September 18, 2011

posted 16 Sep 2011, 02:41 by C S Paul   [ updated 18 Sep 2011, 06:19 ]

September 18, 2011


SERMON OF THE WEEK

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

(Provided by K.Kuriakose))


Next Sunday is the 1st Sunday after Sleebo. The gospel reading is from Mark 13:30-37.

Theme: Jesus Christ's Second Coming: The day and hour is unknown. 

Gospel Reading: (Mark 13:32-37)

28 Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.

29 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door.

30 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

32 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

34 It's like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.  

35 "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn.  

36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping.

37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!"

Message:

The Second Coming of Christ is confused by several false teachings. Prediction books have been written picking the exact date of Jesus' return. These books have sold several copies, but they mislead their readers. As soon as someone predicts the day or time of Jesus' Second Coming, that prediction is found wrong simply because only God the Father knows when it will be - Jesus doesn't even know.

Here is a story I have read in the "Wikipedia Encyclopedia." (The story is paraphrased.) 

In the late 19th century in America, there was a wave of enthusiasm for prophesies predicting the actual date for Jesus Christ's Second Coming.

One such prophet was  a Seventh Day Adventist leader by the name William Miller. (1782-1849) And it is in his movement that both the Jehovah Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists find their roots.

Miller first predicted that Christ would return on 21st March 1842. Several thousand followers jammed the Boston Seventh Day Adventist Temple, only to be disappointed. The movement didn't die. It continued to grow.

Miller decided to recalculate his date - April 3, 1843. When the messiah did not show up on that date either, there was frustration and some followers left the Adventist ranks.

Undeterred by these failures, Miller came up with a third date - 22nd October 1844. This date was published as real and rallied his followers in full strength. They spread the new date of the second coming with great enthusiasm that had not been seen before.  Church members who did not accept this message were denounced as agents of evil.

One account notes that "Fields were left unharvested, shops were closed,  people quit their jobs, paid their debts, and freely gave away their possessions  with no conditions of recovery.

Huge press releases of Adventist publications warned the public that "The Time is Short", "Prepare to Meet Your God," and "The Lord is Coming."

Miller himself began to supply white "ascension robes" to the faithful, many of whom waited for the miraculous event in freshly dug graves.

 As we all know, the Second Coming did not occur on 22nd October 1844. In fact, if they had read Mark 13: 32-37 they would not have been taken in by Miller's false prophesy. For Jesus speaking about the Second Coming said in Mark 13:32, "No one knows about that day or hour and not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

The Ana-Baptists, a radical Protestand Christian Reformation movement in the 16the century believed that the Second Coming of Jesus Christ would occur in 1533. When the prophey failed, the Anbaptists became more zealous and claimed that Enoch and Elijah had come in the form of Jan Matthys and Jan Bockelson, the group's two top leaders.

Charles Russell, the first president of the Watch Tower Society, predicted Jesus Christ would return on March 8, 1889. That day passed uneventfully.

The 2011 end times prediction made by American Christian radio host Harold Camping, a former civil engineer, stated that the Rapture and Judgment Day would take place on May 21, 2011, and that the end of the world would take place five months later on October 21, 2011. The Rapture is the taking up into heaven of God's elect people. Camping, president of the Family Radio Christian network, claimed the Bible as his source and said May 21, 2011 would be the date of the Rapture and the day of judgment "beyond the shadow of a doubt". Camping suggested that it would occur at 6 p.m. local time, with the rapture sweeping the globe time zone by time zone, while some of his supporters claimed that around 200 million people (approximately 3% of the world's population) would be 'raptured'. That day passed and nothing had happened.

Previously back in 1992, Camping had also predicted the world coming to an end on September 6, 1944. He then said on September 7, 1944 that his prediction didn't come true due to a mathematical error.

On June 9, 2011, a day ofter his recent end time prediction, Camping suffered a stroke and was hospitalized. A neighbor, according to reports, stated that his speech had become slurred as a result of the stroke. He has since then been moved to a nursing home for rehabilitation. On June 21, Camping radio station announced that it wold replace Camping Show with new programming.

Catherine Wessinger, a professor at Loyola University in New Orleans who studied doomsday prophesies, suggests that the interest in doomsday predictions is a reflection of the uncertainty of people who face a slumpy economy. A lot of times those prophesies gain traction when difficulities are happening in the society.  

Jesus said, speaking about his Second Coming in Mark 13:26-27: "At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And He will send his angels and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven."

Again, "It is like a man going away: Leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tell the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back--whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping". (Mark 13:34-36) 

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.

CHAPTER IV

The Egyptian and the Hindoo looked at each other; the former waved his hand; the latter bowed, and began:

"Our brother has spoken well. May my words be as wise."

He broke off, reflected a moment, then resumed:

"You may know me, brethren, by the name of Melchior. I speak to you in a language which, if not the oldest in the world, was at least the soonest to be reduced to letters--I mean the Sanscrit of India. I am a Hindoo by birth. My people were the first to walk in the fields of knowledge, first to divide them, first to make them beautiful. 

Whatever may hereafter befall, the four Vedas must live, for they are the primal fountains of religion and useful intelligence. From them were derived the Upa-Vedas, which, delivered by Brahma, treat of medicine, archery, architecture, music, and the four-and-sixty mechanical arts; the Ved-Angas, revealed by inspired saints, and devoted to astronomy, grammar, prosody, pronunciation, charms and incantations, religious rites and ceremonies; the Up-Angas, written by the sage Vyasa, and given to cosmogony, chronology, and geography; therein also are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, heroic poems, designed for the perpetuation of our gods and demi-gods. Such, O brethren, are the Great Shastras, or books of sacred ordinances. 

They are dead to me now; yet through all time they will serve to illustrate the budding genius of my race. They were promises of quick perfection. Ask you why the promises failed? Alas! the books themselves closed all the gates of progress. Under pretext of care for the creature, their authors imposed the fatal principle that a man must not address himself to discovery or invention, as Heaven had provided him all things needful. When that condition became a sacred law, the lamp of Hindoo genius was let down a well, where ever since it has lighted narrow walls and bitter waters.

"These allusions, brethren, are not from pride, as you will understand when I tell you that the Shastras teach a Supreme God called Brahm; also, that the Puranas, or sacred poems of the Up-Angas, tell us of Virtue and Good Works, and of the Soul. So, if my brother will permit the saying"--the speaker bowed deferentially to the Greek--"ages before his people were known, the two great ideas, God and the Soul, had absorbed all the forces of the Hindoo mind. 

In further explanation let me say that Brahm is taught, by the same sacred books, as a Triad--Brahma, Vishnu,and Shiva. Of these, Brahma is said to have been the author of our race; which, in course of creation, he divided into four castes.

First, he peopled the worlds below and the heavens above; next,he made the earth ready for terrestrial spirits; then from his mouth proceeded the Brahman caste, nearest in likeness to himself,highest and noblest, sole teachers of the Vedas, which at the same time flowed from his lips in finished state, perfect in all useful knowledge.

From his arms next issued the Kshatriya, or warriors; from his breast, the seat of life, came the Vaisya, or producers--shepherds, farmers, merchants; from his foot, in sign of degradation, sprang the Sudra,or serviles, doomed to menial duties for the other classes--serfs, domestics, laborers, artisans. Take notice, further, that the law,so born with them, forbade a man of one caste becoming a member of another; the Brahman could not enter a lower order; if he violated the laws of his own grade, he became an outcast, lost to all but outcasts like himself."

At this point, the imagination of the Greek, flashing forward upon all the consequences of such a degradation, overcame his eager attention, and he exclaimed, "In such a state, O brethren, what mighty need of a loving God!"

"Yes," added the Egyptian, "of a loving God like ours."

The brows of the Hindoo knit painfully; when the emotion was spent, he proceeded, in a softened voice.

"I was born a Brahman. My life, consequently, was ordered down to its least act, its last hour. My first draught of nourishment; the giving me my compound name; taking me out the first time to see the sun; investing me with the triple thread by which I became one of the twice-born; my induction into the first order--were all celebrated with sacred texts and rigid ceremonies. 

I might not walk, eat, drink, or sleep without danger of violating a rule. And the penalty, O brethren, the penalty was to my soul! According to the degrees of omission, my soul went to one of the heavens--Indra's the lowest, Brahma's the highest; or it was driven back to become the life of a worm, a fly, a fish, or a brute. The reward for perfect observance was Beatitude, or absorption into the being of Brahm, which was not existence as much as absolute rest."

The Hindoo gave himself a moment's thought; proceeding, he said:

"The part of a Brahman's life called the first order is his student life. When I was ready to enter the second order--that is to say, when I was ready to marry and become a householder--I questioned everything, even Brahm; I was a heretic. From the depths of the well I had discovered a light above, and yearned to go up and see what all it shone upon. At last--ah, with what years of toil!--I stood in the perfect day, and beheld the principle of life, the element of religion, the link between the soul and God--Love!"

The shrunken face of the good man kindled visibly, and he clasped his hands with force. A silence ensued, during which the others looked at him, the Greek through tears. At length he resumed:

"The happiness of love is in action; its test is what one is willing to do for others. I could not rest. Brahm had filled the world with so much wretchedness. The Sudra appealed to me, so did the countless devotees and victims. The island of Ganga Lagor lies where the sacred waters of the Ganges disappear in the Indian Ocean. Thither I betook myself. 

In the shade of the temple built there to the sage Kapila, in a union of prayers with the disciples whom the sanctified memory of the holy man keeps around his house, I thought to find rest. But twice every year came pilgrimages of Hindoos seeking the purification of the waters. Their misery strengthened my love. Against its impulse to speak I clenched my jaws; for one word against Brahm or the Triad or the Shastras would doom me; one act of kindness to the outcast

Brahmans who now and then dragged themselves to die on the burning sands--a blessing said, a cup of water given--and I became one of them, lost to family, country, privileges, caste. The love conquered! I spoke to the disciples in the temple; they drove me out. I spoke to the pilgrims; they stoned me from the island. On the highways I attempted to preach; my hearers fled from me, or sought my life.

In all India, finally, there was not a place in which I could find peace or safety--not even among the outcasts, for, though fallen, they were still believers in Brahm. In my extremity, I looked for a solitude in which to hide from all but God. I followed the Ganges to its source, far up in the Himalayas. When I entered the pass at Hurdwar, where the river, in unstained purity, leaps to its course through the muddy lowlands, I prayed for my race, and thought myself lost to them forever. 

Through gorges, over cliffs, across glaciers,by peaks that seemed star-high, I made my way to the Lang Tso, a lake of marvellous beauty, asleep at the feet of the Tise Gangri, the Gurla, and the Kailas Parbot, giants which flaunt their crowns of snow everlastingly in the face of the sun. There, in the centre of the earth, where the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmapootra rise to run their different courses; where mankind took up their first abode, and separated to replete the world, leaving Balk, the mother of cities, to attest the great fact; where Nature, gone back to its primeval condition, and secure in its immensities, invites the sage and the exile, with promise of safety to the one and solitude to the other--there I went to abide alone with God, praying, fasting, waiting for death."

Again the voice fell, and the bony hands met in a fervent clasp. "One night I walked by the shores of the lake, and spoke to the listening silence, 'When will God come and claim his own? Is there to be no redemption?' Suddenly a light began to glow tremulously out on the water; soon a star arose, and moved towards me, and stood overhead. The brightness stunned me. While I lay upon the ground, I heard a voice of infinite sweetness say, 'Thy love hath conquered. Blessed art thou, O son of India! The redemption is at hand. With two others, from far quarters of the earth, thou shalt see the Redeemer, and be a witness that he hath come. 

In the morning arise, and go meet them; and put all thy trust in the Spirit which shall guide thee.'  "And from that time the light has stayed with me; so I knew it was the visible presence of the Spirit. In the morning I started to the world by the way I had come. In a cleft of the mountain I found a stone of vast worth, which I sold in Hurdwar. By Lahore, and Cabool, and Yezd, I came to Ispahan. There I bought the camel, and thence was led to Bagdad, not waiting for caravans.

Alone I traveled, fearless, for the Spirit was with me, and is with me yet. What glory is ours, O brethren! We are to see the Redeemer--to speak to him--to worship him! I am done."

(Will be continued)

The Power of Positive Thinking

by Norman Vincent Peale

Chapter I (Continued)

Perhaps his associates view a proposition pessimistically, so he employs what he calls "the vacuum-cleaner method." That is, by a series of questions he "sucks the dust" out of his associates' minds; he draws out their negative attitudes. Then quietly he suggests positive ideas concerning the proposition until a new set of attitudes gives them a new concept of the facts.

They often comment upon how different facts appear when this man "goes to work on them." It's the confidence attitude that makes the difference, nor does this rule out objectivity in an appraisal of facts. The inferiority complex victim sees all facts through discolored attitudes. The secret of correction is simply to gain a normal view, and that is always slanted on the positive side.

So if you feel that you are defeated and have lost confidence in your ability to win, sit down, take a piece of paper and make a list, not of the factors that are against you, but of those that are for you. If you or I or anybody think constantly of the forces that seem to be against us, we will build them up into a power far beyond that which is justified. They will assume a formidable strength which they do not actually possess. But if, on the contrary, you mentally visualize and affirm and reaffirm your assets and keep your thoughts on them, emphasizing them to the fullest extent, you will rise out of any difficulty regardless of what it may be. Your inner powers will reassert themselves and, with the help of God, lift you from defeat to victory.

One of the most powerful concepts, one which is a sure cure for lack of confidence, is the thought that God is actually with you and helping you. This is one of the simplest teachings in religion, namely, that Almighty God will be your companion, will stand by you, help you, and see you through. No other idea is so powerful in developing self confidence as this simple belief when practiced. To practice it simply affirm "God is with me; God is helping me; God is guiding me." Spend several minutes each day visualizing His presence. Then practice believing that affirmation. Go about your business on the assumption that what you have affirmed and visualized is true. Affirm it, visualize it, believe it, and it will actualize itself. The release of power which this procedure stimulates will astonish you.

Feelings of confidence depend upon the type of thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Think defeat and you are bound to feel defeated. But practice thinking confident thoughts, make it a dominating habit, and you will develop such a strong sense of capacity that regardless of what difficulties arise you will be able to overcome them. Feelings of confidence actually induce increased strength. Basil King once said, "Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid." Experience proves the truth of this. You will feel these mighty forces aiding you as your increasing faith reconditions your attitudes.

Emerson declared a tremendous truth, "They conquer who believe they can." And he added, "Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain." Practice confidence and faith and your fears and insecurities will soon have no power over you.

Once when Stonewall Jackson planned a daring attack, one of his generals fearfully objected, saying, "I am afraid of this" or "I fear that..." Putting his hand on his timorous subordinate's shoulder, Jackson said, "General, never take counsel of your fears."

The secret is to fill your mind with thoughts of faith, confidence, and security. This will force out or expel all thoughts of doubt, all lack of confidence. To one man who for a long time had been haunted by insecurities and fears I suggested that he read through the Bible underlining in red pencil every statement it contains relative to courage and confidence. He also committed them to memory, in effect cramming his mind full of the healthiest, happiest, most powerful thoughts in the world. These dynamic thoughts changed him from cringing hopelessness to a man of compelling force. The change in him in a few weeks was remarkable. From almost complete defeat he became a confident and inspiring personality. He now radiates courage and magnetism. He regained confidence in himself and his own powers by a simple process of thought conditioning. To sum up—what can you do now to build up your self- confidence? Following are ten simple, workable rules for overcoming inadequacy attitudes and learning to practice faith. Thousands have used these rules, reporting successful results. Undertake this program and you, too, will build up confidence in your powers. You, too, will have a new feeling of power.

1. Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop this picture. Never think of yourself as failing; never doubt the reality of the mental image. That is most dangerous, for the mind always tries to complete what it pictures. So always picture "success" no matter how badly things seem to be going at the moment.

2. Whenever a negative thought concerning your personal powers comes to mind, deliberately voice a positive thought to cancel it out.

3. Do not built up obstacles in your imagination. Depreciate every so-called obstacle. Minimize them. Difficulties must be studied and efficiently dealt with to be eliminated, but they must be seen for only what they are. They must not be inflated by fear thoughts.

4. Do not be awestruck by other people and try to copy them. Nobody can be you as efficiently as YOU can. Remember also that most people, despite their confident appearance and demeanor, are often as scared as you are and as doubtful of themselves.

5. Ten times a day repeat these dynamic words, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) (Stop reading and repeat them NOW slowly and confidently.)

6. Get a competent counselor to help you understand why you do what you do. Learn the origin of your inferiority and self-doubt feelings which often begin in childhood. Self- knowledge leads to a cure.

7. Ten times each day practice the following affirmation, repeating it out loud if possible. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." (Philippians 4:13) Repeat those words NOW. That magic statement is the most powerful antidote on earth to inferiority thoughts.

8. Make a true estimate of your own ability, then raise it 10 percent. Do not become egotistical, but develop a wholesome self-respect. Believe in your own God-released powers.

9. Put yourself in God's hands. To do that simply state, "I am in God's hands." Then believe you are NOW receiving all the power you need. "Feel" it flowing into you. Affirm that "the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21) in the form of adequate power to meet life's demands.

10. Remind yourself that God is with you and nothing can defeat you. Believe that you now RECEIVE power from him. (Will be continued)

Did You Know ?

·         Ants stretch when they wake up in the morning.

·         Some ribbon worms will eat themselves if they can't find any food

·         About 3000 years ago, most Egyptians died by the time they were 30.

·         More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones.

·         Your ribs move about 5 million times a year, every time you breathe.

·         In the White House, there are 13,092 knives, forks and spoons.

·         Lightning strikes about 6,000 times per minute on this planet.

·         A jellyfish is 95 percent water.

·         A giraffe can clean its ears with its 21-inch tongue.

 

Just for laughs.

Puppies baptized

A client brought a litter of golden retriever puppies to the veterinary clinic for inoculations and worming. As the look alike pups squirmed over and under one another in their box, the vet realized it would be difficult to tell the treated ones from the rest. So, he turned on the water faucet, wet his fingers, and moistened each dog's head when he had finished.

After the fourth puppy, he noticed his hitherto talkative client had grown silent. As he sprinkled the last pup's head, the woman leaned forward and whispered, "I didn't know they had to be baptized, too."

 

Story of the Week

Bryan

He almost didn't see the old lady, stranded on the side of the road. But even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her. Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so ... was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe; he looked poor and hungry. He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you.

He said, "I'm here to help you, ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Bryan."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt. As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. She asked him how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was! not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, "And think of me."

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The cash register was like the telephone of an out-of-work actor, it didn't ring much.

The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude.

The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, and the waitress went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, the lady slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back.

The waitress wondered where the lady could be.

Then she noticed something written on the napkin under which were four $100 bills.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: "You don't owe me anything. I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you."

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work! and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard.

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything's gonna be all right. I love you, Bryan."

Provided by Free Christian Content.org

 


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