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May 2011

 
 

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May 2011

May 1

Choosing a life partner is one of the greatest privileges from God, however it also one of the greatest responsibilities for us the humans. The success of a happy marriage depends on the quality of the choice you make and the commitment to whom you have chosen. Genesis 24 tells us Eliezer’s criteria on choosing a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son- his master.

I. The principle of compatibility

The risk of conflicts in a marriage is equal to the intensity of characters mismatch. Abraham insisted on the ethnical, moral and spiritual compatibility, saying you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but will go to my country and my own relatives and get a wife for my son Isaac.

II. The principle of guidance

Although Eliezer was an experienced old man he prayed and asked the Lord for a sign on choosing the right wife for Isaac. “May it be that when I say to a young woman, ‘Please let down your jar that I may have a drink,’ and she says, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too’—let her be the one you have chosen for your servant Isaac. By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master.” It is absolutely important to remark the sign made by Eliezer. Her personality mattered the most. She had to be hardworking, polite, and full of hospitality and assertiveness. The sign made was about the girl herself, her character, not the circumstances. Unfortunately, nowadays many people are waiting for bizarre signs from God. And they blame the Lord for their unhappiness. They say: “If it will rain then it is God’s will.” This kind of sign has nothing to do with the character of the chosen person.

III. The principle of aesthetics

One of Rebekah’s features, as well as the features of other women from the Bible was her beauty. And beauty doesn’t mean anything but attraction. The Bible talks about Sarah, Rachel, Abigail, Tamar, Abishag, Vashti and Esther, as being all beautiful women. In the same time it is fair to point out that beauty is a subjective physical quality. There’s even a saying confirming that a beautiful person is not beautiful enough unless they meet your preferences. This saying explains why each and every wife is always beautiful in her husband’s eyes.

IV. The principle of chasteness

Pureness of a girl’s body emphasizes her integrity and moral values. The Bible tells us all great women of the Bible were virgins before they became wives to their husbands. Currently the lack of integrity and righteousness in our society not only disregards this large principle but completely ignores it. Thus a new, immoral concept is present and the chasteness principle which represents faithfulness and honor has become totally unimportant.

V. The principle of opportunity

Making investments at the right time is not a strategic, business principle only. It applies to marriage as well. The Bible tells us that right after Eliezer had prayed, God sent Rebekah to the spring to draw the water. Rushing or slowing down things reflects absence of God’s guidance.

VI. The principle of common consent

The decision of marriage will bring joy and safety only under the consent and approval of your inner soul, your parents and God. Rebecca’s parents approved and blessed their daughter’s marriage.

VII. The principle of choice

You will be able to choose your partner only when you get to know him/her closer. But your choice will be proven as a right one only if the other party consents as well. Making different kind of choices is just the beginning of a relationship.

The beauty and uniqueness of marriage depends on the freedom given to you on picking your partner. The first man, Adam, accepted God’s choice for him and happily received Eva as his wife. The key to a successful marriage resumes to all the principles you use when looking for a partner.

May 8th

In God’s plan as well as in life, family has a very important role - reason for which God organized life on earth in the midst of family. Marriage is the foundation by which family is created and the motivation for marriage is love. The benefits of family life are equal to the investments and responsibilities of every husband, wife, parent, and child. The husband/father is responsible to lead and earn a living for the family, whilst the wife/mother is responsible to instruct and administer the family’s way of life.

The children are responsible to obey their parents and to prepare for their adult life. In family life, the difference between family members does not create superiority or inferiority, but rather are simply just that…differences. This system of evaluation solidifies the family unity because every single family member strives to validate the other members of the family. To be happy means to be loved, appreciated, and understood, all things that occur in the midst of family. The husband is appreciated for his love and effort, the wife for her submission and sacrifices, and the children for listening and being respectful.

The roles of being a man, husband, father, or grandfather and the roles of woman, wife, mother, or grandmother are all unique. Sensitivity, sacrifice, passion, a caring and tireless attitude make Mom a unique person in human history. The love of a mother is told and lived through a song, a picture, or a sculpture. It is the love we call MOM. In dedicating the following thought to mothers, we do not want to forget about fathers, we just want to celebrate mothers this Mother’s Day. The image of a woman has a long history:

1. In Biblical times, a woman’s inferiority was promoted through polygamy.

2. In ancient times, woman’s image evolved where she can lead the world – Cleopatra.

3. In the Middle Ages the woman was the lure, the main culprit for the fall of humans into sin – Eva.

4. In the 18th & 19th centuries, the woman’s position was a home maker – wife & mother.

5. In the 20th century appears the image of revolutionary woman, symbol of freedom – feminism. The woman leaves the house, builds a career, and become a scientist.

The image of a woman in the Bible reflects the Creator’s will and it does not change from one period to another. She is present, equally to man, a being that must disciple her heart and life:

1. She is accountable to God, and not to people – Mary, our Lord’s mother, the call to be "Mother of God" public opprobrium likely to expose her, but she regards this mission from God's perspective.

2. She must repent of her sin. The Samaritan woman responded with repentance from her encounter with the Lord and many were converted by her.

3. She must report/submit to her husband, not her personal ambitions – Abigail, a wise woman can be happy even with a crazy husband.

4. She must consider the spiritual well being of her family members – The mother of Zebedee’s sons.

5. She must influence/incline her husband toward good things – Claudia, Pilot’s wife.

6. She must be a blessing for her people – Estera, who was not ashamed of her people’s way of life, language, religion or culture.

The most important mission of a woman is that of wife, mother, and her faithfulness towards God.

1. The Shunammite woman who thinks of God's house. She took the initiative and commitment to build a room in her house to accommodate the man of God. The man had no value in himself, but to her, he represented God.

2. Abigail is the woman who thinks of her household. She had the wisdom and power to protect her family.

3. Lidia, is the woman who thought about her soul. She took the risk of converting to Christianity in an area and time when this act was punishable by death.

Great women are great believers, great wives, great mothers, and wonderful grandmothers. Career and academic achievements, position of power and fame are not foremost in the heart of a woman, but the foremost task is that of a wife, mother, and to be one of God's faithful. Let’s esteem them with respect and thank the Lord for them. May God keep and bless them.

May 22, 2011

The difference between success and failure in the midst of a group of people is leadership, because leadership means influence. Former US President Harry Truman said, “I learned that a great leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don't want to do and like it”. Missionary D.E Hoste successor, J.H. Taylor, said, "The best test to determine if one is a good leader is to see whether he has any followers." The intensity of influence in leadership is determined by the extent to which the leader sacrifices himself, not to the extent in which he constrains others. Spiritual leadership is unique because it follows a heavenly model. This heavenly model presumes a divine calling, not human ambition. God's kingdom (salvation by faith through repentance) must be sought but not so with leadership. An invitation to leadership is a divine, "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers," (Ephesians 4:11 NIV). One of the first goals of a leader is the make sure he is compatible with the people he is leading - compatibility in values, scope, objectives and vision. Therefore one cannot be leader of a group of people unless that person was elected and publicly recognized as having the right and responsibility to fulfill certain ministries for the benefit of the group (local church). In short, one cannot be a leader of a group unless he is chosen by that group to be their leader.

The most serious issue with regards to leadership is the question of authority, this being the difference between secular leadship and spiritual leadership. Christ in the new testement, imposed a model of service in which the significance of the leader is measured in their humility and their greatness is measured by their ministry or ability to serve; "You know that the rules of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever want to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransome for many." (Matthew 20:25-18 NIV). For the secular person, this is the definition of failure and a great paradox. In Isaiah 42:1-4 (NIV), Christ is presented as a servant, having the following characteristics:

Dependence: “Here is my servant" (verse 1a).

Approval: "my chosen one in whom I delight" (verse 1b).

Authority: "I will put my Spirit on him" (verse 1c).

Ministry: "He will bring justice to the nations" (verse 1d).

Decency: "He will not shout or cry out, or raise His voice in the streets" (verse 2).

Mercy: "A bruised reed He will not break..." (verse 3).

Initially the Lord's disciples were far from this heavenly model; for example the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Jesus and asked Him that each of her two sons may sit, one at Jesus's right and the other on His left in His kingdom. This is the difference of worldly leadership. A leader must shine in certain aspects of their personal life:

1. Spirituality - Their relationship with God, manifested through prayer, fasting and reading of the Bible.

2. Morality - Their personal and public relationships with people. Morality is an extention of spirituality in that whoever loves God, whom he cannot see, should certainly love those he can see (1 John 4:20 NIV).

3. Ability - One's capacity to know what to say and do things specifically for the group better than anyone else. A group of people will not respect a leader who's abilities are below average.

4. Availability - The ability to be on call to do God's work as often as possible.

All these qualities creates faith in the hearts of the people to follow an individual who know what they are doing. No one follows a leader whom they do not respect. Christ had followers because the people were impressed and overcome by Him, what He spoke, what He did, and with His life.

MAY 29, 2011

One of the adults' biggest challenges is raising and the education of children and young people. The church is one of the places they are heading, imitating the adults ' model. The reasons why young people go to church are the following:

1.They seek answers to troubling questions.

2.Seek help with problems they face.

3.Seek patterns to receive direction and motivation.

4.Seek love to confirm their value.

The youth is the time search of identity, so it is characterized by instability, uncertainty, frustrations and challenges. Elk makes them excited, but the lack of experience makes them vulnerable. Curiosity specific early adulthood predisposes them to operate through life challenges, and transforming many of them as victims of sinful obsessions. Joseph went through complex experiences and can be taken as an example of our children's generation, kneaded by the challenges of everyday life.

I. The challenge of adversity

Divine revelations from God, the position of the favorite child of his father, assuming adult responsibilities have attracted the envy of his brothers, leading them to the bloody twelve brothers’ adversarial relationship. This state of affairs motivated Joseph's brothers to revenge, to sell him to the Ishmaelites merchants. In this way, spoiled child of Jacob became a slave in Egypt. There are young people who for various reasons come into effect with their family members and the consequences are devastating.

II. The challenge of opportunity

Joseph is sold into slavery to a wealthy Egyptian, to which over time will earn the goodwill of the exceptional character and abilities. So this is how the slave becomes the trusted manager of the Egyptian Potiphar. Potiphar's wife ogle Joseph and proposes him to become lovers. Endless opportunities sitting in front of Joseph, but in deference to Potiphar and in faithfulness to God he refused sinful relationship with his master's wife. There are young people which are arriving in the face of apparent opportunities and lack of respect and loyalty to God, choose to sin.

III. The challenge of inferiority

Motivated by hatred, Potiphar's wife accuses Joseph of intent to rape, which makes him go to jail, although he was absolutely innocent. His faithfulness to God, his respect for Potiphar is rewarded with imprisonment. He is despised, wronged and inferior. Is it worth to be honest in life, if instead of appreciation you are wronged and have to pay the price of inferiority and shame? Joseph paid the price, confident in God, which he expected to do justice. Many young people perceive the trials of life, whose role is maturing and perfection, as the failures that lead to inferiority complex, manifested through discouragement, despair and depression.

IV. The challenge of superiority

With God's help Joseph gets out of jail and becomes the prime minister of the Egyptian Empire. An immigrant Jew, former servant of Potiphar, the man accused and jailed for attempted rape, gets to be the minister of the country. Many young people come in under certain circumstances to manage opportunities and, influenced by the drunkenness of power approaches a ridiculous attitude of superiority and disdain. Whether a person is checked by the receiving authority, but is confirmed by the manifestation of responsibility. Adversity is a test of patience which needs to be passed with patience, the opportunity is a privilege and needs to be balanced, the inferiority is an examination which must be passed with hope, superiority is a chance that should be used with humbleness.

The children and young adults of our church families need to be helped and encouraged to overcome life's challenges, learning to become the adults that our Master needs.