Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Jonah: When All Things Work Together for Good

by H.H. Pope Shenouda III

Saint Paul the apostle said, “All things work together for good to those who love God.” (Romans 8:28) We have also learned this from the book of Jonah. Even the things that appear to be the source of toil and affliction work together for good. 

The great fish that swallowed Jonah was also the reason for a great blessing. It was a safe submarine that carried Jonah and brought him near the place of his service. This great fish was also able to teach Jonah to pray, for we find Jonah, who did not bow to God in the ship, praying inside the belly of the great fish, making vows to God, speaking faithfully, and leaving the great fish to carry out God's will which he had previously disobeyed.

Do not be afraid if you are the swallowed by a great fish one day. Perhaps this great fish has been sent to/for you by God, Who has prepared it for your sake in order to grant you a special blessing. Therefore, remember the words of the Bible, “all things work together for good to those who love God.”

The waves that nearly overturned the ship worked for good. This tempestuous sea, great storm and clamorous, high waves all worked together for good.

If it were not for this, the mariners would not have prayed, offered sacrifices or made vows. It guided them to believing. Likewise, the worm that ate the plant and grieved Jonah was working for good. It indeed deprived Jonah of the shade, who was struck by the heat of the sun and became faint, but this was for his own good. It was a reason that led to Jonah reproaching God, through which his soul was saved.

God is capable of utilizing everything for our own good. He utilized the betrayal of Judas, the envy of Annas and Caiaphas and the cowardice of Pilate, all to fulfill the great work of redemption. It is sufficient that God transforms any matter that falls into His Hands to good, even if the matter is evil. Joseph's brothers sold him as a slave, but God transformed this evil to good. What is important is that we believe in the goodness of God and His works, and His good intervention in matters. That is why the Bible did not only say, “all things work together for good”, but added, “to those who love God.”

Indeed, for those who love God, all things work together for them for good. All things do not work together for good for all people. Tribulations come to many people and they grumble, murmur, complain and blaspheme. However, when tribulation comes to a person who loves the Lord, he thinks: “What is the blessing that the Lord wishes for me from behind this tribulation?” In this way, all things work together for good for him. There is a beautiful, comforting verse at the beginning of the book of Genesis, at the end of the story of creation, in which the Divine Inspiration says: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

Even the great dragon on the land or in the sea, God saw as very good. We can see all things as beautiful with the vision of faith, love and simplicity. Do you think that the mother ape sees its child as being less beautiful than that of a gazelle? Not at all; but if he were transformed into a gazelle she would mourn over him. Sometimes we see matters as being troublesome, since the trouble is from within us. If we are sound from within, then we would be happy with everything, even with the great fish, which swallows us, and with the tempestuous sea, which almost overturns our ship. God even transformed Jonah's sin in his escape to good. Jonah boarded a ship and escaped from God, so God utilized this escape as a reason for the salvation of the mariners. In the same way, Jonah's stubbornness with God was transformed to good, and so Jonah came out of it with greater knowledge of God and His ways, and with greater maturity in his spiritual life and understanding. He learnt many spiritual lessons from the incidents of the ship, the great fish and the plant.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

You Reap What You Sow!

You Reap What You Sow!  
Good morning said a woman as she walked up to the man sitting on ground. 

The man slowly looked up. 

This was a woman clearly accustomed to the finer things of life. Her coat was new.. She looked like she had never missed a meal in her life.

His first thought was that she wanted to make fun of him, like so many others had done before.. "Leave me alone," he growled....

To his amazement, the woman continued standing.

She was smiling -- her even white teeth displayed in dazzling rows. "Are you hungry?" she asked.

"No," he answered sarcastically. "I've just come from dining with the president. Now go away."

The woman's smile became even broader. Suddenly the man felt a gentle hand under his arm.

"What are you doing, lady?" the man asked angrily. "I said to leave me alone.

Just then a policeman came up. "Is there any problem, ma'am?" he asked..

"No problem here, officer," the woman answered. "I'm just trying to get this man to his feet. Will you help me?"

The officer scratched his head. "That's old Jack. He's been a fixture around here for a couple of years. What do you want with him?"

"See that cafeteria over there?" she asked. "I'm going to get him something to eat and get him out of the cold for awhile."

"Are you crazy, lady?" the homeless man resisted. "I don't want to go in there!" Then he felt strong hands grab his other arm and lift him up. "Let me go, officer. I didn't do anything."

" This is a good deal for you, Jack" the officer answered. "Don't blow it.."

Finally, and with some difficulty, the woman and the police officer got Jack into the cafeteria and sat him at a table in a remote corner. It was the middle of the morning, so most of the breakfast crowd had already left and the lunch bunch had not yet arrived...

The manager strode across the cafeteria and stood by his table. "What's going on here, officer?" he asked. "What is all this, is this man in trouble?"

"This lady brought this man in here to be fed," the policeman answered.

"Not in here!" the manager replied angrily. "Having a person like that here is bad for business.."

Old Jack smiled a toothless grin. "See, lady. I told you so. Now if you'll let me go. I didn't want to come here in the first place."

The woman turned to the cafeteria manager and smiled.... "Sir, are you familiar with Eddy and Associates, the banking firm down the street?"

"Of course I am," the manager answered impatiently. "They hold their weekly meetings in one of my banquet rooms."

"And do you make a goodly amount of money providing food at these weekly meetings?"

"What business is that of yours?"

I, sir, am Penelope Eddy, president and CEO of the company."


The woman smiled again. "I thought that might make a difference." She glanced at the cop who was busy stifling a giggle. "Would you like to join us in a cup of coffee and a meal, officer?"

"No thanks, ma'am," the officer replied. "I'm on duty."

"Then, perhaps, a cup of coffee to go?"

"Yes, mam. That would be very nice."

The cafeteria manager turned on his heel, "I'll get your coffee for you right away, officer."

The officer watched him walk away. "You certainly put him in his place," he said.

"That was not my intent. Believe it or not, I have a reason for all this."

She sat down at the table across from her amazed dinner guest. She stared at him intently.. "Jack, do you remember me?"

Old Jack searched her face with his old, rheumy eyes. "I think so -- I mean you do look familiar."

"I'm a little older perhaps," she said. "Maybe I've even filled out more than in my younger days when you worked here, and I came through that very door, cold and hungry."

"Ma'am?" the officer said questioningly. He couldn't believe that such a magnificently turned out woman could ever have been hungry.

"I was just out of college," the woman began. "I had come to the city looking for a job, but I couldn't find anything. Finally I was down to my last few cents and had been kicked out of my apartment. I walked the streets for days. It was February and I was cold and nearly starving. I saw this place and walked in on the off chance that I could get something to eat."

Jack lit up with a smile. "Now I remember," he said.. "I was behind the serving counter. You came up and asked me if you could work for something to eat. I said that it was against company policy."

"I know," the woman continued. "Then you made me the biggest roast beef sandwich that I had ever seen, gave me a cup of coffee, and told me to go over to a corner table and enjoy it. I was afraid that you would get into trouble... Then, when I looked over and saw you put the price of my food in the cash register, I knew then that everything would be all right."

"So you started your own business?" Old Jack said.

"I got a job that very afternoon. I worked my way up. Eventually I started my own business that, with the help of God, prospered." She opened her purse and pulled out a business card.. "When you are finished here, I want you to pay a visit to a Mr. Lyons...He's the personnel director of my company. I'll go talk to him now and I'm certain he'll find something for you to do around the office." She smiled. "I think he might even find the funds to give you a little advance so that you can buy some clothes and get a place to live until you get on your feet... If you ever need anything, my door is always opened to you."

There were tears in the old man's eyes. "How can I ever thank you?" he said.

"Don't thank me," the woman answered. "To God goes the glory. Thank Jesus.... He led me to you."

Outside the cafeteria, the officer and the woman paused at the entrance before going their separate ways....

"Thank you for all your help, officer," she said.

"On the contrary, Ms. Eddy," he answered. "Thank you. I saw a miracle today, something that I will never forget. And..And thank you for the coffee."

If you have missed knowing The Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, you have missed everything in the world.

 When you "cast your bread upon the waters," you never know how it will be returned to you..

 "For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."
Galatians 6:.7

Author Unknown 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Try Not To Cry

She jumped up as soon as she saw the surgeon come out of the operating room.
She said: "How is my little boy? Is he all right? When can I see him?"

The surgeon said, "I'm sorry.
We did all we could, but your boy didn't make it."
Sally said, "Why do little children get cancer?
Doesn't God care any more?
Where were you, God, when my son needed you?"

The surgeon asked, "Would you like some time alone with your son?
One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes, before he's transported to the university."

Sally asked the nurse to stay with her while she said good bye to her son. She ran her fingers lovingly through his thick red curly hair.
"Would you like a lock of his hair?" the nurse asked. Sally nodded yes. The nurse cut a lock of the boy's hair, put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally.

The mother said, "it was Jimmy's idea to donate his body to the University for Study. He said it might help somebody else.
"I said no at first, but Jimmy said, 'Mom, I won't be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy spend one more day with his Mom."

She went on, "My Jimmy had a heart of gold. Always thinking of someone else. Always wanting to help others if he could."
Sally walked out of Children's Mercy Hospital for the last time, after spending most of the last six months there.

She put the bag with Jimmy's belongings on the seat beside her in the car.
The drive home was difficult. It was even harder to enter the empty house.
She carried Jimmy's belongings, and the plastic bag with the lock of his hair to her son's room.

She started placing the model cars and other personal things back in his room exactly where he had always kept them.
She laid down across his bed and, hugging his pillow, cried herself to sleep.
It was around midnight when Sally awoke. Laying beside her on the bed was a folded letter.

The letter said:

"Dear Mom,
I know you're going to miss me; but don't think that I will ever forget you, or stop loving you, just 'cause I'm not around to say
"I Love You".

I will always love you, Mom, even more with each day. Someday we will see each other again. Until then, if you want to adopt a little boy so you won't be so lonely, that's okay with me.
He can have my room and old stuff to play with.
But, if you decide to get a girl instead she probably would't like the same things us boys do.

You'll have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like, you know. Don't be sad thinking about me, try not to cry, this really is a neat place. Grandma and grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything.

The angels are so cool. I love to watch them fly. And, you know what? Jesus doesn't look like any of his pictures. Yet, when I saw Him, I knew it was Him. Jesus himself took me to see GOD! And guess what Mom? I got to sit on God's knee and talk to Him, like I was somebody important.

That's when I told Him that I wanted to write you a letter, to tell you good bye and everything. But I already knew that wasn't allowed. Well, you know what Mom? God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter.

I think Gabriel is the name of the angel who is going to drop this letter off to you. God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him 'Where was He when I needed him?'
"God said He was in the same place with me, as when His son Jesus was on the cross.

He was right there, as He always is with all His children. Oh, by the way Mom, no one else can see what I've written except you. To everyone else this is just a blank piece of paper. Isn't that cool? I have to give God His pen back now.

He needs it to write some more names in the Book of Life. Tonight I got to sit at the table with Jesus for supper. I'm sure the food will be great.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I don't hurt anymore. The cancer is all gone. I'm glad because I couldn't stand the pain anymore and God couldn't stand to see me hurt so much, either.

That's when He sent The Angel of Mercy to come get me. The Angel said I was a Special Delivery!
How about that?

Signed with Love from God, Jesus & Me.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Logos

Biblical Terminology

The Logos

The term λόγος (logos) is used in the Gospel according to St John to describe the second person of the Holy Trinity, and is often translated The Word in English versions of the Holy Bible. However the term The Logos carries far more meaning than that expressed by The Word. The term Logos also extends to cover a collection of terms, both of things in the mind, and of words by which they are expressed. This includes thought, reason, the spoken mind, principle and logic. It therefore signifies the outward from by which the inward thought is expressed and the inward thought itself. This is often useful in understanding and describing the relationship between the Father and the son, in that just as the mind gives birth to thought, so the Son is perpetually born from the Father above time. Furthermore just as there is not a moment when a mind is without thought nor thought without a mind, so also there was never a time when the Father existed and the Son did not

Al-Keraza Magazine - Coptic Orthodox Magazine (El-Keraza) Ϯⲙⲉⲧⲣⲉϥϩⲓⲱⲓϣ - Year 41 - Friday 25 January 2013 - Toubah Ⲧⲱⲃⲓ (Tobi, Touba) 1729 Martyrs - Issue 3 & 4

Touba Ⲧⲱⲃⲓ (Tobi, Toubah), is the fifth month of the Coptic calendar. Tobi is also the first month of the Season of 'Proyet' (Growth and Emergence) in Ancient Egypt, where the Nile floods recede and the crops start to grow throughout the land of Egypt.

The name of the month of Tobi comes from Amso Khem, a form of the Ancient Egyptian God Amun Ra


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Prayer and Supplication Verse and Quote

Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6: 18 ESV

Prayer changes things, but more importantly.. Prayer changes you!


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