October 9, 2011

posted 8 Oct 2011, 03:59 by C S Paul   [ updated 8 Oct 2011, 04:47 ]

October 9, 2011


SERMON OF THE WEEK

Prepared by: Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil

(Provided by K.Kuriakose)

Next Sunday is the 4th Sunday after Sleebo. Gospel reading for Sunday is from Luke 16:1-15.

Theme: "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon (money)." Luke 16:13)

Gospel Reading: (Luke 16:1-15) "  The Parable of the Shrewd Manager 

1 Jesus told his disciples: "There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. 

2 So he called him in and asked him, 'What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.'

3 "The manager said to himself, 'What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I'm not strong enough to dig, and I'm ashamed to beg  

4 I know what I'll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.'

5 "So he called in each one of his master's debtors. He asked the first, 'How much do you owe my master?'

6 "Eight hundred gallons[a] of olive oil,' he replied.       "The manager told him, 'Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred.'

7 "Then he asked the second, 'And how much do you owe?' 'A thousand bushels[b] of wheat,' he replied.   "He told him, 'Take your bill and make it eight hundred.'

8 "The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light.

9 I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.

11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? 

12 And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?

13 "No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money. "

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.

15 He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight."

Message:

In the gospel, Jesus relates a parable to the disciples in reference to our attitude towards wealth. Jesus talks about our possessions, how we are to deal with what God has given us as a gift.

The parable is about a foolish steward, or manager. The master, or the owner, had entrusted the manager with all his wealth to be properly looked after. However, the manager misused the goods. When the master came back and realized that the manager had misused his wealth, he dismissed the manager and gave the manager time to settle the accounts. The moment this manager realized it did cost him the job, he makes an assessment of what he did. The manager said to himself,

"What shall I do now?. The owner is taking away my job." He realized he is in trouble. The moment this manager realized that he is going to lose his job, he makes an assessment of where he stood. The manger said to himself, "What shall I  do now My Master is taking away my job." He realized he is in trouble.

When the master came back, he dismissed the manager, and gave him time to settle the accounts. The manager begins to cut down on what he overcharged the owner and customers. The master afterwards praises the manager for realizing his problems and taking immediate actions to fix it. The Lord said this man should be commended because he began to use his opportunity wisely. 

There are three things noticeable in this parable:

1) Accountability. When the master came back, the unwise manager was brought to accountability for his actions. The Master owned the wealth. The manager only managed it. The Master had expectations and this explains why the manager was accountable to the owner.

2) Assessment of the manager. The moment the unwise manager found out he was going to lose his job, he made an assessment of where he stood. The manager said to himself, "What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I am not strong to do any manual labor, and I am ashamed to beg.' He realizes he is in trouble. The master came home and found the manager was not doing what the owner required of him.

3) The actions of the manager. The manager sat down with his account books, began to correct the accounts.

There are three lessons we can learn from this parable.

1) First:  We are to use the opportunity wisely. The master praised the manager for the fact that he realized there was a problem. He immediately took action to fix it. Likewise, use the opportunity that God has given us wisely. God gives us a chance just like the owner gave the manager, a chance to correct our lifestyle. There is an old saying, like this, "Though I can't go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now on and make a brand new ending." And that is what happened to the manager. The Lord said the man shall be commended because he used his opportunity wisely.

2) Second: Trust is something to be earned. Trust cannot be given or granted freely. It must be earned. If we can't be faithful with little things, how can we be with large things?. If we misuse whatever was given to us, the master won't give us any more.

God doesn't trust us on what we plan to do or hope to do, instead we will be measured on by what we are doing right now.

3) Third: Be totally devoted to God. No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and mammon (wealth).

Let's be faithful to God for all his blessings.


                                                                 Title: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ 

Author: Lew Wallace

Part One

Biblical references: Matt. 2:1-12, Luke 2:1-20

Three Magi have come from the East. One, Balthasar, sets up a tent in the desert. Melchior, a Hindu, and Gaspar from Athens join him and as the three men each tell their stories and they realize they have been brought together by their common goal. As they prepare for the journey to come, they see a bright star shining over the region, and they take it as a sign that they are to leave. They follow the star through the desert towards the province of Judaea.

At the Joppa Gate in Jerusalem Mary and Joseph are traveling through on their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. They stop at the inn at the entrance to the city but there is no room. Mary is pregnant and, as labor begins, they head to a cave on a hillside behind the inn and here Jesus is born.

In the pasturelands outside the city, a group of seven shepherds are keeping watch over their flocks. Angels from heaven announce the Christ's birth. The shepherds hurry towards the city. They are rebuked by one of the men supervising the khan but nevertheless, inspired by the angels' message, they enter the caves on the hillside and worship Christ.

They spread the news of the Christ's birth and many come to see him. The Magi arrive in Jerusalem and inquire for news of the Christ. Herod the Great is angry to hear of another king challenging his rule and asks the Sanhedrin to find information for him. The Sanhedrin brings out a prophecy, written by Micah, telling of a ruler to come from Bethlehem Ephrathah, interpreting it to signify the Christ's birthplace.

APTER VI

In an aperture of the western wall of Jerusalem hang the "oaken valves" called the Bethlehem or Joppa Gate. The area outside of them is one of the notable places of the city. Long before David coveted Zion there was a citadel there. When at last the son of Jesse ousted the Jebusite, and began to build, the site of the citadel became the northwest corner of the new wall, defended by a tower much more imposing than the old one. The location of the gate, however, was not disturbed, for the reasons, most likely, that the roads which met and merged in front of it could not well be transferred to any other point, while the area outside had become a recognized market-place. In Solomon's day there was great traffic at the locality, shared in by traders from Egypt and the rich dealers from Tyre and Sidon. Nearly three thousand years have passed, and yet a kind of commerce clings to the spot.

A pilgrim wanting a pin or a pistol, a cucumber or a camel, a house or a horse, a loan or a lentil, a date or a dragoman, a melon or a man, a dove or a donkey, has only to inquire for the article at the Joppa Gate. Sometimes the scene is quite animated, and then it suggests, What a place the old market must have been in the days of Herod the Builder! And to that period and that market the reader is now to be transferred.

Following the Hebrew system, the meeting of the wise men described in the preceding chapters took place in the afternoon of the twenty-fifth day of the third month of the year; that is say, on the twenty-fifth day of December. The year was the second of the 193d Olympiad, or the 747th of Rome; the sixty-seventh of Herod the Great, and the thirty-fifth of his reign; the fourth before the beginning of the Christian era. The hours of the day, by Judean custom, begin with the sun, the first hour being the first after sunrise; so, to be precise; the market at the Joppa Gate during the first hour of the day stated was in full session, and very lively. The massive valves had been wide open since dawn.

Business, always aggressive, had pushed through the arched entrance into a narrow lane and court, which, passing by the walls of the great tower, conducted on into the city. As Jerusalem is in the hill country, the morning air on this occasion was not a little crisp. The rays of the sun, with their promise of warmth, lingered provokingly far up on the battlements and turrets of the great piles about, down from which fell the crooning of pigeons and the whir of the flocks coming and going.

As a passing acquaintance with the people of the Holy City, strangers as well as residents, will be necessary to an understanding of some of the pages which follow, it will be well to stop at the gate and pass the scene in review. Better opportunity will not offer to get sight of the populace who will afterwhile go forward in a mood very different from that which now possesses them.

The scene is at first one of utter confusion--confusion of action, sounds, colors, and things. It is especially so in the lane and court.

The ground there is paved with broad unshaped flags, from which each cry and jar and hoof-stamp arises to swell the medley that rings and roars up between the solid impending walls. A little mixing with the throng, however, a little familiarity with the business going on, will make analysis possible.

Here stands a donkey, dozing under panniers full of lentils, beans, onions, and cucumbers, brought fresh from the gardens and terraces of Galilee. When not engaged in serving customers, the master, in a voice which only the initiated can understand, cries his stock. Nothing can be simpler than his costume--sandals, and an unbleached, undyed blanket, crossed over one shoulder and girt round the waist. Near-by, and far more imposing and grotesque, though scarcely as patient as the donkey, kneels a camel, raw-boned, rough, and gray, with long shaggy tufts of fox-colored hair under its throat, neck, and body, and a load of boxes and baskets curiously arranged upon an enormous saddle.

The owner is an Egyptian, small, lithe, and of a complexion which has borrowed a good deal from the dust of the roads and the sands of the desert. He wears a faded tarbooshe, a loose gown, sleeveless, unbelted, and dropping from the neck to the knee.

His feet are bare. The camel, restless under the load, groans and occasionally shows his teeth; but the man paces indifferently to and fro, holding the driving-strap, and all the time advertising his fruits fresh from the orchards of the Kedron--grapes, dates, figs, apples, and pomegranates.

At the corner where the lane opens out into the court, some women sit with their backs against the gray stones of the wall. Their dress is that common to the humbler classes of the country--a linen frock extending the full length of the person, loosely gathered at the waist, and a veil or wimple broad enough, after covering the head, to wrap the shoulders. Their merchandise is contained in a number of earthen jars, such as are still used in the East for bringing water from the wells, and some leathern bottles. Among the jars and bottles, rolling upon the stony floor, regardless of the crowd and cold, often in danger but never hurt, play half a dozen half-naked children, their brown bodies, jetty eyes, and thick black hair attesting the blood of Israel. Sometimes, from under the wimples, the mothers look up, and in the vernacular modestly bespeak their trade: in the bottles "honey of grapes," in the jars "strong drink." Their entreaties are usually lost in the general uproar, and they fare illy against the many competitors: brawny fellows with bare legs, dirty tunics, and long beards, going about with bottles lashed to their backs, and shouting "Honey of wine! Grapes of En-Gedi!" When a customer halts one of them, round comes the bottle, and, upon lifting the thumb from the nozzle, out into the ready cup gushes the deep-red blood of the luscious berry.

Scarcely less blatant are the dealers in birds--doves, ducks, and frequently the singing bulbul, or nightingale, most frequently pigeons; and buyers, receiving them from the nets, seldom fail to think of the perilous life of the catchers, bold climbers of the cliffs; now hanging with hand and foot to the face of the crag, now swinging in a basket far down the mountain fissure.

Blent with peddlers of jewelry--sharp men cloaked in scarlet and blue, top-heavy under prodigious white turbans, and fully conscious of the power there is in the lustre of a ribbon and the incisive gleam of gold, whether in bracelet or necklace, or in rings for the finger or the nose--and with peddlers of household utensils, and with dealers in wearing-apparel, and with retailers of unguents for anointing the person, and with hucksters of all articles, fanciful as well as of need, hither and thither, tugging at halters and ropes, now screaming, now coaxing, toil the venders of animals--donkeys, horses, calves, sheep, bleating

kids, and awkward camels; animals of every kind except the outlawed swine.

All these are there; not singly, as described, but many times repeated; not in one place, but everywhere in the market.

Turning from this scene in the lane and court, this glance at the sellers and their commodities, the reader has need to give attention, in the next place, to visitors and buyers, for which the best studies will be found outside the gates, where the spectacle is quite as varied and animated; indeed, it may be more so, for there are superadded the effects of tent, booth, and sook, greater space, larger crowd, more unqualified freedom,and the glory of the Eastern sunshine.

(to be continued)

The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter 2 Continued

A salesman told me of an incident that took place in a Midwestern hotel room. He was one of a group of businessmen having a conference. One man was very much on edge. He was snappy, argumentative, high-strung.

Everyone present knew him quite well and realized he was under great nervous pressure. But finally his irritating attitudes began to get on everybody's nerves. Presently this nervous individual opened his traveling bag, took out a big bottle of brackish-looking medicine, and poured himself a large dose. Asked what this medicine was, he growled, "Oh, it's something for nerves. I feel like I'm going to break in pieces. The pressure I'm under makes me wonder if I am going to crack up. I try not to show it, but I suppose even you fellows have observed swallowed several bottles of it, but I don't seem to get any better."

The other men laughed, then one said in a kindly manner, "Bill, I don't know anything about that medicine you are taking. Maybe it's all right. It probably is, but I can give you some medicine for those nerves that will do you more good than that. I know, because it cured me, and I was worse off than you are."

"What is this medicine?" snapped the other.

"This book will do the job, and I really mean it. I suppose you think it strange that I carry a Bible around in my bag, but I don't care who knows it. I am not a bit ashamed of it. I have been carrying this Bible in my bag for the past two years, and I have marked places in it that help keep my mind at peace. It works for me, and I think it can do something for you too. Why not give it a trial?"

The others were listening with interest to this unusual speech. The nervous man had sunk low in his chair. Seeing that he was making an impression, the speaker continued, "I had a peculiar experience in a hotel one night which got me into the habit of reading the Bible. I was getting into a pretty tense state. I was out on a business trip and late one afternoon came up to my room terribly nervous. I tried to write some letters, but couldn't get my mind on them. I paced up and down the room, tried to read the paper, but that annoyed me, so I decided to go down and get a drink—anything to get away from myself.

"While standing by the dresser, my eye happened to fall upon a Bible lying there. I had seen many such Bibles in hotel rooms, but had never read any of them. However, something impelled me, and I opened the book to one of the Psalms and started to read it. I remember that I read that one standing up, then sat down and read another. I was interested but certainly surprised at myself—me reading the Bible! It was a laugh, but I kept on reading.

"Soon I came to the 23rd Psalm. I had learned that one as a boy in Sunday school and was surprised that I still knew most of it by heart. I tried saying it over, especially that line where it says, 'He leadeth me beside the still waters; he restoreth my soul.' I liked that line. It sort of got me. I sat there repeating it over and over—and the next thing I knew I woke up.

"Apparently I had dropped off to sleep and slept soundly. I slept only about fifteen minutes, but upon awakening was as refreshed and rested as if I'd had a good night's sleep. I can remember yet the wonderful feeling of complete refreshment. Then I realized that I felt peaceful, and said to myself, 'Isn't it strange? What is wrong with me that I have missed something as wonderful as this?'

"So after that experience," he said, "I bought a Bible, a little one I could put in my bag, and I've been carrying it ever since. I honestly like to read it, and I am not nearly so nervous as I used to be. So," he added, "try that, Bill, and see if it doesn't work."

Bill did try it, and he kept on trying it. He reported that it was a bit strange and difficult for him at first, and he read the Bible on the sly when nobody was around. He didn't want to be thought holy or pious. But now he says he brings it out on trains and planes or "any old place" and reads it, and it "does him a world of good."

"I no longer need to take nerve medicine," he declared.

This scheme must have worked in Bill's case, for he is easy to get along with now. His emotions are under control. These two men found that getting peace of mind isn't complicated.

You merely feed your mind with thoughts that cause it to be peaceful. To have a mind full of peace merely fill it full of peace. It's as simple as that.

There are other practical ways by which you can develop serenity and quiet attitudes. One way is through your conversation. Depending upon the words we use and the tone in which we use them, we can talk ourselves into being nervous, high-strung, and upset. We can talk ourselves into either negative or positive results. By our speech we can also achieve quiet reactions. Talk peaceful to be peaceful.

In a group when the conversation takes a trend that is upsetting, try injecting peaceful ideas into the talk. Note how it counteracts the nervous tensions. Conversation filled with expressions of unhappy expectation, at breakfast, for example, often sets the tone of the day. Little wonder things turn out according to the unhappy specifications. Negative conversation adversely affects circumstances. Certainly talk of a tense and nervous nature enhances inner agitation.

On the contrary, start each day by affirming peaceful, contented, and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. Such attitudes are active and definite factors in creating satisfactory conditions. Watch your manner of speech then if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind.

It is important to eliminate from conversations all negative ideas, for they tend to produce tension and annoyance inwardly. For example, when you are with a group of people at luncheon, do not comment that the "Communists will soon take over the country." In the first place, Communists are not going to take over the country, and by so asserting you create a depressing reaction in the minds of others. It undoubtedly affects digestion adversely.

The depressing remark colors the attitude of all present, and everyone goes away with a perhaps slight but definite feeling of annoyance. They also carry away with them a mild but definite feeling that something is wrong with everything. There are times when we must face these harsh questions and deal with them objectively and vigorously, and no one has more contempt for Communism than I have, but as a general thing to have peace of mind, fill your personal and group conversations with positive, happy, optimistic, satisfying expressions.

The words we speak have a direct and definite effect upon our thoughts. Thoughts create words, for words are the vehicles of ideas. But words also affect thoughts and help to condition if not to create attitudes. In fact, what often passes for thinking starts with talk. Therefore if the average conversation is scrutinized and disciplined to be sure that it contains peaceful expressions, the result will be peaceful ideas and ultimately, therefore, a peaceful mind.

Another effective technique in developing a peaceful mind is the daily practice of silence. Everyone should insist upon not less than a quarter of an hour of absolute quiet every twenty-four hours. Go alone into the quietest place available to you and sit or lie down for fifteen minutes and practice the art of silence. Do not talk to anyone. Do not write. Do not read.

Think as little as possible. Throw your mind into neutral.

Conceive of your mind as quiescent, inactive. This will not be easy at first because thoughts are stirring up your mind, but practice will increase your efficiency. Conceive of your mind as the surface of a body of water and see how nearly quiet you can make it, so that there is not a ripple. When you have attained a quiescent state, then begin to listen for the deeper sounds of harmony and beauty and of God that are to be found in the essence of silence.
(to be continued)


Just for Laughs

Psalm 23 For Tech Heads

The Lord is my programmer, I shall not crash.Explanation Of God

He installed His software on the hard disk of my heart.

All of His commands are user friendly.His directory guides me to the right choices for His name's sake.

Even though I scroll through the problems of life, I will fear no bugs, for He is my back-up.

His password protects me. He prepares a menu before me in the presence of my enemies.

His help is only a keystroke away.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life and my file will be merged with His and saved forever.

Amen


Sermon Disclaimer

A cautious preacher concluded all his sermons with the following statement:

"All sinners referred to in my sermon are purely fictitious. Any similarity to members of this congregation, past or present, is strictly coincidental!"


 Did Tou Know ?

  • In England, in the 1880's, "Pants" was considered a dirty word.
  • Most dust particles in your house are made from dead skin.
  • It is believed that Shakespeare was 46 around the time that the King James Version of the Bible was written. In Psalms 46, the 46th word from the first word is "shake" and the 46th word from the last word is "spear".
  • The strength of early lasers was measured in Gillettes, the number of blue razor blades a given beam could puncture.
  • 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
  • There is an ATM at McMurdo Station in Antarctica, which has a winter population of 200.
  • Two very popular and common objects have the same function, but one has thousands of moving parts, while the other has absolutely no moving parts - an hourglass and a sundial.
  • If you know a (male) millionaire who happens to be married, The most likely profession of his wife is a teacher.
  • An ostrich's eye is  bigger than its brain.

Story Of The Week

Miracle  -Author Unknown

Tess was a eight years old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn't have the money for the doctor bills and our house. Only a very costly surgery could save him now and it was looking like there was no one to loan them the money.

She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, "Only a miracle can save him now." Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a small box from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect.

No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the box, she slipped out the back door and made her way six blocks to the drug store. 

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was busy talking to another man and couldn't be bothered by an eight year old at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing ... she cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good ... Finally she took a quarter from her box and banged it on the glass counter.

That did it!

"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages." he said, without waiting for a reply to his question. "Well, I want to talk to you about my brother." Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick ... and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?" "We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you." the pharmacist said, softening a little.

"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother need?"

"I don't know." Tess replied with eyes filled with tears. "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation.

But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."

"How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.

"One dollar and eleven cents." Tess answered. "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to."

"Well, what a coincidence." smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven  cents - the exact price of a miracle for little brothers." He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her hand and said , "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstong. a surgeon, specializing in neurosurgery. The operation was completed without charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

"That surgery", her Mom whispered, "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?" Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost ... one dollar and eleven cents, plus the faith of a little child.

 

 

 

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