----- "Let your light shine before men" (Matthew 5:16) -----

 
   
 
Internet Edition No. 67 --- January 2009 ---
Cover Page of print edition
Table of contents
Title Author
   Editorial
      Pratheekshakal
Pastor P. Joy
   "For when I am weak, then I am strong" Joseph Kurian, Houston, USA
   Authority and humility Rev. Dr. Baby Varghese
   "Christian living" in this generation - Part II Annie mathew, Coimbatore
   Meditation:
       Share life - not just the "Word"
Saju Mathew
   News & Views Johnson K. Samuel
   Personalities encountered by Jesus - 11:
      Mary - sister of Martha
Selected
   "Children's corner" "Shiny Aunty"
   The terror attacks in Mumbai James Jacob
   Malayalam section:
      Puthu varshathiley theerumaanangal
George M. Eapen
   Malayalam section:
      Yesukristhuvintey jananathaal uyarcha
      labhicha Bethelehem
Pastor Veeyapuram Georgekutty, Dallas
   Malayalam section:
      Nammudey koodivaravukal
V.C. Mathai, Jabalpur
   Malayalam section:
      Elisabethintey pravachanam
Pastor Babu Cherian, Piravom, Kerala
   Malayalam section:
      Abhimukham: Pastor K. Joy, President, IPC Delhi
Suvartha representatives
   Malayalam section:
      Alpa kaalam
Binoy Punnoose, Mumbai
   Malayalam section:
      Swathanthra yuvajana pravarthanangal
Varghese Kollakompil
   Poem:
      Lord, I love you
Ritu Singh, Mumbai
   Picture story:
      Queen Esther
P.K. Banage



Editorial
Pratheekshakal

Pastor P. Joy


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"For when I am weak, then I am strong"
Joseph Kurian, Houston, USA

The writer draws upon the example of Apostle Paul and stresses the point that our weakness is a blessing when we lean on God's strength.

Our weakness is a blessing when we lean on God's strength. A person can be weak physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, mentally, and intellectually. Everyone can feel weak feeble, frail, fragile and infirm in life. When we are weak we are not able to sustain or withstand problems, we feel helpless to overcome challenges and often fail in our efforts to improve or to get better. It will lead to unhappiness, sickness, stress, failure, tragedies and even immoralities.

No matter what our weaknesses are, we can trust God and ask Him sincerely to help us then He will surely answer the plea for help. The answer may not be the way we wanted it, but His answer will be the right way to overcome our weakness. Apostle Paul begged God; three times to reverse his thorn in the flesh. God said to Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you for my strength in made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:7-9).

Author T. Oswald Sanders summarized Paul's attitude about his thorn like this: "At first Paul viewed it as a limiting handicap, but later understood it was a heavenly advantage. When Paul told the Christians in Rome "that tribulation produces perseverance" (Rom. 5:3), he was speaking from personal experience". He had suffered beating, stoning, shipwreck, persecution, starvation and so many difficulties in his quest to preach the gospel. Yet he remained steadfast in his faith and did not shrink, complain or cry. He faced severe hardships and oppositions, however he was determined to finish his race with joy (Acts 20:24). The Bible doesn't promise believers a life free from pain, difficulty, or loss. Christians are not exempt from struggles, hardships, heartaches, weakness or disappointments. But Bible promises those who believe in Christ that they have a companion, a friend in the journey to help, encourage and strengthen them in whatever obstacles they may face. Jesus said, "I will never leave thee or forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). We must have the confidence that, no matter what made us weak - sickness, criticisms, poor financial situation, family matters, bad friends or what ever the reasons - God is with us and, His grace is sufficient for us.

Look ahead with hope, courage and faith. Don't look back moping over the past weaknesses, mistakes and failures. There is no use "crying over spilled milk".

Nothing can be gained by grieving over the past. Paul says, "Forgetting those things which are behind, I press toward the goal" (Heb. 3:13-14). Instead of living in the shadows of yesterday, we should walk in the light of today and the hope of tomorrow.

When tragedy strikes, when the pain of sickness overwhelms us, when we are challenged by storms, many of us question, how can I survive? When will things get normal again? How can I handle these sudden and unexpected problems? Remember we can use the painful situation to strengthen our faith for the journey ahead. "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble" (Psa. 46:1). Al Siebert writes in his book 'The Survivor Personality', "People seldom tap into their deepest strength and abilities until forced to do so by a major adversity". Virgina Wolf, another writer says, "Life is arduous, difficult and a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength".

Jesus' final words to His disciples on their last night together, "I have told you these things, so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Jesus encouraged them to have the courage to remain faithful. After He had taught them, He led the way through the gauntlet of agony, grief, and suffering ahead of them and us. He paved the way for us to overcome in a dangerous world filled with tragedy and trouble that make us weak, weary, and worried.

Our ultimate refuge and hope is our savior in all our pains, sufferings, tragedies, sickness etc. King David, a man familiar with many issues throughout his life, said, "Find rest, Oh my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken" (Psa. 62: 5-6). Jesus comforted the disciples. "Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me (John 14: 1). No matters what we go through in this life, His words of comfort, His everlasting presence and His promise of an eternal home with Him in heaven can become our unshakable fortress of hope and peace in time of problems that may make us weak.

Throughout the word of God and history, we can find many who have gained strength in their weak situations by terrible diseases, horrible accidents, incredible disasters, and great disappointments. Apostle Paul says, "Therefore, I take pleasure, in infirmities, in reproaches, in need, in persecutions, in distress, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12: 9-10). What did Paul do in the middle of all his sufferings that made him weak and weary? He trusted God and found it true that he was the strongest spiritually when he was the weakest physically.

Let us commit ourselves to trust and love God. If we do, we will find His grace adequate enough to give us victory, hope and strength over the worst that life can throw our way. Let us fix our eyes on God like Job, Paul, David and our forefathers in all situations that may weaken our faith, hope, love and expectations, so that we will find the strength and courage to claim like the Apostle Paul, "When I am weak, then I an strong". May God bless us to be strong and courageous in the midst of all unexpected challenges.

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From the pulpit:
Authority and humility

Rev. Dr. Baby Varghese, Dallas, USA

"Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God and went to God; he riseth from supper and laid aside his garments; and took a towel and girded himself. After that, he poureth water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded"

There was no home for Jesus but a manger to have birth. They were from a very poor family. Therefore, according to the law, they sacrificed a turtledove instead of a lamb. To sleep, there was no home for Him. To pay tax, he had to catch fish from the sea. From nothing, he grew. Only hills were there for him to sleep on at that time. The heavenly Father gave everything to His only begotten Son. Nothing was impossible for Him in this world. The time for Jesus to reach heaven was getting closer. The moments were drawing near for Him to ascend His heavenly throne.

At that time, He humbled Himself and served His disciples. Let us think...if we were in that position, what would have been our mentality? Let us imagine...if Jesus had a mere human mind, what could have happened?

He who had all the authority would have gone to Herod's palace boldly with His disciples. Herod's servants try to stop Him, but Jesus just lifts His hands and all miraculously fall down. Then Jesus occupies the throne. What does He do first? He kills all the people in the palace who were responsible for the death of John the Baptist. On that day itself, He calls Ananias, the chief priest, and sentences him for planning to kill Him. He anoints Peter as the chief priest in his place. He dissolves Sanhedrin. He appoints a new army of soldiers selected from the lower class people. He punishes all the Pharisees who kept traps for Him during His ministry. Then, He throws out the Roman emperor from his throne.

No...nothing like this happened. Instead, He humbled himself to wash the feet of His disciples and destroyed all the modalities of leadership. He proved His word through work. He showed that leadership is the other side of service. What should be the mentality of a disciple of Christ when he receives authority and position? He should be humble.

Humbleness is the character of a true Christian leader. His life is just a question mark for those who are too proud.

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"Christian living" in this generation - Part II
Annie Mathew, Coimbatore
Part II of an extensive essay written by Annie Mathew, a student of Karunya University, Coimbatore, on the awesome responsibility of young Christian men and women of this generation to present a Christ-like image to the outside world and live a victorious Christian life. Part I appeared in the previous issue.

Suggestions for growing more in God / impact the new generation: The children of God should follow certain things faithfully everyday to grow in God.

1. Understand the purpose for which we have been chosen: "Jesus went up on a mountain side and called to him those he wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed twelve - designating them apostles - that they might be with him" (Mark 3:13-14). Jesus' purpose of calling of disciples was that they might be with Him. Who are we? We are His disciples the purpose of our calling by Jesus is also to be with Him always. If we want to be with Jesus we do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Then we will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing and perfect will (Rom. 12:2). Let every Christian realize the purpose for which we have been chosen by God.

2. Read God's Word daily: A child of God needs to read, study and meditate God's Word (Bible) everyday. This is how we will learn about God's ways and plans and how to overcome our problems and troubles. His Words will bring strength to our spiritual nature. 2 Tim. 2:15 says "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (NIV - Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth). Again in 2 Tim. 3:10-17, it is written "You, however, know all about my teachings, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecution, sufferings - what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have know the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All scripture is God - breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God maybe thoroughly equipped for every good work" (NIV).

Nowadays, why are the Christian youth going away from God in pursuit of the worldly happiness? The reason is that the Living Word of God is not in their hearts. David took a determination to hide the Word of God in his heart so as to protect him from sinning against God (Psa. 119:11). The Word of God should be hidden in our heart and we should delight in His words. The Word of God has life in it, will speak to us and will help to keep us away from sin.

3. Pray to God daily: We must have fellowship and talk to God if we are under His guidance and lean on His nature. We are promised that all of our needs shall be met if we would ask in the name of Jesus. "And whatsoever you ask in my name, that I will do that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If you love me, keep my commandments" (John 14:13-15). "Seek first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt. 6:33). Prayer is the means through which man can communicate with God and praying for our needs is the base of all blessings. In the same way reading and meditating the Word of God is the channel through which God can talk to us. Through this process of prayer (talking to God) and Bible reading (hearing from God) we will be in constant touch with God and as a result, Satan cannot enter into our spiritual life and we will be under full control and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

4. Daily fellowship with believers: Ask the Lord to show us the people with whom we have to pray and have fellowship. He does not want us to be alone in our Christian walk of life. We need one another's prayers, encouragement and love to grow in God. "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" (Heb. 10: 24-25).

5. Keep our heart pure before God, daily: Ask God to cleanse us of all sin and impure thoughts and motives. Satan, our enemy, will try to put an end to our fellowship with God getting us back into sin or trying to get us angry against God. Guard ourselves by resisting the devil daily. "Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it spring the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23). "Submit to God, Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

6. Experience the presence of God in everyday life: A child of God should abide in God like Jesus abides in Father and Father in Jesus. In John 15:5, Jesus said: "1 am the vine, you are the branches. He, who abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruits; for without Me you can do nothing". Jesus very clearly indicates here that we can't do any thing without His presence in our life, means we need His immense presence in every walk of our Life. Paul wrote to Corinthians: "your body is the temple of Holy Spirit who is in you" (1 Cor. 6:19). It indicates the presence of God in our life. We attend Sunday worship, Cottage meetings, fasting prayers etc., but we should check whether the presence of God is with us or not. Moses, the greatest leader of Israel got the order from Heavenly Father to take Israel from Egypt to Canaan, the Promised Land. But Moses, who already experienced the power of God's presence, asked not to send him unless and until His presence, goes with them. We cannot lead a victorious Christian life unless and until God's presence is with us. We know that the disciples of Jesus were illiterate and most of them were fishermen but they could do great miracles because God's presence was always with them. When the presence of God is in one's life, there will be a transformation in his life. Each and every day we grow in the Lord. Our words will change, our deeds will change, and our thoughts will change. These days God wants to use us for His Kingdom. Further, God's Kingdom will come into our life when we experience the presence of God in our life. The yoke of enemies will also be broken when the presence of God comes into our life (Jer. 28:12). God has His purpose for our life. The impossible things will change into possible due to the presence of God in our life. So let us pray for the immense presence of God in our every day life.

7. Understand that God who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. First we should realize who we are. We should realize the purpose of God who saved us. The child of God who meditates on the word of God daily can realize this. We should have understanding about the greatest God who dwells in us. He is greater than the one who is in the world. When we accepted Jesus as our personal savior, our heart was cleansed and prepared as dwelling place for Him.

Some times we are afraid and we doubt because of human nature but don't forget that we have placed the greatest God in our heart. Satan always tries to humiliate us but remember that he is without head and can't do any harm to us because the Lion of Judah is dwelling in us.

8. Have firm faith in God. Another important fact, which helps us to stay firm and to lead a victorious Christian life, is our deep faith in God and His Words. The foundation for success is the depth of our faith. The Word of God says miracles are possible for those who believe in Him. The first century churches experienced miracles in their spiritual life, the same is possible in our ages but it requires firm belief.

9. Trust in the Blood of Jesus: Another important factor for a child of God to lead a victorious Christian life, is to trust in the Blood of Jesus. Nowadays the main duty of Satan is to criticize us before God. It is a matter of great concern that today some Christians have also started criticizing each other. In short, they are doing the job of Satan. But the children of God should knowingly or unknowingly never undertake the job of Satan, if so we will become his servants. The only way to succeed in this is to trust in the Blood of Jesus.

Rev. 12:10-11 says: "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers who accuses them before our God day and night has been hurled down. They overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony" (NIV).

10. Pray for double portion of Spirit (2 Kings 2:9): Elisha made a short prayer. "Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me". Before Elijah was taken into heaven by the Lord, Elijah and Elisha began their journey from Gilgal and Elijah asked Elisha: "As what may I do for you before I am taken away from you?" Elisha asked that the double portion of his spirit be upon him. Elisha was well aware that he cannot live for God in his present status and knew that he requires double the spirit of Elijah upon him. This should be our determination in our Christian life to follow Jesus till we receive what we need. Otherwise we cannot lead a true Christian life. Finally, they reached Jordan and reached the other shore. Again Elijah asked the same question to Elisha. Elisha's answer was same which he prayed earlier. Elisha knew that the Spirit in Elijah is of the Lord. He knew that soon his master will be separated from him and he will be alone in the journey and have to cross Jordan and he cannot go forward with the power which he has now. So he prayed for double portion of the Spirit which was in Elijah. The situation in which we live today is the worst condition that the world has faced because everywhere there is corruption, injustice, unrighteousness, sin, darkness, misunder-standings and a life without fear of God. We should pray for the double portion of Holy Spirit from Jesus. Then only, we will be able to lead a victorious Christian life. Elijah said to Elisha: "You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if not, it shall not be so". Suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven and he saw him no more" (2 Kings 2:10-12). Elisha took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart and took the mantle that had fall from Elijah and went back and stood by the bank of Jordan. He got a new cloth (from Elijah) and he tore his old clothes. If we want to receive double portion of power from God we have to tear off our old and traditional nature and we have to surrender our old man at the foot of Cross. Last time when he was crossing Jordan his master, Elijah, was with him to divide the water and now he is alone. Since he received double portion of Spirit, he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water and said, "where is the Lord of Elijah?" Jordan divided and he crossed over. When the other prophets saw this, they said that the Spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha. When Elisha got the double portion of Spirit he did the first miracle which was done in the end by Elijah during his ministry. When Elisha reached Jordan alone, he asked where the God of Elijah is. The same God is with us also in His throne to do miracles for us today. We should follow Him persistently till we receive double portion of Spirit from Him. Elisha followed his master Elijah till he received what he prayed for, likewise, if we follow Jesus we will get double power of Holy Spirit. Follow Him till we get and pray till we receive the power of Holy Spirit.

Challenges: The great challenge not only before me but for most of the Christian youth of India, is that, thousands of souls are perishing everyday. In India, more than 95% of people do not know who Jesus is and what is salvation through Jesus. All are idol worshippers following outdated and deadly traditions. I am really afraid what their end will be. We have a great responsibility for these perishing souls. There are great oppressors every where opposing to do evangelism openly, still great works are going on. Local people who have accepted Lord Jesus Christ as their personal savior are doing great works in the villages but they are facing many trials and tribulations, financial crisis etc. The question is who will support these innocent workers. My suggestion is that we have to pray for India every day, support financially or in any other manner the poor servants of God so that the word of God can be preached in each and every comer. I am sure our efforts for Christ will never be in vain.

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Meditation:
Confess Him before men

Saju Mathew
Reading passage: Luke 12:1-12

"I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God" (Luke 12:8-9)

Modern man admires Jesus, but seldom has he acknowledged Him. Some times people say..." I love Jesus. He knows my heart. I will keep my religion to myself. What's the need to tell it to everyone?" But friend, if your heart is filled with the love of Jesus, what keeps you from pouring it out before people? It is fear, right? You fear men.

Jesus is our bridegroom. No bride is hesitant to confess her groom before people. Rather, she would do it proudly. What is there to be ashamed of to tell others that you are the bride of Jesus and He is your saviour, master and eternal God? Remember, millions were martyred for confessing their faith. Do you consider their confession as foolish?

These days, even churchgoers fail to witness Jesus. Their faith is unknown to those who are always with them in school, office and workplace. They "worship" in church, but are afraid or ashamed to confess Jesus before people. You need to confess your faith "before men", not just inside the church. If you are ashamed, Jesus says, he has to "disown you before the angels of God!"

Whom do you fear? Jesus said: "do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after the killing the body, has power to throw you into hell" (Luke 12:4-5). Fear God! You know what awaits those who deny God and receive the mark of the beast? "...He will be tormented with burning sulphur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb" (Rev 14:10).

Let's be proud to witness Jesus before people. Do you know the reward for it? Jesus will acknowledge us before the angels... He will proudly say to them, "Look, my bride who loved me so much and confessed me before people without fear and shame!" What else do we need in heaven?

Prayer: Lord, Help me to be shameless and fearless to tell the world that I belong to you, Amen!

Further readings: I Peter 4:12-19; 2 Timothy 2: 8-11; Rev. 12:7-12

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News & Views
Johnson K. Samuel

"Balloon ministry" of South Korea: head ache for North Korea!

Christians of South Korea has embarked on "balloon ministry" - a novel way of spreading the gospel to North Korea, reports 'The GM News'. Bible and other Christian literature are banned in communist North Korea and people are taught to regard their dictator president, Kim Sung, as their god. Christians in South Korea fill up giant balloons with gas and hang bundles of tracts from them. They bring them to the border area and release them into the northern region. As balloons soar over the north, timers attached to the bundles of tracts release the bundles one by one in different areas. People on the ground pick them up and read. The tracts proclaim the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ in simple language that can be easily understood by the villagers.

North Korean administration is terribly upset by this new "invasion"! They can very well stop enemy planes, but they have no way of stopping the balloons. They try to shoot them down, but the tracts fall out into the hands of the villagers. The communists have, indeed, a new head ache! As Apostle said, the gospel cannot be chained.

Vatican forgives John Lennon: for whatever it is worth!

John Lennon of the pop music group, "Beatles", declared in 1966 that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ. The comment infuriated Christians at that time. Later, the group split and Lennon was murdered a few years after that in 1980. After all these years, Vatican has chosen to forgive Lennon for his remark! Vatican's newspaper says that it was "only a 'boast' by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success". It continues to praise the pop group: "The fact remains that 38 years after breaking up, the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time".

Does it mean that Beatles are more famous that Jesus Christ just because that type of music is still popular after 38 years? One wonders who has given Vatican the authority to forgive Lennon or any other dead person! It is all a big joke!

Bible exhibition in Bangalore

Various types of Bibles displayed at the Christian Book Fair held in November in Bangalore drew a good number of visitors. Exhibits included a Bible which glowed in the dark, a waterproof Bible which is not spoiled by getting wet, a hand written Bible written by more than 3000 people including central and state ministers, politicians, cinema stars, church leaders, etc., the original English Bible printed in 1611, a miniature Bible of the size of a passport photo having 1245 pages but weighing only 10 grams and a large Bible weighing 7 kilograms. There were Bibles costing from Rs. 10 to Rs. 26000 in different languages. In addition to these rare exhibits, over 100,000 Christian books of interest to children, youth, women, students, married couples, families and other categories were also displayed. The fair was jointly organized by OM Books India, STL and International Bile Society as reported by The GM News.

It is, indeed, marvellous when we consider the way the Holy Scriptures have been preserved through the ages, even before printing was invented. We are glad that printing was invented and we now have easy access to Bibles in our own languages. "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven" (Psa. 119:89).

A small church receives a giant present!

John F. Ferguson was a member of Rev. Jason L. McQueen's tiny church. John was a frugal farmer who lived in his old farm in a mobile home. He was not known to have spent much money on clothes or other comforts in life. When he died at 71 a few days ago, his $2.2 million estate was left for his church. The Pastor was amazed. It was a giant Christmas present for the church, indeed!

It is good to contemplate on the wasteful expenditure that we indulge in for our own comforts. We will be adding to our treasures in heaven if we use our wealth to further the cause of the gospel. Jesus said: "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15). "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt. 6:20).

Ancient Hebrew text found in Israel

Archaeologists in Israel from the Hebrew University say that they have unearthed the oldest Hebrew text ever found, while excavating a fortress city overlooking Valley of Elah, where the Bible says David slew Goliath. They found five lines of text written in black ink on a piece of pottery dug up at a five-acre site called Elah Fortress, or Khirbet Qeiyafa. Experts have not yet been able to decipher the text fully, but carbon dating of artifacts found at the site indicates the Hebrew inscription was written about 3,000 years ago, predating the Dead Sea Scrolls by 1,000 years. Several words, including "judge", "slave" and "king", could be identified and the experts said they hoped the text would shed light on how alphabetic scripts developed. In a finding that could have symbolic value for Israel, the archaeologists said other items discovered at the fortress indicated there was most likely a strong king and central government in Jerusalem during the period scholars believe that David ruled the holy city and ancient Israel. Modern-day Israel often cites a biblical connection through David to Jerusalem in supporting its claim to Jerusalem.

The chronology and geography of Khirbet Qeiyafa create a unique meeting point between the Biblical accounts, history and archaeology of King David. Great!!

King Solomon's mines discovered

In fictional stories, King Solomon's Mines held a treasure of gold and diamonds, but archaeologists say the real mines may have supplied copper to Solomon.

Researchers led by Thomas Levy of the University of California, San Diego, and Mohammad Najjar of Jordan's Friends of Archaeology, discovered a copper-production center in southern Jordan that dates to the 10th century B.C., the time of Solomon's reign. The discovery occurred at Khirbat en-Nahas, which means "ruins of copper" in Arabic. Located south of the Dead Sea, the region was known in the Old Testament as Edom. By Solomon's time, it had become a subordinate state, paying tribute to Jerusalem. Their findings are reported in a recent (October 2008) issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Levy said in a statement: "This research represents a confluence between the archaeological and scientific data and the Bible". Biblical accounts are not fictions. Their authenticity can be verified sooner or later.

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Personalities encountered by Jesus - 11:
Mary - sister of Martha

"Selected"

"She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said" (Luke 10:39)

Mary lived with her sister, Martha, and her brother, Lazarus, in Bethany, a village about two miles outside Jerusalem. Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany with His disciples and was, as usual, invited to supper. Present at the table, in addition to Martha and Mary, was Lazarus whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Grateful to Jesus for His love, and perhaps sensing that the time for separation was near, Mary expressed her affection and respect in a most dramatic way.

She took "about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume" (John 12:3).

Judas Iscariot muttered that this seemed a waste of money that could have been given to the poor. But Jesus silenced him with the words: "Leave her alone. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me" (John 12:7).

(Note: All protestant scholars agree that the sinner woman mentioned in Luke 7:36-50, Mary, sister of Martha and Mary Magdalene are different women)

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Children's corner:
Be thankful to God always!

"Shiny Aunty"


Sneha lost her father when she was still studying. She faced a number of difficult circumstances in life. But she used to spend a lot of time praying and meditating God's word daily. She had learned that she needs to thank God for all the things that happen in her life. She believed that it was pleasing to God to see her trusting Him at all circumstances regardless of whether it was happiness or difficulties. Over the years she has become a mature and happy Christian. Today she is grown up and helps others who are in need and sorrow to trust the loving saviour.

Dear children, God's word tells us: "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thes. 5:18-NIV) . We serve a loving God who is almighty and omniscient. If only we would trust Him at all times He would be pleased with us. God was displeased with the Israelites because they murmured and grumbled when things did not work as they wanted and when they faced hurdles in their journey to Canaan. As a result of their lack of trust in God we find that most of them perished in the wilderness and thus did not enter Canaan. Let us cultivate the habit of thanking God for all that we go through in life- whether it is joy or sorrow or difficulty. We serve a God who allows everything according to His perfect plan for us and He works out everything for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). This new year let us train ourselves to trust God and be grateful to God at all circumstances. Let us fill our mouth with songs of praise all the days of our life.

Wish you a happy new year.

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Eye witness account:
The terror attacks in Mumbai

James Jacob, Mumbai


The writer describes the night of terror in Mumbai. He believes that God speaks to His people in spirit about events about to happen. (James Jacob is former Chief Sub-editor and now consultant for The Free Press Journal. He can be contacted on james_jacob@yahoo.com)

God speaks to His people what is happening around in the spirit. Here is an account of a believer who spent his time in his office when terrorists had their day in Mumbai on November 26, 2008

It was about 10 pm in the night when I happened to click my computer icon for new photo arrivals of the day. Our newspaper, The Free Press Journal, located at Nariman Point, Mumbai, have photo service from PTI and AP news agencies, apart from those of own photographers'. We also have photo newservice by Snap from Hyderabad.

To my astonishment, when I opened the photo folder, I found the scene of several injured people lying in a crowded place like a railway station with some medical persons attending on them. There was no caption accompnying the photos. So I alerted my senior regarding the pictures and said something is happening in the city and we should not miss out any news items.

The picture caption, meanwhile, arrived. The pictures were from Hyderabad and not Mumabi. Simutaneously, our newsroom was abuzz with the news of a gang war at Colaba, Mumbai. Then reports trickled in saying terrorists attacking Chhatrapathi Shivaji Terminus and other places like Cama hospital, Dobhi Talao, Taj Hotel and Oberoi hotel.

Booming sound of grenades going off could be heard from the nearby Oberoi Hotel when we looked through our windows. I was in charge of making Mumbai city main news page. Our watchmen went out and shut the office gates through which lorries carrying newsprints enter and go out.

We were glued to television sets giving accounts of the carnage taking place in different places.

Two terrorists after gunning down Hemant Karkare, Anti-terrorists Squad chief, Vijay Salarsakar and Ashok Kamte and three other policemen near Cama hospital took off on their vehicle and cooled themselves just opposite to our office building - The Free Press House. Luckily as the gates were shut they could not enter our premises. They could have escaped by the water because the sea is just next to our fourteen-floor building or taken refuge in our office itself. Soon came the police in hot chase of them and they deflated their tyres and even with the flat tyres they drove a little more and took by force another a Skoda car.

As they drove towards the Girgaum Chowpatty (a beach), one of them was shot dead in a police hold up and Ajmal Khan Kasab was caught alive. I left in the morning with a prayer on my lips for the suburban services to work for my homeward jouney. It was found operating with very few passengers. As a journalist I had to attend all the three days when the whole of South Mumbai was shut down. Meanwhile, I could even talk to some fellow journalists in the office about Jesus Christ and one of them was keen to get a copy of the Bible.

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Malayalam section:
Puthu varshathiley theerumaanangal

George M. Eapen, Houston, USA

[mal-art2]

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Malayalam section:
Yesu kristhuvintey jananathaal uyarcha labhicha Bethelehem

Pastor Veeyapuram Georgekutty, Dallas, USA

[mal-art3]

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Malayalam section:
Nammudey koodivaravukal

V.C. Mathai, Jabalpur

[mal-art4]

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Malayalam section:
Elisabethintey pravachanam

Pastor Babu Cherian, Piravom, Kerala

[mal-art5]

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Malayalam section:
Abhimukham: Pastor K. Joy

Suvartha Representatives

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Malayalam section:
Alpa kaalam

Binoy Punnoose

[mal-art7]

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Malayalam section:
Swathanthra yuvajana pravarthanangal

Varghese Kollakompil

[mal-art8]

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English Poem
Lord, I love you

Ritu Singh, Mumbai

[poem]

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Picture story: Queen Esther
P.K. Banage

[pic-story]

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