Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2011
Upcoming Special Events
Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 06 March 2011
You can look forward to several spiritual feasts in the coming months. By the mercies of God, these are planned for your spiritual nourishment by the various fellowship groups and ministries of the church. I urge you in the Lord to plan ahead to participate in as many of these programmes as possible for your spiritual enjoyment and edification.
“The Names of God”
Bible Witness Retreat (March 16-18)
The names of God are not just different designations or nicknames by which God was known to different persons. In fact, they reveal His person, His attributes, His mighty deeds, His favour and His greatness. They also define His relationship with His people.
The Lord Himself commanded that no one should take His name in vain, and that we should remember His name, call upon His name, fear His name, love His name, sing unto His name, praise His name, declare His name and minister in His name.
When God’s people delighted themselves in the name of the Lord, they find great comfort and strength. In Psalm 124:8, we read, “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” Likewise, Proverbs 18:10 affirms “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.”
Since Scripture greatly emphasizes the significance of the names of God, His people should meditate on His various names that are revealed for their benefit in Scripture.
You have two excellent opportunities to learn about scores and scores of the names of God in the Bible during the upcoming Bible Witness Retreat (March 16-18) and the next retreat (September 7-9).
About 65 people have already signed up for the March retreat. Why don't you come and learn about the blessed names of our Lord? Today is the last day of registration. So hurry to book a place for yourself with Dn Lok Kwok Wah or Bro Stephen Yap. (Special programmes for children will be led by Mrs Carolyn Koshy.)
“Women of Prayer”
Ladies’ Seminar (March 26)
From the beginning of the New Testament Church, we see women of faith always having a part in the ministry of prayer in the church. They have been a very keen group in the church’s ministry of prayer. For instance, in Acts 1:14, it is recorded that “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.” Praying women in the church are a blessing to the pastor and elders. They are also a special blessing to their homes too. On the other hand, women who fail to pray are spiritually weak wherever they might be. Every woman, who wants to excel for the Lord, must seek His blessing in prayer.
Our church has been blessed to have women who gather to pray. But, the time has come for every lady in Gethsemane to evaluate herself to see whether she is woman of prayer. Dear sister, how eagerly and earnestly do you engage in prayer? Are you regular in personal prayer? Are you fervent in the prayer meetings of the church? Do you pray for others in the church?
In the seminar planned by the Ladies’ Prayer Group, we will examine Scripture to know the possible reasons why your prayer life has been in shambles, and how you can increase in the practice and blessings of prayer. Sisters, plan ahead to attend this seminar.
Mary's Anointing of Jesus
She was not needed at the table, for Lazarus was there; and she was, perhaps, of small use in the kitchen, for her abilities appeared slender in that area. Then, what should Mary do? Her heart was very warm, and she felt she must do something. However, she did not consult anybody. The love for Jesus made her very innovative, and she thought about a special way of serving the Master, which her loving heart suggested.
She went to Simon’s house prepared to do what she planned to do for Jesus. She came with a pound of ointment of spikenard to anoint Jesus. It was very costly. But in her heart, it was never too costly to give to Jesus. There was a pound of it, but there was none too much for Him. It was very sweet, but none too sweet for Him. She brought the pound of ointment, and poured it upon His feet as He sat at the table, and then began to wipe His feet with her hair. Thus, she consecrated her personal beauty (her hair) as well as her valued treasure to Him whom she both loved and adored. She had found something to do, and that something is not the least of the three works of love.
“And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment”: When Mary expressed her love for Christ at His feet, its aroma spread throughout the house. Everyone in the house came to know that something special occurred in the house. Mary did not have to go to every room and cry, “Spikenard! Spikenard! Wonderful spikenard!” In a similar manner, we do not have to announce what we are doing for the Lord. Just pour your loving service at Jesus’ feet. We need, nowadays, to have a little less talk about our deeds for Him and much more actual living unto Jesus.
Jesus responded to Mary’s deed of love, saying, “Against the day of my burying hath she kept this.” Jesus said this to defend Mary against the criticism of the wicked Judas. Jesus knew Mary’s heart. He explained her act as an anointing for His burial. It is commonly explained that Jesus invented this motive for her to relieve her embarrassment. But when we consider the text as it stands, we must conclude that Mary had the same purpose in mind, as Jesus said (cf. Mark 14:8).
She understood that the Lord’s death was drawing near, for she heard her Master saying that His hour was nigh. Jesus had recently revealed His impending death, even when He was speaking to the public (John 10:11, 17-18; cf. Matthew 20:18-19; Mark 10:33-34). But the disciples refused to believe Jesus’ prediction of His death.
She sensed the darkness of the hour, and the hostility against Jesus. She knew that the Jews were laying in wait to kill Him. She also knew that He would surely die for her salvation. Her heart was filled with much love for Him. And she did it all as a thanksgiving gesture for His loving death for the redemption of sinners.