Month: December 2014

PUT MY TEARS IN YOUR BOTTLE

by: Pastor Al Austria

Psalm 56:8 You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle.  Are they not in your book?

Ps56.8

As another year ends, most people recall all the things (most particularly the good ones) that happened to them in relation to family, work and friends.  Some would say that this time of the year is the proper time to count all blessings.  Some even count not just the good ones but even the failures that made them strive to improve.  Some count the happy days, while some number tough and challenging ones.  The reason for doing these finds its common ground in how these facts help us be motivated for the coming year.

Psalm 56:8 is David’s exhortation for those who needed motivation.  But the difference is, it is not he who’s numbering but God.  Here David proclaims the care and concern of God upon him in counting his tossings and tears.  Tossings are wanderings, grievances or sorrows as what other translation of the Bible says.  Putting tears in the bottle is one custom of the Hebrews wherein mourners put their tears in the bottle as a memorial of sympathy to a relative or a friend who died.

Verse 8 is David’s testimony about God’s care and sympathy for us, that He did not only see and know our afflictions and pain, He numbers it and even stores the amount of tears we have shed to His bottle, a picture expressing that no amount of suffering for His glory’s sake, for righteousness’ sake will ever amount for nothing.  He counts all of it.  And God also takes into account all the cries for help we laid down at His feet in prayer, by writing it down in His book, again a wonderful picture of the attention God gives towards His children.

So whenever we are in pain or in sorrow, let us not forget that Christ our Lord sympathizes with us, in fact promised us, that He will be with us unto the end of the age (Matthew 28:20) to sustain us until the time He comes in power and glory to put an end to all sorrows. On that time, He will put an end to the putting of our tears into His bottle, because He will permanently wipe away every tears from our eyes.  On that day, there will be no more death, nor mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for the former things have passed away (Revelations 21:4).  On that there will be only progressing joy with our Savior.  Let us all therefore be motivated by these truth in the years that will come until Jesus comes.  Amen.

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INDEED, GOD IS THE CHARGER

by – Sis. Kat Cordano

Psalm 73:26 my flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Charger

Gadgets like iPhone, iPods, and Mac computers are the latest trend of this generation. There is only one thing that keeps these things functioning, and that is their charger/electricity. All of us are just like our gadgets, after you charge and used it the whole day, the battery eventually gets drained. You need to recharge it in order for you to enjoy using it again.

Our body easily get weary and most of the time it requires us to rest. We want to do a lot of things and activities but it seems that our body prevents us from doing so. Especially when we are tired, everything turns out to become tedious. Time will pass and we can’t stop our body from aging, develop some wrinkles and even get weak.

Indeed, God is the charger, without him in our life we are like drained batteries that cannot function well. Through HIS grace we are sustained every day. We enjoy the activities that we have, we give what pleasures our body desires and we follow what our heart says.

But, what does this verse tells us?

The psalmist here teaches us to deny ourselves, to have God our whole sufficiency and only contentment. On the other hand, let us fully trust the Lord, despite what is happening around us. Let’s find our strength and provision from the Lord, and the hope of everlasting life, holding true to Jesus and not letting our faith waiver. This body that we have will get old, this heart that we have will deceive us, but if God is the center of everything in our lives, we will be kept forever. It says here that if we only rely on our strength and ourselves we will always get disappointed. But if we trust God and live the life that Jesus taught us, we will have the promised of living an eternal life with our Savior. If we allow God to manifest in our lives, he will sustain us through and will never fail us. He is our immovable foundation that whatever storm may come in our lives, we have this assurance that we have our protector and mighty God to lean on.

SEEING GOD AS PRECIOUS

by – Ptr. Al Austria

Psalm 36:2-3, 7 2For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. 7How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

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Some Christians, tend to ask themselves, “Am I really saved?”  “Am I really in the faith?”  Some believers ask this, particularly, in times of dryness in their passion in serving God, or in times of failures (when committing a sin).  This question arises, “What makes me different from the wicked, the unsaved?”  Psalm 36:2-3 and 7, clearly speaks about the huge difference between righteous redeemed ones against the wicked unbelieving ones.  These verses emphasize the differences in their attitude and behavior, towards sin, and towards God.

The attitude of the wicked is this, they flatter themselves in their own eyes, flatters – in other sense of these word can be translated as  “decree” or “measure” themselves in their own eyes, which means they don’t only conceal their sins but measure and decree themselves of not being sinful, so that their iniquity cannot be found.  They have no (godly) sorrow for sin.  The wicked’s attitude is evidently rooted in loving sin (not hating sin, not rejecting evil) (v4), and there is no fear of God before their eyes (v1).  They cease in acting wisely and cease in doing good.  Their behavior results in trouble and deceit (v2).

On the other hand, the attitude of the righteous believers, (from the phrase “children of mankind” which could also mean, “the children of weak, frail, sinful man”) see themselves as weak and sinful.  They behold God as faithful (steadfast), loving and very precious.  They behold God as a treasure.  Their behavior is focused on coming to God, trusting Him as a shelter and protection from harm.  They trust His salvation.

In summary, according to these verses, the wicked unbelieving people are the ones who never confess their sinfulness, never admit their need of God.  They behave foolishly by ceasing in doing good, but seek trouble and act in deceit.  The righteous believers on the other hand, are those who admit, confess, and repent of their sins to God.  They see their need of God and His forgiveness.  They see God as so precious, they gaze at Him as a treasure.  They see God as loving, faithful, protector, shelter and a savior.

Let us therefore mirror ourselves towards these truths.  The Holy Spirit will definitely reveal our hearts if we truly believe and trust Jesus for salvation, for the Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are (indeed) children of God (Romans 8:16), forgiven repentant sinners who received adoption to be children of God through Christ.

SELFLESSNESS VS. SELFISHNESS

by – Sis. Grace Lacson

Philippians 1:3
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

Tug of war

Just by looking around, reading and listening to the news, I can evidently observe that SELFISHNESS becomes a motivating factor in achieving one’s goal or ambition. I’ve heard this from a friend who describes life as, “survival of the fittest” in a “dog-eat-dog” world and I think these phrases are also familiar to you. Every one of us has dreams and ambition in life and that’s one of the main reasons why we are here in Dubai. We want to pursue and make that ambition possible.

But there are few questions that might reveal how and by what means do we pursue and achieve this ambition. How do we view life? Is life a competition wherein we have to challenge and take advantage of others? Do we see ourselves better than others? Do we have to take “shortcuts” or do we follow the straight path just to fulfill our ambitions?

Paul wrote this letter to the Philippians to encourage humility in them with a view towards unity. This text is a very straight forward instruction.

Why do we have to DO NOTHING FROM SELFISH AMBITION?

Because selfish ambition leads us to neglect other people and we tend to pursue our own interest. We only see our own selves and consider our own far better than others. We tend to take the credit as if we are the ones who made those dreams happened. We become boastful and full of pride. Humility will never be an evident to a self-centered person.

But, Paul said, “…IN HUMILITY COUNT OTHERS MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN YOURSELVES”

Following through the verses of Philippians, it says there that the perfect example of humility is Jesus Christ:

“6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Dear brethren, my hope as we pursue our dreams and ambitions is that we will pursue them with Christ-like humbleness and humility. Likewise, we should not only look to our own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Isn’t it nice and joyful when your success is also other people’s success? Most importantly in whatever we do we should always remember to glorify God.