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March 31st, 2012

Caring Heart Of A Good Friend

Caring Heart of A Good Friend

A friend in need is a friend in deed. In this modern era there is no dearth of friends. When you have everything, there will be many around you. But good friends remain with us throughout our life. They will accompany you in whatever situations you are. Such friends are precious indeed, much more valued than a gem.

It is up to each one of us to value and treasure those friends and people who spent their quality time with us in different situations of our life. Sincere friends speak the truth in love, even when it hurts. “Open rebuke is better than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy”. (Proverbs 27: 5-6).

Friendship is marked by sacrifice. “Greater love has no meaning than that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. No longer do I call you servants, for, the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15:13-15).

Real friends are those who touch our hearts and take us to those heights where no one else could take us without any selfish motives and interest. They will be thrilled and happy to see you growing and achieve greater glory in life, They refreshes us with good thoughts, nourishes us with choicest blessings, correct us when we are wrong, prunes us from time to time according to our need, understand and accept us with our own weakness and strength and above all, never let us down and turn their faces at times of adversities and uncertainties of our life.

Faithful friends are hard to find. Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but a faithful man who can find? (Proverbs 20:-6). Such a true and faithful friend will remain with us at all times as a token of love, energize you with consoling words and presence and then serves you with a spoon of patience and tolerance. Loyal friends love through difficult times. A friend always remains loyal. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born to adversity”. (Proverbs 17:17). Faithful friends are a rare treasure. You cannot find them in everyone. There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

Story of a True friend

I just cannot forget one such incident which touched my heart so much. It was a time when I was preparing hard for my exams as it was announced unexpectedly, and I have a long way to complete my portions. On one side fast approaching exams and on the other completion of projects, reports etc.

It was at that time one of my associate expired due to certain sicknesses and it was beyond my capacity to stomach. He was much closer to me, like my own father although I used to call him uncle. I just couldn’t stop my tears whenever I thought about him, whenever I opened my books for reading; it was his face that I could see through. I had lost my concentration and unable to perform my duties.

On such a day one of my friends called me and was enquiring about my studies as he used to give me some tips to study better. While talking to me he realized that I was so much affected with this incident and unable to get along with my studies. From then on everyday he used to call me up in order to bring me out of that state. He made it sure, that gradually I was able to come out of that situation as I need to concentrate on my studies again. I really believe, that helped me a lot to reroute my attention and then he could implant within me positive energy and thoughts. He continued to do that until he got convinced that I was able to deal with myself without his help.

Of late, before and after every exam he made sure to make a call to assert his prayers and after the exam to make sure that I was confident to do it without any annoyance. He came out of his way to help me without being asked. Yes, I thank God for such a caring, loving and sensitive friend. Godly friends give good advice. As it is written “A righteous man turns away from evil, but the way of the wicked leads them astray”. (Proverbs 12:26).

Characteristics of a True Friend

A good friend is someone who sense things even without being told, who comes to our help without being asked, and the one who loves us unconditionally with a positive regard. A friend is not a bundle of complaints and pointing out fingers always, but bundles and bundles of love mixed to make us whole again. A friend is someone who liberates you and set you free to be what you are.

I remember once one of my friends saying, “you will never know the worth of a friend until you lose one”. That was true as he had gone far out of my sight. Good friends are gifts from God. They are like stars, we cannot see them but they do come into view, as when we really look for them or aspire for them. They work as a life saving drug to keep us always lively, energetic and enthusiastic in whatever we do. We just can’t measure the depth, width, length and height of their selfless, sacrificing love and goodness for us in every moment of our life. True friends strengthen and help each other.

It is said, “two people are better off than one, for they can help each other and succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out to help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can help with each other’s warmth. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken”. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

Thus, be grateful and thankful and cherish the sweetest memories of your friends at all times. Let us accord our warm regards to all our friends who has been helping and guiding us and then moulding us as what we are today. May our heavenly Father keep all of them as the ‘apple of His eye’ and place them always in the hollow of His hands. Let us learn to be a rewarding friend to our friends and all those who come to us in many ways. Our friends are our ‘eye openers’ in many ways. They are the mirrors through which we see ourselves better and clearer.

When you are in trouble and agony a counsel from a friend is always pleasing. It serves as an ounce of honey mixed with some medicine. It is ever soothing and comforting. Proverbs 27:9 says the heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. When the mirror of life gets dirty with the fog of reality, our friends will be with us, to wipe it with the never-ending faith in order to see the clear reflection of our dreams. They comfort us and lead us in the path of peace and joy. Have you ever needed a shoulder to cry on? Have you ever lent yours to someone to lean on, cry or offered comforts until they got consoled or comforted?

The Greatest Friend Jesus Christ

And no one can deny the greatest friend JESUS. He is the one who accompanies us intermittently. He has no complaints about us, but takes us along with Him and enthuses with amounting energy to go ahead without fear. He can never let us down.

Through Isaiah 43:1-2 He says that, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name and you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you”. Obedience to God’s words qualifies you as a friend of Jesus. And so we have a great and reliable friend in JESUS too.

Let us wholeheartedly embrace Him and surrender ourselves in each and every situations of our life as he also a good physician and a psychiatrist who knows each one of us through and through. He will touch and heal our aching souls with a soothing balm of His Love. If our friends accompany us and love us with all their fragility, how much more Jesus can shower His love and care on us as He has called us His friends? Because Jesus always wants His children to be at His side, to walk the path which He has trodden, to learn the lessons of life which He has revealed through parables and revelations to reveal the mystery of the kingdom of God and to be one with Him just as He is one with His heavenly Father. He never want us to go astray from Him and entangled due to the cares of this world without having FRIEND TO LEAN ON.

March 28th, 2012

Why Be Catholic, Dad?

Why Be Catholic Dad

Hi, this is Jerome Gilmartin. According to a 2008 Pew Forum report, one out of every three adult Americans who were raised Catholic have left the Church. One reason for this, in this age of the sound bite, is that most Catholics aren’t able to give a sound bite answer to the question, “Why be Catholic?”

You can download that brief, compelling answer at The 7 Step Reason to be Catholic Wallet.

“Oh, but I could never invite anyone to become Catholic” you say. Its OK. then don’t. But at least download the printed outline and this short audio file into your smart phone or laptop.

The following is a sweet conversation between a dad and his daughter and the girl asks her dad the same question “Why be catholic, Dad?”. In the 22-minute audio, the college student challenges her Dad on all but the last step. She then really understands WHY she is a Catholic.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You can download the full script for the audio, click on Web Linked Script.

Let the outline and audio file do the inviting for you. Look, our Church is under siege. It’s all over the news. Certain political and other forces are pushing us to the edge of a cliff. It’s time to take a stand. Christ died to find this one, holy catholic and apostolic Church. Right now He needs each and every one of us to defend it. Get ready!

For more details, goto 7step.catholic.org

March 27th, 2012

Yahweh Will Fight For You

Yahweh Will Fight For You

Yahweh says this to you, “Do not be afraid, do not be daunted by this vast horde; this battle is not yours but God’s. You will not need to fight there.” (2 Chronicles20:15-17)

Scriptures tell us that the Israelites were in Egypt 430 years to the day when they were released from slavery by the terrified Egyptians ((Ex.12: 40-41). And you’ll remember they came out with great wealth because the Egyptians gave to them whatever they asked just to hasten their departure. “Yahweh gave the people such prestige in the eyes of the Egyptians that they gave them what they asked. So they plundered the Egyptians.”

Listen to what the Lord had predicted to Abram. “Know this for certain that your descendants will be in exiles in a land not their own, where they will be slaves and oppressed for four hundred years. But I will pass judgment also on the nation (Egypt) that enslaves them and after that they will leave with many possessions. In the fourth generation THEY WILL COME BACK HERE (Canaan)”  (Gen. 15: 13-14, 16)

The first thirty years the Israelites were welcome guests because of Joseph’s great services to Pharaoh. Afterwards, they were made slaves. This prophecy was exactly fulfilled. Note that in this prophecy the Lord again promised to bring them back to the land of Canaan and give it to them as an everlasting possession. Every Israelite was aware of this promise to Abraham.

Prophecy was fulfilled

Joseph’s unburied coffin had been a witness that the Lord would rescue the Hebrews and return them to the Land of Canaan. Scripture says: “Moses took with him the bones of Joseph who had put the sons of Israel on solemn oath. ‘It is sure that God will visit you, he had said and when that day comes you must take my bones from here with you” (Ex..13:19). All of this adds up to one imperative lesson: God keeps His promises! This is the foundation for cracking the faith barrier and entering the realm of combat faith.

As the Israelites prepared to leave Egypt, the Lord gathered them together in Rameses, which was in the northeast sector of Egypt in the province of Goshen. Just as they were about to move out, an awesome phenomenon took place. “Yahweh went before them by day in the form of a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and by night in the form of a pillar of fire to give them light. Thus they could continue their march by day and by night. The pillar of cloud never failed to go before the people during the day, nor the pillar of fire during the night.” (Ex. 13:21-22)

No people have ever had more definite guidance concerning where God wanted them to be, wouldn’t you agree? The Lord led the people southeast from Rameses to Succoth, which was on the main caravan route to Canaan. Then he turned them eastward on that route to a place on the edge of a desert called Etham, where they camped (Ex. 12:37, 13:20). So far so good! The Israelites expected to be in the promised land within a couple of weeks.

The Lord in his own strange plan turned the pillar of cloud to the north instead of to the east. He began to lead them back in the general direction from which they, with considerable effort had just come. There were no routes to Canaan up north. In fact there is only the sea. So why in the world did God do such a “crazy” thing?

Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and pitch camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, facing Baal-zephon. You are to pitch your camp opposite this place, beside the sea (Ex. 14; 1-20).

If we look at the map of the Exodus, the Lord told them to camp at a place where they had the sea to their north and east. To make it even more confusing, there were no possible passageways from that location to their destination of Canaan. But there is a very important principle to be seen here. Sometimes God’s leading for our life doesn’t make sense at all from our human point of view. “Yes, the heavens are as high above the earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts” (Isa.55:9). But if we just keep trusting Him, He will ultimately bless us, and teach us how to crack the faith barrier in the process.

Pharaoh tells to Yahweh’s plan

Yahweh explained some of the reasoning behind His strange plan. “Pharaoh will think, “Look how these sons of Israel wander, to and fro in the countryside; the wilderness has closed in on them.” Then I shall make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn and he will set out in pursuit of them. But I shall win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will learn that I am Yahweh. And the Israelites did this” (Ex. 14; 3-4)

The Lord did not tell Moses how he would get glory over Pharaoh and his army. But the Lord did say that the Egyptian people would be brought to know He is superior to all man-made gods. Pharaoh did exactly what the Lord said he would do.

Thinking that the Israelites were confused and moving around in circles, he quickly mobilized his army. He selected six hundred of his best charioteers to lead the other chariots. Pharaoh and the Egyptians believed there would be an easy revenge for all the death and destruction the Hebrews had brought upon them.

“So the Egyptians gave chase and came up with them where they lay encamped beside the sea, all the horses, the chariots of Pharaoh, his horse-men, his army, near Pi-hahiroth, facing Baal-Zephon. And as Pharaoh approached, the sons of Israel looked round and there were the Egyptians in pursuit of them! “The sons of Israel were terrified and cried out to Yahweh. “To Moses they said, Were there no graves in Egypt that you must lead us out to die the wilderness? What good have you done us, bringing us out of Egypt?” (Ex. 14:10-12).

In all this, one thing was clear – the Lord had deliberately led them into this hopeless predicament. But why was the Lord making things so difficult for them? The answer to that is the very essence we can learn to crack the faith barrier. It is to believe God in the amidst of unexplained, impossible situations, when circumstances seem to be going against all that God has promised, and the only hope we have is to cling tenaciously to those very promises. It is remembering that in every circumstance, no matter how grim, God’s ultimate purpose is to bless us, if we only keep trusting Him. God does not allow trials into our lives to make us miserable. When we boldly claim His promises, he delivers us!

Moses refused to go by his emotions. He refused to be led by what his five senses were telling him that God had sworn to do. In the midst of this chaos, Moses shouted to the Israelites. “have no fear! Stand firm and you will see what Yahweh will do to save you today: the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. Yahweh will do the fighting for you: you have only to keep still” (Ex.14:13).

This is one of the greatest single acts of faith recorded in the Scriptures. Moses did not have any more to go on than any of the other Israelites who were by now in total hysteria. Moses added up all the facts, and his faith concluded that God Himself had to destroy the Egyptian army for His name was at stake.

Moses still did not know how God was going to deliver Israel. We are told, “Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Why do you cry to me so? Tell the sons of Israel to march on. For yourself, raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and part it for the sons of Israel to walk through the sea on dry ground” (Ex. 14: 15-16).

Moses’ faith saved a nation

As far as we know, no one but Moses had combat faith that day. The first thing the Lord did was to put a screen of protection between Pharaoh’s hard-charging army and the Israelites. ‘Then the angel of God, who marched at the front of the army of Israel changed stations and moved to the rear. The pillar of cloud charged station from the front to the rear of them, and remained there. It come between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. The cloud was dark, and the night passed without the armies drawing any closer the whole night long” (Ex. 14: 19-20). “If you really believed him you would believe me (Jesus) too” (Jn. 5: 46)

Though the Lord may allow us to be led into a similar impossible situation, His will is that we boldly stand against the odds and claim His promise. When we do, He delivers us. In most cases, as soon as we react to a trial with faith in the Lord’s promise, He removes it. If He doesn’t, then we know that there is some greater lesson he desires to teach us concerning perseverance in faith.

Always remember that though God’s leading may be unexplainable for the moment, His ultimate purpose is to teach us to believe Him so that we may have peace, joy and effective service for Him now and great rewards in eternity.

– – – written by Capt. Mervin John Lobo

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