Friday, April 27, 2012

Threefold Cord Relationship

A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (Ecclesiastes 4:12b NAS)

Threefold Cord Rope making has been around for a long time, and there are many different ways of making it. Depending on how a rope is made will determine the different characteristics that can be introduced to the finished rope.

One of the most common ropes used today is the laid or twisted rope. According to various sources of information from the web, a laid rope has a preferred direction for coiling. A right-laid rope is coiled clockwise to prevent kinking. This type of rope needs to be bound at its ends to prevent untwisting.

Laid rope of three strands is usually preferred because of its proven strength to carry a load or lash a structure. Such a rope is made by twisting three strands of fiber in one direction and then laying the strands together by allowing the strands to twist together in the opposite direction. Fibers are first gathered and spun into yarns, and a number of these yarns are then formed into strands by twisting. Each of these strands are twisted tightly and joined to make the twist coil the rope. This counter-twisting is what holds the finished rope together to make it a stable and unified object.

A marriage relationship is like the making of a three strand rope. Depending on how much we are willing to let the Lord guide us as a couple and in our family life will determine how our marriage relationship turns out. Unless we have Christ to hold fast our relationship like a threefold cord with strands bound together, a marriage or family can quickly be torn apart (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Just as a laid rope has a preferred direction for coiling, even when two have become one flesh in marriage, each can still have differing opinions and preference, and these can lead to both going different directions.

I have been married for more than twenty years, and I have seen marriages that last till the end and those that did not last. I know and understand how hard it is for couples with differing opinions and preference to stay together, and I know what it means to tolerate one another. I thank God my wife and I are still growing in love after all these years because Christ is the center of our lives. Without Christ, I can never be sure how our marriage relationship would be today, for we differ much in thoughts and character. I know for sure, however, that without the Lord things would not have been the same.

A lasting marriage is one that has Christ as the center. Even in a strained relationship where a husband and wife go opposite directions in opinions or preference, with Christ as Lord, they can stay strong to carry any load together and move ahead in one direction. Like fibers that are spun into yarns to make the twist coil the rope, if we like branches hold fast to the Vine and abide in Christ, we can be assured our relationship will bear much fruit (John 15:5). Just as a finished rope of three strands cannot be held together without counter-twisting, and branches can do nothing without the Vine, so it is with a marriage relationship.

Let us hold fast therefore to the One who is able to keep us and our family together (Joshua 23:8; Jude 24). For in Christ alone can we build a family that is stable and unified, with relationships that last and are not quickly torn apart. With one heart, let us as a family agree with one another even if we differ in opinions or preference to affirm as Joshua did, “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

Dear Lord, thank You for holding fast our marriage relationship. We know Lord that as a family our relationship hinges on putting You first in our lives. You O Lord are the Vine and we are the branches. Without You, we can do nothing. Guide us therefore Lord in our building of a relationship that lasts. Help us not go opposite directions over differing opinions or preference, but to willingly give in to or agree with the other in love. You are the center of our lives Lord and in You alone we are assured our relationship will bear much fruit till the end.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Holiday Celebration

Then the king gave a great banquet, Esther's banquet, for all his princes and his servants; he also made a holiday for the provinces and gave gifts according to the king's bounty. (Esther 2:18 NAS)

Happy HolidaysAccording to a news article in The Telegraph, a national holiday was declared by Kenya when Barack Obama won America’s presidential election in 2008. The declaration was greeted with scenes of wild celebration in the home village of Nyangoma Kogelo in western Kenya. Kgalema Motlanthe, the South African president, told Mr Obama then that his election "carries with it hope for millions of … countrymen and women as much as it is for millions of people particularly of African descent both in the continent of Africa as well as those in the Diaspora."

"We have a new spring in our walk and our shoulders are straighter," said Desmond Tutu, the Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town. He added saying, it told "people of color that for them, the sky is the limit."

Like the national holiday declared by Kenya to celebrate President Obama’s electoral victory, the Bible mentioned a holiday that was declared by King Ahasuerus in celebration of Esther's royal crowning as queen (Esther 2:17-18). The occasion was greeted with grandeur like a dream come true, a blessing bestowed that seemingly guaranteed a safe haven for the people of Israel, since Queen Esther was also a Jew. Sadly, however, that was not to be the case, for Haman—one of the king’s men—had other plans for the sons of Israel.

The days of holidaying ceased as Haman’s plans unfolded, and although Queen Esther found favor in the eyes of the king, it was not for the purpose of Israel’s acceptance that God had in mind. Esther’s appointment as queen was for a reason—to save the people of Israel (Esther 4:14). We know the rest of the story, how the Jews in exile were delivered from destruction and Mordecai from the gallows.

When the king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves, wherever the king's decree arrived, the Jews rejoiced with great celebration and declared a public festival and holiday (Esther 8:11, 17). After the Jews rid themselves of their enemies, their sorrow was turned into gladness, from mourning into a holiday with feasting and rejoicing, the sharing of food among one another, and the giving of gifts to the poor (Esther 9:22).

What about us? How do we celebrate our victories and success when God turned our mourning into joy? Do we celebrate the occasion with worship and thanksgiving to God in declaring it a holy day of rejoicing to share food with one another and give gifts to the poor? While it is understandable for us to readily spend excessively on our own holidaying, we should not forget the needy in our midst. Let us therefore not hesitate to bring food and material goods to the poor, for they need all these more than us. In the same way, let us also share with them spiritual food to satisfy their hungry souls in bringing to them the joy of salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Rather than wait till Christmas or special occasions, let us always be ready to give good gifts and carry with us hope to the millions in grandeur display of God’s generosity and bountiful mercies. For with God the sky is not the limit; with Him all things are possible (Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27). Rejoice and be glad, for each new day is a day the LORD has made (Psalm 118:24). Like a new spring in our walk that comes with each new day, let us with shoulders straightened and upright, march forth without shame to share the gospel of Christ to bring joy and salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

Thank You dear Lord for making the impossible possible, and for turning our sorrow into joy, our mourning into a holiday of celebration. We rejoice O Lord for each new day is a day made by You, and You have saved us from death and given us eternal life. Renew the joy of our salvation Lord that we may celebrate each day and especially the Lord's Day each week to keep it holy. Grant us a willing heart Lord to share what we have with those in need, to bring to them food and Your salvation that they may like us experience Your bountiful blessings poured down without limit.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Game of Attitudes

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, (Philippians 2:5 NAS)

Philippians 2:5There is a game I like to play with my family, even though I seldom win. I call it the ‘Game of Attitudes.‘ In this game, every member of the family is not to speak a negative word or make any complain for a day. At the end of the day, all of us would then evaluate ourselves to find out how we have faired and the number of times we have failed. A penalty may be imposed on the one who has made the highest number of mistakes, such as to do an assigned housework or to contribute to the family's household fund.

Staying free of complain and negative speech are attitudes few of us can maintain at all times. The Bible said our attitudes should be like that of Christ Jesus our Lord (Philippians 2:5). Having been made perfect in Christ, we ought to keep this attitude; and if in anything we have a different attitude, God will reveal that to us (Philippians 3:15). In relation to our former manner of life, therefore, we should lay aside our old self which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and be renewed in the spirit of our minds (Ephesians 4:22-23).

If we profess ourselves to be walking in the light (1 John 1:7), then we ought not to have any dirty rotten attitudes going on now (DRAGON), lest we stain the name of our Lord and deceive ourselves (1 John 1:8). As children of God, let us not profess or love only in words or tongue but with actions and positive attitudes, for these are evidences the world look for in a changed life to know we belong to Christ. God knows our hearts and our attitudes; He knows all things (1 John 3:18-20).

Are we prepared to play the ‘Game of Attitudes’ today? If we are, then let us not speak a negative word or make any complain. Regardless the outcome of our evaluation, let us play the game over again each day, and see for ourselves the changes God can do in transforming our attitudes and character to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Thank You dear Lord for changing our hearts when we give ourselves completely to You. We know Lord we can never achieve absolution in keeping good attitudes all the time while we are here on earth, but we certainly want to try. Holy Spirit, renew our minds that we may reveal Christ in our lives, and not tamper with dirty rotten attitudes that put God’s name to shame. Forgive us O Lord for the times we fail to keep our attitudes right. Transform us to be more and more like You each day Lord, that You may increase and we decrease.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Blessed Easter 2012

Christ is Risen1
For to this end Christ died and lived
again, that He might be Lord both
of the dead and of the living.

~ Romans 14:9 (NAS) ~

Blessed Easter

Friday, April 6, 2012

Blessed Good Friday 2012

Good Friday

But God demonstrates His own love
toward us, in that while
we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.

~ Romans 5:8 (NAS) ~

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Agree to Disagree

Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10 NAS)

Agree to DisagreeWe have heard the term ‘agree to disagree.’ In a sense it is about keeping our cool despite differing opinions. defines it as “the resolution of a conflict … whereby all parties tolerate but do not accept the opposing position.” An example of such a conflict resolution found in the Bible is recorded in the Book of Acts. Paul and Barnabas had a disagreement over who they should bring along for the second missionary journey. Consequently, they parted company and continued in the ministry of the Lord separately (Acts 15:36-40).

Many churches are still in disagreement over various issues today. Some differ in opinions on theology or doctrinal interpretations, others disagree on practices and teachings. Nevertheless, if the fundamental truths are agreed upon that Christ died and resurrected to save us all, and that whoever believes in Him is granted eternal life, as one body of Christ we should not be divided. We should instead agree to disagree on differing opinions, and put aside our differences to work together to achieve the common goal Christ had given us (1 Corinthians 1:10). We may not agree on everything, but we can with one mind conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ to stand firm in one spirit and strive together for the faith (Philippians 1:27).

Are we frequently in conflict with others over some opinions? If we are, let us learn to resolve our conflicts and tolerate one another. If the conflicts cannot be resolved without separation, then let us agree to part peacefully without hindering the life of the other. Let us move on courageously and continue to do what the Lord has in His plan for us without bitterness or displeasure.

When among believers, therefore, as brothers and sisters in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should all agree with one another not to have divisions among us. Instead, we should be completely united in the same mind and judgment (1 Corinthians 1:10). For where two or three have gathered together in the Lord’s name, He is with us in our midst (Matthew 18:20). Let us as one body in Christ stick together so we may have no division, but have the same care for one another as members of the same body (1 Corinthians 12:25).

Thank You dear Lord for granting us the wisdom to understand the fundamentals of Your word. We know Lord we can never fully comprehend all the mysteries written in Your word until the day we see You face to face. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are Your ways higher than our ways, and Your thoughts than our thoughts. Help us therefore Lord to learn to agree to disagree when it comes to conflict resolution, that we may not split hairs over differences in interpretation, teaching, understanding or the like. Comfort us and heal our hearts O Lord should separation be inevitable, that we may continue to stand firm and courageously move forward to do Your will.