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My Manna

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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Wed 11 Jan 2017, 11:02 pm

My Manna

"Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths and honor Me with their lips, but have removed their hearts far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men." Isaiah 29:13.

Did you know that it is possible to say your prayers but not be praying?

We can run through our ritualized requests and not actually pray.
Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees, "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me'. " Matthew 15:7–8.

Not all prayers are offered to God.
You can sing praise songs and send up prayers to God but have no thought of Him.

Do you know why?

Jesus told the story of a Pharisee who went to the temple to pray and "prayed thus with himself." Luke 18:11.
That Pharisee's prayer didn't go any higher than the ceiling because for him, it was all about putting on a show.
As a result, his prayer wasn't heard by God.

Our prayers need to be offered to God.

It is very important for us to remember that we are talking to God Almighty.
Therefore, it's a good idea to slow down and contemplate the awesomeness of God.

When I do this, my goal is to get my will in alignment with His.

Prayer is not getting my will in heaven.
It is getting God's will on earth.

And when you know God and spend time in communion with Him, you will know what God wants.

It is okay to bring your needs before the Lord.
But start with praise and adoration and get a sense of the awesomeness of God.

The more you realize how great God is-
- the smaller your problems will become in His presence
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Mon 02 Jan 2017, 11:59 pm

My Manna

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."Matthew 28:18-20.

One of the most fascinating sites to visit in Washington D.C. is-
- the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.

For 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, a platoon of 30 honour guards protects the tomb through rain, snow and even hurricanes!
It's been guarded every minute of every day since 1937.

A single sentinel takes his post guarding carefully-
- walking exactly 21 steps
- then pausing for 21 seconds
- before turning around and continuing his duty.

The number 21 is in reference to the 21 gun salute-- which is the military's highest honour given to a soldier.

When the changing of the guard takes place-
- the orders are passed from one soldier to the next- "Orders Remain Unchanged."

As we enter into a New Year-
- the world is rapidly changing before our eyes!

The world economy is on the brink of complete collapse.

One thing hasn't changed-
- our orders from Jesus to preach this gospel of the Kingdom to every one!

Continue to stand guard-
- watching and being ever alert of the times in which we live;
- and never forget that our "Orders Remain Unchanged!"

With so much work to be done-
- let's be sure we enter 2017 with our priorities intact:
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you..."
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Mon 26 Dec 2016, 10:31 pm

My Manna

"And in that region there were shepherds out in the field keeping watch over their flocks by night." Luke 2:8.

I’m sure during the period of the census in Bethlehem-- there were people from all walks of life, all economic classes.

There were well-to-do people who got the most expensive rooms in the most expensive inns, who rode the best donkeys and camels.

With so many people descending on Bethlehem for the census, there were undoubtedly parties and family gatherings, reunions of friends, loud music, dancing and good food.
Read Luke 2:8-10:On that first Christmas night, the angels appeared to shepherds on a hill near Bethlehem.

Alfred Edersheim, the great 19th-century Jewish-Christian scholar, wrote in his book The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah that--the shepherds and the sheep to whom the angels appeared near Bethlehem were no ordinary shepherds and sheep.

The sheep were those bound for the temple sacrifices.

The shepherds were outcasts because of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances.
And their manner of life rendered legal observances unlikely, if not absolutely impossible.

How wonderful that in God’s wisdom and love the angels should appear to them-- the doomed and the outcast—that night.

Today we can declare to the world that-- the Good Shepherd cares for all people and wants to give them peace.

Christ came on that first Christmas for one great purpose-- to die on the cross for our sins.

Now God offers-- forgiveness,
- inner peace and
- eternal life to all who will repent and believe in His Son.

This is the Christmas message!

Do you know people who need to hear about God’s love and forgiveness?
Will you share the true Christmas message with them this year?

Sun Dec 25, 2016 9:09 pm (PST) . Posted by: "Gospel from India" gospelfromindia
Christ Jesus!

I am always amazed at how God uses simple things to confuse human understanding.1 Corinthians 1:27.

He chose David to be king when he was just a scrawny kid.He empowered Samson to kill one-thousand men by himself.And He used one of Christianities worst persecutors to become its most outspoken evangelist.
When Jesus was born the Father sent angels that told shepherds, who were out in a field, what had happened.

Shepherds “had a bad reputation and were considered unreliable and were not allowed to give testimony in the law courts.

So not only does the Creator of the universe surprise men by coming to earth at all but He comes as a little baby, in a small poor town and then he tells the stinky guys with a bad reputation to tell everyone that God has come to earth!

Let’s read what the angels say to the shepherds in Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”

There are many things we can learn from this but we’re going to focus on the “glory” and the “peace.”

The word “glory” here in the Greek is doxa meaning “honour, excellence, heavy and preeminence.”
This is where we get the word “doxology” from.

It is the same as the Hebrew word kabod meaning “weighty” or “heaviness.”
So Doxology is defined as praising and honouring God-- because He is more important than anything else.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “on earth peace, goodwill toward men” many times. And you’ve probably understood it in the same way I have:
- the angels were announcing that there would be peace on earth.

But historically we don’t see a stop to wars at this time-- in fact we see fights and battles increase.

Along with Roman oppression we also see evidence of suffering in Matthew 2:16-18 caused by Jesus birth:
- when Herod killed the newborn two year old boys.

But this was one of Satan’s attempts to kill Jesus, the Saviour.
So we can see that our understanding of peace from this is wrong.

There will never be peace on earth until Jesus’ second coming.

But Jesus’ birth as humanity’s Saviour meant that men who accepted God’s goodwill would have eternal peace.
We see this in Romans 5:1 which says “having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

But there is also a “peace that passes all human understanding” while we’re on this earth.Philippians 4:7.
The only true response this Christmas season is to give glory to God!
His gift is more weighty than we can imagine; it is both a solemn thing and at the same time it causes us to burst into doxology! John3:16.
Philippians 4:19 puts all of these thoughts together:
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Our greatest need is salvation for our sin and a close second is the ability to trust God in His plan for our lives so we can rest in peace...not in death but in life.

But who causes this to happen?
The answer is always “Christ Jesus!”​​
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Thu 22 Dec 2016, 10:13 pm

My Manna

I’m not sure how much you know about shepherds-- but in all honesty their role in society was a little ironic.

Shepherds were responsible for caring for and leading flocks of sheep.

During this time in history, there were ceremonies that took place that called for a sheep to be sacrificed to atone for the sins of the people.

But,because shepherds did the dirty job of caring for the sheep-
- they were considered unclean.
This meant they were never allowed to participate in these ceremonies.

And because they were never allowed to participate in these ceremonies-- they were also looked down upon and considered outsiders to the religious society of that time.

They were doing their ordinary jobs, in their ordinary old lives, getting ready to go to bed so that they could wake up and do all of the same ordinary things again the next day.

The situation changed.

The shepherds were approached by angels from the sky-- who were sharing the news about the birth of the saviour of the world.

These shepherds were the first to hear it.
And they had a choice.

They could trust that these words were from God, and act on them.
Or they could ignore it and pretend like the news was intended for someone else.

As you read on, in verses 15 and 16, you will see that they showed faith in what they had heard and acted.
They left to see this extraordinary news first hand.

But for the shepherds, it didn’t stop there.
God chose them to be the ones who would share the news of the birth of Jesus with the rest of the town. Vs.17-20.

God chose a group of men who were, by all accounts, ordinary.
He chose them to be the ones who would share the news of the birth of Jesus.

They boldly and courageously went into all of the town around them sharing the news that Jesus was born.
And people listened.

Not because of who they were, or the titles they held, but because of what they were sharing.

Sometimes we may feel ordinary.
Doing our ordinary jobs, in our ordinary days, living out our ordinary lives.

But in those moments, remember that-God chooses to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Think about the shepherds.

Consider their faith.
Their faith that what they had seen and heard from the angels was true.

Consider their urgency.
Their urgency to see that everyone knew about what they had been told by the angels, and saw in that stable.

Consider their boldness.
Their boldness to share the extraordinary, regardless of being ordinary.

If you were the shepherds-Would you be ready?
Would you be willing?
Would you give up your ordinary life to be a part of the extraordinary plans God has for you?
Would you trust God’s plan, in spite of not knowing what the outcomes might be?

"God, thank you for being the master planner, and orchestrating even the tiniest of details in the arrival of Jesus. Thank you for showing me, through the lives of the shepherds, that you choose ordinary people to do extraordinary things. Please help me to have faith when you speak, and to trust that we can listen to what you teach us through the bible. Give me the courage to act on the extraordinary things you
are sharing with me – just like the shepherds shared the news of the birth of Jesus.Amen!"
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Wed 21 Dec 2016, 11:02 pm

My Manna

The shepherds were among the poorest of the people.
They were not part of the Bethlehem social scene.

Their work was done around the clock, in anonymity, with little compensation.

I’m sure very few parents of the time dreamed for their children to be shepherds.

Yet, God chose these “poor shepherds” (the First Noel) to hear the good news.
He chose to bless the shepherds to hear a multitude of the heavenly angels singing God’s praises.

And when the Shepherds told people what they had heard and seen, in a sense-- He chose them to become the first “evangelists,” the first to share the good news.

Why these Shepherds?

First, the message of Christ is for all people.
He didn’t take it to the high and mighty, but to the lowly.

Christ’s Nativity inaugurated the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, but He “reigns” with humility.
So the message was given first to the most humble of people, simple shepherds.
This is good news indeed, because the message of Christ IS for everyone.
And that does not include only every socio-economic level.

It includes every spiritual level:

If you’ve memorized the Christmas story or can’t remember most of the details, Christ’s message is for you.

If you read the Bible every day, or have never read it before, Christ’s message is for you!

If you pray every day, or if you’ve never said a genuine prayer, Christ’s message is for you!

If Christ is the focus of your life, or if you are just starting your relationship with Him, Christ’s message is for you!

Ok, so what is the message?

The answer comes from the shepherds as well.
One of the ways Christ reveals Himself is as “the Good Shepherd.”

In John 10: 11-15, we read:
Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leave the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, as the Father know me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

Jesus uses this image because all Christians are like a flock of sheep.
Jesus is our Shepherd.
Jesus protects the flock from “wolves” and all harm.

When one sheep is lost, like a good shepherd, He goes in search of the lost sheep.

Most important, like a good shepherd keeps his flock together until they get safely to their pen at the end of the day, Jesus keeps His flock together and provides for our safety until we reach the permanent safety of heaven at the end of our lives.

The message is for everyone!
Be a witness for Christ to everyone you meet today
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Thu 15 Dec 2016, 11:16 pm

My Manna

"They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child." Luke 2:17.

Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals is one of baseball's superstars, a regular All-Star and MVP contender.

He's also a Christian who wants his light to shine for Jesus.
He points to the sky as he circles the bases after home runs, giving the credit to God.

Says Pujols:
God is “using me by giving me this platform so I can honor Him and get to know more people and just share the gospel.”

Though public speaking makes him nervous, he shares his testimony before large crowds.
Fans idolize him, but he responds: “It's not about Albert Pujols, it's about Jesus Christ.”

The shepherds in the Christmas story also understood that their experience was not just for their own spiritual enrichment.

Good news should be shared!

The shepherds did as they were told and went to look for the child.v.15.
With God's help, they found the baby in the manger, just as they'd been told.v. 16.
They no doubt exchanged stories with Mary and Joseph-- enhancing their understanding of what it all meant.

Then they “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed.” Vs.17-18.

But did these people believe?
Did they seek out the child for themselves?
Did they want to hear the story firsthand from Mary and Joseph?
Did they search the Scriptures for relevant prophecies?

We don't know.

We're told only that Mary attentively “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart,” again seeing the hand of God in her newborn son's life. v. 19.

In the end, the shepherds did what the angels did—glorify and praise the Lord. v. 20.
They had found exactly what God had said they would find.

This boosted their faith that the baby was who they had been told—the Saviour.
He was all they had been promised—peace and joy.

The shepherds knew what to do with good news—they shared it!

Our mandate is the same:
“Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.” Mark 16:15.

Share the gospel with a neighbour-- invite someone to an evangelistic event at your church,
- or pray for an encounter with someone eager to discuss spiritual things.

Many people are lonely and seeking for meaning during the Christmas season.
Ask God to prepare hearts to be receptive.And then share the true joy and peace found in the person and work of Jesus
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Tue 13 Dec 2016, 10:21 pm

My manna

The announcement of Christ’s birth to the shepherds is often pictured as idyllic and quiet.

The reality of a shepherd’s daily life, however, was probably far different.

Ralph Gower, in his book The New Manners and Customs of Bible Times, said that sheep needed constant protection.

Lions and bears and other wild animals could easily threaten the flock.
He notes that Amos 3:12 tells the story of a shepherd trying to remove his sheep from a lion’s mouth.

The shepherd often had to fight back against predators who might threaten his sheep and his livelihood.

The Gospel of Luke tells us that in the same region where Christ was being born, some shepherds were guarding their flocks through the darkness of night.2:8.

Their evening was interrupted, not by a vicious lion, but by the angel of the Lord.
The sight of the angel was bright and glorious, and the shepherds’ first reaction was not excitement or joy but fear. v. 9.

The angel was quick to reassure the shepherds.
They were told that they did not need to be frightened, because this message was full of joy.

It would impact not only their lives, but also the lives of “all the people.” v. 10.

The angel then issued a heavenly birth announcement.
The shepherds were told that the Messiah had been born!

This was not an ordinary baby, but rather the Savio​u​r that countless generations had longed to see.

No wonder the shepherds were willing to leave their sheep, and we should not miss the significance here.

They were leaving their livelihood unguarded against thieves and predators for the opportunity to see the Messiah.

The word from the angel was true:
The shepherds found the infant Jesus swaddled and placed in a manger.

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people." Luke 2:10.

Shepherds were working men, with hours of exhausting work.The announcement of Jesus’ birth came first to them.

They didn’t rank high on society’s scale.But God valued them enough to invite them to see the Messiah.

How do you value the people around you?
Resolve to invite anyone, no matter where they are on society’s scale, to meet and know the Saviour
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Mon 12 Dec 2016, 9:53 pm

My Manna

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.”Luke 2:8-9.

If you had good news, whom would you tell first?

When something wonderful happens to me, the first people I want to tell are those closest to me, those most important in my life.

They have proven themselves trustworthy over time, and will rejoice with me.
They’ve stood by me during difficult times, and will share in a victory.

When God had the best news of the ages, whom did He tell first?
Important religious people?
Wealthy folk?
Learned men?

​​Actually, no​!​
God told shepherds.

It didn’t take long for the shepherds to pull themselves together after the heavenly crew left.

Knowing the “town of David” meant Bethlehem-- the shepherds hurried there, and arrived in time to see Jesus in the stable.

The Bible says after seeing the baby, “...they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” Luke 6:17b-18.

Shepherds were in the fields among smelly and not-so-bright sheep.
They had no power or influence.
They had nothing to bring the baby King.

So why did God choose the lowest members of society to entrust the greatest truth of the ages?

Why didn’t God choose the religious leaders?
Surely they would have been excited after waiting for thousands of years to meet their Saviour.

Why not choose a king or a rich man whose testimony would have carried more weight?

Why shepherds?

Two reasons come to mind when I ponder that question.

First-Humility!

​S​hepherds had the capacity to be humbled and amazed that God chose them to hear the news.
Imagine how unworthy they must have felt, but how honoured.
You’ve probably heard about the Pharisees.
They were religious people back when Jesus was born who thought highly of themselves. They loved religion more than they loved a relationship with God.

They probably wouldn’t have been very impressed that God chose to reveal the secret of the ages to them. In fact, they might have thought they deserved to hear the news first.

But not the shepherds.
They were amazed God chose them and they couldn’t keep it to themselves.

That leads me to the second reason I think God chose shepherds.
Honesty!

After they had seen the baby Saviour, they “spread the word” concerning what they knew.

They weren’t like too-cool teenagers, worried about what others thought of them.
They didn’t over-think the situation and talk themselves out of telling the news.

They were exuberant, overflowing with joy and probably still reflected a bit of the glory of being with Jesus.

You know what happened when those uneducated, simple shepherds spread the word that a Savior had been born?
People were amazed!

God is His infinite wisdom chose just the right group of people to entrust the greatest news of eternity.

Those humble men took the Good News of Jesus and did just what God wanted them to do – told others, and their lives were never the same.

"Dear Lord, today I rejoice with the shepherds in the Good News of Jesus’ birth. Help me to set aside those traditions that have become commonplace and explore the amazement of Jesus’ birth. Thank You for sending a Savior for me. I want to spend my life sharing this news. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Fri 09 Dec 2016, 10:12 pm


My Manna

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.

When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

This scene is among the most beloved of not just the Christmas story but the whole Bible.

It is the source of all of our Christmas crèches and nativity scenes.
It is a story of wonder and beauty and tenderness in which we see God’s parental heart revealed.

But today, this part of the story also captures my dream for church.
Not just on Christmas Eve, though that’s a good place to start, but throughout the year.

There are three movements in this brief scene.

​​Expectation
The shepherds are filled with ​​expectation so that once they’ve heard the report of the angels they go as quickly as they can to find Mary and Joseph.

​Enjoyment
They are not disappointed, as they find the angels spoke truly.
​Indeed, they are filled with wonder and delight by the family gathered around their newborn son.

​Evangelism
Filled with joy, they go and tell others of what they have seen, who are themselves also filled with a sense of expectation and wonder as well.

So there it is:
E​xpectation, ​Enjoyment, Evangelism.

What would it be like if church were like this?

That we worked together to create a community of faith – worship on Sundays; education, service, and fellowship throughout the week – that made it easy to invite people to, expecting that as they did they would be filled with wonder and delight and share what they’ve found with others?

Can we do this?
Expectation, E​njoyment, Evangelism.

"Dear God, fill us again with a holy awe and joyous delight at the gift of your son, that we might invite others to know the goodness of faith and life in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Wed 07 Dec 2016, 8:40 pm

My Manna

When the angels went away from them into heaven-- the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.

And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:15-20.

Whenever we read the story of Jesus’ birth or attend a church Christmas play, we expect the shepherds to play a prominent role.

Every nativity scene includes a cute little angel and gentle shepherds.
They’re just part of the package.

We may easily embrace shepherds as ​​​​​​key characters in the story, but a Jewish person 2000 years ago would have found this incredulous.

For the birth of the Messiah, surely God would invite kings or political influencers, priests or religious insiders, but never shepherds.

God wouldn’t invite shepherds.

Shepherds were social outcasts.
They were poor, uneducated, uncultured, and uncouth. They were rough characters in a small town on the fringe of society, so much so that their testimony was not even admissible in court.

If you were with your family, walking through town--you would likely go to the other side of the street to avoid them.

Shepherds were religious outsiders.
Because of the work of caring for the sheep made them ceremonially unclean-- they were not allowed into the temple courts or to be an active part of synagogue worship. Religious leaders often considered them on the same level as prostitutes.

When it came to religion-- they were always on the outside looking in.

God invited a group of guys who had been labeled as outcasts and outsiders by everyone, and placed them at the top of the invite list for the most important birthday in history.

This is a theme we see continue throughout the story of Jesus’ life:

Jesus hangs out with religious outsiders, social outcasts, and “sinners” so much that He is accused of being a glutton and a drunkard.

Jesus heals a man with leprosy—considered contagious and religiously unclean— by touching him. Most people would have avoided lepers altogether.

Jesus chooses an inner circle of followers that includes uneducated fishermen, a former tax collector who has sold out countrymen, a zealot who wants to kill the Romans, and even a former prostitute.

Jesus consistently seeks out those who are considered social outcasts and religious outsiders and invites them to be at the center of His ministry.

Those who have been relegated to the outside are not only focus of His rescue mission—they become its leaders.

The shepherds had nothing to offer Jesus.
They were not religiously trained or socially polished.

Unlike the wise men who would arrive later-- they did not have exquisite gifts.

These guys lived under the stars with only-- the clothes on their backs,
- a staff to guide the sheep,
- and a rod for protection.

They had nothing of value to bring to Jesus except for themselves.
That’s exactly what He wanted, and what He still wants today.

Who are “shepherds” in your community-- social outcasts and religious outsiders?

Do you believe that God can use them to impact your community and point people to Him?
How can God use you to invite them to join His mission?
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 1:23 pm

My Manna

Shepherds in ancient Israel were,​ ​and still are, humble young men who toil quietly caring for flocks in lonely places.

Despite their unassuming qualities-- shepherds were subject to scorn by some​,​
-​ ​and were never celebrated even in Israel.​ ​Genesis 46:34.It's easy to take a shepherd for granted.

Nevertheless, the Bible elevates shepherds time and again as honourable and important servants of the people, and as such they became a useful picture in the Bible of Christ and the leaders in the church, who Paul calls shepherds in Acts 20:28.

It's particularly noteworthy that God counted shepherds worthy to be included among the first people to witness the arrival of our Messiah.

In Luke's Gospel we read:
"In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night."Luke 2:8.

We've all heard the story before, and we're sung it many times in Christmas carols: shepherds visited in their fields at night by the angel delivering good news that the Messiah has arrived as promised by the prophets.

Have you ever stopped to consider why the announcement of such an important event was delivered first to shepherds?

In fact, everything about the Lord's arrival was quiet and peaceful and unadorned.

He was a Baby, not a conquering King.
He was sleeping in a place intended for animals, not in a palace.

His parents were anonymous​.
His hometown was ignominious ​and His enemies were powerful​. John 1:46.

It's easy to see a close connection between the Lord Himself and those God called upon first following His arrival. Matthew 2:13-18.

Rather than announce Christ's arrival in pomp and circumstances befitting a King, the Lord preferred to deliver Jesus in a manner befitting a shepherd:
- quiet, unassuming, isolated, surrounded by lowly animals and despised.

Furthermore, when the Lord assigned others the priviledge of heralding Christ's arrival, He selected a group that perfectly represented the Messiah's own ministry of service to God's flock.

Notice in Luke 2:17 that after learning of the Messiah's birth and vis​i​ting Him in person, the shepherds leave to "make known" everything they had experienced.

Who were they telling?

Shepherds normally spent their time in the fields alone, but because of their excitement these shepherds came in from the fields and went into the towns and villages proclaiming the good news to family, friends and probably strangers.

Notice the impact the shepherds had upon the people who heard their proclamations.

In v.18 Luke records that the people wondered about the things they heard from the shepherds.

The Greek word wonder means to be amazed and astonished by the news of the shepherds.

Even though they were lowly shepherds, the news they brought was wondrous and welcome.

It's not the messenger.It's the message!

And the Lord is still calling humble, lowly servants to leave our stations in life so we may proclaim what we have heard and experienced to our family, friends and even strangers.

Let's be like the shepherds of that first Christmas.
Let's engage someone this week in a conversation about the Messiah and the reason we celebrate His arrival
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Sat 03 Dec 2016, 10:40 pm

My Manna

“In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”.Luke 2:8-11.
In Luke’s gospel he recounts the Christmas story and immediately following the birth of Jesus in the narrative he shares the announcement of His birth.

There are several interesting aspects of that announcement to consider.

First, notice the audience of the announcement.

The passage says there were some shepherds out doing their job at night watching over their flock.

It is this group of shepherds to whom the Lord directs the announcement.
​​​​Why these guys?

Although herding sheep was and is an honorable profession this was not the upper crust of society.
God chose a lowly group of shepherds out in the country to first announce the birth of the Messiah.

I think the significance is great.God’s deliverer was sent for “All” men not just a slice of the important aristocracy or religious leadership of the day.

That is still true, position bears no influence on His call to believe.

Second, notice the approach the announcement.

God sends one of his messengers, “An angel of the Lord” to share this revelation. And this angelic display wasn’t like the Clarence figure from “It’s a Good Life”.

This angel appeared in full splendor, “And the glory of the Lord shone around them”.
The angel had to calm them down saying, “Do not be afraid”.

Finally, comes the aspects of the announcement.
The angel proclaims the birth of Jesus saying, “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”.

The message to these lowly shepherds is that it is “Good news”.

Many times in the history of divine revelation the news was not good, many times the news was of judgment against a stubborn and stiff necked people.

This news though is positive.
The message is also said to be one of “Great joy”.

Not only is this a positive thing but the result is going to produce much joy. Looking back we can clearly say it is true.

It is a very joyful thing to realize that Jesus came that night to the earth with his ministry and ultimate sacrifice in mind.

His coming is a source indeed of great joy for many many people.

The reason for that great joy is also revealed.
The angel says this baby Jesus is “Born for you” and is a “Saviour, who is Christ the Lord”.

Obviously the story didn’t stop there.
Scripture says they went immediately into town to find Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus just as the angel had said.

They shared all that had been told to them.
To what degree others paid attention to this lot of lowly shepherds

We do not know but one response is recorded.
“But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Luke 2:19.
Treasure the good news!Ponder the gospel!!
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Thu 01 Dec 2016, 11:53 pm

My Manna

"Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid."
Luke 2:8-9.

When God's Son was born in Bethlehem--- an unlikely group was the first to hear the news.

If it had been up to me-I would have chosen to dispatch an angel to the court of Caesar Augustus.

"You call yourself the saviour of the world, Caesar?
Well, check this out. The real Saviour of the world has been born!"

Or, the angel could have appeared to the high priest, scribes, and scholars and announced the news that the Savio​u​r had been born.

Instead, God chose to deliver His message to shepherds who were "living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night." Luke 2:8.

To be a shepherd in that culture was to be at the bottom of the social ladder.

Shepherds were despised-
-​ ​so much so that the testimony of a shepherd wasn't allowed in a court of law.

Shepherds basically did the work that no one else wanted to do.
They had dirt under their fingernails.
They were hardworking.

And they probably felt right at home when they learned that this baby was born in lowly circumstances.

They would have related to this.
God was speaking their language.

This became the modus operandi of Christ throughout His ministry.

He always went to the outcasts, to the hurting, to the ordinary people.
He went to people like the woman at the well who had been ostracized because of her multiple marriages and divorces.
He went to people like the tax collector Zacchaeus who was perceived by his fellow Jews as a traitor.

Our Lord always had time for people like that.
He was described as the friend of sinners.

In the same way, those lowly, despised shepherds who kept watch over their flocks were visited by the Lord.
He is your friend too.He has visited you now with His loving kindness
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Mon 21 Nov 2016, 5:29 pm

My Manna

One of the challenges of living a godly life in an ungodly world is-
- the pressure we face when the world perpetually exalts those who are evil, 
- and expects the rest of us to applaud. 

As with Isaiah, we live in a culture filled with “those who call evil good and good evil.” Is​aiah​.5:20. 
Jesus made it clear that “what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” L​u​k​e​.16:15. 
Making appraisals from a biblical perspective will not be popular-
- but necessary for those who walk with Christ. 

God’s heroes are not hailed by society. 
They never have been. 

They are those who are “afflicted and mistreated,” and yet-
Scripture extols them as those “of whom the world is not worthy” Heb​rews​.11:37-38. 
There are many spiritual reasons the world exalts those who defy God’s rules. 
Not the least of which is their sinful desire to mitigate the pangs of conviction. 

Members of society can feel better about their transgressions when their heroes are avant-garde sinners. 
Though they know “that those who practice such things deserve to die-
- they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Rom.1:32. 

Sin is shameful. 
We should be remorseful when we fall. 
And we should certainly never applaud those who defiantly make sinning their habit.
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Wed 16 Nov 2016, 10:53 pm

My Manna

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” 1 Peter 5:10.
In Christ-God will "perfect,establish,strengthen and settle" us. 
But that will come at the end of our earthly lives. 
God will do these things-Peter wrote, “after you have suffered a while.” 
Right now, a character-building process is going on.And we should be patient while it is running its course.
Repentance. 
As hard as this world can be at times-- its continuation allows us the time we need to repent of our sins. 
And it is not only the additional time that benefits us-- but the hardness of our sojourn encourages us to repent.
Repentance is not a one-time occurrence; it is a process. By a sequence of events-God is teaching us repentance, and the process can’t be rushed.
Refining. 
God uses the illustration of a precious metal being refined by fire to help us see what needs to happen to our hearts. 
Peter wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6,7.
Remediation. 
In many respects, life in the present world is like time spent in a treatment center. The flaws in our character are being remediated, and the process (often very painful) takes time. 
Only when our inner characters have been prepared and made fit for the eternal enjoyment of God will they be given that privilege.
Among the many other benefits of our difficulties in this world-- there is the fact that we will enjoy heaven all the more because we suffered while getting there. 
No one truly knows happiness who has not suffered.So we should not be surprised that our reward will come later. 
The Hebrew writer said, “For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:36. 
That word “after” is a little word-- but oh, how important it is in this life. 
After we have done the will of God...
“From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.”-Spanish Proverb
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Sat 05 Nov 2016, 9:15 pm

My Manna

"Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.' And you forgave me. All my guilt is gone!" Psalm 32:5.

Go to any supermarket where a parent is busy shopping and their child is being 
obnoxious or feels he or she is being ignored by the parent. 

Some of the put-down, shame-based criticisms these children receive make your blood curdle.

Listen to the angry tone of voice as the parent blurts out: 
"You bad boy! If you don't stop your noise, I will take you outside and." 

If they are getting this kind of treatment in public-
- you can imagine what they are receiving at home: 
"You terrible girl; shame on you; you wicked, bad boy/girl."

When a child receives a continual dose of any shame-based accusations-
- he eventually believes that that is the kind of person he is and continues to feel 
this way throughout his adult life unless he gets the help he needs to resolve his 
damaged self-concept.

So how do we overcome a shame-based self-concept?

Remind!
First, continually remind yourself that God loves you just as you are and that He has totally forgiven all your sins that you have confessed to Him. 

Keep reminding yourself of this regardless of how you feel. 
This kind of repetition over time helps re-program your faulty belief system. 

Many a time when I was feeling shame-based-
I said over and over to myself, "God loves and accepts me as I am so I love and accept me as I am." 

This kind of repetition (with feeling) programs truth (or lies) into our deeper mind and belief system.

Realize!
Second, realize that we were damaged in damaging relationships and will get healed in healing relationships. 

So, with God's help, seek out a trusted friend (a skilled counsellor if necessary) with whom you can trust your very soul. 

Little by little start to open up to this person and share all your shame-based 
feelings and all your failures. 

This needs to be with a non-judgmental, non-advice-giving-wanting-to-fix-you person. 
It needs to be someone who knows you fully and accepts you totally. 

Through their loving acceptance of you just as you are, little by little you learn to 
love and accept yourself. 

This does take time.

I know this can be threatening because many of us feel that if we are known for who we truly are, we won't be liked, let alone loved. 
But this is a false belief. 

The fact is we can only be loved to the degree that we are known. 

But again, it is very important that we never open up to a shame-based, judgmental, unsolicited-advice-giving person.

Resolve!
Third, realize, too, that love is a feeling to be learned. 
When we are born, we have the capacity to love, but how to love is learned. 

If we grow up in an angry environment, we will learn to be angry or, if in a fearful 
environment, we will learn to be fearful. 

But if we grow up in a loving environment, we will learn to be loving. 
We love by first being loved. 

Unfortunately, what we didn't receive as a child, we need to receive now. 
That's the way God created us and He doesn't go against His own design.

As the Bible says, "We love God because He first loved us." 

The same principle applies to people ”we love others because someone needs to first love us." 

And, as already noted, as we open up and are totally honest to a safe, non-judgmental loving person, little by little we learn to love ourselves in a healthy sense. 

This then frees us to work on overcoming our failures. 
As long as we hide our sins and faults, we are never free to resolve them.

Remember!
Remember the words of David who sinned grievously: 
"Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to 
myself, 'I will confess my rebellion to the LORD.' And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone." Psalm 32:5.

We too can find the same freedom from guilt, false-guilt, and shame.

"Dear God, thank You again that You know me exactly as I am inside and out, and still love me. Lead me to the help I need so I can learn to love and accept myself the way You love me, and be free from all my guilt—both real and false—and shame. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's Name, Amen.
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Tue 25 Oct 2016, 12:05 pm

My Manna

 “Don’t worry at all then about tomorrow. Tomorrow can take care of itself! One day’s trouble is enough for one day.” Matthew 6:34.

It is very rarely the present moment that causes anxiety. 

We might fret about the past-
- or more commonly, worry about the future. 

Jesus warns us against it. 

Amidst all his profound wisdom that can be sometimes hard to unlock-
- here is one very clear example of godly common sense.

The present is the only real situation we have to confront. 
The future does not as yet exist. 

When we worry about the future-
- we are essentially worrying about something that is not real and sure. 

One reason why worry about the future is so corrosive and so common is that we start creating imaginary futures. 
We play the ‘what if’ game and see ourselves overcome by many and varied scenarios.

Most of these will not eventuate. 
Jesus seems to be saying that even if they do, we will handle them as they come. 

We cannot resolve the issue here and now-
- because the issue does not as yet exist and may never exist.

Of course we plan for the future and think about the future. 

But if we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by anxiety-laden future possibilities--then we are on a dead-end road! We are wrestling with phantoms. 

And as we do so-
- we risk missing out on what God is doing here and now in our lives. 
We risk adding unnecessary burdens to our already challenging present day.

Pray to God that we do not let-
- the possibilities of tomorrow rob us of the certainties of today.
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Sun 23 Oct 2016, 6:01 pm

My Manna

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household."Ephesians 2:19.
A great deal of friction and enmity is generated by those who see themselves as superior to others-
- by virtue of their race, religion, or social status. 

Such attitudes destroy peace between individuals, communities, and even nations. 

The early church confronted this problem when it addressed the status of non-Jewish believers. 
These Gentiles had been excluded from the commonwealth of Israel with all its privileges and covenants-
- so it was easy to view them as second-class citizens in the church despite their faith in Jesus. 

Even after Pentecost and the outpouring of the Spirit-
- the old ways of thinking were hard to abandon.

The apostle Paul spoke to this very problem in Ephesus when he said:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall.” Eph. 2:13-14.

Today there continue to be many dividing walls between people. 

Human nature is no different in the modern age than it was in the first century: 
- power, pride, and privilege still dominate in the kingdom of darkness. 

Unfortunately, many dividing walls also exist in the Christian community. 
Yet the gospel of Jesus Christ is just as powerful today in “making the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.” v. 15. 

It doesn’t matter what the barriers are.
We can overcome them by recognizing that we all have our access to the Father through the same Spirit. v. 18.
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Fri 14 Oct 2016, 6:30 pm

My Manna

"Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us." Psalms 62:8.
Early African believers were earnest and regular in private devotions. 

Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. 

Over time, the paths to these places became well worn. 

As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. 
They would kindly remind the negligent one, "Brother, the ​​​​​​grass grows on your path."

Prayer is a time when we can be completely intimate with the Lord-
- we can share all our burdens, heartaches, situations and life struggles,
- but sometimes we need to get away into the thicket, alone, and be intimate with Him! 

The Lord loves to be intimate with us! 

He doesn't want a superficial relationship of recited prayers-
- but a deep relationship with Him,
- the One who loves us with a love that is everlasting!

If grass has begun to grow on your path-
- take some time out and find your way to that spot in the thicket today. 

God awaits you!
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Mon 10 Oct 2016, 8:38 pm

My Manna

"Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:30-31.

We hate to wait! 

Maybe for you it's being put on hold during a phone call. 
​M​aybe your child is still stuck on the waiting list for that magnet school she has to attend. 
Maybe it's a painfully slow line at your morning coffee shop.

In our fast-paced culture, waiting means losing control. 

People used to farm their own food; planting a field and waiting for the crop took months. 
Today, we run to the nearest drive-through. 

Remember pen pals? 
People used to write letters, by hand and then wait several days for them to be received. 
Today we send a text message. 

What about the news? 
From newspapers to world headlines, everything is at the push of a button – available instantly.

So, why is waiting so hard? 

Waiting is a very​​ ​​​​real reminder that the world does not revolve around me. 
Waiting messes with my plans. 
Waiting forces me to see and hear things that I'd rather ignore. 

Simply, waiting reveals that I am not in control. 

God, however, tells us that waiting is important. 
In fact, the Bible shows us that waiting is necessary and needed in our lives.

Waiting God uses to get our attention.
Waiting reminds us that God is in control when I am not.
Waiting reveals God's plans, not mine.
Waiting allows God to speak into our lives in ways we could never hear before.
Waiting shifts our perspective to see and experience more of God's love and grace in our lives.

Are you hating the wait? 

Step back and give God your frustrations. 
Be honest. 

From the small annoyances to the heavy burdens-
- ask God to help you trade
- the hate in the wait 
- for hope in the promises of God's love and grace.
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Sun 09 Oct 2016, 9:24 pm

My Manna
Do it now!
 
"O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help." Psalm 86:5.
 
No atheist could conceive of a God-
- as good, as merciful, as compassionate, and as loving, as the God of the Bible, 
- and as the God who has revealed himself to you and me. 

No mind that was formed as the result of the random collisions of molecules over millions of years-
- could dream up such pure goodness as God is.
 
And more, no religion that has ever existed on the face of the earth-
- has ever conceived of such a God as is revealed in Jesus Christ. 

Other religions can conceive of perfection, justice, and law-
- but never have they conceived of such a compassionate love as the story of Jesus reveals. 
 
When I look at myself-
I wonder how I could ever be saved.

When I look at God-
I wonder how I could ever be lost.
 
For me, the fact that the goodness of the character of God is-
- so far beyond what my mind can imagine is evidence for the existence of God. 

He’s a God who’s worthy of your love-
- and to whom you can entrust your life. 
 
Have you been looking at yourself too much? 

You know the symptoms: 
- doubt, anxiety, lack of joy...

Perhaps you need to be looking at God more. 

If you haven’t already set time aside everyday to by overawed by God and his unfailing love toward you-
- do it now!
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Wed 05 Oct 2016, 7:12 pm

My Manna

"Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route." Acts 16:6-8.

God has the power to open any closed door. 

And yet-
He may decide to let things that seem important to us remain blocked. 

Why does the Lord allow doors to stay shut?

Protection. 
He might be trying to keep us from making a mistake. 
On our own, we may not have adequate knowledge to make right choices.

Participation. 
God could be sending us on a new path. 
His plan might include bigger opportunities, deeper satisfaction, more productivity, a season of suffering, or an opportunity to glorify His name. 

The Lord closed doors in Asia so that the apostle Paul would minister on the continent of Europe. 
His obedience led to increased fruitfulness—the churches at Philippi, Thessalonica, and Corinth—and to more knowledge for us through his letters to them. Acts 16:6-10.
Though Paul experienced much suffering, he also knew the joy of participating in God’s work.

Proof. 
When God says “No,” our faith is tested-
- we discover what we really believe about Him and His plans,
- and we prove our faithfulness to Him.

Perseverance. 
When our path is blocked-
- we have opportunity to develop steadfastness. 

Romans 5:3-5 tells us that we should actually “exult in our tribulations,” because of the positive results the Lord will cause through them.

Proper timing. 
Sometimes our Father places ​​​​stop signs in our way to work out the right timing for His will.

Punishment.
Past waywardness can affect future experiences and blessings,
- and even ministry, business​, study​ ​or​​ ​​even tourism​.

But-
"...we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28.
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Sat 01 Oct 2016, 10:43 am

My Manna

"Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him." Genesis 21:5.

Many of us have retired already or are planning to in the near future. 
For most people, retirement is viewed as a time to relax, reflect, and enjoy the fruits of a lifetime of labour.

But consider that many of the greatest heroes of the Bible were just getting started when most of us retire!

God established His covenant with Abraham when he was 99 years old. 

After a life of hard work and great success, imagine God telling you-
“Okay, now it’s time for your life’s work to really get started.”

Similarly, Moses was around 80 years old when he led the Israelites out of Egypt. 
How many of us could lead a nation of millions through the desert for the next 40 years?

Believe it or not, the concept of retirement isn’t found anywhere in the Bible. 

As Christians, you and I are called to be on the firing line with the Lord our whole life on earth!

And today-
God may be calling you to do something as simple as-
- encouraging your neighbour or 
- making your famous chocolate chip cookies for a bake sale or
- writing a book. 
Perhaps He is even calling you to mentor younger members of your church.

Whatever God is calling you to do as a retiree and as a Christian-
He is calling you to continue to serve Him during this season of life, 
- using the time He’s given you to make a difference for Him.

Pray that God would help you use the time He’s given you in retirement to serve others-
- for their good and 
- for His glory!

Elders, be blessed!​
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Wed 28 Sep 2016, 9:11 pm

My Manna​​

"Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD." Psalms 31:24. 

When Jim Burke became the head of a new products division at Johnson & Johnson-
- one of his first projects was the development of a children's chest rub. 

The product failed miserably, and Burke expected that he would be fired. 

When he was called in to see the chairman of the board, however, he met a surprising reception. 

"Are you the one who just cost us all that money?" asked Robert Wood Johnson. "Well I just want to congratulate you. If you are making mistakes, that means you are taking risks, and we won't grow unless you take risks!" 

Apparently, Mr. Johnson wasn’t joking! 

Years later-
Johnson & Johnson remains one of the largest multi-national manufacturers of pharmaceutical, diagnostic, therapeutic, surgical, personal hygiene, baby and biotechnology products.

We believers are called to take some risks so that God’s Kingdom may grow! 

So often, we cower at the opportunities He makes available because we are too afraid things won’t go the way hope and others might be disappointed or sneer at our failure. 

But God wants us to go forth boldly, sometimes taking a risk or two, so that we may accomplish great things for Him! 

Yes, sometimes we’ll get it wrong and there may be a hard lesson to learn. 
But we will learn and eventually great things will happen as result of our courage and persistence!

The time is short and there is so much work to do for the Kingdom! 
We cannot afford to stand in the sidelines any longer! 

Let’s ask the Lord to cause to us have courage and go in boldness! 
God’s Kingdom won’t grow unless we start taking some risks!
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Re: My Manna

Post  Admin on Sun 25 Sep 2016, 3:43 pm

My Manna​​

“And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.” Luke 21:1-4.

A preacher told of a church meeting where he had been asked to assist with a fund raising campaign for a church that had been struggling financially because the people would not give. 

He said, “It was the slowest and most reluctant giving I have ever encountered.” 

When he finished his exhortation and the pledges were taken, they had less than half the money needed. 

He said that an elderly couple in the back then volunteered to sell their house to make up the difference—they had been offered exactly the amount remaining that needed to be raised for it the day before. 

But in less than five minutes, the previously stingy congregation rallied to pledge the entire amount so the couple could keep their home. 
The sacrifice of that couple motivated them to give.

When we realize that all we have belongs to God-
- it is impossible to justify refusing to give. 

Sometimes we make the excuse that we do not give because of our lack. 
But in reality, even small gifts have a big impact. 

No man ever made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.

The Lord after all does not need our money. 
We are not helping Him when we give. 

He is far more concerned about the ​​​​​​condition of our heart than the size of our offering.

The measure of our generosity is-
- not found in the size of the gift, 
- but in the sacrifice of the gift.
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