to the title. The testament was necessarily referred to Augustus, the emperor, who ratified all its provisions with one exception: he withheld from Archelaus the title of king until he proved his capacity and loyalty; in lieu thereof, he created him ethnarch, and as such permitted him to govern nine years, when, for misconduct and inability to stay the turbulent elements that grew and strengthened around him, he was sent into Gaul as an exile.

Caesar was not content with deposing Archelaus; he struck the people of Jerusalem in a manner that touched their pride, and keenly wounded the sensibilities of the haughty habitues of the Temple. He reduced Judea to a Roman province, and annexed it to the prefecture of Syria.

So, instead of a king ruling royally from the palace left by Herod on Mount Zion, the city fell into the hands of an officer of the second grade, an appointee called procurator, who communicated with the court in Rome through the Legate of Syria, residing in Antioch.

To make the hurt more painful, the procurator was not permitted to establish himself in Jerusalem; Caesarea was his seat of government. Most humiliating, however, most exasperating, most studied, Samaria, of all the world the most despised--Samaria was joined to Judea as a part of the same province! What ineffable misery the bigoted Separatists or Pharisees endured at finding themselves elbowed and laughed at in the procurator's presence in Caesarea by the devotees of Gerizim!

In this rain of sorrows, one consolation, and one only, remained to the fallen people: the high-priest occupied the Herodian palace in the market-place, and kept the semblance of a court there. What his authority really was is a matter of easy estimate. Judgment of life and death was retained by the procurator. Justice was administered in the name and according to the decretals of Rome. Yet more significant, the royal house was jointly occupied by the imperial exciseman, and all his corps of assistants, registrars, collectors, publicans, informers, and spies. Still, to the dreamers of liberty to come, there was a certain satisfaction in the fact that the chief ruler in the palace was a Jew. His mere presence there day after day kept them reminded of the covenants and promises of the prophets, and the ages when Jehovah governed the tribes through the sons of Aaron; it was to them a certain sign that he had not abandoned them: so their hopes lived, and served their patience, and helped them wait grimy the son of Judah who was to rule Israel.

(to be continued)


Just for laughs


Palindromes

A palindrome is a word or sentence that is spelled the same forwards and backwards.

What did Adam name his newly created wife: Eve.

And when he first saw his newly created wife, what did he say to her? "Madam, I'm Adam."

God's command to us: Live not on evil.

 Who Does the Land of Israel Belong To?

An Israeli sense of humor at UN set the record straight.

An ingenious example of speech and politics occurred recently in the United Nation Assembly and made the world community smile.

A representative from Israel began: "Before beginning my talk, I want to tell you something about Moses: When he struck the rock and it brought forth water, he thought, 'What a good opportunity to have a bath!'

"Moses removed his clothes, put them aside on the rock and entered the water. When he got out and wanted to dress, his clothes had vanished. A Palestinian had stolen them!"

The Palestinian representative at the UN jumped up furiously and shouted, "What are you talking about? The Palestinians weren't there then."

The Israeli representative smiled and said, "And now that we have made that clear, I will begin my speech!"

The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 4 continued

I have known many people who have successfully applied this technique not only to personal affairs but to business matters as well. When sincerely and intelligently brought into situations, the results have been so excellent that this must be regarded as an extraordinarily efficient method of prayer. People who take this method seriously and actually use it get astonishing results.

At an industrial convention banquet I was seated at the speaker's table next to a man who, though a bit on the rough side, was very likable. He may have felt a bit cramped by his proximity to a preacher, which obviously wasn't his usual company. During the dinner he used a number of theological words, but they were not put together in a theological manner. After each outburst he apologized, but I advised him that I had heard all those words before.

He told me he had been a church attendant as a boy but "had gotten away from it." He gave me that old story which I have heard all my life and which even now people will get off as something entirely new, viz., "When I was a boy my father made me go to Sunday school and church and crammed religion down my throat. So when I got away from home I couldn't take it any more and have seldom been to church since."

This man then observed that "perhaps he should start going to church since he was getting old." I commented that he would be lucky to find a seat. This surprised him for he "did not think anybody went to church any more." I told him that more people attend church each week than frequent any other institution in the country. This rather bowled him over.

He was head of a medium-sized business and he fell to telling me how much money his firm took in last year. I told him I knew quite a few churches whose take exceeded that.

This really hit him in the solar plexus, and I noted his respect for the church mounting by leaps and bounds. I told him about the thousands of religious books that are sold, more than any other type of book. "Maybe you fellows in the church are on the ball at that," he slangily remarked.

At this moment another man came up to our table and enthusiastically told me that "something wonderful" had happened to him. He said he had been very depressed, for things hadn't been going well with him. He decided to get away for a week or so and on this vacation read one of my books in which practical faith techniques are outlined. He said this brought him the first satisfaction and peace he had felt. It encouraged him as to his own possibilities. He began to believe that the answer to his trouble was practical religion.

"So," he said, "I began to practice the spiritual principles presented in your book. I began to believe and affirm that with God's help the objectives I was endeavoring to accomplish could be achieved. A feeling came over me that everything was going to be all right, and from then on nothing could upset me. I absolutely knew it was going to be O.K. - So I began to sleep better and feel better. I felt as if I had taken a tonic. My new understanding and practice of spiritual techniques were the turning point."

When he left us, my table companion, who had listened in on this recital, said, "I never heard anything like that before. That fellow talks about religion as happy and workable. It was never presented to me that way. He also gives the impression that religion is almost a science, that you can use it to improve your health and do better in your job. I never thought of religion in that connection."

Then he added, "But do you know what struck me? It was the look on that guy's face."

Now the curious fact is that when my table companion made that statement a semblance of the same look was on his own face. For the first time he was getting the idea that religious faith is not something piously stuffy but is a scientific procedure for successful living. He was observing at firsthand the practical working of prayer power in personal experience.

(to be continued)


Did you know

·       The very first bomb dropped by the Allies on Berlin in World War II killed the only elephant in the Berlin Zoo.

·      If one places a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion, it will instantly go mad and sting itself to death. (Who was the sadist who discovered this??)

·      Celery has negative calories. It takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in it to begin with.

·       Because metal was scarce, the Oscars given out during World War II were made of wood.

·   The number of possible ways of playing the first four moves per side in a game of chess is 318,979,564,000.

·       On average, 12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily!

·     During the chariot scene in "Ben Hur," a small red car can be seen in the distance (and Heston's wearing a watch).

·       Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying.

·       The dot over the letter "i" is called a tittle.

·     A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the bottom of the glass to the top. 

 

Story of the week

The Farmer Who Grew Award-Winning Corn -  Bill Dorman

James Bender, in his book, How to Talk Well (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1994), relates the story of a farmer who grew award-winning corn. Each year he entered his corn in the state fair where it won a blue ribbon.

 One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

"How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year," the reporter asked.

"Why sir," said the farmer, "didn't you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn."

He is very much aware of the correctness of life. His corn cannot improve unless his neighbor's corn also improves.

So it is in other dimensions. Those who choose to be at peace must help their neighbors to be at peace. Those who choose to live well must help others to live well, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others to find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

The lesson for each of us is this: If we are to grow good corn, we must help our neighbors grow good corn.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Corinthians II 9:6

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:7-10






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