Poems by Ruth Bell Graham

The Man I Prayed For

Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid
(as we’re inclined to do),
I do not need a handsome man
but let him be like You;
I do not need one big and strong
nor yet so very tall,
nor need he be some genius,
or wealthy, Lord, at all;
but let his head be high, dear God,
and let his eye be clear,
his shoulders straight, whate’er his state,
whate’er his earthly sphere;
and let his face have character,
a ruggedness of soul,
and let his whole life show, dear God,
a singleness of goal;
then when he comes
(as he will come)
with quiet eyes aglow,
I’ll understand that he’s the man
I prayed for long ago.

Only You
Dusty my soul tonight.
Earth has been dear.
Bewildered, I come to You,
Father God, hear.
Idols that charm me,
dreams that allure,
pains that alarm me,
suspense to endure,
memories that linger,
thoughts that ensnare,
a heart that is aching,
all crumpled by care,
unsatisfied, restless,
scarce able to pray—
everything, everything
take it away.
Only You,
none but You,
Jesus alone:
ashes the rest to me,
songs with a groan,
take them each one away—
mind not my tears—
lift me above this earth’s
joys and its fears,
give me Yourself alone—
nothing beside—
so will I be with You,
content,
satisfied!

Time to Adore
And when I die
I hope my soul ascends
slowly, so that I
may watch the earth receding
out of sight,
its vastness growing smaller as I rise,
savoring its recession with delight.
Anticipating joy is itself a joy.
And joy unspeakable
and full of glory needs more
than “in the twinkling of an eye,”
more than “in a moment.”

Lord, who am I to disagree?
It’s only we have much to leave behind;
so much ... Before.
These moments of transition
will, for me,
be time to adore.

© Billygraham.org
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Quotes by Ruth Bell Graham

"It is a foolish woman who expects her husband to be to her that which only Jesus Christ Himself can be: always ready to forgive, totally understanding, unendingly patient, invariably tender and loving, unfailing in every area, anticipating every need, and making more than adequate provision. Such expectations put a man under an impossible strain"
— Ruth Bell Graham

"If I cannot give my children a perfect mother I can at least give them more of the one they've got--and make that one more loving. I will be available. I will take time to listen, time to play, time to be home when they arrive from school, time to counsel and encouerage."
— Ruth Bell Graham

"Down through the years, I turned to the Bible and found in it all that I needed"
— Ruth Bell Graham

"Death -
Death can be faced,
dealt with,
adjusted to,
outlived.
It's the
not knowing
that destroys
interminably...
This
being suspended
in suspense;
waiting - weightless,
How does one face
the faceless,
adjust to nothing?
Waiting implies
something to wait for.
Is there?
There is One.
One who knows...
I rest my soul on that."
— Ruth Bell Graham

"Take all away. I am content to know
Such love is mine-for life is all too brief
To grieve for pleasures bringing only grief;
Give me but You; it is enough just so."
— Ruth Bell Graham (Sitting By My Laughing Fire (Paperback)

From Goodreads.com
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Missionary Deconverted to Atheism: Epistemic Issues

Just went through a few videos on YouTube that relate stories of how Daniel Everett, a Linguistics professor and former Christian missionary  to the Piraha tribe of Brazil, got deconverted after reflecting on their worldview. Below is the BBC reading from his book Don't Sleep There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle



An excerpt from his lecture explaining the metaphysics and epistemics of Piraha culture:



Now to the Epistemic Issues:

1. I hold no reserves with regard to this first premise that a missionary is always going to be in danger if his connection with the supernatural is not proper. I intend no accusation. But, Jesus made it clear to the disciples not to venture out till they were baptized with the Spirit. If I'm not so sure of my position, I have no rights trying to defend it or woo others to it. Those who consider missionary work to only be about linguistics, translations, and teaching Gospel stories may soon be disillusioned. The missionary is God's ambassador, and has no business going out without God's leading. It is sad that a missionary here was unable to offer visible evidence, when the Blessed Holy Spirit is here with us with this chief purpose to confirm the Word with visible evidence.
For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient-- in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ. (Rom 15:18-19)

how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will? (Heb 2:3-4)

2. An instance of a simple pragmatic, empirical outlook in one tribe is not reason to throw off faith. This is too simplistic. I hope Dan Everett doesn't say he doesn't believe in Alexander the Great or Plato or Nebuchadnezzar because these entities are beyond the limits of immediate experience. He has neither seen them, nor did his father nor friends see them. Obviously, the Piraha are still too empirical to accommodate historical knowledge. But, if Everett wants to accept the historicity of Alexander the Great (3rd c. B.C), then he can't reject the historicity of Jesus Christ (1st c. A.D.) either. In addition, the whole of history, and the philosophy of history come into reckoning.

3. It is obvious that the Piraha have some belief in the supernatural as Everett himself reports, that they talked of spirits and Xigagaí, a being who lives in the clouds. That is not too simple. Everett also reports that the Piraha mourned over the death of a dog. As the principles of Rational Fideism suggest, in keeping with the Classical Indian Criteria for Revelation, the principle of rational anticipation of faith does exist. There is a preparatio evangelica.

4. A satisfied life-style doesn't prove the irrelevance of the Gospel. It is like saying children do not really have the "right to education" or do not need education because they are satisfied with playing in the soil.

5. The idealistic framework cannot be neglected. Pure empiricism cannot exist by itself. Some idealistic combinationalism is required to engender a worldview that gives meaning to one's experience of the world. Or else, what remains is sensations without relations and sensations without significance (beginning with the epistemic and proceeding to the social and spiritual). Once one begins to talk of ideas, one enters the world of philosophy, warrant, and rational evidence.

Domenic Marbaniang, January 30, 2010.
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The Longer that I am in the ministry... (Ravi Zacharias)

‎"The longer I am in the ministry, the more healthy a respect I have developed for its calling, and the less qualified I feel myself to be in it." ~ Ravi Zacharias (Brittle Clay in Tender Hands)
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God's Signature on His Check



Donald Knuth reward check under the Bank of Sa...


$ $

Got this illustration when trying to explain God’s promises at Church this morning.

When someone issues a check, he puts his signature on it. Otherwise, that check would not work. Similarly, God has given us a check of His promises, and has put the Name of Jesus Christ as the signature on it. In Christ’s Name we have received all the promises in truth. Therefore, the Bible says:
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. (2Cor. 1:20)


Have you got the signature of Christ on your check?
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Happy X'mas 2010!

*
-!-
Gloria in
Excelsis Deo!
Joy floods the earth,
Wonder fills the heavens,
A manger welcomes His birth,
As angels wait with bated breath...
The Son of God has slipped into mortal frame;
God waits on his mother, He's helpless as a babe;
Creation waits on her Lord, for salvation's in His Name!


MAY THE BLESSING OF HIS BIRTH TAKE YOU BY SURPRISE TODAY!


HAVE A GREAT AND BLESSED CHRISTMAS!
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with love and prayers
Domenic Marbaniang

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Ah!

What excitement now breaks on this heart..
Ah! The joyous festival, I will testify of Christ!
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Christmas Dance by Children - Hamare Liye Ek Balak

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Divine Forgiveness

"Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!" (Jer 31:4).

Amazing is that GRACE that blots away the past irrevocably: the once HARLOT (Jer.3:8) is now a VIRGIN (Jer.31:4)!!... Behold CHRIST makes all things new!

I remember the story of Doreen Irwin, a woman who had been in the occult for very long and had been the queen of black witches. But, Jesus delivered her from all the evil spirits that had captured her soul. One day her heart was in distress thinking of all her sinfulness and the immoral life that she had lived. While deeply grieving her miserable state and pained by the memory of guilt, she suddenly heard a voice. It was the voice of Jesus speaking in her spirit. He reminded her of Mary Magdalene and how Christ had changed her life. Then He declared to her that she had been forgiven. All her sins were forgiven and her guilt removed because of the price Jesus paid on the cross. She had been delivered from the condemnation of guilt. Her conscience had been cleansed. She was a new creation. In God's sight, she was a virgin.

As I think of this, I also remember the story of Daku Ramba, a dacoit whom Sadhu Kisan Singh met in the Himalayas. This man was a fearsome criminal whose name resonated terror in the Himalayan valleys. He was responsible for the death of many people. But, when he met Kisan Singh and heard about the love of Jesus, his life was fully transformed. He became the meekest and the kindest man. Jesus Christ changed his life forever.

There is no sin so grievous that the blood of Jesus cannot cleanse. He came to save, forgive, and change our lives. He came to make all things new. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from ALL sins. We only need to accept Him and believe in His Name and accept His forgiveness to live for Him.

Do not judge what God has justified. Live a God-forgiven life with gratitude and reverence toward Him.
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A Life of Gratitude, A God-Contented Heart

On Thanksgiving Sunday, Dec. 19, 2010
Sanjaynagar Church, Morning Service

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1Th 5:16-18)

Psalm 28:7. I will give thanks to him in a song.

God's will:
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 5:18-20)

Rejoicing, Praying, and Thanksgiving are all connected.

"always... without ceasing... in everything.."

God desires us to have Him in our minds all the time.

If you love someone, you can't stay away from that person. A mother who loves her child can't stay away from that child. How much do we long to be in His presence always?

If you love someone, you do everything keeping that person in mind... whether something pleases that person or not. Is God in our mind, everytime we do something... even when we wear a dress or think about something?.

If God is in our mind every time, and we know He's with us, then joy, prayer, and thanksgiving will be continual...

A person who lives for God is satisfied with God alone.

Three States of Heart:

1. DISSATISFIED. The discontent and dissatisfied are filled with negativity, murmuring, irritability, and complaining all the time. "Oh, if I had that" or "Oh, if I had this" ...etc. The desire never quenches and therefore, such life is without gratitude. The Israelites lived such lives and perished in the wilderness (1 Cor.10). Unless we learn to be content, we cannot appreciate God's gifts for our lives. Some people live lives like black holes. Their gravitational pull is so strong that they have been called the graveyard of the stars. They pull everything inward, even light can't escape their peripherals remain discontented and ever negative. Such are so contagious in their negativity that people coming in their contact become negative as well. But, those who are filled with thanksgiving and praise spread the positive fragrance of God. Sometimes God has to put us in darkness to let us know the importance of light. Let's start counting His blessings and give thanks for them.

2. SELF-SATISFIED. This is a dangerous position. Since, people in this category are satisfied with what they're doing without considering whether they are living lives that are pleasing to God or not. That was the condition of Israelites in Jeremiah's time and he had to warn them:
Do not trust in deceptive words and say, "This is the temple of the LORD , the temple of the LORD , the temple of the LORD !" If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.

(Jer 7:4-7)

Their feelings were their reference point of satisfaction. The wrong-doer who feels that "God is not going to judge me," or "I'll escape somehow" lives in this dangerous zone of self-complacency. Our nod of approval must come from God, our Master alone. Nothing else can measure the appropriateness of our satisfaction.

3. GOD-SATISFIED. It is the blessing of those who abide in Christ and live in God's presence. No earthly possession or experience can match the satisfaction that comes from the Creator rejoicing in His creation. Remember the parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15), what joy God has on seeing a sinner converted, a lost sheep found. Such sheep lives in the house of the Master and is daily loaded with gifts from His bounty. Such sheep is God-satisfied.

We have reason to be joyful, prayerful, and thankful because we are the children of God. Let's rise and offer Him thanks...
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Nuptial Dresses

little girl: mom, why is the bride wearing a white dress?
mom: because white is the colour of happiness and joy and today is the happiest day of her life.
little girl: ah,... ok, then why is the groom wearing black?

frm an FB status today
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Do not diminish a word (Jer. 26:2)

"Do not diminish a word" (Jer. 26:2).

What possession does a minister of the word have other than the word... and yet, scarcity galore! If the servant possesses not the word of the Master in verity, integrity, and honesty, he has lost his essence and meaning of being. If we possess anything else in abundance over the word, we stand disapproved. What worser plight could there be than a servant failing at God's word.

1. Do not diminish the wholeness of the wordDo not pick and choose from the word thinking "I should only say this" and "I should not be saying that". Speak the whole word, for the truth is whole. If we diminish any part of the word that God wishes us to speak, the whole is diminished thereby.

2. Do not diminish the meaning of the wordThe servant of God must be able to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim.2:15). Only such servant is approved by God. Those who misinterpret or interpret arbitrarily are unfaithful to the word. The message must be given in words that the message intends.

3. Do not diminish the significance of the wordIn an age of pluralism, we often try to mellow down the word, focusing only on those parts that would be generally appealing to all. We go about as if ours is one of the ways, or ours is a matter of mere personal choice, and not so seriously true after all. Have we forgotten the martyrs who gave their lives for the sincerity of the truth? A servant who thinks that his Master's word isn't so significant or important after all is unfit to be a servant any longer.

4. Do not diminish the volume of the wordThe lesser we communicate, the lesser we impact. The world must be deluged with the truth of God, or else it'll always be overpowered by the forces of darkness. We don't need to be pessimistic here as if the world's never going to be a better place. It has been a few times in the past, when leaders took the initiative to make God's word as plentiful as the air we breathe. But, when we standby allowing evil to go rampant over our cities, we are like that negative servant who buried his talent in the ground. If our light has got to be broad, we must position ourselves in a high and broad space. The candle must be put upon the stand and continue to give out light without any retreat. "Oh, others are doing the preaching anyway, and what must be said that hasn't been said already..." -- these are a lame excuses. We have been appointed to give volume to the word; let's not be negligent, nor despise our obligation.

5. Do not diminish the audience of the wordThat may sound strange, but it's true and sad when we pick and choose who the word must be given to and whom not. Some have limited their audience to only their Sunday congregation; others to their week day gatherers. The word must be widespread and reach everybody. "Go into all the world", said Jesus, "to every nation". The intent of the revelation is that all may hear and believe. God says to Jeremiah not to diminish the word "Perhaps everyone will listen and turn from his evil way..." (26:3). God wishes every individual to be saved (1 Tim.2:4). This Christmas, let's not forget that man on the street, or that little child over there for whom the Father's heart waits with expectation, and He has committed the message of salvation to us to deliver to that person..

May He increase and we decrease! May His word grow in intensity, volume, and range.

Domenic Marbaniang, Dec. 17, 2010
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God Sees Only Black and White

"Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad, very bad, which cannot be eaten, they are so bad." ~ Jer. 24:3

We live in a colorful world; and, the colors confuse us. But, God sees things black and white. Please don't mistake me: I only speak metaphorically, I speak in relation to discernment between good and evil, between the true and the false...

We now have color televisions, past color photography: and what else - beyond 16 million colors? How confused is our generation! We dally with shades and play with prisms, and stay all the while between the black and the white. How dreamy is our fascination! We can no longer tell the difference between the wrong and the right.

Faith and confidence are virtues of the barbarians, they say. To claim the truth is an offence against reason, the highest treason. Only the uncouth and uncultured see the world in black and white: but, we live in every imaginable shade, and does imagination have an end?

Let me borrow this description from T.E. Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Speaking of the Arabian tribes whom he had led during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomon Turks (1916-1918), he had written:
Semites had no half-tones in their register of vision. They were a people of primary colours, or rather of black and white, who saw the world always in contour. They were a dogmatic people, despising doubt, our modern crown of thorns. They did not understand our metaphysical difficulties, our introspective questionings. They knew only truth and untruth, belief and unbelief, without our hesitating retinue of finer shades.This people was black and white....

That doesn't imply that I comply with the Arab world-view: I only desire to sample the "barbarian" perspective. This example is enough. It stands in contrast to our world of flowers and butterflies. How pale is their cave of shadows compared to ours! But, God is also a caveman. He also sees the world as black and white. He warned the Laodicean Church to either be hot or cold - lukewarmness was the abhorrent mid-shade that God despised. So, they hurl at Him accusations. They say He's archaic, outdated, and narrow-minded. Who's broad-minded then? Well, the man who is confused and got no answers; because answers regarding right or wrong only narrow up things - and, we despise constrictions: we hate the black and white. We don't need answers; only, more questions -- how wise!

So be it, then, until the end. Sooner we will realize that the purgatory was a deception. We got no middle ground: either to the left or to the right -- the goats on the left, the sheep on the right. We will then have many stories, so colorful that colors will blush in shame; but, He will just have one answer: "To the left" or "To the right", 'cos God doesn't see colors, you know, He sees only black and white.

Domenic Marbaniang, Dec. 15, 2010.
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Light-Instrumental

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Human Rights Day and Yet, China



December 10 was celebrated as Human Rights Day throughout the world, and the Nobel Peace Prize was placed on an empty chair yesterday at Oslo, Norway - the Laureate, Liu Xiaobo (b. 1955), a Chinese writer, professor, and human rights activist was in prison, being imprisoned by the Chinese government last year for 11 years. The Chinese government denied him the right of having a representative collect the prize for him.

Liu is the third person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while in prison or detention, after Germany's Carl von Ossietzky (1935) and Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi (1991), and the only one other than Ossietzky not to be present or represented by close family at the awards ceremony. The Nobel diploma and the prize was symbolically placed by Jagland on an empty chair meant for the absent laureate. Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann then took to the podium and read I Have No Enemies, a speech by Liu made during his trial in December 2009.
“I, filled with optimism, look forward to the advent of a future, free China. For there is no force that can put an end to the human quest for freedom, and China will in the end become a nation ruled by law, where human rights reign supreme.”

—Liu Xiaobo, I Have No Enemies, 23 December 2009

The proceedings were televised by international media, but broadcast signals on CNN and BBC inside China were reportedly blocked. [Wikipedia]

Let's continue to pray for China that the nation may experience peace and the people live in freedom from all fear of fellowmen. May God give peace to China, the great land that has given so much out of its generous culture to the world! May the officials of the land receive wisdom and understanding from above to see fellow humans with the eyes of God and fulfill their duties to the nation in the spirit of love and justice, without which the world will never be a meaningful place! May God bless China!
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Beyond the Brink of a Breakthrough (Luke 1:5-17)

Summary of message delivered at Itarsi Church, Friday, Dec. 10, 2010. 6:45 pm

A few things strike us when we read this story.

1. God's vision came to Zacharias at a moment when he was least expecting such a thing

He was now old and well advanced in age. In fact, he might have been getting ready for a retirement; yet, he had been faithful at his job all the way.

There are no time-limits to God. He can do anything at any time, provided the person is available. [Remember, that waiting time is not wasting time.] To Zacharias that day, everything might have looked as ordinary as it might have been for years. But, in the moment of commonness, an extraordinary miracle occurred to him and his wife.

Their lives might have looked as common as anyone else' for years together; but, did they know that a miracle was expecting them! Do you know that a miracle is awaiting you? Can we pull through to that moment as Zacharias and Elizabeth did... faithful in the ministry that God had given them at the moment. Just imagine what would have happened if Zacharias would have absented himself from the temple that day, if he had lost desire for the service and kept himself away. Wasn't a miracle waiting for him there, though he never knew or expected it? Are you at the brink of a breakthrough and are now going to turn away? Keep pressing on faithfully till the end believing in God for things greater than you can expect.

2. The couple lived a righteous and a blameless life

That's a great testimony, especially in those days when the temple ministry had gone corrupt and priests were tempted to run after dishonest gain. It could have been so simple and social to sin; but, they never gave in - they kept their testimony strong. We need families that can commit to such a righteous lifestyle in this corrupt world.

Remember Asaph in Psalm 73 who confessed that, though being a priest, he had lived with bitterness when he looked at how the godless people of the world prospered and lived such better lives, while he lived a life of utter simplicity in the temple ministry. But, God opened his eyes to see that being closer to God is far richer to being comfortable in the world. Also, Job could have given in to the pain of life, but he held on to his integrity. Can we expect God to manifest Himself in answer of our prayers when we are living lives contrary to His will? Let's commit ourselves to a life that He can testify about as being blameless and upright in His eyes.

3. They had been praying despite all evidences to the contrary

The angel announced that Zacharias' prayer was answered. What a great news on this first chapter of the Gospel! Have you been praying for a thing for a long time? You shouldn't give up; for you may be at the brink of an answer. Or, have you started praying for something? Remember the same.

In fact, remember that God's answer always supersedes our greatest figment of imagination; for He is able to do exceedingly than what we can think or ask. The couple might have been praying for a son; God gave them a special son, one who would be filled from the womb with the Spirit, and who would turn the children of Israel unto God, and bring peace and reconciliation among humans. That day when Zacharias went into the temple, he might have looked at the evil in the world around and might have asked in his heart, "Is there an answer?" Little did he know that the answer awaited him in the closet of the temple, and that he would be part of it.

Never give up hope in prayer; you may be at the brink of a mighty breakthrough.

4. The blessing kept increasing

At the beginning, Elizabeth was uncomfortable with this idea of being pregnant, and so hid herself for 5 months; but, God sent his angel to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus, and to her proclaimed that the evidence of this fulfillment would be Elizabeth who conceived a child in an old age. So, the blessing increased. Not only did Elizabeth conceived a child, she also became a sign and evidence of God's work in this world.

Secondly, when Mary and Elizabeth met, the child leaped in her womb for joy and Elizabeth prophesied. What a blessing! She might have never prophesied anything for all her life; but, now God's anointing is not going to cease. When He gives, His blessings are without restraint.

But, all this was so because they had been faithful in the place in which God had appointed them in the moment. Of course, the child that they were going to have would not be a support to lean on in their old age, for this boy would live in the wilderness, and live the life of a wild man until the day his head would be brought in a platter before a wicked king. But, this child was going to be a blessing for many. Every time one goes into the waters of baptism, one is reminded of the baptism of Jesus and also the fact that the first instance of baptism is mentioned in the ministry of John the Baptist. The Old Testament prophetic ministry came to end in him and he became the forerunner of our Lord. The vision came at its right time, and Zacharias was available for it, though at a very old age, and who said that God cannot start doing something at someone's old age - don't ever look to retirement or stop at life thinking it's all over. Perhaps, you're almost into something at such a time as this.

Finally, I would like to close with the testimony of Elizabeth in verse 45: "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" We may say it ourselves, applying to our lives, "Blessed am I who has believed that what the Lord has said to me will be accomplished!" And, it will be accomplished. Keep moving on to keep on hearing and believing for God's greater accomplishments, while faithfully accomplishing the task He has given us at the moment. He who has not been faithful in the least cannot be expected to be appointed over the greater. What He has said will be accomplished!

Domenic Marbaniang, December 2010.
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Mere Mehboob Pyaare Masiha - Qawwali (Rap) by Domenic Marbaniang

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Asar - Hindi Devotional (Solo Guitar)

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Academics, Politics, and the Gospel

"not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing" (1 Cor.2:6).

Emperor Nero. Plaster cast in Pushkin museum a...

Two great forces control the modern world: the University and the Parliament (to put it the other way, the school and the scepter). How credulously falls the world before the sublimity of the educated; how feebly it creeps before the iron-fist of the rulers! But, the world has God universally despised and denied. To many the God-idea is outdated. But, then, how long shall the world-ideas last??

When Paul was writing his epistle to the Corinthians (around AD  57), Nero, "the emperor who fiddled while (later) Rome burned", held the reins of the Great Roman Empire. He was forced to commit suicide on June 7, AD 68. A few days before his arrival at Corinth (sometime between 50-52), Paul had been at Athens, the ancient capital of philosophy, and had talks with the Stoics and the Epicureans. They had taken him to Mar's Hill from where he preached his famous sermon on "The God of the Altar to the Unknown God". Only a few responded positively, while the rest ruled him away, because they thought it was silly and unscientific to have mentioned the resurrection of the Christ. Well had Paul begun, when he writes this epistle, that "the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing" (1Cor.1:18), and that "since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe" (v.21).

Paul chose not to imitate the method of the world, whose cup of wisdom and scepter of power would soon fall and crash with the tides of time, and then finally extinguish before the majesty and might of the eternal Word of God. He writes: "my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (2:4). But, that doesn't mean that the message didn't contain wisdom, for can wisdom lie anywhere than in the message of God: "we speak wisdom among those who are mature," he writes "yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing" (v6).

The glaze and the glory of this world is short-lived. Blessed is he who has apprehended the wisdom and the might of God and the age to come!
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That no flesh should glory in His presence

"...that no flesh should glory in His presence." (1 Cor.1:29)

Every man desires to have a hero and become a hero. Everybody desires fame; if not, at least the glory of being superior than the others by adoring someone special. We live in an age of celebrity culture, who have gained the same status by the repeated presentation of them by the media in many places at many times. These visible lights attract many eyes. Some have looked to them for hope.

But, history has proven that man's aspirations from man have often ended in disaster. Humans are usually the same all throughout. It is we who idolize them. Some are idolized for just "15 minutes of fame". Then, there are those instruments of propaganda that cunning men have used to deceive the simple and attract them to themselves. Anti-racial, anti-communal, and anti-national feelings of hatred all breed from tales and testimonies that falsely depict other humans as lower than oneself. We live in an age of mass deception, and advertisers enjoy their pays.

The entertainers are the no.1 people that draw mass attention and sentiments, nowadays. They usually redefine values and people vacillate between ideas of popularity from time to time. In them the myths seem to have come into reality in the minds of many. Interestingly, some people in India have built temples in the name of certain movie stars and cricketers. Gods are still in creation.

But, everybody is a leader. They all leave traces of influence behind. But, of what kind?

Paul in this first epistle to the Corinthians reproves them for being idolizers. Some were calling themselves Paulites; others, Apollosites; still others, Cephasites (or belonging to Peter); and still some others, Jesusites (belonging to Jesus). It is not wrong to call oneself as belonging to Jesus. But, when someone does that from a clear intention of showing themselves superior than the others, this is carnal pride - to glory in the flesh. Sad, that Christian history is not free from this evil. Some have even attempted to show that people of other religions are less than humans. God doesn't allow any instance of pride in the religion of faith. The Scripture asks us to look at our roots.
26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.
27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;
28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are,
29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.

While learning from God's servants, we must understand that it is our own personal responsibility to accept the grace of God through faith and grow in Him. And, "he who glories, let him glory in the LORD." (v31).
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