Wednesday, August 12, 2015

THERE'S MORE ON OUR SIDE!


Dothan:  The king of Aram was furious because his country’s war plan against Israel had been disclosed by someone. Every time he planned something, the king of Israel knew about it. He then interrogated his officers whether they were spies.

One officer stood up and said it was the prophet Elisha who heard every word that was discussed.

The furious king immediately called and sent a strong army to where Elisha lived. By night, the whole area was surrounded by a vast army with horses and chariots.

Next morning, Elisha’s servant came up and great fear seized him. He ran back inside and told the man of God what was happening. The great prophet calmed the servant down and told him not to be afraid. Then he said these words, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them”. He prayed a simple prayer that God would open his servant’s eyes so that he may see God’s mighty army.

God, in answering Elisha’s prayer, opened the servant’s eyes to see something supernatural. He saw in the hills above, full of horses and chariots of fire belonging to the army of God. They were really more than those of the enemies.

As the enemy’s army marched towards them, Elisha prayed again to God that they be blinded. True enough, God’s power had them all blinded.

The enemies were confused when this happened. The prophet then led them all to Israel’s army in Samaria. While they were there, God opened their eyes. They were shock to find themselves in Israel’s capital. All of them were captured alive by the king of Israel. The delighted king asked Elisha if he could kill them all. Full of compassion, Elisha denied that request. Instead, he asked the king to give them plenty of food and water and later asked him to send them all back.

Because of the compassion of Elisha, the king of Aram stopped the war with the king of Israel.

Because of God’s power and His promise to help His own people, the victory that day was a resounding one.

Elisha’s servant learned a great lesson that day. He didn’t want to depend on his own strength anymore. He will indeed focus on God’s power. - PS BIBLE News


REFLECTION


This story above is taken from 2 Kings 6:8-23. Our eyes sometimes deceive us just like they deceive Elisha’s servant. We must see through the eyes of faith believing that there are more that stand on our side than those who are against us. Why? Because God is our source of strength. He had more angels than all our enemies combined. Isn’t it good to be on His side? Certainly. Whatever problems or shortcomings we may have can be overcome because He is with us! He will fight on our behalf! Did Jesus Himself promise us this? Yes! Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). He said, “I have given your authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you” (Luke 10:19)

Thursday, August 6, 2015

EVIL FOR GOOD


Unidentified place:  A rich man went for a journey, promised he will return after a long time. He owned a good fertile land and he rented it to some farmers. He was a kind-hearted man who wanted to see that these farmers that he loved got some benefits out of this land.

When the time came for the harvest, he told his servant to go and get some fruits that the farmers had planted so as to show their appreciation for him. They refused to give him the fruits. Instead, his servant was beaten up and was told to go back. The land owner was very surprised with the farmers for what they did. Since he loved them so very much, he decided to try again with another servant.

The servant went. The farmers gathered up again and beat him up as well. They mocked him and laughed at him. They ridiculed him and threw insults at him.

The servant managed to get back to his master and related everything to him. The owner was grieved and deeply saddened with what had happened. “Is that what they paid me for my kindness and love towards them?” he cried in utter despair.

He didn’t give up loving them but sent another servant just to collect some of the fruits in his own land.

The same thing happened. The servant was wounded severely by them. His master heard about it and started to become indignant, seeing all the injustices that were done. He began to reason within himself that if he sent his one and only son to them, perhaps they would respect him. His son was not afraid at all to go and collect the fruits. He was obedient to his father.

Still at a long distance away, the farmers saw him coming. They then discussed among themselves what to do with the owner’s one and only son. They came out with a wicked idea. Since he was the heir of the land and if they could kill him, the land would be theirs. They thought this would be the chance that they could forcefully wrest control of the land and be very rich.

This time they did the worse thing. Not only did they beat the son up, they murdered him. The farmers were very glad for they thought they would possess the land. They celebrated and went on taking in the good harvest that the land had produced.

While they were in the fields, gathering in the fruits, there appeared few strong men. They saw them looking like warriors, waiting to fight their enemies. They ran as fast as they could and began to gather together in a village. The farmers were asking each other about the huge men. At a distance away they saw the terrifying men coming towards their direction. At the front of the men, they then saw someone familiar, directing the men. The land owner. He was angry and sad at the same at these bunch of unrepentant wicked farmers. With a loud shout, he ordered the men to kill all those who murdered his son.

The owner then rented his land to others who would listen to him and be blessed. – PSBIBLE News

REFLECTION

This parable is taken from Luke 20:9-15. Many people today think that God will not come and judge them for their wickedness. They could go on doing whatever seems good in their own eyes, cheating, murdering, abusing people, thus neglecting the Word of God. Judgement will come as promised by God Himself if they do not repent. Yet God is a Judge full of love who would still wait for people to repent and be saved. He warned everyone in this world to repent and believe in Him through Jesus so that their sins can be washed away.

….. He (God) is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

THE GIANT TUMBLES


Socoh, Judah:  A nine feet tall man named Goliath from Philistine today threatened the Israelites, considered to be the people of God. He challenged anyone who could fight him to step out in the middle while the soldiers from both sides gathered in line, ready to do battle with one another. Then the Israelites, upon seeing the “giant” trembled in fear. They looked at each other in utter dismay because they saw no one stronger than Goliath. Even their King Saul was sad at the repeated taunting by this strong man.

Goliath hounded them again and again. The Israelites on the other hand shivered with great fear even though they have great experience in battles.
  
Meanwhile, David, a shepherd boy who is very close with God, overheard the proud chant of Goliath, asked the king that he be sent to fight him. King Saul was very surprised that this boy could be so daring, David then told him how he killed a lion and a bear before with bare hands because God was with him. He assured the king that God will also help him kill this giant. King Saul hesitantly agreed to let him go on the condition that he must put on the king’s armour. David put it on but it was too huge for him and caused him to walk with great difficulties. He took them off immediately and asked the king to grant him that he used his own weapons instead. The shepherd boy only took a pouch filled with five stones and a sling shot.

So off he went to fight the Goliath, the “giant”.

When he confronted Goliath with only small stuffs, the “giant” laughed at him. He jeered the whole Israelites’ army for sending a boy to fight him. David, a boy full of faith in his God, did not fear him at all. Everybody in the Israelites’ camp did not give a ghost of a chance to him to win this confrontation.

But then it happened!

When Goliath was about to draw his sword, David aimed his sling with a small rock he took from his pouch. He released the rock with a powerful slingshot. It hit the giant right on the forehead before he could charge towards David. Then the “giant” fell like a timber. He was killed by just one slingshot. The whole Israelites’ camp rejoiced greatly at the triumph of David.

It is a day that David will never forget that God wrought this victorious feat through him. While others look at their own puny strength, David looks to God who is the most powerful One of them all. – PS BIBLE News

REFLECTION


This story is taken from 1 Samuel chapter 17 in the Bible. David was not like the rest of them who looked at their human strength to achieve things. When the Israelites found no one who was taller and stronger than Goliath, they became very afraid and ran. David was different. He relied upon God even though the king offered him his armour, another man-made weapon, he rejected it. Instead, David called upon the Name of the Lord and used what he had to gain the victory over the enemy. Although he was not big size in the sight of man, he was strong on the inside because he trusted in God. Are you only strong outwardly? Do you have God inside of you like David?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

GREEDY NO MORE


Jericho:  Zacchaeus, an evil tax collector received a wonderful guest to stay in his place. It was a talk of the town. The guest was no ordinary person. Everybody considered this fellow a very righteous person and some worshipped him as God. His name, Jesus. The biggest puzzle they had was that how a righteous man like Jesus wanted to come and stay in the home of this wicked man. Everybody knew that Zacchaues was a greedy man who liked to threaten people. He cheated people of their money and had a band of thieves with them, all tax collectors.

But deep inside of Zacchaeus’ heart, he knew he had done wrong. Especially so when he heard of Jesus doing so many marvellous things for the people. Being a greedy person, Zacchaeus did some very bad things. He could not bear the guilt anymore but didn’t know who to turn to so that he could change into a better person. He was shattered and devastated.

Suddenly, Jesus came into his mind. He heard of Jesus forgiving the sins of the people and of the many who worshiped Him as the Son of God. He thought that if he could get hold of Jesus, he would be set free from sins of greed. Furthermore, this will stop people from grumbling and gossiping about him once and for all. So, he resolved in his mind to find Jesus.

Zacchaeus was a short man. When he knew Jesus was coming into the part of the town, he was extremely delighted. But when he saw that Jesus was surrounded by a sea of people, he could not see nor reach Him. He promised himself that no matter how he had to see Jesus that day. Nothing stopped him from meeting Jesus. He found a tree nearby and straight away climbed up just to get a glimpse of Him.

With so many people clamouring over the Son of God, he was glad that he could at least see Jesus’ face. Then something happened that day that changed Zacchaeus’ life forever. Jesus noticed him up on that tree. He was stunned and couldn’t utter a thing. “He’s seen me! He’s seen me!”, the thought kept ringing in his mind. But then a marvellous thing happened which completely took the tax collector by surprise.

Jesus spoke. He not only spoke but He spoke to Zacchaeus. This was too good to be true. Jesus asked him to come down from the tree for He wanted to stay in his house.

“The Son of God wants to stay at this short, wicked, and greedy tax collector’s place,” he thought to himself, completely surprised!

Yes! It was true. Immediately, he reached out his hands towards Jesus and hugged Him, oblivious of people who cursed him and gossiped about him. They were also annoyed with Jesus for making friends with this sinner.

With tears in his eyes, he told Jesus that he would be a better person. He promised the Son of God that half of his possessions will be given to the poor. Furthermore, he would give back four times as much as those whom he had cheated.

Jesus forgave him because he genuinely repented of his sins. The greatest thrill of  Zacchaeus ‘ life was when his sins were forgiven and the second greatest must have been to have had Jesus staying in his house. “WOW!” – PSBIBLE News

REFLECTION

This story is found in Luke 19:1-10. Jesus said “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). Are you lost in your sins of greediness, or grumbling or gossiping? Call on Jesus and He will come into your heart and forgive all your sins. Your heart is like Zacchaeus’ house which Jesus can come in and be a friend to you even though you are a sinner. Hallelujah!



Monday, August 3, 2015

UNFORGIVEN


Middle East:  Today, a king sentenced a man to prison to be tortured for owing him millions of dollars. At first glance perhaps, many would think that the king was harsh in his judgement. Actually the king was a gracious king.

Initially he wanted the servant to pay everything he owed. If he couldn’t pay, he had to sell off his wife and children and everything that he owed. This punishment was in accordance with the law in the country. After the servant pleaded earnestly with the king to spare him, the king forgave him and cancelled his debt.

Relief and joy were apparent all over his face as he hugged his wife and children tightly. He bowed low and thanked the king for his mercy. The next day, he went about his usual work in the palace. Then he saw a fellow servant who owed him a few dollars. Quickly, he took hold of his garments and demanded he pay every cent. The man was very afraid of him because he had no money to pay him back. According to the law, he could be jailed for that. Unless he could plead him to cancel the debt, he would have to go to jail since the first servant, who himself had been forgiven the other day, refused to forgive his fellow servant and cancel his debt.

Instead he forcefully put him to jail and kept him there until he paid his debt in full. This was only a few dollars. He had forgotten that the king, his master cancelled his debt for few million dollars.

When all of this was happening, some fellow servants of the king saw everything this ungrateful servant did. They quickly ran to the king and told him everything he had done.

The king was furious. He sent his guards to bring the wicked servant knelt before the king and pleaded once again for his forgiveness.

“You wicked servant. I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” the king growled angrily. This is how the king turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he could pay back all he owed. – PSBIBLE News

REFLECTION


This story was told by Jesus in Matthew chapter 18 verses 23 to 34. God wants to teach us that we need to forgive others. Why? Simple. God gave His only Son to save us from going to hell. Jesus died on our behalf. In other words, he cancelled our debt which we could never pay at all like the few million dollars the servant owed the king. What is a few million dollars compared to a few dollars people owed you? Therefore, forgive them because God forgave you. Jesus sums up this lesson on forgiveness when He said in verse 35, “This is how my Heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”