Eve

The festive season is over and a new year launches our homage. But outside my castle lies a moat where defense lines conquer nothing. Blown away in the warm offshore winds are the battle lines drawn in the sand. The swells of threats and betrayals swallow the shoreline. Glaring editorials make one wonder if life is worth living. But it’s the eve of a new beginning…

I pray, as morning arrives, for it’s the start of a new day. Though some may pass on in the light of this bright sunny morning, the Lord shall exonerate the living. Are we to judge if a leafless tree is dead or not, or shall we give praise and walk on in the eve of everlasting life?

I listen to the blustery winds swirling through the air. Little lives when nature goes into hibernation. But look… what’s that? Is that a pink bud, perhaps? I suddenly realize it is the eve of life! In the dead of winter, God anointed me with a Camellia flower about to open its delicate petals. No matter how destitute life looks, you see, God is always on the eve of greatness. Patience for me is next to impossible, so I, too, must wait to see the flower bloom.

It’s the eve of another morning. I’ve witnessed two days of torrential rain. God’s light, though, is in a horizontal shaped rainbow, which tells me His reign is never-ending. Life with Him and through Him will eternally mystify the mind. Every day you’ll be introduced to some kind of eve. Opportunities will open doors for those who feel stagnant, and faith will bring a light on the eve of darkness.

To Christians, eve is defined as a darkness that started in the Book of Genesis. Eve, however, is the beginning of life in God’s realm, just as the eve of “Christ-mass,” Jesus’ birth. We do not celebrate the eve of Easter for there is life in the everlasting love of Jesus Christ. Let Jesus begin to recreate your life this year, for it’s the eve of a season with new beginnings!

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Complex over dark complexion

Complex over dark complexion

“God doesn’t Judge Dark Skin,He judges Dark Hearts”         Godstillspeaks.com

It’s a 2.8 minute read.

Why would any one wants to change their God given darker shade skin to nothing less than whitest ?

I have no idea about other non white country people,but in India it’s a different thing.

Famously it is said that Indians are fascinated by 3Gs- Ganga ( River Ganges ), Gandhi ( father of the nation ) and Gora ( means fair skinned ).

Fair skin appears to be India’s psyche.Many believe,India getting colonized for centuries by the fair skin invaders is the root cause,resulting in the inferiority complex.

Being born in India with dark complexion is highly disadvantageous more so if you are a girl.

If you come across matrimonial or TV advertisements or Bollywood,company interviews….. as far as selection of the candidate is concerned,preference is given to fair skinned people.Dark complexion kids are bullied with nicknames in the school life.

So to survive the rat race, you must have a whitened skin or white washed skin.

What choices you can have ?

On a lighter note it is said two choices are available..
Either you DIE ( Indian woman kills herself over ‘dark complexion taunts’ A tragic and sad decision) or DYE.

In Dye option. the fairness cream comes to your rescue.

Dark Complexion

No surprise India’s Skin lightening industry is said to be more than half a billion dollar industry.Men too started grooming with these products.

Why Lighter skin is preferred ?

Personally I feel it’s nothing but obsession.
Some of the reasons given by the people.

  • Lighter skin gives you a feeling of higher social class !
  • Fair skin tells the persons worth !
  • Advantage of getting married without hassles !
  • No need to beg for respect !
  • Can get roles easily in movies & advertisements !
  • Better career prospects !
  • Fair skin people are more attractive !
  • More confidence !
  • Cynosure of all eyes !

What is the Psychology of having dark complexion ?

  • Less attractive
  • said to be of low intelligence
  • leads unsuccessful life
  • Perceived as a negative personality
  • Subject of discrimination
  • Negative emotions
  • Judged as unfriendly even of doubtful credentials.

I don’t know from where the hell they get these thoughts.

Are there any side effects of the Skin Fairness products ?

Skin fairness products contain the following ingredients.A kind of toxic cocktail.

1. Hydro quinone. 2.Steroids.3.Mercury.4.Lead.5.Chromium.

These can cause irritation,inflammation,infection,scarring,liver & kidney failures,Skin cancer,Brain damage on prolonged usage.

Please share your thoughts .

Thank you.
Philosophy Through Photography

Credits-pixabay,google images,YouTube

The best time

God’s timing is the best;
It’s the perfect timing;
God makes things happen
Exactly when they should;
Things that don’t happen
Do not happen because
Their time has not come;
Things that are delayed
Are delayed
So their time may come;
And when it does come,
They happen.
Hence, we say God’s time
Is the best.
And will forever remain
The best.

The First Promise of Advent

The First Promise of AdventThe four Sundays prior to Christmas are traditionally known as “Advent,” within most Christian churches. It is a time of both anticipation and preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth into our world more than two millennia ago.

December 1, 2019, is the first Sunday of Advent on the church calendar. Many churches feature special events prior to or even as a part of congregational worship gatherings. These usually include the introduction of Christmas “hymns” or special music selections familiar to most of the people who will attend.

Since Christmas is a time that many people visit churches who don’t regularly attend, Advent is also a time when additional presentations are held such as dramas and musical performances. These special services are often prepared months in advance with the help of numerous volunteers who strive to make the season more meaningful for those who attend.

There are some potential problems with the tradition of Advent that can go largely unaddressed because they are unrecognized. One problem fits the old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt,” in that the more practice one has over many years participating in Advent, the more one can overlook the meaning of doing it at all by simply taking Advent for granted.

Another significant problem involves those who are among casual church-goers whose main motivation may be to observe children or other relatives participating in Christmas plays or in a special choir performance. Instead of taking Advent for granted, these people can easily just dismiss it altogether as one more “event” to attend around the ‘holiday’ season.

In short, this epitomizes the difficulty every church and every pastor has in preparation for this time of year. How can the marvelous message of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, bring born as a human being to bring His creation the good news of God’s love and grace, be meaningful and impactful for everyone?

The First “Advent” Promise, the Proto-Evangelium

Advent wreathThe four Sundays of Advent also feature an activity only engaged in during this time of year, the lighting of the Advent candles. A different candle is lit each week symbolizing the qualities of hope, faith, joy, and peace given to humanity by the coming of Jesus.

The candles are most often arranged in a circular pattern within an Advent “wreath.” In the center of the wreath, a larger white candle is usually placed to symbolize the birth of Christ, and is thus known as the “Christ candle.” Usually, a short ceremony/teaching accompanies the lighting of each candle to help express the meaning behind the concepts.

I will not delve into the history of how the idea of an Advent season came about and how it has developed until today. Rather, I propose to present a biblical case that the true meaning of Advent is contained and expressed within the Word of God.

I have always believed that the true meaning of anything is inextricably tied to its origin. Therefore, the meaning of Advent as a concept [rather than the meaning of the term itself] can be found in the origin of the concept in the Bible.

Advent originates in the Bible where the writing begins, in the book of Genesis. It is first presented by the words of God in the Garden of Eden in the aftermath of Adam and Eve’s first disobedience of God.

God spoke to Satan who had taken the form of a serpent,

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15 [ESV]

This verse is known by biblical students and scholars as the proto-Evangelium, or “first gospel” message ever presented.  In the midst of pronouncing the punishment for the original sin of humanity, the LORD drops a nugget of golden “good news” to look forward to in the future.

Gabriel, Mary, AdventSpecifically, God promised that sometime in the future, the offspring of the woman would fight against and triumph over the offspring of the ‘serpent’. It is a unique promise because it identifies the one who will come as the “her” offspring, rather than a descendant from both Adam and Eve.

There are other instances in prophecy when God specifies that the promised One is going to be born of a woman alone. The most familiar of these comes from chapter one of Luke’s gospel as announced to Mary by the angel Gabriel.

And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. Luke 1:30-35 [ESV]

The first promise of Advent is that Christ is coming to fulfill the plan of salvation set in motion way back in Genesis. Moreover, the promise was also that He is coming in a miraculous manner that God alone could accomplish, being born of a virgin!

Advent helps us recall the hope of this promise, and look toward God to fulfill it on our behalf, even at great cost to Himself. Realizing and accepting that promise in each heart brings the ultimate hope for our eternal life in the Kingdom of God.

Take time this Advent season to grab onto the promise of God for yourself through faith in Christ. It will be the best Christmas gift anyone could ever acquire.

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Reel Ministry’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Christine Macintosh’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Percy Sledge Agbunag Carballo’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published at TIL Journal

 

I trust fully in you

My faith in you, O Lord,
Is the source of my strength;
I have full trust in your power;
I know there’s no power
Greater than yours;
I know you always stand
By those who depend on you;
I know that each time
That I run to you,
You are always there for me;
To protect me;
And every time I call on you,
You cater for my need.
That is why I am confident,
And bold;
And courageous;
I am sure of great things
In the years ahead;
If not the months or weeks
Or days ahead.
Thank you for granting me
The grace to trust
Fully in you.

A Perpetual Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving , prayerThanksgiving as a holiday is a day traditionally set aside in America to reflect upon and “give thanks” for the multitude of blessings we enjoy as Americans. Most businesses are closed, at least for the morning and afternoon hours, before plunging us all into the mayhem of the Yuletide season.

For most, a large part of such reflection involves family, feasting, and football. For many, that often means enjoying our abundance of these items as a prelude to the Christmas holiday.

However, Thanksgiving can suffer from a familiar ailment of such days of celebration. It is the ailment of the holiday aftermath.

The Advent of Thanksgiving Day

Replica of the Mayflower in Plymouth Massachusetts

The Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower and landed at what they would call “New Plymouth” in 1620 suffered through a terrible winter with the result being that almost half of their number died. The reaction of these remarkable people was to bind closer to each other and together come closer to God. In order to assess the significance of Thanksgiving Day as a modern holiday, we should take a glance at generations past. The origin of this holiday is recorded and fairly well known.

Their diligence, faith, and trust in the LORD were rewarded the next spring when in March when one solitary Indian walked boldly into the Pilgrims camp and entered the “common house” before the startled men could react. What happened next would bring untold good fortune to the besieged settlement.

Welcome!” he suddenly boomed, in a deep, resonant voice. The Pilgrims were too startled to speak. At length, they replied …”Welcome.” Their visitor fixed them with a piercing stare. “Have you got any beer?” he asked them in flawless English. …The Pilgrims looked at one another, then turned back to him. “Our beer is gone. Would you like …some brandy?”

The mysterious visitor accepted the offer of brandy and the subsequent offer of food as well. While he ate and drank, the Pilgrims began to pepper him with questions particularly how he was able to speak their native tongue, but he refused to answer until he finished his meal.

When he did finish and answered their questions, they learned that he was a leader of the Algonquins in what is present-day Maine whose name was Samoset. He had learned English over many years of speaking with English fishing captains along the coast of Maine.

It was Samoset who would introduce the Pilgrims to another Indian that would prove the greatest human benefactor for the ultimate survival of the new settlement. That was a man named Squanto, who would literally teach these colonists everything they would need to do in order to survive, and pave the way for the first celebration of Thanksgiving.

Squanto taught them how to plant and fertilize corn with fish, as well as how to catch the fish in the best manner.

Squanto helped in a thousand similar ways, teaching them how to stalk deer, plant pumpkins among the corn, refine maple syrup from maple trees, discern which herbs were good to eat and good for medicine, and find the best berries.

3063466292_0c67673fc0_wWhen Governor William Bradford a day of public Thanksgiving to God, the tribe which was known as the Wampanoags, among whom Squanto and Samoset, though of different tribes, lived, was invited to participate, and the rest, as they say, is history.  The “day” stretched into a three-day celebration of mutual feasting and fun.

Between meals, the Pilgrims and Indians happily competed in shooting contests with gun and bow. The Indians were especially delighted that John Alden and some of the younger men… were eager to join them in foot races and wrestling. There were even military drills staged by Captain Standish.

The reason for the Thanksgiving celebration was the Pilgrim’s faith that God had brought all these unlikely circumstances together and blessed them beyond any expectations. Thus the moment which was most important for them was the start of the festivities with a prayer by their pastor William Brewster thanking God for their provisions.

Thanksgiving’s Aftermath

This first feast of Thanksgiving forms the backdrop to the day we designate in America as “Thanksgiving Day.” What happened in the aftermath should serve as a warning to the nation as we leave the orbit of Thanksgiving for another year.

Through a series of unfortunate events, the winter after the first festival of thanks proved to be exceedingly harsh for the Pilgrims of Plymouth.

Thus they did enter their own starving time that winter of 1621-22 (with… extra people to feed and shelter), and were ultimately reduced to a daily ration of five kernels of corn apiece. (Five kernels of corn – it is almost inconceivable how life could be supported on this.) But as always, they had a choice: either give in to bitterness and despair or go deeper into Christ. They chose Christ. And in contrast to what happened at Jamestown, not one of them died of starvation.

Thanksgiving prayerThat ordeal would linger on the hearts of the Pilgrims through further hardships such as a severe drought that threatened to wipe out their crops the next planting season. The reaction of these stalwarts was to declare a day of fasting and prayer to seek the LORD.

These and other considerations moved not only every good man privately to enter into examination with his own estates between God and his conscience, and so to humiliation before Him, but also to humble ourselves together before the Lord by fasting and prayer.

The result of this was two weeks of unseasonably gentle rain that revived their crops and insured a bountiful harvest that fall. The aftermath of their first Thanksgiving began with more adversity and it seemed God had abandoned them.

For these remarkable people of faith, all that meant was they needed to trust God even more and depend upon His provision. Which brings me to the larger point of recounting this history that great blessing is often followed by great testing and that both are meant to drive us closer to Christ.

I and my family have also experienced this. My stories are of little import beyond my environment for I know other pastors, missionaries and evangelists who have welcomed great favor from the LORD and endured far greater hardship than I.

We in America are living through a time of great blessing mixed with great opposition to the blessings He has granted us through the presidency of Donald J. Trump. The challenge presented to us by the Pilgrims of the past is that we must live as they did, in a state of perpetual thanksgiving to God, repentance, and prayer for His guidance and aid to face the trials and testings yet to come. 

The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” Psalm 50:23 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

The Light and The Glory, Peter Marshall and David Manuel, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1977

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Harley Pebley’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of denisbin’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Mike Licht’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Hope Media Stock Photo’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

In his hands

Everyone has a destiny;
But whatever it is,
No one can say;
The author alone knows;
But who will find him?
And ask him?
His name is God;
And His abode is heaven;
There he dwells
With his angels and saints;
And there, you can find him;
Nut also you can find him
Right where you stand;
He’s everywhere.
Invisible but present;
With power beyond measure.
Omnipotent, omnipresent.
In his hands, your destiny.

The Carols Heralding

Many enjoy our words of faith and enduring inspiration; however, not all of my life is colorful as the fall. But, this is not about those I’ve turned over to God in prayer, but the joyful ending of God’s faithfulness. The holiday season is fast approaching, and I won’t focus on the ugly parts of life, but the joy of Thanksgiving.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Living in a state of humility and reverence, I find myself so thankful for answered prayers. The summer winds turned to the north, and the foliage of forests turned harvest colors. It’s time to lie down arms, repent, and comfort those we might forget this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

Yes, it’s time to rejoice! Give praise to our almighty Father for our many Thanksgiving blessings. Join hands to commemorate the peace and love we’ve found in each other. It’s not just the pilgrims landing anymore. Our sovereignty, through God, our Father, blessed the table we partake this past year.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

I so often return to the words my wise dad spoke, “count your blessings, not your problems.” I welcome you to share this thought on Thanksgiving. Lay aside the differences, if only for one day, and thank God for your life. Count your many blessings and be thankful. We fill every day with memorable moments.

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!

As for my family and I, this year’s Thanksgiving Day holds a significant meaning. It falls on the twenty-eighth, which was my Dad’s birthday, and I commemorate him in heaven. It was also my parent’s wedding anniversary. Married in 1958, I bet they picked this day so my dad would never forget their anniversary. Only one person knows their story for sure, and he’ll never tell… or will you, Uncle Bill?

Thanks be to God ~ the carols heralding!


Be sure to join us again on Sunday, December 1 for the ongoing “Everything Christmas Blogs”