Our hearts are filled with gratitude to our Lord for leading us through one more year. We have come out rather successfully through eighteen years of uninterrupted publication of Christian literature. We have tried to encourage new writers and discover hidden talents among our children and young people. Although the publication was started as a newsletter of IPC Maharashtra Region, it soon turned into a regular magazine at the initiative of (Late) Rev. K.V. Kurian, then President of the Region. January 2008 saw the magazine draped in colourful coverings. Since then, for the last two years, different well wishers have sponsored every issue of Suvartha. We express here our sincere thanks to Dr. Thomson K. Mathew, Bro. Oommen Abraham, Bro. Thomas Varghese, Bro. Johnson Thomas, Bro. Paulson Thavu, Bro. Mathew Philip, Bro. Radhakrishnan, Bro. Jaison Joseph, Bro. K.B. Ninan, Bro. Raju Ponnolil, Bro. Sam T. Samuel, Bro. Saji Thattayil, Bro. P.Y. Philip, Rev. C.V. Samuel and Bro. P.M. Mathew and their families for their generous support and encouragement. We hope more sponsors will come forward in the days to come.
Know your churches:
We have begun to feature group photographs of members of churches in IPC Maharashtra State on the front cover of the magazine. We believe, the feature will help in identifying and recognizing members of our churches in various localities and remember each other in prayer. How nice it is to know that we are all united in Christ and are members of one family, the family of God! Listen to King David when he sings: "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore" (Psalms 133). I request Pastors and Committees of local churches to keep their group photographs ready and contact our Publisher, Bro. Varghese Kollakompil to schedule their publication.
India has just gone through a tumultuous and significant election time. I believe the results of the just-concluded general elections will have far reaching consequences for the country. Our country is fortunate to have an independent Election Commission to supervise and conduct elections under strict rules and regulations. The whole world watches when India goes to the polls as the largest democracy in the world.
Elections are coming for electing leaders of IPC, too, to form the General council and various State councils. Let the contestants and the voters remember that the world is watching. A three-member, supreme, Election Commission is watching from above. The Rules and Regulations are "forever settled in heaven" (Psalms 119:89). Let us hope all those concerned know and follow the Rules and not bring dishonour to the name of our Lord!.
Pentecostals and secular politics: A Lesson from American Christians
Rev. Dr. Thomson K. Mathew, Dean, Oral Roberts University, USA
Dr. Thomson K. Mathew, Dean, Oral Roberts University, USA, is stressing on the truth that mixing of Caesar's work with God's work is seldom a good idea. Unequal yoking of Caesar's men with God's children will produce great peril.
It appears that secular politicians have become ever present guests at significant Pentecostal gatherings of Keralites. In this context it may be hazardous to write about the negative consequences of the heavy mixing of secular politicians and Pentecostal leaders. But there is a lesson Keralites can learn from evangelical Christians in the United States of America.
An article recently published in Christian Science Monitor regarding American evangelicals prompted me to write this article. In it Michael Spencer claims that the evangelical movement in America will experience serious decline in the near future. He claims that the main reason is that President George Bush's Republican Party was badly defeated by Barak Obama and the Democratic Party, but because the American evangelicals had blindly identified themselves exclusively with the Republican Party during the Bush years, they are now being blamed for the Iraq war and everything else that went wrong during the Republican era.
The Republican Party's platform included ethical positions on several important issues that American evangelical Christians found acceptable. However, according to Spencer, giving the impression during the Republican reign that all evangelical Christians were Republicans and belonging to the Democratic Party was the worst political choice a Christian could make, the evangelicals set themselves up to being portrayed now as war mongers who stand against world peace and cultural progress. Unfortunately, the new generation believes this to be true and resists the evangelicals' efforts to win them to Christ.
It may be a good idea for Pentecostals in India to consider this matter soberly. We must keep in mind that all political parties on the Left and Right are primarily concerned about their own objectives. They will say ego-boosting things just to attract a voting bloc. We cannot afford to overly identity ourselves with any one party on the Left or Right exclusively no matter how many ethical positions we may share with them because the kingdom of God is not meat or drink.
Once Pentecostals in India were on the wrong side of the track economically and socially. Now they are prosperous and a very strong voting bloc. It is only natural for politicians to be drawn to them. It is also tempting for Pentecostals to support certain parties for the sake of religious freedom and opportunities for evangelization. While it is appropriate to publicly support certain positions taken by a political party, believers should not give the public impression that they as a group belong to one particular party alone and that they support all the political decisions and choices that party makes, especially on matters of foreign policy and war.
I am not saying that a Pentecostal should not be involved in politics or in matters related to one's nation's well being. Citizenship in this world carries with it many rights and responsibilities. Patriotism has its rightful place and national leaders deserve proper respect. However, we must never forget that church history attests that the Church's improper affiliations with kings and kingdoms have cost the gospel dearly. New money and any illusion of power should not make us forget this truth.
Regardless of our earthly residency or citizenship, our first citizenship is in heaven and our first allegiance is to the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ is our Lord and King. The expansion of the true Church of Jesus Christ has not been due to the support of principalities, powers or empires. A modern proof of this is the explosive growth of the Church in China. Political support is not the key to church growth. The blood of martyrs is still the seed of the church. The one who destroys the gates of hell to grow His Church is its master and architect, Jesus Christ. We must give Him our full and exclusive allegiance.
Politics has its place. Politicians have their duties, responsibilities and rightful places of honor. We must give to Caesar what is his and give to God what is His. Mixing of Caesar's work with God's work is seldom a good idea. Unequal yoking of Caesar's men with God's children will produce great peril. If you do not believe this, ask the survivors of the Holocaust.
Education of our children using 'Biblical models' - Part II
Pastor Shibu Cherian, USA
Pastor Shibu Cherian, while discussing the main 'Biblical methods' of education, covered two methods from the Old Testament in the first part of the article (published in the July issue). The article continues .....
This education provided through the community was an experiential learning about the relationship with God, which occurred by participation in rituals, exercise of corporate memory, reflection of God's acts, Sabbath observances, Passover feasts, the Days of Atonement, etc.
Even though today's social strata is individualistic in nature, the Christian community and the celebrations of retreats, conferences, camps, mission trips, etc. should bring us closer to realizing the work of God in our individual lives.
3. The Synagogue: From historical records we understand that synago-gues developed during the Exile period of the Jews (ca. 586), and they provided opportunities for study of the law. Through reading, expo-sition and interpretation of the Law, the Jewish children (and adults) were educated. It was said that the synagogues became so important to Jewish education in the exilic period that one synagogue was found in every city where there were ten Jewish males (Reed and Prevost, p. 50) It was to one of these synagogues that Jesus frequently visited on the Sabbath days, as we see in Luke 4:15-16, "And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read."
4. The School: Finally, the school was the latest arrival of the Old Testament education. Most of these schools developed out of synagogues. Jewish children received instructions in such school beginning at the age of six. Such training became compulsory for children around A.D. 64.
The education given to the Jewish children in the synagogues and schools of the Exilic and pre-Christian era followed more formal educational methodologies like reading, memorization, repetition, and writing, which figured promin-ently in the later forms of Jewish education. We also see that the Egyptian culture was more advanced in the early ages of the Old Testament history, and we find that Moses was educated in the greatest Egyptian schools of the time (Acts 7:22). Still he remembered his parents' early teachings about God and became "a man of power in words and deeds."
To sum this up, the Old Testament education began with God as teacher of a people called out to be in covenant with God. Abraham's nomadic experience, the Exodus, Israel's wilderness wanderings, the call of the prophets were all means by which God instructed His people regarding His plan and purpose. Moses served as a teacher of the nation of Israel (Exodus 18:20; 24:12; Deuteronomy chapters 4-31). The parents were first teachers of their children. The priests were the "nation's educators". They trained other priests, taught the people the Law and the various religious observances, and instructed the people how to live together. (Reed and Provost, p. 47) Finally, the prophets also participated in the teaching-learning process by calling the nation to justice and righteousness in response to God's Word.
Education Models from the New Testament
The purpose of the New Testament was to lead people into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ that expressed itself in faithful fellowship with the new covenant community. Dr. Jackie Jones (from the Church of God Theological Seminary in Cleveland, TN) identifies three goals of the New Testament education in light of this purpose to cultivate and form a covenant community of the Holy Spirit, which are as follows:
1. To prepare believers for communion with God
2. To perfect the believer's faith, and
3. To prepare believers for fellowship with God through their participation in their spiritual fellowship of the Church.
Most scholars agree that we know little about formal educational programs in the New Testament. However, we can discern two locations (or, environments) that were used for education and Christian formation, which are the home and the early Christian gatherings.
1. The Home: The New Testament does not specify schools or curricula in the formal sense, but it does emphasize the role of the parents and the home in spiritual formation.
We know that as per the Gospel of Luke 2:51-52, Jesus Christ the Son of God who needed no earthly education grew up in Nazareth being subject (or, in submission) to His earthly parents, and His growth from the age of 12 to the age of 30 (the eighteen silent years in the early life of Jesus) is categorized in the following words in vs. 52 -
"And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." Also, Timothy was greatly influenced by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice within his home, while his Greek father's influence (Acts 16:1) is not mentioned at all.
It may be noted that Apostle Paul is the leading proponent of parental responsibility in his epistles, and we can read about this in the following passages: Ephesians 6: 1-3; Colossians 3: 20-21. He describes this in his list of leadership qualifications for Bishops (1 Timothy 3: 4-5), Deacons (1 Timothy 3: 12-13) and Elders (Titus 1: 5-6).
2. The Early Christian Gathering: For intentional corporate formation, the early Christian gathering was the environment for education in the form of teaching and learning. The early church in the 1st century gathered for learning the Apostles' doctrine (Acts 2:42). The office of the 'Teacher' was one of the five-fold ministry of the church (Ephesians 4:11). We also see that the apostles and elders (The Jerusalem Council) decided the fate of the dispute over circumcision, and we read about this in Acts 15: 6-29. There were mentors who were personal coaches of inspiring young men in the ministry (for e.g. Paul mentored Timothy and Silas, Barnabas mentored John Mark, etc.)
To conclude, the two main methods of the New Testament education were the home and gathering (church). Both these meth-ods were experiential, relational and life based. However over all, the parents have the primary respon-sibility for educating their children in discipline and order.
Among many Indian families it is noticed that due to the busy work life, many parents (especially working mothers) have no time to spend with their children at home. Due to this lack of parental attention, children are prone to be distracted and their primary learning is from the ungodly teachings from the public schools and the trash that is seen in television and what spews out through the internet. The children become unruly, disobedient and disrespectful to parents and the church leadership (Youth Pastors, Sunday school teachers, etc.) We should always remember that children are like tender plants that should be nurtured & grown 'in the fear of the Lord'. For what we sow, we will reap later (Galatians 6:7b). This is the law of nature, and if we do not sow our love, the word of God and our quality time in our children from a tender age, they will grow up rebellious and ungodly. There is no use to repent of the lost opportunities later on, so the time to act is NOW. I pray that this article may be an eye-opener as you 'educate' your child in godly ways.
P.Y. Philip, USA, reminds us that with a completely surrendered life for the Lord, not one that wavers, we will be able to see miracles that are in store for us.
In our Christian life we experience trials as well as troubles, time and time again. In the midst of all these trials and troubles, if we trust, and tarry to see the hand of God whom we trust, we will see the wonder-working presence of God in our life experiences. It is important to understand that with a completely surrendered life for the Lord, not one that wavers, we will be able to see miracles that are in store for us. We may ask questions wondering why God is not answering us when we call upon His name and it is quite natural, but who has seen the mind of God?
When we study the Bible, especially about the life history of the people of Israel during their journey in quest for the Promised Land, we see many incidents often forgotten to realize their true meaning. We've heard many sermons from well known theologians, Bible scholars, Church leaders and orators about the deliverance of the People of God; but, for us to really understand the hand of God, we need to kneel down in prayer and the Lord will reveal to us more meaningful thoughts.
God is able to work miracles for His people in all situations. A place or a person is not a factor for God to deliver His people. He can do wonders in front of our adversaries and also in the midst of our friends. A saving highway for His people would become a highway of destruction for their enemies. If we turn our attention to the book of Exodus 14:22-23, when God divided the Red Sea we see that the people of Israel walked through the dry ground and the waters were a wall around them. When we read further, we can see the Egyptians pursued them through the same dry ground and they perished in the midst of the sea. It is important to know that the way is the same, but intentions are different. Still, God's amazing hand delivers His people from the enemies' plan.
When we pray to the Lord by submitting our needs with a humble and broken heart, He will not pass us nor forsake us. Our enemies, with different intentions, confront us and we see God disapproves them. The end result will be a completely different one from what they thought. There is no need to be afraid, because we will see God's hand upon our enemies just in time. There is not a place on the face of the earth with perfect and righteous people. We live in the midst of people with all sorts of corruption, wickedness and malice. We work with them, we walk with them, and we see them in market places. However, our hope is for an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4). The word of God says in Matt. 22:44, "Sit thou on my right, till I make thine enemies thy footstool;" this is a promise that He will never let you down.
The amazing presence of God will be with His chosen ones to deliver them from the hands of their enemies. We need to make sure that, we are in a state of mind to talk to our God when we face obstacles. When Joshua spoke to God before the children of Israel and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand still upon Gibeon, and thou, Moon in the valley of Ajalon," it stood for a whole day. When the Sun and the Moon stood still for a whole day, it provided light to all alike. For the people of Israel it was victory but for Amorites it was defeat. It is a comfort to know our God is still a miracle working God when we go through trials and troubles. Therefore, trust in the Lord! There is no need to be disappointed. Take courage; if we live our lives for the Lord, we will see the amazing hand of God in every step we take. May God bless you!
From the pulpit: Tree in the open place
Rev. Dr. Baby Varghese, Dallas
"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper">
A group of college students wished to go to a forest to study the growth of a strong and big tree. However, the elderly guide did not send them to the forest. Instead, he showed them a tree rooted in a plain, open place and said, "See, you will never see such a strong tree in the forest". Then, he proceeded to tell the story about that tree:
The tree was planted in the open ground, and it was always affected by strong winds that came from all directions. Once, a heavy storm came. The tree was extremely shaken and could be uprooted at any time because of the power of the storm. The top of the tree touched the ground due to the strong winds. It appeared like the tree was crying loudly to the storm, "Please stop. This is enough". At any time, it could have been uprooted. It did not have the security that the forest offered. However, the cry of that poor tree went unheard. After some hours passed, the weather became calm. Many trees in the forest were uprooted and fell on each other. Yet, the tree that stood in the plain place was not uprooted. It was able to resist the power of the storm. It was able to bend, even to the ground. In reality, the storm was making the tree stronger.
We all are encouraged by testimonies of believers in this spiritual world who passed through severe trials. We should not forget that they weathered terrible storms in their lives.
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong" (1 Cor. 1:27 NIV).
Most of the worldly wise do not choose a life of faith. They think they can manage by themselves. They think it "foolish" to give up on their wisdom and follow an "uncertain" life. Paul says, God chose the "Foolish" to shame the Wise. 'The Wise not choosing God', is only one side of the story. The reality is that God did not choose the Wise of this world!
Luke 19:28-40 talks about a "tied colt". Before crucifixion, Jesus had to enter in to Jerusalem, the King's city. He is the son of David, the everlasting King! Now it is time for this King of kings to have a royal procession. He needed a vessel to carry Him. Which animal would be appropriate? An elephant, as in the case of eastern kings? Or, a horse as in the case of western kings? Or, at least a camel as with the kings of the desert?
No! God chose to ride on a colt! He asked His disciples to go to the village ahead of them, where they would see a colt tied, on which no one ever sat… We do not know why. May be no one ever wanted to sit on it.
In a minute, a colt no one wanted to sit on, became a "Royal colt!" Everyone started spreading clothes on its way. Yes, it is the King of kings and Lord of lords who is now seated on it. According to Paul, God chose a colt as His royal vessel to shame Mr. Elephants and Rev. Horses and Dr. Camels! They thought they were worthy beings to carry "His Majesty", but God did not consider them worthy to carry Him! Their feeling of 'worth' was their unworthiness, and the colt's feeling of 'unworth' was its worthiness! He did it this way, so that no one can boast before Him (1 Cor. 1:29). Therefore, as it is written: "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord" (1 Cor. 1:31).
Prayer: Lord, I know that I am an unworthy creature! You chose me for no reason, but your mercy. Let me boast in you, and you alone, my Master! Amen
Youth Forum: Having a strong foundation
Josh Varghese, Houston
The writer says we must build our life on the rock foundation of Jesus and apply the Word of God in our lives.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash" (Matthew 7:25-27).
This is a familiar story that we all know. The man who built his house on the foundation of rock; his house did not fall down. While the man who built his house on sand; his house fell down.
We read in Luke 8:22-25: "One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let's go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. Where is your faith?" He asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him". Here we see that the disciples face a storm. It is not an ordinary storm. In the sea of Galilee the storms are very fierce and the waves could get to be at least 20 ft high.
How can we stand firm through the storms of our life? "The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold" (Psalms 18:2). We can have a rock foundation by reading the Word of God and trusting in Jesus (who is our Rock). When the storms of life hit us, are we going to fall down or stay firm? What foundation are we going to build ourselves on? That is what we should ask ourselves. Are we going to read the Word and put it into practice? If we don't apply the Word then our foundation is sand and the pleasures of this world. The pleasures of this world give us protection and joy for a little while, but then they go away. Jesus Christ gives us real joy. That is why He is our rock. The Word of God helps us to resist temptations. Bible says: "resist the devil and he will flee". The devil flees from the rock foundation because it cannot be brought down or moved.
If we examine how the disciples acted when they saw the storm, one good thing they did was that they called upon His name. The bad thing that they did was they were afraid.
To overcome storms of life, let us remember the term, CATS:
C - Call on His name and trust in Him and His grace
A - Adoration: Praise God in good times and bad
T - Thanksgiving: Thank Him for the storm. James says that we should be thankful and take joy for trials we face.
S - Seek after the Word and surrender - God is bigger than the problem
The word of God is not only a GPS for us, it is also like an energy bar. It will bring us from the lowest points of our life and give us strength to face the day. We have the promises of God like, "no weapon formed against you shall prevail". The pleasures of this world is like an energy drink whose energy lasts only for a short time and makes you more tired than before. They will bring you down spiritually.
How can we get this rock foundation?
A rock does not form in one day. We learn in our schools that it takes millions of years to form. So we must read the word daily and apply it in our life. Then it will develop into a sturdy rock. Then we will not be moved. It is going to take sacrifice.
Benefits of a rock foundation
1. The devil will flee
2. We will be able to face trials
3. God will bless us
By having this rock foundation we can fulfill the great purpose that God has for our life which is pleasing Him and living for Him. Let us have a strong foundation and remember CATS.
Retired senior bishop Chrysostam has no parallel! After expressing his appreciation of Amritanandamayi, now he has come out with his thoughts on Ramayan in Mathrubhoomi newspaper. (See part of copy above). He says that Ramayan is a divine gift of spirituality and hope. He claims that in the days of difficulties, famine and floods, man can obtain hope, peace and energy by reading Ramayan. He quotes the words of Jesus Christ about salvation of man and says that all religious books offer ways to establish relationship of man with God!
Ramayan lovers will, indeed, be delighted to see that one more great man, a great Christian leader has joined their group. The Bishop is well known for his witticisms and jokes. Can we take his Mathrubhoomi article as another joke? It will be very nice if he is gently advised to keep his views to himself and spend his days of retirement peacefully and silently.
U.S. Evangelicals pessimistic about Christianity in America
Leith Anderson, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) believes that the future growth of Christianity will be outside America. According to a report in The Christian Post, evangelical leaders in US do not expect the number of Christians worldwide to decrease, but the increase will be concentrated in other parts of the globe. Most of them expect the United States and Europe to diminish as Christian strongholds while more people come to Christ in the global south.
A mere visit to North America will confirm the above view. There is hardly any Christian education in schools. The next generation grows up in total darkness of disbelief and distrust of any Christian values. Let us pray for a revival in these countries so that the 'global north' returns to God and the Bible.
World's oldest Bible digitized
Four parts of the world's oldest Bible known as the 'Codex Sinaiticus' had been housed in four separate locations across the world, in Great Britain, Germany, Russia and Egypt, for more than 150 years. Each country possessed parts of the 1,600-year-old manuscript. In a joint project, organizations from the four countries worked together to publish new research into the history of the Codex and transcribed 650,000 words during a four-year period. Their work became available in July this year for perusal on the Web so that scholars and others can get a closer look. In London, the British Library declared that the surviving pages of the world's oldest Bible have been reunited - digitally and will allow scholars to further study the "unique treasure".
There is no other book whose ancient, original manuscripts are still available for rigorous scrutiny. How marvellous is the way in which the Word of God is preserved through the ages!
'Buddhist Bishop' in Episcopal church
Rev. Kevin Thew Forrester practises Buddhist meditation and has changed traditional church prayers in his church. He was elected bishop of the Diocese of Northern Michigan in February. But his election must be ratified by a majority of bishops and regional standing committees. The verdict will be known soon.
For many Christians, Bible is a closed book and has lost any meaningfulness. They prefer to run after other religious teachings to fill up the vaccuum. Even some theological seminaries do not consider Bible as authoritative Word of God. So any teaching, be it Buddhist, Hindu or any other becomes attractive to the scholars coming out of these places of learning..
Total solar eclipse: a dazzling display in the sky
An unforgettable celestial display was witnessed by thousands of people in parts of Gujarat, MP, Bihar and north-eastern states of India on July 22. It was a sight of their lifetime as such an event will happen again only after 105 years. Seconds before the Sun was fully blocked by the lunar disc, a brilliant "diamond ring" formed in the sky. Moments later, brightness dropped dramatically as total eclipse began. The city of Benares, for instance, was suddenly clothed in a surreal glow of faint light that was eerie and exhilarating. Planets like Venus and Jupiter came back on, shining brightly in the sky. After the total phase ended at 6.27 am, then began the slow march of the Moon away from the Sun's path. Celestial normality was restored around 7.27 am.
Many superstitions are doing the rounds, like babies born today would suffer from bad luck and ill health; that the eclipse will have a negative impact on mankind and also that no one should consume edibles when the sun is blocked out. But the scientists are urging people not to believe in such myths and take the event as a rare celestial phenomenon.
When we witness these sights in the sky or on the earth, we cannot but think about the majesty of the Creator of the universe. Everything that He created is beautiful and spectacular. Whether the sun is shining or is hidden by the moon's disc, it is awesome. We can only exclaim with the Psalmist who sang: "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course" (Psalms 19:1-5).
Personalities encountered by Jesus - 15: Mary Magdalene
"The Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means" (Luke 8:2,3)
Next to His mother, the woman who was nearest to Jesus, who followed Him fearlessly to the very foot of the cross, and to whom He appeared first when He rose from the dead, was Mary Magdalene. She was so called because she came from the town of Magdala. in Galilee, where she lived during the early part of her life. Scripture does not include many details of her life before she met Jesus, but most Biblical scholars agree that she was a woman of considerable means and position in her society. Although popular opinion has long made her a kind of arch-type for the "repentant sinner" and fallen woman, there is not a shred of evidence to support such a view.
On the contrary, it is more likely that she was, as one ancient writer says, an educated woman, daughter of a wealthy Greek ship owner who taught Platonic philosophy.
In any event, from the moment she met Jesus, until His final reappearance from the tomb, she was His devoted follower.
She accompanied Him and ministered to Him on His last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, and, together with Mary, His mother, and John, the 'beloved disciple', wept for Him on Calvary.
Susie was a talented singer. She was a prominent member of the Church choir. Her friend Tania could not sing well, hence she felt bad that she could not be in the church choir. She admired her friend Susie for her talent.
Tania was a very helpful person. She was always there to help anybody in whatever way she could. In her neighbourhood she was a favourite person since she was always helping others. In her class she helped her classmates with their projects and assignments. Yet she felt sad that she could not sing well like her friend Susie.
One day she heard the pastor preach that God has given everyone different talents. And each talent is unique and is given us to be a blessing for others. All do not have similar talents or gifts. God can make us a blessing to others if we are happy with the gifts or talents God has given us. She realized that God was using her for helping others in their time of need while God was making her friend Susie to be a blessing for the Church choir.
Dear children, God has blessed each one of us with some talent. We should be happy about that and thank God for the same. In Rom.12:6-8 it is written, "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us….". In 2 Cor. 12:7-11 we read "Now to each one the manifestation of the spirit is given for the common good ……… and He gives them to each one just as He determines".
Find out what is the talent God has given you and cultivate that for God's glory. In 2 Tim. 1:6, Paul tells young Timothy to fan into flame the gift that God had given him. God will make you a blessing to others if you faithfully use your talent for the glory of God. May God bless you.