Monday, September 7, 2015

Fear Not

Fear is a common emotion that we face.  The Bible  gives importance  in the process of helping us cope with this physical emotion. A deer hunter once told me that even the animals such as the deer when  impact by fear  releases something bitter into its body while  fleeing in fear that makes its meat bitter, and unpalatable.
Wordsworth said "Fear hath a hundred  eyes, that all agree to plague her beating heart.."  Yes it is a plague that grips the heart.
The Bible uses the word fear on various ways about 500 times. To bring you all the promises of God that tells you how to deal with fear will not be possible in this  small space.  Here are a few for you to rest on. 
'Be not afraid of sudden fear.. Proverbs 3:25
"The Lord shall give you rest from fear". Isiah 4:3
"Fear Not.."...Isiah 35:4, 41:10,13
"Fear not the reproach of men". Isiah 51:7 Daniel 10: 12,19
"Fear Not I am with thee." Genesis 26:24, 46:3, 50:19
The  verses reveal reasons why you and I should not yield to unholy fear, and reveals the blessed promises of deliverance from all our fears.
It is a good idea to collect all  the "fear not"  promises of the Bible, and internalize  them.
By the way ...what is fear? Our human fear is a painful emotion marked by alarm, dread, despair, disquiet, anxious concern, or solitude.  Some of the fear is imaginary, when no cause of fear exists, wherein  the Lord asks us  "why are you fearful O ye of little faith?"
"Fear not little flock,  for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom" Luke 12:32
(The Bible uses the metaphor of we as sheep and God as our Good Shepherd)
The above promise was made as a rebuke when the disciples entertained the fear regarding sufficient food and clothing as they continued to follow Jesus. When God was able to care for the birds and the fields then why would fear grip their souls and care about materials things.
It is good to remember the promise that "My God shall supply all your need"...Philippians 4:19
Our Good Shepherd know that fear is our inherent weakness as we face our arch adversary the devil. And He assures once more..."Fear not little flock". He wants faith to replace fear. No matter what goes around, we are called to exhibit a quietness in spirit and confidence that is birthed from faith in the divine promises.
May God's promises be rooted in our hearts and keep us from all fear.
Devotional written by Shanti
 (Picture courtesy: My hand made clay elephant on my note pad)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ring around the roses....

"Ring ah ring ah  roses..
a pocket full of posies
husha busha ...........we all fall down..."
This is how we sang this  little song as gibberish ...We grew up in the church colony built around the Church of the  Good Shepherd, which is more than a hundred years old in Southern India.  Our neighbors were also those with whom we sat in the Church pews.  Each family has a name they carried after the names of missionaries that served in Southern India... some of the missionary names that are part of our family names are for example...Caldwell, Roberts,  and so on..
With skirts swirling as we twirled around holding hands, singing these words  in the midst of our giggles, our ears would wait for the cue in the most loved words  "fall down", and  our sparkly eyes would see our little frames  falling into the  mud in the heat of the day with the rising dust...after having danced  around in circles. For us "falling" as children into the dust meant fund and laughter.

The regional language Tamil Bible was an initiative of  a German missionary, who wrote the Tamil Bible.  Tamil is the closest language to Hebrew. Appreciation of God's Word in Tamil is as close as reading in the original Henew Until this translation was completed,  it must have been difficult for believers to access God's Word in all of its full meaning.  All the hymns from "songs and solos"  were also translated into regional languages for Church worship services. With the  Indian  educational system based on the European system and standards we grew up with this little song  Ring a ring a roses....and learnt of the true meaning only years later on. The song originated in another part of the world, and with kids singing it eventually as a children's song in a different part of the world.  (and without knowing the meaning!!) 

For those of you who would like to know the origins of this song..Read on...
The great plague was across the country in Europe and had covered it  like a thick dark blanket and it had come in as a thief in the night unannounced and silent and had been dreadfully treacherous. The plague had left more than 25 million people on the isles and in Europe dead and the mortality rate was very high. In May 1664 few isolated cases were reported ..but this was ignored. One year later on the same day there were  590 people who had died the same month. By June the number of dead rose to 6137 and in July over 17000 had died. In August the death toll was over 31000 and panic swept  the place. More than two thirds of the remaining people had fled from their homes and to somehow save themselves from death. This was also called the Black death for 2 reasons.  The body of the victims became dark with black blotches covering the skin and also because of the darkness and blackness of ignorance that surrounded the knowledge of the cause nor cure.. Some people had come up with the idea that the  polluted air brought about this plague and so they started to carry flower petals in their pockets thinking with the superstition that this fragrance would ward of the disease. Groups of victims who were able to walk were taken outside the hospitals  and holding hands they would walk around in circles around the rose gardens breathing in deeply the aroma of the blooming plants. In some cases the patients would not be able to get out of bed and so the attending physician filled their pockets with the bright colored petals from the English posy plants. While visiting the patients they walked around the bed sprinkling the posy petals on and around the patient. As death came close another superstitious  activity was followed. some felt that if the lungs could be freed from pollution life could be sustained and so they places some ashes in a spoon and brought it near the nose causing the patient to sneeze a couple of times.. But neither the sneezes nor the flowers postponed death until the real cause was found which was the bite of fleas from diseased rats!!
Anyway this terrible experience gave birth to a little song that  children sang at play..(including me !..on the dusty ground in Southern India......) The song was first heard from the lips of a soiled old man pushing a cart in London picking up the bodies along the alley ..the original song he sang was this: .
"Ring around the roses
A pocket full of posies
Ashes, Ashes, We all fall down"
For all of use who sang this song in some version or the other..without knowing the husha and busha ........well it is ashes and ashes...........
....... superstitions  do not liberate, save  nor count...only Christ does.

Devotional written by Shanti Samuel.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


"There arose a great storm........HE AROSE"

There are two arose here synchronized and happening together.
Read Mathew chapter 8.
For every storm that rises against you  in your life, Jesus RISES on your call to rebuke what is needed to give you the calm.
He is the Christ that is able to deal with any situation in your life. Do you fear the storm? Do you fear the waves of back biting, hatred, and trials and sorrow and loss?  Never fear. Look up to Him. He is right there in your boat. He is near you. He has the power to defend you. He has the wisdom to guide you. He has the fullness to meet all of your needs.

Call Him ...

Devotional written by Shanti Samuel.