Showing posts from August, 2012

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EDUCATION FOUNDED ON THE FEAR OF THE LORD Psalms 111 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.(Ps.111:10) As we look back in analysis of our lives, we need to reflect on the goodness that God has showered upon us. Often the blessings that we have, we take them for granted and many times forget to thank God for His manifold blessings. God has provided everything that we need and blessed us with numerous things that we want. Walking with God is wisdom: The love and care that God provided for us is everlasting. God will provide with what we need and He will lead us to the right direction. The only thing we have to do is to walk with Him and submit ourselves to Him. This is the realization that we cannot be happy or fulfilled by doing things by ourselves, and we cannot move forward into this world on our own. We need to walk with the Lord. By walking with the Lord, it is the trust that we are

The Journey 242: Interpreting Natural Disasters

Read: Daniel 3 Finally Hurricane Isaac hit some of the states in US. It sidestepped New Orleans but the effect of Hurricane was more of flooding in the rural areas. The rain that came along with the hustling winds of hurricane, fell constantly the whole day yesterday and thus flooding the rural part of the state of New Orleans. The government official are on a mission to evacuate more than 3000 people who are caught in the flash flood waters. The power lines have snapped in some places and the whole state is still placed on a high alert. President Obama has declared federal emergencies in Louisiana and Mississippi late Wednesday. But as Hurricane Isaac was causing havoc in the state, certain Christian leaders have started writing about how Hurricane Isaac is the punishment that God is sending to this country because of the loss of moral and ethical values in the country, especially to the state of New Orleans. A festival called as “Southern Decadence” takes place normally this week e

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

EDUCATION FOUNDED ON THE FEAR OF THE LORD 1 Corinthians 2:1-16 “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.” As summer now begins to ebb away, students of all ages start to transition back to life in the school year. During the first week or so of the school year, students will assemble their supplies and school-required materials to get back into the mindset of learning while teachers implement “plans of attack” to best equip their students to accomplish these learning goals. The new material these students will need to learn can be challenging and sometimes frustrating for the student, but effective teachers instill a mindset of confidence and perseverance, encouraging their students to be more focused and disciplined in their study habits, leading to more maturity and knowledge within the student. The teachers themselves must prepare d

The Journey 241: Relationship Should be Spelled as Relationship

Read: Acts 9: 36-43 Crisis experience is always life changing. We are never the same after we have gone through crisis. Some people become bitter and cynical after crisis. Some others not only learn valuable lessons in life, but would carry the positive lesson to others in life. One of the nominations for the CNN person of the year is Jonny Imerman. What is unique about Johnny is that like millions of other people, he is also a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 26. While he fought with cancer, he realized that he needed someone with whom he could share his pain and his fears. Once he fought his cancer successfully, he realized that there are hundred of other cancer patients who wants to connect with someone who has gone through the same trauma. It is this vision that led him to start “Immerman’s Angels” an organization, to help cancer patients to connect with cancer survivors, so that the patients gets one to one relationship for support and encou

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

WISDOM FROM HEAVEN James 3:13-18 “Who is wise and understanding among you…”James 3:13 Wisdom is not mere knowledge. Today, we have more knowledge than before. But are we becoming more wise today? 1. Real wisdom comes from God. 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom'. King Solomon asked for wisdom, more than anything else, when he became king in his young age. His wisdom became known to the wide world. Wisdom comes from God. No reason can explain why Jesus, very God of very God, had to die like a criminal on the Cross. St. Paul speaks of it in 1 Cor. 1:20f. 'Had not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? (v. 25). For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength (v. 30)'. Christ Jesus has become for us wisdom from God. 2. Wise man will build his house upon the rock. We have the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Sermon on the Mount as we read in the Gospel of Matthew chapters 5,6 and 7.

The Journey 240: Bible is NOT a CAKE for special occassions but a BREAD for daily use

Read: 2 Kings 22, 23 With the entry of digital television, the viewers are often confused as to what to watch on television. Because of the vast array of programmes that are aired, people do not even know what are some of the programmes that is being offered. Normally teens and youths end up watching some movies while the older adults end up watching some game shows and serials. Last Thursday, the GSN channel started broadcasting the much awaited series “ The American Bible Challenge”. The series has began with a bang. According to the GSN sources, the bible challenge series had about 1.7 million viewers when it was premiered on August 23rd. They claim that it has surpassed the record for the show “Family Feud” hosted by Steve Harvey. It is the comedian Jeff Foxworthy who is hosting the American Bible Challenge which is a one hour game where the participants compete against each other in the area of Bible Knowledge. One of the notable features of this show is that the participants wh

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

LIBERATING FAITH FROM CORRUPTION Colossians 1: 24-29 We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.  (Colossians 1:28) First century Colossae was in an ideological upheaval with multiple philosophical streams flowing into it. The believers in Christ were in danger of syncretism – a term for the mixing together of various religions, ideas, beliefs and practices. They were fond of mingling the truths of the Christian faith with incompatible ideas of the surrounding non-Christian culture. The result was predictably devastating! Some believers were drawn into extreme forms of legalism. Others abused their freedom in Christ and slipped into sexual immorality. The Colossian congregation was mired by debates and divisions. The message of the Gospel was compromised and the witness of the Church tarnished. Paul’s purpose in writing this letter from his prison cell in Rome around AD 61 was to refute and

The Journey 239: Making significant contributions but living insignificant lives

Read: Acts 9:26,27 I remember a funny incident that happened in one of the youth retreats in India. The inaugural session was going on. As the photo session about the inauguration was being taken, I realized that there were only a few youths sitting in the congregation, while all the rest had rushed to the dais, so that their photo could also be taken. The rush and demand to be on the spotlight. But there are few others who consciously chose to live life beyond the spot light. One such person was Neil Armstrong, the one who said “One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind”, as he set his foot on moon, thus creating history of becoming the first man to walk on the surface of the moon. But on Saturday, the world came to the know the news that Neil Armstrong is also no more. He died at the age of 82. Now both Neil and his space odyssey to the moon is historic. But as you read the news about Neil Armstrong, there are few things that will surprise us. A man who created history and t

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

EDUCATION FOUNDED ON THE FEAR OF THE LORD Proverbs 4: 1-19 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
 guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers.(Verses 13,14) The Hebrew word for wisdom hokma shares a wide range of meaning. “Wisdom is the ability to cope, the art of steering; it is practical knowledge of the laws of life and of the world, based on experience”. The passage for our meditation in Proverbs gives the parental exhortations for a meaningful life. The parent’s words are not the divine words. But they are faithful reflections of it and are thus a means of life. Wisdom fosters life. So it prevents the threats of life and it prevents the negation of life. It declares the celebration of life for all. The negation of wisdom is the path of the wicked that leads us to death. Wisdom thus provides life and rejects death. Fear of the Lord is not just respecting the wisdom-the Law-the covenant; rather practicing

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

DENOUNCE HYPOCRISY AND ACCEPT CHRIST Matthew 23:1-12 " They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them" (Matthew 23:4) God through Jesus Christ intervened in the history in a particular historical time to mold, reshape and reconstruct it for the purpose of God. But the corrupted minds rejected him and branded him as a man of evil spirit and madness. When Jesus started to dismantle the corrupted religiosity they tried to annihilate Christ. Jesus confronted the corrupt practices of the religion, politics with a ministry which affirms life and human dignity. His powerful teachings shook the foundations of many corrupted system, including religion. During Jesus’ time corrupted spirituality, faith practices, teachings were legalized through corrupted systems and it was taught and brought into practice through Temple of God. Corrupted faith and its practices are dangerous

The Journey 236: When Kids leave home

Read: 1 Samuel 1: 21-28 This week has been stressful in many homes. Stress of a different kind. The stress that comes out with the realization of two wonderful aspects in life. 1. The kids have grown up and 2. They are leaving home to venture into the new big, wide world. These thoughts come because the new academic year has begun. This week, I had to behold lot of my youth members leaving home and going to college, to stay in the dorm for the first time. Kids leaving home to college was stressful both for the kids and for the parents. Stress for the kids for a variety of reasons. They are leaving home for the first time, going to live all by themselves, little apprehensive as to what the future holds for them. The scene in college may also be a bit frightening in the beginning. It is like coming out in the wide world, with some faces familiar but most of the faces new. All these days, the kids knew that their parents was with them physically to take care of all their needs, but sud

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

WHO SHALL DWELL ON THE LORD’S HOLY HILL? Psalms 15 Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? (Psalms 15:1) Psalm 15 is considered to be a didactic psalm that is intended for teaching. Psalm 15, although short, is compacted with a message and imagery that every Christian should reflect upon to understand what a faithful believer is and how we can abide in His Holy presence. This short psalm begins with a question, ends with a promise, and the verses in between answer the questions illustrated in the first verse. The questions “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill?” are figuratively asking who can come in the Divine presence of the Lord? (an important question for all Christians). In verses 2-5a, it lists outwardly actions that can be done that represent an inward faithfulness and truthfulness to the Divine One (noted specifically vs. 2b). This is seen as a “righteous man” or faithful believer. The psalm is close

The Journey 235

Read: Philippians 2:5-11 Their battle is being termed as the clash of the titans. Two electronics giants Apple and Samsung are involved in a legal battle. Last week the top officials of both Apple and Samsung could not reach an agreement in the dispute that has come between them. What is the whole issue about? The issue began when both Apple and Samsung brought into the market some high end, smart phones that caught with up with everyone that the sales of the both phones and tablets rose enormously. But this sales also cut into the resultant profit of each other. Apple seems to have been more grieved because their products I Phone and I Pad had already achieved iconic status. With the entry of Samsung Tablets and Android based phones, Samsung seemed to bring a dent into the iconic status of I Pad and I Phones. It is there I think that the battle began. The issue now each of the electronics giants is trading against each other is that, the other had used their designs for their own p

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TERRIFIED, YET MIGHTY Judges 6:11-16 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is with you, you mighty warrior." (Judges 6:12) The passage illustrates the call of Gideon as the judge of Israel. The angel appeared and spoke to Gideon at Ophrah under the Oak. Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to hide it from the Midianites assuming that the Midianites will not come to the place of wine press because that was not the season of grapes. Now the angel addressed him as a mighty warrior. Gideon was not a mighty warrior but was a terrified normal human being. That is why he was beating the wheat at the wine press in order to save that from their enemies. In Gideon's attitude of mind a human observer would have seen nothing but weakness, and yet God saw "might." The Divine eye penetrated to the very depths of Gideon's spirit and character, and saw in his seeming weakness the very qualities out of which spiritual heroes are

The Journey 234: "Bond" of healing ministry

Read: Luke 10:25-37 Images, Images, Images. Images that sometimes force people to act……...There are certain images that you see that you cannot forget, image that brings pain, anger and frustration in oneself. Images that brings instantaneous action and reaction from our fellow human beings. I still remember very vividly the image of a person named Hamid Ansari begging for life in the infamous Gujarat riots. Last week when India celebrated its independence, another image brought in agony and pain to hundreds of Indians in general and malayali community in particular. The image was that of three nurses huddled together on the terrace of the Mar Baselious Hospital, Kothamangalam, Kerala. The terrace itself resembled the scene before creation “chaos and disorder”, with bricks, metals and rods being strewn all over. These three nurses were braving sun and rain and lying on the terrace for almost two days, threatening to commit suicide, if the legitimate demands of the nurses working in t

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LAW OF SIN VS. LAW OF GOD Romans 7: 15-25 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin (vv. 22,23) Why does faith community need to be liberated from corruption? Apostle Paul addresses this issue in the epistle to the Romans, especially in our selected passage. And, as we begin our meditation, I beseech you to avoid the two possible extreme interpretations of this passage. Libertinism or antinomianism is one of them, which is based on the concept that the best law is no law at all. The other is the error of legalism, which seeks to produce godliness through a set of regulations and prohibitions. While legalism violates the principle of Grace, antinomianism repudiates the truth and moral absolute. A struggle within: Paul begins the chapter by decisively establishing that the law has been fulfilled on the cross and no longer has authority or jurisdiction over

The Journey 233: You have never really lived....

Read: Luke 19 We all have misconception about people. Misconception that come because of a person’s look, race and culture. Because of misconceptions, there are people who are condemned and not taken care of or given due care and attention. Listen to this wonderful incident reported by Kerry Kind in the Wesleyan Church news a few days back. It is about Cedar Grove Wesleyan Church which is in north west Oklahoma. This church has attendance of only 46 members but these forty six members are touching lives of people who are truck drivers. The Pastor of this church is Harold Hanson. Their idyllic life started experiencing problems when oil wells and pipelines began sprouting all around the church and parsonage. With this came the arrival of huge trucks along their paths, bringing not only dust and noises but frustrations as well. Everyone got annoyed and did not know how to handle this issues, as the people felt that they cannot talk to the truck drivers since they seemed to look very un

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RESOLVING CONFLICTS James 4:1-10 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, "Silence is an opinion. Inaction is an action." This is a common saying in the conflict resolution arena. When we are confronted with decision making processes of life we often resort to these kind of decisions. However, in this passage James is giving us a new insight about resolving conflicts in our lives. The book of James is known as “an exercise in Practical Christianity”. James describes a conflict between two opposing forces, rather called “spirits,” one spirit inclined toward evil and the other toward good. When we find conflicts in the family, in the city, in our nation, between nations, where do these conflicts, disputes, disagreements, differences, and quarrels come from? James is saying, “Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within

The Journey 232: The Best Way To Fine Yourslef ....

Read: Acts 16:16-24 Last week the Willow Creek Association, a not profit Christian organization in the US organized the Global Leadership Summit at Chicago. A conference that is held so that it can transform Christian leaders around the world with a renewed sense of vision, development of skill and become a sense of inspiration for the local church. They call leaders from around the globe to address the leaders of the different church’s so that they become agents of transformation in the local church. One of the leaders that they had for this year was a dynamic lady from India. Her name is Pranitha Timothy and she is the Director of International Justice Mission based in Chennai, India. Pranitha and her team works for the deliverance of bonded laborers in India and in the past nine years she has rescued more that 4,000 bonded laborers. During the summit meeting last Friday, she recalled how God called her for a life where she had to risk her life for the freedom of others. She had go

The Journey 229: Transformed Living

Read: Genesis 32: 22-32 We all fly often or occasionally. While travelling on an aircraft, If given a choice of selecting a seat, which seat would you take? The Aisle seat, the window seat or the middle seat?. Or is it that you just don't care, because you are comfortable in any seat that is assigned to you by the airline staff?. Personally I am very choosy while travelling on an aircraft. I would always prefer an aisle seat because of my height and I also would prefer sitting at the back of the aircraft, since most people do not prefer sitting at the back, leaving most of the seats empty, thus giving ample space for me to stretch. This week the news agency CNN has brought about an interesting study on the habits of people as they travel in the aircraft and the personality types of people who prefer to choose either the window seat or the aisle seat. According to the study, people who choose window seats in the aircraft are people who love nature and who enjoy panoramic views. T

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COMMUNITY FREE FROM CORRUPTION Isaiah 1:10-20 Wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight;  stop doing wrong.  Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isaiah 1:16- 17) Isaiah was a man with a vision and was known as the Shakespeare of Hebrew literature. Isaiah was quoted more in the New Testament than any other prophet and no other biblical author is remembered for his vivid imagery. He was a man who God equipped with a vision, and he accepted the call, “Here am I. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) What the Lord rejects: Isaiah lived during a critical time; civil war had split the Israelites into two kingdoms, the Northern (Israel) and the Southern (Judah) more religious kingdom where Isaiah lived. Soon after Isaiah commenced his work, he began to see dangerous behaviors from his neighbors who used their power to harass the poor and cared less about others and more about themselves. They began to express their religion in their outward appearanc

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REFORMATION, HERITAGE AND WITNESS St. Matthew 5:13-20 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again?... You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Verse 13,14) The Sermon on the Mount is the essential teachings of Jesus focusing the disciples in particular and the ordinary crowd in general. These are the principles of practical Christian living. Jesus uses two metaphors to describe and prescribe who his followers are and what they do for and in the world. You are the Salt of the earth: As disciples, Jesus gives them a distinctive capacity to elicit goodness on earth. Like salt, which is used to enhance or alter taste of food, the disciples are called to bring about remarkable change in the society. Apart from the obvious role of salt in flavoring and preserving, in the ancient world it was seen as a purifying or cleansing agent. (Exodus 30:35) In some connection it was a required addition

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UNDEFILED LIFE AND POWERFUL WITNESS Daniel 1: 1-21 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” (Verse 8) The book of Daniel contains six stories, that recommend a ‘lifestyle for the diaspora’. It can be seen as stories of resistance to cultural and spiritual assimilation of a minority by a dominant foreign power. Resistance against enslaving forces: In this text we read about the captivity of king Jehoiachin by Nebuchadnezzar who took not only the king but the temple elements as well. And followed by that a selection is made from among vibrant, young, handsome, intelligent Jews of royal and noble families without blemish. They are chosen with specific plan and they are selected for specialized training in Babylonian language and culture. The king is keen to change all their ways of life. Their names are changed into Babylonian names. Name changing is a prominent bibli

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REFORMATION: HERITAGE AND WITNESSING Acts 13: 17-39 Through him everyone who believes is set free from every sin, a justification you were not able to obtain under the law of Moses. (Acts 13:39) The Book of Acts is an accurate historical record of the early church with lessons and living examples of the work of the Holy Spirit, the implications of grace and the law of love. The second half of Acts is focused primarily on Paul’s missionary journey to many countries north of Mediterranean Sea. Paul’s missionary adventure shows us the progress of Christianity. This gospel could not be confined to one corner of the world. This is a faith that offered hope to all humanity. Renewal for a reforming community: While acknowledging the customs, traditions habits and practices stressed during the reformation period, it has become imperative to come up with new interpretations and texts fitting for the current socio- economic environment. The tenets of reformation were manifested thr

The Journey 228: When the devil comes to the church....

Read: 1 Corinthians 11 Church is a place where we all go for worship. A place where through worship we have fellowship, communion both with the Lord and our fellow believers. It is also a place of comfort and hope as we silently share our joy, our dreams and sorrows with the Lord, seeking his will and guidance in our life. But this is not what happened last week to a lady who went to the church here in Philadelphia to pray. The Philadelphia news agency reports about a tragic incident that happened to a 53-year-old woman who had recently lost her job, and thus out of her sheer desperation and agony she decided to go to the church to pray. But there she became a victim of being robbed inside the church. As she walked to receive the holy communion, sitting in the church, she felt that this was the most secure place and hence she kept her purse on the pews and went to receive the communion. That is when a couple who was another fellow worshipper, saw the purse in the pew, grabbed the pur

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REFORMATION WITNESS AND HERITAGE Deuteronomy 11:1-28 Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always. (Deuteronomy 11:1) This is part of an address by Moses to Israelites. Initially, I had difficultyin connecting the text to the given theme; it became relevant when I changed the word sequence into heritage, witness and reformation. Heritage is passed on from generation to generation; witness is the authentic expression of heritage; reformation is a means of making witness effectual at a particular time. Heritage, here, is based on God’s covenant with Israel; their election and liberation history are part of their heritage. Living out this heritage is their witness. ‘Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God (Deut. 11.2). God’s covenants with them included divine promises, as well as their obligations. They were a ‘covenant community;’ it was God’s own covena

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LOVE SO AMAZING (India’s Independence Day) St. Matthew 5: 38-42 – End of Fifteen Day Lent “ I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5: 44). Today we are celebrating India’s 65th Independence Day. We also observe the end of the 15th day lent. We must always remember that we received independence not through guns or through our mighty hands but through non-violent (ahimsa) religious and cultural movement led by Mahatma Gandhi and his followers, which is the age old spirituality of Indian civilization. In many ways the teachings of Jesus “The sermon on the mount”, greatly influenced Mahatma Gandhi especially he was inspired by the spiritual value of ahimsa i.e. non-violence. Selfless Love crosses religious boundaries and man made laws: Jesus teachings go beyond the teachings of Pharisees and the existing practices. In Mathew 5 verse 20 onwards, we notice in Christ’s teachings, he says “