Dear God, open a door for my message, so that I may proclaim the mystery of Christ. I pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Colossians 4:3-4

R4C

R4C
Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You. ~ Reconciliation and Forgiveness ~ I am Sorry * Please Forgive Me * Thank You * I Love You.
Psalm 19:14, May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

If your hand or eye causes you to sin


Who in their right mind would want to lose their reward and then be deprived of joy in the end? We have been given the greatest of rewards - God himself who is perfect love and source of abundant life and unending happiness. Paul the Apostle tells us that "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit" (Romans 5:5). God's love purifies our hearts and compels us to express kindness and charity towards our neighbor who is created in the image and likeness of God. We were created in love for love. The charity we show to our neighbors in their need expresses the gratitude we have for the abundant goodness and kindness of God towards us. Jesus declared that any kindness shown and any help given to the people of Christ will not lose its reward. Jesus never refused to give to anyone in need who asked for his help. As his disciples we are called to be kind and generous as he is.

Gregory of Nyssa (330-395 AD), an early church father wrote:

"God never asks his servants to do what is impossible. The love and goodness of his Godhead is revealed as richly available. It is poured out like water upon all. God furnishes to each person according to his will the ability to do something good. None of those seeking to be saved will be lacking in this ability, given by the one who said: 'whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward'" ( ON THE CHRISTIAN MODE OF LIFE 8.1)

Do you allow the love of Christ to transform your heart that you may treat your neighbor with loving-kindness and mercy?

Avoiding evil and the near occasion of sin
Was Jesus' exaggerating when he urged his followers to use drastic measures to avoid evil and its harmful consequences (Mark 9:42-47? Jesus set before his disciples the one supreme goal in life that is worth any sacrifice, and that goal is God himself and his will for our lives which leads to everlasting peace and happiness. Just as a doctor might remove a limb or some part of the body in order to preserve the life of the whole body, so we must be ready to part with anything that causes us to sin and which leads to spiritual death. Jesus warns his disciples of the terrible responsibility that they must set no stumbling block in the way of another, that is, not give offense or bad example that might lead another to sin. The Greek word for temptation ( scandalon) is exactly the same as the English word scandal. The original meaning of scandal is a trap or a stumbling block which causes one to trip and fall. The Jews held that it was an unforgivable sin to teach another to sin. If we teach another to sin, he or she in turn may teach still another, until a train of sin is set in motion with no foreseeable end. The young in faith are especially vulnerable to the bad example of those who should be passing on the faith. Do you set a good example for others to follow, especially the young?

Salt and fire
What does Jesus mean when he says "have salt in yourselves" (Mark 9:50)? Salt served a very useful purpose in hot climates before the invention of electricity and refrigeration. Salt not only gave food flavor, it also preserved meat from spoiling. Salt was used as a symbol of fellowship and the sharing of a common meal with one's friends. The near-Eastern expressionto betray the salt meant to betray one's Lord or Master or one's friends. Leonardo da Vinci in his painting of the Last Supper depicts Judas in the act of tipping over the salt shaker, thus symbolically indentifying himself as the betrayer of his Master the Lord Jesus.

Jesus used the image of salt to describe how his disciples are to live in the world. As salt purifies, preserves, and produces rich flavor for food, so the disciple of Christ must be salt in the world of human society to purify, preserve, and bring the flavor of God's kingdom of righteousness, peace, joy, and mercy. What did Jesus mean by the expression "salted with fire" and "salt losing its saltiness"? Salt in the ancient world was often put in ovens to intensify the heat. When the salt was burned off and no longer useful it was thrown out on the foot path where it would easily get trodden upon (Matthew 5:13) . Perhaps Jesus wanted to contrast useful salt and salt which lost its ability to prevent corruption to encourage his disciples to bring the rich flavor of Christ's love, holiness, and righteousness to a world dominated by greed, selfish ambition, and neglect for the weak, poor, and defenseless.

Paul the Apostle reminds us that we are called to be "the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life" (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 ). The Lord Jesus wants the fragrance of his love and righteousness to permeate our lives, thoughts, speech, and actions. Do you allow the fragrance of Christ's love and truth to permeate your relationships and circle of influence, especially among your family, friends, and neighbors?

Lord Jesus, fill me with the fragrance of your love and truth that I may radiate the joy and peace of the Gospel wherever I go and with whomever I meet.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Only the presence of GOD ....


A note to self as a personal reminder.


Find Hope in relationship with GOD

Feel hopeless? Struggling? 
Hope begins with a relationship with GOD
GOD reserves His “best” for His children 
and offers you all His best 
- but you can only receive it 
through His Son, Jesus Christ.


All things are possible to him who believes


What kind of faith does the Lord Jesus expect of us, especially when we meet challenges and difficulties? Inevitably there will be times when each of us cause disappointment to others. In this Gospel incident the disciples of Jesus brought disappointment to a pleading father because they failed to heal his epileptic son. Jesus' response seemed stern; but it was really tempered with love and compassion. We see at once both Jesus' dismay with the disciples' lack of faith and his concern to meet the need of this troubled boy and his anguished father. Jesus recognized the weakness of the father’s faith and at the same time challenged him to pray boldly with expectant faith: "All things are possible to him who believes!"

Prayer and faith go together 
Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD), in his commentary on this passage, reminds us that prayer and faith go together: "Where faith fails, prayer perishes. For who prays for that in which he does not believe? ..So then in order that we may pray, let us believe, and let us pray that this same faith by which we pray may not falter." The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit that we may have the confidence and boldness we need to ask our heavenly Father for his help and grace. Do you trust in God's love and care for you and pray with expectant faith that he will give you what you need?

When Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, the boy at first seemed to get worse rather than better as he went into a fit of convulsion. Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD), a renowned preacher and bishop of Ravena, reflects on this incident:
"Though it was the boy who fell on the ground, it was the devil in him who was in anguish. The possessed boy was merely convulsed, while the usurping spirit was being convicted by the awesome judge. The captive was detained, but the captor was punished. Through the wrenching of the human body, the punishment of the devil was made manifest."
God promises each one of us freedom from oppression, especially from the oppression of sin and the evil one who tries to rob us of faith, hope, and peace with God. The Lord Jesus invites us, as he did this boy’s father, to pray with expectant faith. Do you trust in God’s unfailing love and mercy?

Faith and trust in God's unfailing love and mercy 
The mighty works and signs which Jesus did demonstrate that the kingdom of God is present in him. These signs attest that the Father has sent him as the promised Messiah. They invite belief in Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world. The coming of God's kingdom means defeat of Satan's kingdom. Jesus' exorcisms anticipate his great victory over "the ruler of this world" (John 12:31). While Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and may cause grave injuries of a spiritual nature, and indirectly even of a physical nature, his power is nonetheless limited and permitted by divine providence (Romans 8:28). Jesus offers freedom from bondage to sin and Satan. There is no affliction he cannot deliver us from. Do you make full use of the protection and help he offers to those who seek him with faith and trust in his mercy?

Lord Jesus, help my unbelief! Increase my faith and trust in your saving power. Give me confidence and perseverance, especially in prayer. And help me to bring your healing love and truth to those I meet.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Faith is trusting GOD



Now faith is confidence 
in what we hope for and assurance 
about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1


And without faith 
it is impossible to please God, 
because anyone who comes to him 
must believe that he exists 
and that he rewards 
those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6


Therefore I tell you, 
whatever you ask for in prayer, 
believe that you have received it, 
and it will be yours.
Mark 11:24 


For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. 
The LORD loves righteousness and justice; 
the earth is full of his unfailing love.
By the word of the LORD 
the heavens were made, 
their starry host 
by the breath of his mouth.
Psalm 33:4-6


Look to the LORD and his strength; 
seek his face always.
1 Chronicles 16:11


For it is with your heart 
that you believe and are justified, 
and it is with your mouth 
that you profess your faith 
and are saved.
Romans 10:10

Happy Valentine ~ 2017


Each and every day is Valentine for us 
as God so loved us that He gave His only Son, 
our Lord JESUS CHRIST
who died to save us for our sins.
AMEN.

Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod


Do you allow anxiety or fear to keep you from trusting in God's provision for your life? The apostles worried because they forgot to bring bread for their journey. And that was right after Jesus miraculously fed a group of five thousand people (Mark 6:41-44, Matthew 14:17-21), and then on another occasion four thousand people (Mark 8:1-10, Matthew 15:34-38)! How easy it is to forget what God has already done for us and to doubt what he promises to do for us in the future as well. Scripture tells us that "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). Ask the Lord Jesus to fill your heart with his love and to increase your faith in his provident care for you.

Beware the "leaven" which corrupts mind, body, and soul
Jesus cautioned the disciples to beware of bread that corrupts, such as the "leaven of the Pharisees." When leaven ferments a lump of wet dough, it transforms the dough and changes it into life-enriching bread when heated. Left-over dough which had been leavened (but not baked) would rot and become putrified. For the Jew leaven was a sign or symbol of evil influence. It signified anything which rots and corrupts, not just physically but spiritually and morally as well.

Jesus warned his disciples to avoid the way of the Pharisees and Sadducees who sought their own counsels rather than the mind of God. They were blinded by their own arrogance and were unable to recognize the truth and wisdom which Jesus spoke in the name of his Father in heaven. What kind of leaven (spiritual, moral, intellectual) do you allow to influence your way of thinking and living? Jesus sharply contrasts the bread and leaven which produces life, especially the abundant life which God offers through Jesus, the true bread of heaven, with the bread and leaven which rots and corrupts mind, body, and soul.

Let God's word nourish and strengthen you in faith, hope, and love
As the disciples continued to worry about their lack of physical bread for the journey, Jesus reminded them of his miraculous provision of bread in the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand. He then upbraided them for their lack of trust in God. Aren't we like the apostles? We too easily get preoccupied with the problems, needs, and worries of the present moment, and we forget the most important reality of all - God's abiding presence with us!

When the people of Israel wandered in the desert homeless and helpless for forty years, God was with them every step of the way. And he provided for them shelter, food, water, and provision, as long as they trusted in him. Each day he gave them just what they needed. Jesus teaches us to trust in God's abiding presence with us and in his promise to provide us what we need each and every day to live as his sons and daughters. Do you pray with joyful confidence, "Father, give us this day our daily bread"?

Lord Jesus, you alone are the true bread of life which sustains us each and every day. Give me joy and strength to serve you always and help me to turn away from the leaven of sin and worldliness which brings corruption and death.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Prayer to our Lady of Lourdes


Oh ever immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, Health of the Sick, Refuge of Sinners, Comforter of the Afflicted, you know my wants, my troubles, my sufferings. Look upon me with mercy. When you appeared in the grotto of Lourdes, you made it a privileged sanctuary where you dispense your favors, and where many sufferers have obtained the cure of their infirmities, both spiritual and corporal.

I come, therefore, with unbounded confidence to implore your maternal intercession. My loving Mother, obtain my request. I will try to imitate your virtues so that I may one day share your company and bless you in eternity. Amen.

source: lourdesprayerrequest.com

If you were to die right now, do you think you would enter into Heaven?


Would you like to have the absolute assurance that you will be welcome there? If so then, pray this simple prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I know I cannot earn my way into Heaven. I thank you for sacrificing your life so that my sins could be forgiven. I know the only way anyone can receive forgiveness is through you, and so I come to you now and ask you to come into my life, forgive me of my sins, cleanse me, heal me, and be my personal savior so I may have eternal life through you. I pray in your name Jesus. Amen.

As a continuation of your faith in Christ, you should start studying the Bible daily in order to gain a closer relationship with God, also find a local church to attend that teaches directly from the Bible so you will have someone to answer any questions you may still have. Welcome to the family of God!

source: Jeff Allen

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

You are the salt of the Earth and Light of the World


Jesus used ordinary images, such as salt and light, to convey extraordinary truths that transform our minds, hearts, and lives. What does salt and light have to teach us about God and the transforming power of his kingdom? Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world. People traded with it, like we trade with valuable goods, such as gold and stock. Salt also served a very useful purpose, especially in warmer climates before the invention of electricity and refrigeration. Salt not only gave rich flavor to food, it also preserved food from going bad and being spoiled.

The salt of God's kingdom for all 
Jesus used the image of salt to describe the transforming effect of God's work in our lives - and how the Holy Spirit wants to work through us to bring the power and blessing of God's kingdom to others. As salt purifies, preserves, and produces rich flavor for our daily food, we, too, as disciples of Jesus, are "salt" for the world of human society. The Lord wants to work in and through us to purify, preserve, and spread the rich flavor of God's kingdom everywhere - his "kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Romans 14:17).

Don't lose your saltiness
What did Jesus mean by the expression "if salt has lost its taste... it is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot" (Matthew 5:13)? Salt in the ancient world was often put into ovens to intensify the heat. When the salt was burned off and no longer useful it was thrown out on the ground where it would easily get stepped on and swept away (Matthew 5:13). How can we lose our "saltiness"? When we allow the world, sin, and Satan to corrupt us. The Lord wants us to preserve our "saltiness" - through virtuous living and rejection of sin - not only for our own sake but also for the sake of others.

The aroma of Christ in the world 
Paul the Apostle reminds us that we are called to be "the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life" (2 Corinthians 2:15-16 ). Do you allow the fragrance of Christ's love, truth, and holiness to permeate every area of your life, your thoughts, words, actions, and relationships?

Light that shines for all to see 
Jesus used the image of light and a lamp to further his illustration of God's transforming work in and through us. Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jews also understood "light" as symbol or expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105). God's grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace.

Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God's kingdom. Our mission is to be light-bearers of Jesus Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.

There is great freedom and joy for those who live in the light of God's truth and goodness. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God's light?

"Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed."


source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Many were made well


Do you recognize the Lord's presence in your life? The Gospel records that when Jesus disembarked from the boat the people immediately recognized him. What did they recognize in Jesus? A prophet, a healer, the Messiah, the Son of God? For sure they recognized that Jesus had power from God to heal and to make whole bodies, limbs, minds, and hearts that were beset with disease, affliction, and sin. What happened when they pressed upon him and touched the fringe of his garment? They were made well. The Lord Jesus is ever ready to meet our needs as well. Do you approach him with expectant faith?

Faith is an entirely free gift which God makes to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. Believing and trusting in God to act in our lives is only possible by the grace and help of the Holy Spirit who moves the heart and converts it to God. The Holy Spirit opens the eyes of the mind and helps us to understand, accept, and believe God's word. How do we grow in faith? By listening to God's word with trust and submission. Faith also grows through testing and perseverance. The Lord wants to teach us how to pray in faith for his will for our lives and for the things he wishes to give us to enable us to follow him faithfully and serve him generously.

Jesus gave his disciples the perfect prayer which acknowledges God as our Father who provides generously for his children. The Lord's prayer teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and to pray that God's will be accomplished in our lives. The Lord in turn, gives us what we need to live each day for his glory. The Lord is never too distant nor too busy to meet us and to give his blessing. Do you pray to the Father with confidence that he will show you his will and give you what you need to follow him? Ask the Lord to increase your faith and gratitude for his merciful love and provision for your life.

Lord Jesus, let my heart sing for joy in your presence. Give me eyes of faith to recognize your presence and fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may walk in your way of love and peace.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Friday, 3 February 2017

The woman who took heart in Jesus


Do you approach the Lord Jesus with expectant faith or with skeptical doubt? People in desperate or helpless circumstances were not disappointed when they sought Jesus out. What drew them to Jesus? Was it hope for a miracle or a word of comfort in their affliction? What did the elderly woman who had suffered miserably for twelve years expect Jesus to do for her? And what did a grieving father expect Jesus to do for his beloved daughter who was at the point of death? Jesus gave hope where there seemed to be no human cause for it because his hope was directed to God. He spoke words of hope to the woman ( Take heart, daughter!) to ignite the spark of faith in her ( your faith has made you well!).

Ephrem the Syrian (306-373 AD), an early church Scripture scholar and author of hymns and commentaries, reflected on the miracle of the woman who was healed of her flow of blood:

"Glory to you, hidden Son of God, because your healing power is proclaimed through the hidden suffering of the afflicted woman. Through this woman whom they could see, the witnesses were enabled to behold the divinity that cannot be seen. Through the Son's own healing power his divinity became known. Through the afflicted women's being healed her faith was made manifest. She caused him to be proclaimed, and indeed was honored with him. For truth was being proclaimed together with its heralds. If she was a witness to his divinity, he in turn was a witness to her faith... He saw through to her hidden faith, and gave her a visible healing."

Jesus also gave supernatural hope to a father who had just lost a beloved child. It took considerable courage and risk for the ruler of a synagogue to openly go to Jesus and to invite the scorn of his neighbors and kin. Even the hired mourners laughed scornfully at Jesus. Their grief was devoid of any hope. Nonetheless, Jesus took the girl by the hand and delivered her from the grasp of death. Peter Chrysologus (400-450 AD), an early church father who was renowned for his preaching at Ravena, comments on this miracle:

"This man was a ruler of the synagogue, and versed in the law. He had surely read that while God created all other things by his word, man had been created by the hand of God. He trusted therefore in God that his daughter would be recreated, and restored to life by that same hand which, he knew, had created her... He [Jesus] who laid hands on her to form her from nothing, once more lays hands upon her to reform her from what had perished."

In both instances we see Jesus' personal concern for the needs of others and his readiness to heal and restore life. In Jesus we see the infinite love of God extending to each and every individual as he gives freely and wholly of himself to each person he meets. Do you approach the Lord with confident expectation that he will hear your request and act? 

Lord Jesus, you love each of us individually with a unique and personal love. Touch my life with your saving power, heal and restore me to fullness of life. Help me to give wholly of myself in loving service to others.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East

Prayer for the Sick


Father of goodness and love, 
hear our prayers for the sick members of our community 
and for all who are in need. 
Amid mental and physical suffering 
may they find consolation in your healing presence.
Show your mercy as you close wounds, 
cure illness, make broken bodies whole 
and free downcast spirits. 
May these special people 
find lasting health and deliverance, 
and so join us in thanking you for all your gifts.
We ask this through the Lord Jesus 
who healed those who believed.
Amen.

February is dedicated to the Holy Family

The Holy Family of Nazareth, the perfect example of family life for all Christians. In prayers to the Holy Family, we meditate on the example of the Holy Family and ask the Holy Family to intercede on behalf of our families.
Daily Prayer to the Holy Family
** to be said in front of a picture of the Holy Family

O most loving Jesus, Who by Thy surpassing virtues and the example of Thy home life didst hallow the household in which Thou didst choose to live while on earth, mercifully look down upon this family, whose members, humbly prostrate before Thee, implore Thy protection. Remember that we are Thine, bound and consecrated to Thee by a special devotion. Protect us in Thy mercy, deliver us from danger, help us in our necessities, and impart to us strength to persevere always in the imitation of Thy Holy Family, so that, by serving Thee and loving Thee faithfully during this mortal life, we may at length give Thee eternal praise in heaven.

O Mary, dearest Mother, we implore thy assistance, knowing that thy divine Son will hearken to thy petition.

And do thou, most glorious patriarch, St. Joseph, help us with thy powerful patronage, and place our petitions in Mary's hands, that she may offer them to Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Saint Jude, please pray and intercede for me ...... Help me, I am so hopeless and desperate my dearest Saint Jude

Dearest St.Jude, you are the patron saint for the desperate and hopeless cause like me. You are known of your miraculous intercession and prayer to Jesus, I and many have felt and received your miraculous power through Jesus having our petitions answered. Therefore, I who is currently going through storms in my life, and in need of your power intercession and prayer in overcoming the difficulties that I have been facing for several months which have become beyond my means and require urgent help. I have been diagnosed to be suffering from severe OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea) whereby my sleep at night is disrupted over 600 times/8hours caused by obstruction of the upper airway (windpipe) when the throat muscles intermittently relax (repetitive pauses) and block my airway during sleep, despite the effort to breathe, and is usually associated with a reduction in blood oxygen saturation. And now I need to buy CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure) which cost RM5600~RM5800 to use every night to ensure my airways is always open for breathing. I am also have financial difficulties where I have backlogs with the banks and some people, and also bills unpaid for for almost 3 months which I unable solve by myself due to the sum is huge and these people are chasing me each and every day, sending legal notices making me even more worried as things are beyond me. I have tried my very best to pay but I unable to pay all as my resource is not sufficient. Therefore, I put all my trust, hope and believe in the hands of God and Jesus, I know I am a sinner and may they show their mercy upon me, and do not left me be put to shame or disgrace but saved and restore me. Only miracle from Jesus by the will of the Father in Heaven can heal and provide for my solution to the above mess that I have caused in my life. I want and vow to change my ways and character for the better, by the help from Jesus and the Father through your intercession and prayer, dearest St.Jude. I feel so hopeless, impossible, desperate and worried, I urgently need your miraculous intercession and prayer, which I truly believe will be answered, and the help needed soon come from Jesus with the will of Father.


Dearest St Jude, please pray and intercede for all others who are also invoking your aid. Dearest St.Jude, I promise to make the devotion to you known, and I will always visit your shrine whenever I near one. Dearest St.Jude, pray and intercede for me and all others who are in desperate and hopeless situations. Amen.

Dearest St.Jude, please make use of  the privilege given to you by the Lord, to urgently help those in desperateness, 
hopelessness and in despair. Please pray and intercede that all their storms be rebuke and the calmness in their life is restored, and they are saved. 

THIS IS NOT A SCAM
I am really going through hard times.
If you have the Heart and Willing to Help, 
you may send me a email at
and I will provide you with details
or
directly make your help available

HELP through...
Malaysian Bank

Hong Leong Bank, 
Stanley
AC#-158-50-09065-0


through my PAYPAL link page.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

The favor of God was upon him


Do you know the favor of the Lord? After Jesus' birth, Mary fulfills the Jewish right of purification after childbirth. Since she could not afford the customary offering of a lamb, she gives instead two pigeons as an offering of the poor. This rite, along with circumcision and the redemption of the first-born point to the fact that children are gifts from God. Jesus was born in an ordinary home where there were no luxuries. Like all godly parents, Mary and Joseph raised their son in the fear and wisdom of God. He, in turn, was obedient to them and grew in wisdom and grace. The Lord's favor is with those who listen to his word with trust and obedience. Do you know the joy of submission to God? And do you seek to pass on the faith and to help the young grow in wisdom and maturity?

The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Savior of the world 
What is the significance of Simeon's encounter with the baby Jesus and his mother in the temple? Simeon was a just and devout man who was very much in tune with the Holy Spirit. He believed that the Lord would return to his temple and renew his chosen people. The Holy Spirit also revealed to him that the Messiah and King of Israel would also bring salvation to the Gentile nations. When Joseph and Mary presented the baby Jesus in the temple, Simeon immediately recognized this humble child of Bethlehem as the fulfillment of all the messianic prophecies, hopes, and prayers. Inspired by the Holy Spirit he prophesied that Jesus was to be "a revealing light to the Gentiles". The Holy Spirit reveals the presence of the Lord to those who are receptive and eager to receive him. Do you recognize the indwelling presence of the Lord with you?

The 'new temple' of God's presence in the world 
Jesus is the new temple (John 1:14; 2:19-22). In the Old Testament God manifested his presence in the "pillar of cloud" by day and the "pillar of fire" by night as he led them through the wilderness. God's glory visibly came to dwell over the ark and the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34-38). When the first temple was built in Jerusalem God's glory came to rest there (1 Kings 8). After the first temple was destroyed, Ezekiel saw God's glory leave it (Ezekiel 10). But God promised one day to fill it with even greater glory (Haggai 2:1-9; Zechariah 8-9). That promise is fulfilled when the "King of Glory" himself comes to his temple (Psalm 24:7-10; Malachi 3:1). Through Jesus' coming in the flesh and through his saving death, resurrection, and ascension we are made living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Ask the Lord to renew your faith in the indwelling presence of his Spirit within you. And give him thanks and praise for coming to make his home with you.

Mary receives both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow 
Simeon blessed Mary and Joseph and he prophesied to Mary about the destiny of this child and the suffering she would undergo for his sake. There is a certain paradox for those blessed by the Lord. Mary was given the blessedness of being the mother of the Son of God. That blessedness also would become a sword which pierced her heart as her Son died upon the cross. She received both a crown of joy and a cross of sorrow. But her joy was not diminished by her sorrow because it was fueled by her faith, hope, and trust in God and his promises. Jesus promised his disciples that "no one will take your joy from you" (John 16:22). The Lord gives us a supernatural joy which enables us to bear any sorrow or pain and which neither life nor death can take way. Do you know the peace and joy of a life surrendered to God with faith and trust?

The Holy Spirit renews our hope in the promise of God
Simeon was not alone in recognizing the Lord's presence in the temple. Anna, too, was filled with the Holy Spirit. She was found daily in the temple, attending to the Lord in prayer and speaking prophetically to others about God's promise to send a redeemer. Supernatural hope grows with prayer and age! Anna was pre-eminently a woman of great hope and expectation that God would fulfill all his promises. She is a model of godliness to all believers as we advance in age.

Advancing age and the disappointments of life can easily make us cynical and hopeless if we do not have our hope rightly placed. Anna's hope in God and his promises grew with age. She never ceased to worship God in faith and to pray with hope. Her hope and faith in God's promises fueled her indomitable zeal and fervor in prayer and service of God's people.

Our hope is anchored in God's everlasting kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy
What do you hope for? The hope which God places in our heart is the desire for the kingdom of heaven and everlasting life and happiness with our heavenly Father. The Lord Jesus has won for us a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). The Holy Spirit gives hope to all who place their trust in the promises of God. God never fails because his promises are true and he is faithful. The hope which God places within us through the gift of the Spirit enables us to persevere with confident trust in God even in the face of trails, setbacks, and challenges that may come our way.

Is there anything holding you back from giving God your unqualified trust and submission to his will for your life? Allow the Lord Jesus to flood your heart with his peace, joy, and love. And offer to God everything you have and desire - your life, family, friends, health, honor, wealth, and future. If you seek his kingdom first he will give you everything you need to know, love, and serve him now and enjoy him forever.

Lord Jesus, you are my hope and my life. May I never cease to place all my trust in you. Fill me with the joy and strength of the Holy Spirit that I may boldly point others to your saving presence and words of eternal life.

source: From the desk of Don Schwager, 
hosted by Kairos Europe and the Middle East