Showing posts from October, 2012

The Journey 304

Read; Acts 17:16-43 Today is October 31st. People here in North America will remember it as Halloween day. But there is also another important day in the history of Christian Church. Today is the Reformation Day. It was on this day that Martin Luther nailed his ninety five these to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, thus provoking a lively and fierce debate, leading finally to the Protestant Reformation. Is isn't strange that both the Halloween and Reformation day falls on the same day? Halloween has Celtic roots. It was linked to the Celtic festival Samhain [ pronounced as sow-in or sah-win]. In Irish mythology, it marked the end of harvest season and beginning of the winter or the darker half of the year. According to the Celtics, this was the time when the door to the other world was opened so that souls of the dead, and other being such as fairies could come and revisit their homes. Feast were laid and a special place for the souls of the dead was also kept at the table.

The Journey 303

Read: Luke 10: 38-42, Mark 1: 35-39 Sandy came and struck. But the people are heaving a slight sigh of relief. Though there has been widespread damage due to uprooting of trees, breaking of power line and issues due to flooding, precious lives seems to have been saved. Though fear was looming large in each and every individual living on the east coast, though Sandy brought about destruction, it also brought about something positive. Because of the fear of the storm, families all over the coast were huddled together in their homes. A phenomena that is so rare in families here, as everyone is so engaged in their work and studies, working at different shifts to make ends meet. Though the power lines were down, at some places, most of the families were all together. For me personally it was after a long time that I got some time all by myself. To renew, to recharge and to relax. I never had an opportunity to watch some good movies as it was impossible for me to sit continuously for two

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

SUSTAINING HOPE Isaiah 40:21-31 But those who hope in the Lord
 will renew their strength. 
They will soar on wings like eagles; 
they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. (Isaiah 40: 31) Isaiah 40 gives the message of hope and comfort. When we are faced with natural calamities and catastrophes the general tendency is to get panic and feel utterly helpless. But the message of Isaiah is that the all powerful Lord God who “marked off the heavens” and “enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure” (v12) comes with might and arms of strength. Only when we grasp God’s power and our powerlessness does a word of hope emerge – namely that “those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” (v 31). Painful realities of contemporary crises: The first hearers of this message were those in exile in Babylon. For the exiles, captivity in Babylon was a painful reality. They were forced from their homes, eked out from the Promised Land, scattered, and became refug

The Journey 302

Read: Jonah 1 A state of emergency has been declared in certain parts of the country here in United States. This is because it is estimated that the lives of more than 50 million people is going to be affected by a storm named Sandy which is going to hit the eastern coast today. Tens of thousands of people who live along the coast of Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have been asked to evacuate. Sandy storm is considered more powerful than Hurricane Katrina that devastated the country in 2005. This is because on Monday it is full moon and this brings in tide and with the resultant rain and strong wind along with the merging of winter storm system, the meteorologist considers the effect of Sandy could be devastating. The city officials in New York and New Jersey are worried about possible flooding, and also due to heavy surge of rain and strong wind, there is dangerous possibility of trees being uprooted and power lines coming crashing down. The subways in both New York a

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

GOD IS OUR FORTRESS Psalms 46 The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth. (Psalms 46:7,8) A fortress is a place where we feel safe and secure. The Lord is our Fortress, in whom we find refuge. God is our true security and foundation. When we go through a crisis, we must look up to God. He is the answer to our problem. Some people find their security in the Pentagon; others in their position or wealth, while many abuse alcohol and drugs to escape the problems of life. These are mere delusions. We must say with the Psalmists, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills: from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” God has the last word: We may encounter obstacles that can knock us off our feet. We cannot expect an easy path as we journey with God, but He will never forsake us. Struggles, sorrows, and trials are part of life. God did not promise u

Word for the day by Christian Education forum

NO LONGER TWO BUT ONE Matthew 19: 1-12 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. (Matthew 19:5,6) The Pharisees raised a question to test Jesus. We all know that the  Pharisees were clear about the answer for the question they raised.   Instead of raising questions about the blessings we received as a family, we are duty bound to be witnesses as a family. Family is the divine gift of God and we are privileged to have this blessing in our life. We also have a responsibility to respond to this blessing. Let us throw light on 3 vital aspects about the subject from this passage.   1. The genesis of the family is from the Creator:  Paul says in Ephesians. 3: 14  “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.” We are from God and of God and for God. We must introspect at all times, whether

The Journey 299

Read: Genesis 2,3 Watching news can be very enlightening as you are made aware of what happens in your part of the world and also in the rest of the world. But in the last three four days listening to news on CBS Philly or watching the daily report of news happenings on CNN or Fox News in this part of the world and news channels in India especially at the recent happening in our home state of Kerala, has become one of the most disgusting factor. This is because of the news of brutalities that are taking place which is making people go shell shock. The people here in Philadelphia are still shocked at the abduction of a 10 month old baby girl named Saanvi Venna, who was abducted by someone whose identity is still not established. This abduction follows the brutal killing of her grandmother who had come from India to visit her family. This tragedy unfolded even as people were coming into grips at the news of a thirteen year old girl from Gloucester County in the neigh

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

A GOD FEARING FAMILY Acts 10:1-8 “…a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms liberally to the people, and prayed constantly to God.”(Acts 10: 2) Evangelist Luke draws out a model of divine family even outside the Jewish tradition, regardless of color, caste, culture and ethnicity. It is the first family coming from the Gentile background. It is impossible to make out a divine family without a constant and conscious discipline along with God’s Grace in the given life situation. We live in a culture of acute denial in which we do not really want to know what is happening to us or what we are doing to ourselves. Cornelius a centurion of Roman government made a separate stand by keeping his faith differently. By his profession he obliged to implement Roman imperialism to the people. But he made himself separately that how to cultivate a divine habitat within the family and his relatedness. There are 4 kinds of qualitative differences we can set apart for our medit

The Journey 298

Read: John 6 We live in a computerized and digital world where all our information's are stored on computers, tablet and communications are done through email and accessed through different digital medias. Thus to access all these information's each one of us has a password. What is important about password is that, we should be able remember it easily. But in today’s world the reality is that each of us have needs multiple password so as to access our Facebook account, our multiple email accounts, bank accounts, the daily utility bills and so on. What happens when a person has to have multiple passwords for his different accounts?. The normal routine is either have one password for all the accounts or have different password that are simple and easy to remember. Hence the number of password being hacked have reached enormous proportions. Recently in an article written by Jeff Schapiro in the news magazine Christian Post, brings to the notice of his readers about how in the s

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

MADE FOR EACH OTHER Genesis 1:20-31 “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1: 27) Genesis 1:20-31 describes God’s creative engagements in detail and it says that God was so busy in the life giving process. Life originates from God and in it we find God’s blessings, hence we are a blessed and divine community (v 28). Family - God's Divine self in the world (God the Creator) Godhead is very much present in our own very lives and family (Family as Theosis). Life and its responsibilities including family is a gift of God and affirm the fact that it came from God and it shows the love of God towards us. Life came to this earth when God took initiative and shared God-self with the cosmos and it was an interdependent, reciprocal one and not hierarchical or dominative. Family in a Wider Web of Relationships: Our definition of family is more anthropocentric, hierarchical and patriarchal in nature and

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

AS FOR ME AND MY FAMILY Joshua 24: 14-22 ‘If you are not willing to serve him, decide today whom you will serve, …….As for my family and me, we will serve the Lord’. (Joshua 24: 15) The book of Joshua begins with events right after the death of Moses, with God’s call to Joshua as the new leader, followed by many historic incidents such as the conquest of Canaan, distribution of land, Joshua’s farewell address, establishing of a covenant with God and ending with Joshua’s death. Joshua means ‘God saves’. As the right hand man to Moses, he was a great warrior as well as a spiritual leader and most importantly ‘a servant of God.’ Decide today whom you will serve… (24: 15): Joshua at the age of 110 years, wanted to make sure that the new generation of Israelites would continue to remember their history and be obedient and faithful to the God who brought them to the Promised Land. Knowing well how easily they forget their blessings and rebel against God, he turned to the people and

The Journey 296

Read: Genesis 22, Mathew 14 Fear is one of the major obstacle in an individuals quest to create landmarks and create new avenues of achievement in life. Once we are able to conquer our fears then we will be able to move from the level of mediocrity to excellence in life. Last week an attempt by an Austrian sky diver points to this fact. Space Jumper Felix Baumgartner created history when he jumped to earth from the stratosphere[ jumping from a helium balloon from about 128,000 feet] and making him the first man to break the speed of sound in free fall. His free fall took only about four minutes and 22 seconds. As he was about to jump, the mission control told him “Our guardian angel will take care you”. He was wearing a specially designed survival jacket that kept his body intact against the varying pressure that marked his drop back to earth. It is said that without this survival kit, his blood would have boiled and his lungs could have exploded. With this jump, Baumgartner broke a

Word for the day by Christian Education forum

FAMILY A DIVINE GIFT Genesis 2:4-24 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’  for she was taken out of man.” (Genesis 2:23) The creation story ends in Genesis Chapter 1 with a statement “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good." Family is the Precious Gift of God: Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden that signifies delight and pleasure. It had all desirable conveniences ideally situated, sufficient, the joy and glory of the whole earth. Of course it was earth in its highest perfection. A man placed in such surroundings should be happy and content. The physical part of man by which he is allied to the world of sense was made happy; for he was put in the paradise of God: the spiritual part by which he is allied to the world of spirits was well provided for; for he was taken into covenant with God. But when we continue to read Chapter 2 v 18, we read, God saw something that is not good. "The Lord God said

The Journey 295

Read: 1 Corinthians 12 India’s national airline is always in the news, seldom for the right reason. Last week it caught national and international attention for absurdities that the aviation authorities, the crew members of the airline and passengers created in an Abu Dhabi– Cochin flight. The problems for the travelers began even before the take off. The flight from Abu Dhabi to Cochin which was scheduled to take off at 9.15 pm from Abu Dhabi took off only at 12.55 am, flight delayed by three and a half hours. As the passengers settled down in the flight they did not know that there were more misery in store for them. The flight that was supposed to land in Cochin at 3.30 am had to diverted to Thiruvanathapuram following bad weather at Cochin. The passengers That was when all the problems seems to have begun. The passengers seems to be visibly upset at the change of destination and as they raised their genuine concerns the crew members seemed to be very evasive. This made some of th

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

FAMILY MATTERS Proverbs 1: 1-9 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction, and do not forsake your mothers teaching'. (Proverbs 1:7-8) The book of proverbs was written by the king Solomon. Proverbs are simple ,moral statements and teach fundamental realities about life. It emphasizes moral and ethical principles, which lead to a right relationship with God. Solomon sought and received wisdom and knowledge from God. For him, fear of God is the foundation for all spiritual knowledge and wisdom to build the Christian family. Family - a Divine institution: Marriage is ordained by God in the Garden of Eden. God gave us marriage as a gift. Likewise, God also gave us family as a gift. Family is not a human institution, but a divine institution called in unity to glorify God. Home is the basic unit of the society. Christian home is a blue print of the Kingdom of God. It is a loving home wh

The Journey 293

Read: Acts 3: 1-10 Tragedy sometimes make people very cynical while for some tragedy brings out something extraordinary for the welfare of the society and community. One of the heroes of CCN 2012 is a person named Leo McCarthy. In 2007, a huge tragedy befell him when he lost his 14 year old daughter Mariah, in a case of underage drunken driver hitting her fatally along with her two friends., as they were walking along the sideway of their home in Montana. But McCarthy decided to do something blessed, though the tragedy was something that was tough to come in terms with. He knew that the man who was responsible for the death of his daughter was not even 20 years old and legally not allowed to drink. Thus on the day of his daughters memorial service, McCarthy made a unique promise during the eulogy of his daughter. The promise that he gave the youngsters that day was that if the kids don't use alcohol nor use banned drugs, and are ready to work with their parents and give everythin

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

A PORTRAIT OF A FAITHFUL YOUTH 1Timothy. 4:6-16 Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Apostle Paul is painting a portrait of a faithful youth to his young minister of God Timothy. Apostle wanted Timothy to understand this portrait and to practice this when he ministers to the believers as a youth minister. Apostle paints these portraits in these verses and it is a portrait to all the youth to lead a faithful life for the Lord. Even though Timothy was brought up in this faith Paul reminds him about the false teachings that can distort the portrait of a faithful youth. Paul says ‘let no one despise your youth’. Paul clearly reminds this young believer and the leader about the possibility of being despised and advises Timothy to accept this portrait to have a faithful youth to the Almighty. Paul paints three portraits to show Timothy abo

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

JESUS LOOKED AT HIM AND LOVED HIM Mark 10:17-22   Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”(V.21) One of the most difficult struggles in my life and the sin that I constantly wrestle with is my difficulty to love those I don’t like. This may be an unadvisable admission, especially in a devotional which may be read by so many across the diocese, but unfortunately it’s the truth. I constantly have to remind myself that I have to show the same grace shown to me by the Lord; to all those I come across…even those I don’t necessarily like. Doing something for an inheritance? In Mark 10: 17-22 is the story of the Rich Young Man (RYM) who seeks out salvation from Jesus. Initially RYM demonstrates the audacity to ask Jesus what he can do to “inherit” eternal life. It is as if it’s something that should simply be handed to him as any inheritance he may r

The Journey 292: Redefining "MISOGYNY"

Read: John 8:1-11 A fiery speech by a woman in authority against another leader has received not only global attention, but it has also caused a dictionary publisher to redefine the meaning of a particular word. CNN in its news items has titled the speech as “ The Speech Every Woman should Hear”. What is the context of this speech and what is this speech that has caused such an uproar and attracted worldwide attention?. This fiery speech was delivered in the Parliament by Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard when she lambasted the leader of Opposition, Tony Abbot and described him as a misogynist. There was a heated exchange in the parliament between Abbot and Gillard following an accusation on Speaker Peter Slippers. Peter Slippers was accused of sexual harassment by a former staff member and the opposition led by Tony Abbot barraged the Prime Minister with number of questions and accused her of being a hypocrite for supporting Peter Slippers. It is at this context that Julia

Word for the day by Christian Education forum

MATURED YOUTHHOOD Luke. 18:18-25 “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.’” (Luke 118:22) The Evangelist Billy Graham once said, “God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for giving.” In the passage for today, we see a wealthy man who sought eternal life. Matthew and Mark refer to him as a young man, and Luke notes that he is a ruler. This rich, young ruler seeks to find out how to inherit eternal life. He realizes that, despite his wealth, he is lacking eternal life. Even though he realizes that he lacks eternal life, he doesn’t comprehend what eternal life is. His social status may portray him as a very mature man, but his lack of understanding of salvation proves that he is not spiritually mature. It’s the willingness, not the finances that matter:

The Journey 291

Read: Numbers 22: 1-35 We all are committed in one way or the other. Committed to our job, to our faith, to our family and so on. We may show an extra commitment with regards to our family or friends and may be ready to pay a price for that commitment. But in our professional career we may often compromise in our commitment when we realize that we may loose certain benefits and luxuries in life, if we stick to our commitment. This week Indian newspaper were talking about a brave, committed IAS officer from the state of Haryana. The concerned officer is Ashok Khemka who joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1993. He is now in the news because he has been shunted out of his post of Director General, consolidation of holding and land records, where he joined only three months back. It is presumed that he has been shunted out because he blew the lid of several dubious land transactions by famous people who had strong political connections. Being transferred and that too while remai

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

MATURED YOUTHHOOD Ecclesiastes 11: 9 - 12: 7   Remember your Creator in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say…(12:1) Ecclesiastes represents a reaffirmation of the central thing in ancient wisdom - an acknowledgement of the limits of human understanding. The author Solomon never denies the sovereignty of God. The substance of this passage is powerful and beautiful description of old age and the relentless approach of death. The writer reveals that the age of youth is to rejoice but that enjoyment does not go beyond the limits, remember that God is the Creator. I. Rejoice in your Youth: Being young is a blessing from God. Solomon tells young people to enjoy being young, which they can, they will soon be old. He also tells young people the choice before them. Youth means a time of creativity, critical mentality, vigor, willingness to take risk and so on. Present world scenario there is enough opportunities to enjoy our l