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All needs met

The Prophet Isaiah foretold the birth of Lord Jesus around 700 BC. The five names he mentioned meet the five most important needs of human beings.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

  1. Wonderful: The need for hope: our Lord’s birth was astonishing and extraordinary. His birth was announced by angels to ordinary shepherds who were at the bottom of the pile and Wise Men of the East got a sign of a star.  No wonder since He embraces whole humanity in His saving grace.  His name gives hope in all situations as he is wonder-working God.
  2. Counsellor: The need for wisdom and guidance. Each person in the world needs counsel to take the right decisions.  Lord Jesus Christ is our reliable, relevant and perfect counsellor.  Human wisdom and counsel are finite, so fallible.  The Lord Jesus’ counsel is from infinite wisdom and understanding so they are infallible.  He alone can guide us in the paths of righteousness.  (Psalm 23:3)
  3. Almighty God: The need for strength. Our Counsellor provides wisdom to plan, and our almighty provides strength to implement those plans. The Lord Jesus has authority over heaven and earth. (Mathew 28:18) We can do all things through the strength provided by Lord Jesus Christ. (Phil 4:13)
  4. Eternal Father: The need for Presence, Provision and Protection. Lord Jesus Christ is before and beyond time hence called as Eternal or Everlasting Father. Like a father, He provides all our needs.
  5. Prince of Peace: The need for fellowship with God. Lord Jesus reconciles God and humanity bringing peace. The past sins of a person are forgiven by the vicarious death of Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, thus Peace with God becomes a reality. Also, there is peace for the present in heart and mind that the world cannot give or take it away.  (John 14:27)

Do you experience all your needs met by Lord Jesus Christ?

#jnmanokaran #insights #wonderful #counsellor #almightygod #everlastingfather #princeofpeace

Website:  jnmanokaran.me

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

by Rev. Dr J.N. Manokaran

From Tradition to Truth

Tradition is like a wrapper, under which there could be a truth or a myth or a mixture of both. Unpacking tradition is helpful to understand the reason for the birth of a tradition. Santa Claus is one such tradition.

St. Nicholas is believed to be a monk born around 280 AD in Patara, near Myra in modern Turkey. He came from a rich family and gave away all his inheritance to the poor. One popular legend tells how he saved three daughters who were being sold as slaves by their father by paying their dowry. The 6th of December is his the anniversary of his death and is celebrated as a feast day by the Roman Catholic church. The Protestant Reformation forbade veneration of saints, yet St. Nicholas continues to enjoy the same status and attractiveness! In 1841 a shop in Philadelphia, USA created a life-size model of ‘Santa’ which attracted children and parents, naturally it spread all over. In the 1890s the Salvation Army dressed up young men as ‘Santas’ to raise funds by ringing bells in street corners.

While we were living in Chandigarh (1995), the Lion’s club president approached us to come and speak in their Christmas gathering. He told me specifically to speak about Santa Claus as people did not know anything about the story. I was surprised to see a gathering of over 200 men and women, none of them was a Christian. I unpacked the legend of Santa Claus and lead them from there to the great account of the Incarnation at Bethlehem – the birth of our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ. Traditions like Santa Claus have put a veil to the truth, however, it can also become an open door for sharing the truth.

Instead of just condemning Santa Claus and his followers let us push open doors to share the truth. Unpack traditions to share the Truth!

#jnmanokaran #jninsights #traditions #santaclaus

Rev. Dr. J.N. Manokaran, (edited)

Website: jnmanokaran.me
Image by Daniel Trump from Pixabay

As we forgive those…

Willemien is our neighbour. She is a widow and has a cute dog named Noah (it means „rest”). Every day she walks past our house and looks inside to wave to whoever she sees in our kitchen.

A couple of years ago, I invited her to come to our house for dinner with other widows. She came and was happy to be invited as well as surprised. Why would we do such a nice thing? We explained that true Christianity is taking care of widows and orphans. We talked about other important things in our lives and she had wondered if we were part of a cult but when she found out we were Christians, she explained how her family had gone to church once in a while and that her father was baptised on his deathbed by the pastor. Pretty soon after that, we invited her to one of our CBS groups. She gave me money to buy her a Bible because she had no idea which Bible to buy. She started reading it every day and loves answering the questions which help her understand the text.? When her brother came over to visit her, he told her that he wanted to pray before lunch and she was surprised. Turned out he had become a Christian also!

After many months of studying the Bible in community with other people from our town, Willemien told us this story. „I went to see my sister yesterday. I have not spoken to her for 25 years. I finally decided that I could no longer hold a grudge against her and needed to forgive her. You see, when she was pregnant out of wedlock, my mother kicked her out of the house. Then I opened my house and let her live with me and my husband. That was a big mistake because soon she was sleeping with my husband and our marriage broke up. I was so mad at her that I decided to never talk to her again. The Bible study and prayer have helped me to finally forgive her and so I went to see her. One week later, Willemeien’s sister died but she is still very happy she was able to go and forgive her.

Is there anyone you need to forgive? Studying God’s Word can help you do this just as she did.

Margré Hays

Don’t be a Commentary Junkie

By Ryan Higginbottom

Darren Larson (2006), Creative Commons License

Darren Larson (2006),?Creative Commons License

Let?s be honest: a good Bible commentary is?awesome. A scholar spends years studying a book of the Bible, gathering wisdom both from centuries of Christian history and from his own encounters with God in his Word. Then?you?get a chance to peek over his shoulder! Commentaries can be a great blessing from God.

While they can be terrific as a reference, commentaries are a poor substitute for studying the Bible yourself. I understand the temptation to rely on commentaries. The research! The analysis! The footnotes! But when we become enamored with the work of a Bible scholar, we miss out on the beauty of the Bible?s author.

The Lure of the Instant Fix

In this era of the smartphone, we?re used to getting everything quickly, from weather forecasts to bank transactions to pizza delivery. We think waiting five seconds for our email to load is an eternity. So if we feel stuck or lost when studying the Bible, we naturally want immediate aid. Study Bibles appeal to this desire by printing explanations and commentary on the same page as the Bible text. Just shift your eyes three inches for your answer.

But this need for instant gratification can short-circuit our Bible learning. You?d be troubled if your eight-year-old completed her math homework with the answer guide next to her, right? We?re not that much different from the math cheat if we camp out in a Bible commentary without poring over the Bible itself first.

Answers are not the Ultimate Goal

Part of?interpreting?the Bible is?asking questions?of the text. And, as much as the text allows, we should try to?answer those questions.

But we need to be careful here. An?obsession?with answering interpretive questions can reveal a misplaced goal.?Why are you studying the Bible??If you want to figure everything out, solve tricky theological puzzles, and generally become a Bible genius, you?re pointed in the wrong direction.

The aim of Bible study is love?love for God through his son Jesus, and love for others made in God?s image. Jesus said that all the Law and Prophets hang on these two commandments. (Matt 22:35?40) If you?re not growing in love as a result of studying the Bible, you?re doing it wrong.

If you skip right to the commentary, you might acquire some temporary knowledge. But if you take a shot at the interpretation first, you are more likely to internalize the author?s?main point. This will lead to deeper, Spirit-fueled?application.

Five Suggestions

Used in the right way, Bible commentaries can be tremendously valuable. We?ve published two posts which caution against the misuse of?commentaries?and?study Bibles. Let me offer five additional suggestions.

  • Don?t treat a commentary as an infallible expert. Bible commentaries are written by imperfect sinners like you and me. Always weigh the commentary against the Bible.
  • Watch out for speculation. A good number of Bible commentators seem prone to this error.
  • Take advantage of the strengths. Commentaries are usually helpful in developing a?book overview?and in?answering interpretation questions. On the whole, they tend to be less helpful in the realms of observation and application. (Though there are exceptions!)
  • Recognize the weaknesses. Commentators often have different priorities than you. Don?t be frustrated when a commentary doesn?t address your entire list of unanswered questions.
  • Choose good commentaries. Though the most trustworthy recommendations come from friends, I?ve found?Best Commentaries?to be a helpful resource.
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