1.10.20

Christian Generosity



Scriptures on Christian Generosity

Deuteronomy 15:7-8

If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be.

Deuteronomy 15:10

You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.

Leviticus 19:9-10

When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 25:35-37

If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.

1 Chronicles 29:14

But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you.

Proverbs 11:24

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.

Proverbs 14:21

Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.

Proverbs 19:17

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Proverbs 21:13

Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.

Proverbs 22:9

Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.

Proverbs 28:27

Whoever gives to the poor will not want, but he who hides his eyes will get many a curse.

Psalm 41:1-3

Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him; the Lord protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies. The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

Matthew 5:42

Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Matthew 6:1-4

Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 10:42

And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.

Luke 6:37-38

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

Luke 12:33 83

Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with money-bags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.

Luke 21:1-4

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.

Acts 2:45

And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.

Acts 20:35

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

1 John 3:16-18

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the worlds goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does Gods love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

2 Corinthians 8:9

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

2 Corinthians 9:5-8

So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction. The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

2 Corinthians 9:11

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

Hebrews 13:16

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

29.6.20

Do Not Discourage Your Pastor



Pastors, like all of us, face discouragement over many things; children whose lives are not going well, marriage strained relationships, finances etc. Above all this they have to deal with ‘ministry related’ discouragements caused by the very same people they love and serve.

Some years ago, I made a simple survey asking a number of pastors to share with me ‘straight from their heart’ those things that have a potential to discourage or demoralize them. Below is a list of their answers I compiled and left unedited, with some other later additions. I am certain we could add others and some might seem similar but these are being shared for your prayerful consideration. I recommend that you read each and every point slowly, pausing to think on each point to make sure you understand what is being said, while humbly asking yourself, “Does this refer to me? Am I guilty of this? Do I have this attitude which can potentially discourage my pastor?” Some pastors also noted that the potential for discouragment is increased when the one or more of the following are done over and over again.
  • Individuals who faithfully attend all church services, nod and show agreement to the sermons and Bible studies, but rarely put the Word of God in practice.
  • People who keep on living and acting, especially in their speech, dress (especially women), priorities, as if they were never born again.
  • Sin taken lightly and excused.
  • Individuals or married couples who do not seek counsel until its too late, or who ignore the counsel given.
  • Comparing their pastor; his sermons and/or pastoral care to another pastor, and worse still naming the other pastor to whom he is compared.
  • Absenteeism from or irregular attendance at regular worship services without legitamate reasons.
  • Individuals who 'highjack' the pastor every single time after the meeting thus preventing him to give attention to newcomers or those who really are in need of his help.
  • Gossip and back-biting.
  • People who come to a meeting late, unprepared, tired, ready for a sleep, not properly dressed, sitting at the back while all the front seats are empty.
  • Individuals who fight progress and growth; refuse to accept change in the church; don’t welcome new people into the church.
  • Mobile phones ringing during the service
  • Adults chattering before the service starts instead of preparing their mind and heart to mett with Almighty God in worship.
  • Poor devotional attitude in the worship of God, with individuals being more as passive spectators than active participators.
  • Individuals whispering to one another or even giggling during sermons thinking they are not noticed when in fact it is always the case that the preacher will notice them immediately.
  • Individuals who approach the pastor right before the service with trivial matters, theological questions about the Bible, church related matters, criticisms etc. forgetting that he needs to prepare himself mentally and prayerfully to lead the service and preach the Word.
  • Superficial Christians who confine their faith to one or two sevices per week, limit their worship to 5 or 6 songs per week, and restrict their thinking of Christ to one fifty-minute sermon per week.
  • A critical attitude, nitpicking everything that is said or done in church.
  • Veiled criticism. Individuals who start with the dreaded sentence that typically begins with these words: “People are saying that . . .” The full sentence could say; “People are saying that you don’t do enough counselling / pastoral care.” Another example is: “People are saying that our church is not growing.” It could be phrased a number of other ways, but the meaning is still similar. “People” is never defined. The true complainer is never identified.
  • A censorious spirit that judges ill of others' states. These statements are almost always prefaced with a negative comment such as, “Well, you know, the problem with him / her is...”
  • Members who leave the church for unsound reasons or simply because something happens that they don’t like.
  • Members who in their excessive self-pity always complain of what they are not receiving and never lift a finger to give something to others themselves.
  • People who consider themselves perfect - therfore feeling no need for any personal corrective action.
  • The all-knowing, who never really listen to anything that is said to them.
  • Individuals who always remark on everything, and have something to say about all things, even about each and every sermon.
  • Unresponsiveness of church members, people hearing but not listening and neither acting.
  • Dead orthodoxy: knowledge of biblical truths without love.
  • People who never commit themselves to any church work, leaving only a handful to volunteer and do all the work themselves.
  • Members who once were committed but choose to leave the church and go back into the world.
  • Unmotivated brethren who are not exercising any spiritual gift / ministry.
  • Those who, to avoid doing something themselves, put the pastor on a pedestal saying that no one can do the work better than himself.
  • Lack of cooperation between members, especially those involved in the same ministry team.
  • An attitude of knowing more than the pastor; ex. in areas of discipline and ‘church government’ (decision making).
  • People who are not in touch neither with themselves nor with reality.
  • A formal show of love, hypocrisy.
  • Conflicts, strife, divisions and ‘doctrinal’ arguments between members.
  • Christians who seem to have time to do everything they please except time to read the Bible, pray, and attend church services.
  • When members do not treat a pastor's family members; his spouse and his children, as regular church members, placing unreasonable expectations and criticizing them.
  • When members expect all the pastor’s sermons to be stellar.
  • When individuals approach the pastor immediately after a sermon and tell him things like: “I wish (fill in the blank) would have heard that sermon,” “Let me tell you what you missed in your sermon, you should have mentioned (fill in the blank),” “Are we ever going to be done with this sermon series?”
  • Lack of discipline in one’s walk with the Lord; hardly any prayer, Scripture reading in private.
  • Members who are very enthusiastic about their hobbies or careers to the point of always speaking about them before and after the services, but who rarely discuss with a certain amount of zeal spiritual matters about Christ, the church etc.
  • ‘Fossilized’ individuals. Years have gone by and they are still ‘babes’ in Christ. No real change or progress towards the ‘mature man’ is evident.
Surely, most pastors know that potential discouragements are part of their calling, and have learnt to deal with them by the grace and mercy of God. These servants of God, and the families that support them, are to be commended for all their years of faithful service.

Please do not take the above points lightly but take them very seriously and to heart. Refer to them every now and then. Remember even if you are guilty of ‘only’ one of the above your pastor might have to handle another one or two different issues form other members, if not more. Therefore, the least you can do is to make sure that you will never be a cause of potential discouragement to your pastor by being guilty of any one of the above. Better still, may you be a source and reason for encouragement. Finally, remember to pray daily for your pastor. It is the number one most effective support you can give him.

8.6.20

Ħares Lejn Ilsienek



Meta kont tifel u kont nimrad, kien jiġi t-tabib id-dar u niftakar kif dejjem kien jibda’ l-viżta tiegħu billi jgħidli; “Iftaħ ħalqek ħa nara lsienek”. Mod tajjeb ħafna biex teżamina l-maturità spiritwali tiegħek: ibda’ billi tħares lejn ilsinek!

Il-Mulej Alla permezz ta’ Ġakbu jgħidilna: “Għax f’ħafna modi nogħtru lkoll. Jekk xi ħadd ma jogħtorx f’diskorsu, dan raġel perfett” (Ġak.3:2). Trid tittestja lilek innifsek u l-maturità spiritwali tiegħek? Ara intix tikkontrolla lsienek, għax min jirnexxielu jrażżnu tabilħaqq jista’ jitqies bħala Kristjan matur. ‘Tkellem ħa narak’ kienu jgħidu l-filosfi antiki għaliex diskorsna jikxef x’aħna verament, u jekk int Kristjan kliemek juri l-qagħda spiritwali vera li tinsab fiha. “Jekk xi ħadd jidhirlu li hu reliġjuż u frattant ma jliġġimx (jiġifieri ma jrażżanx) ilsienu iżda jinganna ’l qalbu stess, ir-reliġjon ta’ dan hi fiergħa” (Ġak.1:26). Fil-fatt, dak li hemm fina fil-moħbi, jixxandar fil-beraħ bi kliemna, u kliemna jirrifletti bħal mera dak li verament hemm fina. Ma ninsewx li kien Sidna stess li qalilna illi mill-milja tal-qalb jitkellem il-fomm.

Veru li Kristjan ġenwin rari ssibu involut fi dnubiet ovvji bħas-serq, sokor, adulterju eċċ. Normalment ssibu wkoll impenjat f’taqtigħa kontra dnubiet moħbija, speċjalment ħsibijiet u xewqat ħżiena. Però jidhirli li neħtieġu korrezzjoni dwar id-dnubiet tal-ilsien. Ħafna minna għandna tendenza li nkunu traskurati f’dan il-qasam u laxki f’diskorsna, bla ma nindunaw jew nammettu l-gravità ta’ nuqqas f’din l-erja.

Mela, tajjeb tistaqsi lilek innifsek kemm int konxju tad-dnubiet tal-ilsien li abbli qed twettaq regolarment. Dan ma jinkludix biss it-tgergir, l-ilmenti jew tqasqis imma jgħodd ukoll għal mod li bih qed tindirizza lil dawk li qed tiltaqa' magħhom ta’ kuljum.
  • Jekk int miżżewweġ: kif qed tindirizza lill-martek / żewġek?
  • Jekk int ġenitur: kif qed tkellem lill-uliedek?
  • Jeekk int bint jew iben: kif qed tirrispondi lill-ġenituri tiegħek?
  • Jekk int f’pożizzjoni ta’ awtorità u għandek nies taħtek, kif qed tkellimhom?
Jekk int Kristjan veru minn fommok ma jixraqx li joħroġ kliem bħal; tindaħalx, x’jimpurtani, u int fiex tifhem, kemm int injorant jew xi aġġettiv ieħor, jew diskors iebes simili. Allura jekk xi ħadd iwaddablek kelma provokattiva ma jmissekx tirrispondi billi terġa’ twaddablu lura xi rimarka agħar minn tiegħu. Jgħidu li gwerra tfaqqa’ minħabba t-tieni rimarka! Kelma żejda, mhix f’postha, jew ħarxa, hi biżżejjed biex iġġib diżgwid u nkwiet kbir f'relazzjoni. Speċjalment f’ċirkostanzi diffiċli u ta’ stress imissna noqgħod iżjed u iżjed attent kif nitkellmu. Sforz ir-rabja faċilment joħorġu kliem li wara mbagħad jiddispjaċina talli nkun tkellimna bl-addoċċ. “Min iħares fommu u lsienu, iħares ruħu mill-għali” (Prov.21:23). Jaħasra kemm nevitaw inkwiet kieku nitgħallmu nikkontrollaw dak li joħroġ minn fommna.

Ftakar ladarba kliemek joħroġ minn fommok ma tistax tieħdu lura. Mara stqarret li kienet ikkalunjat lill-ġara tagħha u xtaqek issewwi s-sitwazzjoni. Il-qassis li marret għandu qalilha biex tmur id-dar, tieħu mħadda, titla’ fuq il-bejt u tferrex ir-rix umbagħad terġa lura għandu. Hekk għamlet u qalilha biex issa tmur u tiġbor ir-rix li kienet ferrxet. “Impossibbli” qaltlu. Weġibha, “hekk ukoll impossibbli terġa’ tiġbor lura dak il-kliem indenju li ħareġ minn fommok.”  Veru li wara abbli jiddispjaċik, tindem, u anke tkun rikonċiljat, u hekk għandu jkun, imma l-ħsara tkun għamiltha.

Jekk qed tidneb ripetutament b’dal-mod tipprovax tiġġustifika lilek innifsek billi tgħid kliem tipo ‘għax jien ta’ żaqqi f’fommi’ jew ‘imma jien nervuż,’ u lanqas iġġib skoss skużi jew tweħħel f’ħaddieħor billi tgħid; “u għax ħaraqni u taf kemm hu inkejjuż eċċ.” Erfa’ r-responsabbilita ta’ dnubek int waħdek, stqarr dnubek, itlob maħfra u itlob għall-qawwa biex ma tibqax tirrepeti l-istess dnubiet tal-ilsien.

Qatt u qatt m’għandek tuża’ kliem iebes, li jniggeż jew iweġġa’.  Impenja ruħek li f’kull ċirkostanza żżomm kliemek ħelu, tkun grazzjuż, meqjus fi kliemek hekk kif titgħallem kif titkellem għall-bżonn, biex tibni mhux tkisser lil min jisimgħek. Agħmilha l-abitudni tiegħek li tuża’ ton ġentili. Tkellem bl-imħabba. Imita lil Ġesù Sidna u ħalli kliemek jirrifletti l-karattru manswet u umli tiegħu.

Mela, poġġi għassa fuq fommok. Mas-Salmista stqarr b’reżoluzzjoni ferma; ‘Jien għidt, “Se ngħasses triqati, sabiex ma nidnibx bi lsieni; se ngħasses fommi bħallikieku b’sarima’” (S.39:1). Ftakar li Alla diġà ħaseb għal żewġt iswar quddiem ilsienek biex jgħinek trażżnu; snienek u xofftejk! Tgħallem kif tigdem ilsinek u tiskot għax kelma nieqsa dejjem aħjar minn kelma żejda. Tak ukoll l-Ispirtu s-Santu biex ikabbar fik il-frott tiegħu, fosthom l-awtokontroll, u din ir-rażna tgħodd anke għal diskorsok.

U jekk trid tmur oltrè, mhux biss evita d-dnubiet tal-ilsien imma wżah għat-tajjeb: faħħar, inkuraġġixxi, irringrazzja, għallem, widdeb bl-imħabba, farraġ eċċ. Fuq kollox użah biex bih tagħti ġieħ lil Alla u tesprimi l-gratitudni tiegħek lejh għal kulma għamel u qed jagħmel miegħek.

4.6.20

Safety Measures for Church Meetings




We are grateful to the Lord and glad that we can meet again as a church to worship our Saviour. The following measures are intended to safeguard everyone's health.

Individual Responsibility
  1. Stay home if you feel ill, even if you have mild symptoms such as a cough, or if you have been given medical advice. Individuals who suffer from allergy symptoms (hayfever) may attend the service.
  2. Be punctual (at least 10 minutes before the beginning of the service) Please wait outside the church until the usher takes your temperature and directs you to your seat.
  3. Use a sanitizer provided when you come into and before leaving the church to clean your hands thoroughly. You can also carry your own sanitizer.
  4. Avoid physical contact with other people and avoid handshaking. Keep a two-meter distance from others at all times; members of the same family may stay together in a group (up to a maximum of 6 people).
  5. Wear a face mask or visor while you are inside the church building. Make sure that the mask is the right size and that it covers the nose, mouth, and chin.
  6. Avoid touching your face (eyes, nose, and mouth) or touching the face mask with unwashed hands.
  7. Keep the toilet clean. After using the toilet, wash your hands with soap and water, dry them with disposable paper and throw it in the bin (opened with a foot pedal).
General Measures
  1. The church building should be cleaned with an ordinary disinfectant.
  2. In addition to the ordinary ventilation system, exterior doors and windows will be kept open.
  3. The people who serve the bread and wine should clean their hands with a sanitizer beforehand.
  4. The translator should wipe the microphone and headphones with an alcohol wipe before and after use, and clean his hands with a sanitizer. If you need a translation, it is preferable to bring your own headphones.
  5. The person conducting the meeting may opt not to wear a mask or visor while leading the service.
  6. Books (Bibles and hymnbooks) will not be available in the auditorium. You may bring your own Bible with you.
  7. Singing should be done in a quiet voice.
  8. The offering will not be taken during the meeting; donations may be put in the offering box.
  9. The meeting should not take longer than necessary. At the end of the service the congregation leaves the building immediately and in an orderly way to avoid crowding.

30.5.20

X’inbidel, x’ma nbidilx u x’għad jinbidel



X’Inbidel

Il-pandemija ġabet bidliet kbar … irqadna ġo dinja u stembaħna ġo dinja oħra.
  • Ingħalqu l-iskejjel u ħafna ħwienet, ir-ristoranti u anke l-ajruport.
  • Bqajna d-dar magħluqin ġewwa, naqsu l-karozzi mit-toroq, u ħafna ma marrux fuq ix-xogħol.
  • M’għadniex nieħdu b’idejn xulxin jew nitkellmu wiċċ imb wiċċ. Qed nilbsu l-maskri u l-visors meta nidħlu f’ħanut. Kważi tibża’ tgħaddi viċin ħaddieħor.
  • Tgħallimna vokabularju ġdid: covid-19, kwarantina, social distancing, sanitizer, facemasks, zoom u teams, u naturalment, stay safe.
  • Xi wħud naqsilhom id-dħul finanzjarju, oħrajn tilfu x-xogħol, oħrajn ġew deportati.
  • Waqqafna ż-żjarat l-isptar u fid-djar tal-anzjani, u n-nanniet ma setgħux jerfgħu u jbusu lin-neputijiet, ħlief jarawhom fuq Skype.
  • Bżajna meta rajna x’ġara l-Italja: sptarijiet iffullati, u nies imutu bil-mijiet, sikwit weħidhom. Xi ftit ansjetà li nimirdu aħna jew l-maħbubin tagħna ħassejna wkoll.
  • Ma bqajniex niltagħqu flimkien il-knisja biex inqimu ‘l Alla.
Il-ħajja ‘normali’ kienet il-bieraħ; issa irridu naddattaw għal normalità ġdida.

X’Ma Nbidilx

Ħafna taqlib seħħ fl-aħħar xhur, imma mhux kollox inbidel ...

1. ALLA MA NBIDILX

Alla hu immuttabbli. Kien, għadu u jibqa’ perfett fl-attributi kollha tiegħu.

Fl-Iskrittura naqraw: “U, Int, Mulej, fil-bidu qegħidt is-sisien tal-art, u xogħol idejk huma s-smewwiet; huma jintemmu imma inti tibqa’, kollhom jiqdiemu bħal ma tagħmel libsa u tkebbibihom bħal mantar, u jitbiddlu, iżda int tibqa’ l-istess, u sninek ma jintemmux” (Lhud 1:10-12).

Innota l-kuntrast bejn Alla u l-ħolqien. Alla huwa etern u immuttabbli; il-ħolqien kellu bidu, u qed jinbidel u jeqdiem. Għalhekk m’għandniex nissorprendu ruħna bit-taqlib u l-maltemp, lanqas nistgħu nafdaw fi ħwejjeġ li jgħaddu - is-siġurtà tagħna nsibuha biss f’Alla: “Int ruħi, strieħ biss f’Alla; għax minn għandu tiġini t-tama; hu biss il-blata u s-salvazzjoni tiegħi: hu l-kenn tiegħi; jien ma niċċaqlaqx” (Salm 62:5-6).

Alla hu blata soda; Alla ma nbidilx ... 
  1. Alla kien u għadu u jibqa’ sovran, dak kollu li jseħħ, inkluż il-pandemija, huwa taħt il-kontroll perfett tiegħu. Għalhekk nistgħu nserrħu moħħna li l-għan tiegħu għalina, li kollox jaħdem flimkien għall-ġid tagħna li nħobbuh, iva, l-għan t’Alla għalina jseħħ fiż-żgur.
  2. Lanqas inbidlet il-Kelma tiegħu. “Għal dejjem, o Mulej, il-kelma tiegħek hi mwaqqfa fis-smewwiet” (Salm 119:18). L-Iskrittura għada l-ġwida ċerta fil-pellegrinaġġ tagħna.
  3. Il-wegħdi t’Alla għadhom sħaħ. Hu wegħdna li jibqa’ magħna sat-tmiem. Ma nħallik qatt u lanqas nitilqek, qalilna. Il-preżenza tiegħu magħna matul il-vjaġġ tagħtina kuraġġ ta’ sur. Mhux biss, il-wegħda li għad jerġa' jiġi u jeħodna miegħu wkoll timliena bit-tama.
2. MA NBIDLITX ID-DIPENDENZA TAGĦNA FUQU

Il-pandemija kixfet kemm aħna vulnerabbli u dgħajfin. Tikka ta' virus ħarbat id-dinja. Fi żmien il-bnazzi nimmaġġinaw li b’ħilitna kapaċi nkampaw, u forsi ninsew il-Mulej, imma fil-maltemp nibżgħu u nduru lejh. Illum, aktar minn qabel, nagħrfu kemm niddependu fuqu.

Neħtieġu 'l Alla biex jiprovdielna materjalment (il-ħobżna ta’ kuljum), u jipprovdielna spiritwalment (il-maħfra u l-protezzjoni tiegħu). Fi kliem ieħor, ma nbidilx il-bżonn li nitolbuh. “Itolbu dejjem!” (Efesin 6:18) ... għax dejjem neħtieġuh.

3. MA NBIDLITX L-OPPORTUNITÀ LI NAGĦMLU L-ĠID

Jekk xejn għandna bżonn nuru soledarjetà ma’ xulxin aktar minn qatt qabel. Social distancing ma tfissirx li ningħalqu fina nfusna u nitwarrbu mill-oħrajn. Għal kuntrarju, aħna li rċivejna l-imħabba ta’ Kristu, ejja nħobbu lill-oħrajn. Ejja nitolbu għal xulxin u ninkoraġixxu wieħed lill-ieħor - anke telefonata jew messaġġ jafu jferrħu lil dak li jkun. Ejja nagħtu daqqa t’id lill-proxxmu fejn nistgħu. Fid-dar, ejja b’attitudni ta’ umiltà u mħabba, nura sabar ma’ xulxin u nservu bil-qalb. Għad għandna wkoll l-opportunità li nxandru l-evanġelju, il-bxara t-tajba li d-dinja infettata bid-dnub tant teħtieġ għall-fejqan tagħha.

X’Għad Jinbidel

Alla ma jinbidel qatt ... u aħna dejjem nibqgħu niddependu fuqu għall-għixien u l-ferħ tagħna, anke fil-ġenna. Dawn iż-żewġ ħwejjeġ qatt m’huma se jinbiddlu.

Imma ħaġa waħda li ma nbidlitx bil-pandemija, għad tinbidel u tispiċċa: l-opportunità li nservu f’din id-dinja. Għax illum hawn u għada m'aħniex. Issa huwa l-waqt! “Billi issa għandna ż-żmien, ħalli nagħmlu l-ġid lill-bnedmin kollha, u l-aktar lil dawk ta’ dar il-fidi” (Galatin 6:10).

24.5.20

L-Użu Tajjeb tat-Tiġrib


Miktub minn Joseph Farrugia.

Qatt ikkunsidrajtu r-raġuni għala il-Mulej Alla jikkmandana? Ħudu pereżempju kmand partikolari, dak fil-bidu tal-Epistola ta’ Ġakbu v2: Ikkonsidrawh kollu ferħ, ħuti, kull meta tiffaċċjaw tiġrib varju.

Waħda mir-raġunijiet prinċipali għala Alla jagħtina dal-kmand, u ħafna oħrajn, hi għaliex għandna tendenza li ġejja mil-laħam, mill-bniedem il-qadim, li nirreżistu dawk il-ħwejjeġ li huma kmandati u allura merħija liberi ma nagħżlux li nagħmluhom.

Ħudu dal-każ, mhux veru illi meta niltaqgħu ma’ xi forma ta’ tiġrib, afflizzjoni jew tentazzjoni ħafna minna kultant:
  • neħduha bi kbira, nippanikjaw u nimtlew b’ansjetà
  • nitħassru lilna nfusna, ningħalqu fina nfusna u ninqatgħu mill-oħrajn
  • nitolbu ’l Alla jeħlisna fil-pront u meta dan ma jseħħx immdejatament nilmentaw, ingorru, jekk mhux ukoll nirribellaw kontra Alla inkella nitnikktu, niddispraw jekk mhux ukoll naqgħu f’dipressjoni. Altru li nqisu t-tiġrib kollu ferħ!
Issa attenti hawn! Li tqis it-tiġrib kollu ferħ ma jfissirx li tgawdi t-tiġrib. Qis li ma nemmnux il-gidba li xi wħud li jqisu lilhom nfushom 'super-spiritwali' jgħidulna illi għax m’aħniex ingawdu t-tiġrib allura m’aħniex spiritwali daqskemm suppost. Fih innifsu t-tiġrib mhuwiex xi ħaġa pjaċevoli u lanqas mhu intenzjonati biex jitgawda. Għalhekk insejħulu tiġrib! Kieku t-tiġrib jista’ jitgawda ma jibqax tiġrib. Le, ħuti, m’aħniex kmandati biex ingawdu t-tiġrib imma biex nikkunsidrawh kollu ferħ.

Din il-kelma ‘ikkunsidraw’ hija ċ-ċavetta għall-vers u importantissima. Tfisser aħseb, irraġuna, agħmel il-kalkoli, aqbad lil moħħok u ħudu f’ċertu direzzjoni.

Mela fil-mument li nsibu ruħna f’xi forma ta’ tiġrib minflok inħallu lilna nfusna nkunu mkaxkra mill-emozzjonijiet negattivi li semmejna, jeħtieġ inkunu aħna li għax nafu u nemmnu ċerti veritajiet se mmexxu ħsibijietna u nġibu ruħna b’ċertu mod.

Fil-fatt isimgħu kif ikompli l-vers: Ikkonsidrawh kollu ferħ, ħuti, kull meta tiffaċċjaw tiġrib varju, billi tafu illi l-ipprovar tal-fidi tagħkom jiżviluppa l-perseveranza.

Fi kliem ieħor, jirnexxilna nodbu dal-kmand billi nikkunsidraw. Inqisu t-tiġrib varju kollu ferħ għax, għalkemm mhuwiex tajjeb u pjaċevoli fih innifsu, nafu li dan it-tiġrib:
  • Mibgħut minn Alla Tajjeb u Ħanin li la se jgħabbina b’piż li m’aħniex kapaċi nġorruh, u wisq inqas se jabbandunana bla ma jgħinna.
  • Huwa mibgħut biex jittestja l-fidi tagħna u allura huwa opportunità biex nuru lil Alla illi nafdawh mhux biss fil-bnazzi imma wkoll fil-maltempati.
  • Huwa intenzjonat għall-ġid u qatt għall-ħsara.
  • Alla se jaħdem fih, u eventwalment se jdawwru f’barka u joħroġ it-tajjeb minnu.
  • Il-Mulej se jinqeda’ bih sabiex ikompli jikkonformana fix-xbieha ta’ Ibnu Ġesù, iqaddisna b’mod speċjali billi jsaħħaħ fina d-drawwa tal-perseveranza.
  • Se juża dak it-tiġrib biex iżommna umli u dejjem aktar dipendenti fuqu.
Nikkunsidrawh kollu ferħ għax nafu wkoll li t-tiġrib u t-tentazzjonijiet varji huma opportunitajiet biex nigglorifikaw lil Alla fl-imġieba tagħna. Avolja ma ngawdux it-tiġrib xorta kapaċi nitkellmu tajjeb dwar Alla ma dawk kollha li niltaqgħu magħhom.

Ejja nagħmlu użu tajjeb mit-tiġrib varju li nsibu ruħna fih!

U jekk xi ħadd minnkom jonqsu l-għerf, biex jifhem dawn il-veritajiet u jara t-tiġrib minn din il-lenti, ħa jitlob lil Alla u dan jingħatlu liberament. B’hekk jirnexxilena nobdu dal-kmand minkejja t-tendenza u l-emozzjonijiet kollha li jinfluwenzawna għall-kuntrarju.

U ħa ma ninsew qatt l-1 Kor 10:13 Ebda tiġrib ma qabadkom ħlief dak komuni għall-umanità; imma Alla hu fidil, li mhux se jħallikom tkunu mġarrbin lil hinn milli kapaċi tifilħu, iżda mat-tiġrib se jipprovdi l-ħruġ ukoll, ħalli tkunu tistgħu tissaportuh.

23.3.20

Jien lest


L-aħwa, nixtieq naqsam magħkom xi ħaġa personali: jiena lest immut. Taħsbux li din xi ħaġa li ngħidha spiss jew lil ħafna nies. Le, ma nagħmilx hekk, għaliex naf li hemm ċans kbir li jifhmuni ħażin. Abbli jaħsbu li għidt ‘nixtieq immut issa’ għax forsi ninsab imdejjaq bil-ħajja, mgħaffeġ mill-problemi jew imxebba’ mid-doveri tal-ħajja u allura b’xi mod irrid naħrab minnhom. Inkella xi ħadd jaf jinterpretani ħażin u jaħseb li ma napprezzax il-barkiet li għandi bħall-ħajja nfisha, il-familja, is-saħħa, ix-xogħol u iktar. Imma xejn minn dan, mhux hekk irrid infisser.

Forsi kieku għidt; ‘jiena preparat biex immut’ inqas kont nifthiem ħażin. Imma hekk irrid ngħid; lest immut! Ninsab preparat biex xħin Alla li ħalaqni għalih isejjaħli għal għandu ma jkollux għalfejn ‘jissara’ miegħi u ‘jċarrattni’ minn xi ħaġa li ninsab iggranfat magħha. Se jkun faċli ħafna għall-Missieri jeħodni lura d-dar miegħu għax minix se nġib ruħi ta’ tifel imqareb u ninfaqa’ nibki u nsabbat saqajja u nwerżaq; ‘Għaliex jien? Mhux għalissa, le ma rridx niġi!” Dan ma jfissirx li ma jimpurtaniex jew ma naħsibx b’għafsa ta’ qalb dwar dawk l-għeżież li jekk immut se nħalli warajja; speċjalment l-għażiża marti u l-ulied prezzjużi li fdali Alla, kif ukoll il-membri tal-familja naturali u spiritwali tiegħi. Imma Alla xhud ta’ dan: jiena ngħożż, ingawdi u nirringrazzjah ta’ kull barka temporali u materjali li tnixxi minnu, imma la kont u lanqas jiena marbut sfiq ma’ xi waħda minnhom jew niddependi primarjament fuqha għall-feliċità u l-kuntentizza tiegħi. Mill-ewwel jum tal-konverżjoni tiegħi dak ir-rwol dejjem ħallejtu esklussivament għal Sidna Ġesù Kristu, u ħaristu b’għira qaddisa. Dejjem għamilt ħilti biex nimxu fuq il-prinċipju li darba ngħatajt sabiex nintrabat b’ċoff ħafif ma’ kwalunkwe ħaġa temporanja u transitorja u b’għoqda ssikkata ma’ Sidi Ġesù; l-oħla don u l-iktar sublimi u prezzjuż.

Naf li xi darba kulħadd se jkollu jmut, irid jew ma jridx. Jien ukoll xi darba se jkolli mmut u nħalli kollox warajja. Ma tagħmilx wisq differenza kif se mmut, ħlief jekk forsi din tieħu fit-tul u tkun akkumpanjata mit-tbatija fiżika jew mentali. Imma fit-tul jew b’ħasda konvint li, kif dejjem esperjenzajt, Alla mhuwiex se jħallini nieqes mill-preżenza tiegħu u mill-għajnuna u l-grazzja kollha li nkun neħtieġ biex naqsam l-aħħar xmara bla ma ngħereq u ngħeleb l-aħħar għadu; il-mewt. Dakinhar żgur minix se nfittex lil xi ħadd li joffrili xi tama fiergħa apparti minn Ġesù. Tgħid minix se nitlaq ċima biex naqbad ma’ ħabel tar-ramel! Bl-għajnuna t’Alla, bħalma għext bil-fidi u qatt ma serraħt għas-salvazzjoni ta’ ruħi fuq xejn u ħadd ħlief fuq Kristu u s-sagrifiċċju perfett tiegħu, nittama li mmut ukoll bil-fidi fi Kristu li ħabbni u ta lilu nnifsu għalija. Hu waħdu l-Blata Soda u Eterna tiegħi. Hu biżżejjed. Il-grazzja tiegħu suffiċjenti għalija. F’dak il-jum xejn mhu se jsib f’dawn l-idejn, ħlief li naqbad mas-salib.

Mhux bi ksuħat jew preżunzjoni u lanqas b’arroganza, imma jien ma nibżax mill-mewt. Għalfejn nitwerwer meta din mhix b’saħħitha biżżejjed biex tifridni mill-imħabba t’Alla u se tkun il-bieb għall-ferħ etern, it-tlugħ u d-dħul tiegħi fil-glorja u r-riċeviment tal-viżjoni beatifika! It-tama tal-ġenna li rċevejt permezz tal-fidi fi Kristu tirbaħ fuq kull biża’ mill-mewt u mewtitha darba għal dejjem. M’għandiex għalfejn nibża’ mmut meta qed nittama li għad ngħix billi mmut. Jien, Kristjan, nibża’ mill-jum ta’ mewti? Lanqas xejn, meta naf li dan se jkun il-funeral tan-niket, dnubiet, tbatijiet, tentazzjonijiet, oppressjoni u persekuzzjonijiet preżenti kollha tiegħi! Veru li l-mewt se tħoll temporanjament l-unjoni tal-ġisem mar-ruħ imma naf ukoll illi se tipperfezzjona l-unjoni tar-ruħ ma’ Alla għall-eternità.

Jiena lest immut. Dan għaliex ninsab ukoll konvint illi kif bil-grazzja t’Alla għext għall-Mulej għad immut fil-Mulej. Tippermettili nistaqsik; u int lest biex tmut?

Sadanittant, Alla jgħidli biex nistenna ftit ieħor. Kemm ma qallix. Għalhekk irrid nibqa’ ngħix hieni ġurnata wara ġurnata, f’kull ċirkostanza u sitwazzjoni li nsib ruħi fiha, b’fiduċja f’Alla u afdar sħiħ fil-ħidma setgħana u providenzjali tiegħu. Irrid inkompli nfittex li nagħmel ir-rieda tiegħu u ngħix f’sottomissjoni u ubbidjenza evanġelika lejh. Irrid li ngawdi l-assigurazzjoni tal-imħabba fidila t’Alla lejja, iċ-ċertezza konfortabbli tal-fidwa u s-salvazzjoni miksuba għalija minn Kristu, is-sliem fil-kuxjenza; mingħajr l-akkużi jew rimors tad-dnubiet passati. Irrid inkompli ngħix ħajja ta’ konverżjoni kontinwata, xhieda tal-ħidma operattiva u setgħana tal-Ispirtu t'Alla fija. Nixtieq, minkejja d-dgħjufija, il-limitazzjonijiet u l-fallimenti tiegħi nibqa' nkun strument f’idejn is-Sid imbierek biex jaħdem permezz tiegħi u jużani kull ġurnata u kull mument sakemm jintlaħaq l-għan etern tiegħu għal ħajti. Lil Alla l-glorja!

Grazzi talli għandi lilkom f’ħajti; rigal ieħor sabiħ ta’ Missieri. Grazzi li stajt naqsam dawn ir-riflessjonijiet personali magħkom. Forsi għidt ħafna, imma żgur li m’għidtx kollox.

“Għax Alla ma ddestinaniex għar-rabja, iżda għall-otteniment tas-salvazzjoni permezz ta’ Sidna Ġesù Kristu, li miet għalina, sabiex sew jekk mistenbħin (ie ħajjin) jew inkella norqdu (ie mejtin), ngħixu flimkien miegħu. Għaldaqstant inkuraġġixxu ’l xulxin u edifikaw wieħed lill-ieħor, bħalma infatti qed tagħmlu.” 1 Tess.5.9-11

17.3.20

Is-Sawm


Sidna Ġesù jgħallimna fuq is-sawm.

“U meta ssumu, tkunux bħall-ipokriti, b’wiċċ imqarras: għax huma jqarrsu wiċċhom, biex jidhru lill-bnedmin li huma sajmin. Tassew ngħidilkom: Għandhom ħlashom. Iżda int, meta ssum, idlek rasek, u aħsel wiċċek; Biex ma tidhirx lill-bnedmin li int sajjem, iżda lil Missierek li hu fil-moħbi: u Missierek, li jara fil-moħbi, iħallsek fil-beraħ” (Matttew 6:16-18).

Fil-qosor:
  • Ġesù ma jgħidx ‘jekk’ tagħtu, ‘jekk’ titolbu jew ‘jekk’ issumu, imma ‘meta’ tagħtu, titolbu u ssumu. L-Imgħallem jistenna li d-dixxipli tiegħu jagħtu karità, jitolbu u jsumu.
  • Is-sawm huwa dixxiplina traskurata fost l-evanġeliċi. Forsi minħabba li s-sawm huwa abbużat f’reliġjonijiet oħra (bħala tpattija għad-dnubiet); u għax jesiġi minna rażna u sagrfiċċju.
  • Ejja nsumu għax l-Imgħallem jistenna li hekk nagħmlu, u għax hu wegħdna li Alla l-Missier iħares lejna u jroddilna ħlas. Dak li infittxu fis-sawm jagħtihulna.
  • L-attitudni tal-qalb hi kruċjali. Il-fariżej kienu atturi. Kienu jsumu għal għajn in-nies, mhux biex jersqu lejn Alla. Ma kienx eżerċizzju ta’ umiltà, imma ta’ kburija (arawni kien jien twajjeb!)
F’dawn il-passaġġi mill-Bibbja, innota:
  1. Min kien isum.
  2. Jekk hux waħda jew f’kommunità.
  3. L-okkażżjoni għas-sawm.
  4. Ir-rabta mat-talb.
  5. L-iskop għas-sawm.
  • Jien kont ngħakkes lil ruħi bis-sawm, u kont nitlob b’rasi mgħaddsa fuq ħdani. Salm 35:13
  • Jien bkejt u għakkist lil ruħi bis-sawm. Salm 69:10.
  • Mur, iġma’ l-Lhud kollha li huma f’Susan, u sumu għalija; u la tiklux u la tixorbux għal tlitt ijiem, u la bil-lejl u la bi nhar; jiena wkoll u l-qaddejja tiegħi msumu hekk. U hekk nidħol għand is-sultan, għalkemm mhux skond il-liġi; u jekk għandi mmut, ħa mmut. Ester 4:16.
  • U dawwart wiċċi lejn Sidi l-Mulej, biex infittex bit-talb u t-tħannin, bis-sawm, ilbist ix-xkora, u bl-irmied. Danjel 9:3.
  • U ġara, malli smajt dal-kliem, illi qgħadt bil-qiegħda, u bkejt, u għalejt għal ħafna jiem, u somt, u tlabt quddiem Alla tas-sema. Neħemija 1:4.
  • U hemm, ħdejn ix-xmara Aħawa, nidejt sawma, biex numiljaw ruħna quddiem Alla tagħna, biex infittxu minn għandu triq tajba għalina, u għat-tfal tagħna, u għal kulma kellna. Għax stħajt nitlob lis-sultan qatgħa suldati u ifirsa biex iħarsuna mill-għadu fit-triq: għax aħna konna għidna lis-sultan: Id Alla tagħna hi fuq kull min ifittex għall-ġid; iżda s-setgħa tiegħu u għadbu fuq kull min jitilqu. U hekk somna u tlabna ’l Alla tagħna għal dan: u sema’ t-talba tagħna. Eżra 8:21-23.
  • Għalhekk, issa wkoll jgħid il-Mulej, duru lejja b’qalbkom kollha, u bis-sawm, bil-biki, u bit-tinwiħ. U ċarrtu qalbkom u mhux ħwejjiġkom, u duru lejn il-Mulej, Alla tagħkom, għax twajjeb u ħanin il-Mulej, idum ma jagħdab, u mimli tjieba, u jisgħobbih għad-deni li jibgħat. Ġoel 2:12-13.
  • U kienet armla ta’ erbgħa u tmenin sena, u ma kenitx titlaq mit-tempju, iżda taqdi ’l Alla lejl u nhar bis-sawm u t-talb. Luqa 2:37.
  • U kien għal erbgħin jum imġarrab mix-Xitan. U ma kiel xejn f’dawk il-jiem: u meta għaddew, wara ħadu l-ġuħ. Luqa 4:2.
  • Huma u jagħtu qima lill-Mulej, u jsumu, qal l-Ispirtu s-Santu: Ifirduli ’l Barnaba u ’l Sawl għax-xogħol li għalih sejjaħtilhom. U wara li samu u talbu, u qiegħdu idejhom fuqhom, bagħtuhom. Atti 13:2-3.
  • U wara li għamlulhom presbiteri f’kull knisja, u talbu bis-sawm, erħewlhom f’idejn il-Mulej, li fih kienu jemmnu. Atti 14:23.
Fil-Qosor:
  • In-nies t’Alla, kemm fit-Testment il-Qadim u fil-Ġdid, kienu jsumu.
  • Xi drabi kienu jsumu weħidhom u drabi oħra, flimkien.
  • L-okkażżjonijiet kienu varji: biex ifittxu r-rieda t’Alla, minħabba l-istat ħażin tal-poplu t’Alla, biex jitolbu għall-protezzjoni, u b’sens ta’ indiema.
  • Is-sawm u t-talb qishom id-di u d-do, imorru dejjem flimkien.
  • L-iskop għas-sawm huwa espressjoni ta’ indiema u umiltà, biex nersqu lejn Alla. (Xi reliġjużi jippretendu li jimmeritaw il-grazzji t'Alla għax qed isofru l-ġuħ! Din hi attitudni ta' kburija - l-oppost tal-attitudni ta' umiltà li naqraw fuqha fil-Bibbja).
  • Aħna messna nimxu fuq it-tagħlim ta’ Sidna, u fuq l-eżempju ta’ tant qaddisin, u minn żmien għal żmien, skont l-okkażżjoni, numiljaw ruħna quddiem Alla bis-sawm u t-talb, weħidna jew flimkien, biex infittxu wiċċu u l-grazzja tiegħu.
Suġġerimenti Prattiċi

Jekk għandek xi kundizzjoni medika jew ma tiflaħx, issumx. Alla jaf qalbek. Xorta waħda tista' tixxierek miegħu fil-Kelma u t-talb.

Dakinhar li se ssum, kif tqum filgħodu ibda l-jum bit-talb u l-meditazzjoni fuq l-Iskrittura. Tiekol xejn, imma tista' tixrob kemm tixtieq. F'nofinshar, fil-ħin tal-ikel, erġa' qatta' ħin fit-talb. Jekk matul il-jum jagħtik il-ġuħ, ftakar li qed issum u erfa' ħsibijietek lejn Alla fit-talb. Wara nofsinhar jew filgħaxija, tista' tiekol ... u rringrazzja 'l Alla tal-ikel. (Naturalment wieħed jista' jkollu pjan differenti minn dan; ara dak li jgħodd għalik).