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Showing posts from September, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Salvation: The Gift of God Ex. 14. 15-31 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelite to move on. “Salvation”- a word that is often thrown around, but often not fully explained, has many laypeople confused.  What exactly does this word mean?  What are the promises portrayed in it?  If your child asked you what ‘Salvation’ was, what resources would you point them to? Well- let’s start by looking at something that Jesus taught all believers: The Lord’s Prayer.   Do you recognize the phrase, “Deliver us from Evil”?  (Matt 6:13)   That, right there, in a nutshell, is the gift of salvation!  It is God’s GRACE that has saved us from the sin that we knowingly and unknowingly commit!  So next time your child rattles off the Lord’s Prayer, have them pause and reflect on exactly what it is they are praying for: salvation. But God’s gift of salvation is not limited to the spiritual sin, as we see in Exodus 14:15-31.  Ask any child about the “Parting of the Red Sea”, …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Salvation, the Gift of God Revelation 7: 9-17 “And they cried out in a loud voice: ‘Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” John is worshipping on the island of Patmos and finds himself suddenly in the midst of what appears to be the end of times.  He is seeing truly awesome and frightful sights, beginning with a sealed scroll that, at first, no one appears worthy to open.  A slain Lamb appears and opening the seals only unleashes more fearful events, including the infamous Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  But before the seventh seal is opened, a hopeful sight presents.  It is the great multitude of those come out of the great tribulation - the ones whose robes were made white in the blood of the Lamb. Our world is full of many different religions; even Christianity itself has been divided into so many different sects, each claiming that they are the ones in the right.  It becomes easy to doubt and wonder: are we on the “winning” side?  In fact, is anyone …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Salvation the Gift of God John 3:1-16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
                   Chapter 2 begins with Jesus' first sign in Cana of Galilee. Later in chapter 2 and 3 the scene shifts to Jerusalem, the geographical and spiritual centre of the Jews. When Jesus clears the temple  courts they ask him to prove his authority to do it. In chapter 3 the teaching of Jesus is contrasted with that of the Pharisees.
               Nicodemus acknowledges Jesus as 'a teacher come from God'. He speaks to Jesus in the first person plural, ("we know you are a teacher.."v.3), which means that he is a representative of the community. Jesus emphasizes that a person must be born' again' (or 'from  above') to enter the kingdom of God. He/she must be born of water and the Spirit. This statement has raised great controversies. Entrance to the Kingdom of God will req…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Sacrament of Marriage Genesis 2:21-25 “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.”  Men and women are different. They have different ways of thinking, different tastes, and different strengths. God designed men and women to be different so they could make each other complete.  You’ve heard the old cliché, "OPPOSITES ATTRACT." That’s good because a man and a woman can help one another further expand their interests, further develop their character, and further balance their lives. God’s divine desire was to create a man and a woman to be together, to become one. God, Himself, saw that man should not be alone and made him a helper comparable to him. Meaning similar to him, equal to him, helping him and supporting him in all things. I Corinthians 11:9 states that “woman was created for the man”.  Men and women were created to have understanding, develop respect, nurture love and to procreate. Children …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Sacrament of Marriage Gen 24: 1-14 “By this I will know that you have shown kindness to my master” (v14) Marriage is one of the most debated topics in the recent times. The gender relationship within an institution so sacredly authored by God, the creator, was unquestionable till the recent past. It is so unfortunate now that man is trying to redefine this sacred institution and turn his face against God. Let’s look at some statistics. By CDC reports average divorce rate is 3.6 per 1000 Americans, which also represents more than 50% of marriages. In a recent Pew Trust Survey, the question was asked of unmarried people, a large sampling of unmarried people, “Do you want to get married?” 46% of those people said yes. 54% of the people in a national survey said no. We, undoubtedly, are living in a morally declining generation. As Christians, it is our duty to stand firm for the truth and save the generation from a cultural disaster that ultimately leads to a Nation’s ruin. As the saying…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Obedience in Christ’s love Ephesians 6:1-14 “Honor your father and mother” The institution of the home is what is being attacked in our society, many people especially youths are broken, because their households are broken. Honor your father and mother; we have heard this being taught from our youngest age in Sunday school. But there is a promise with this commandment that 'it may go well with you and you may live long in the land'. God says when you honor your parents your promised long life in your stay here on earth. All parents desire children to honor them, but parents may I suggest as Paul proclaims, 'do not provoke your children to anger'. Sometimes the parents need to listen to what their children are going through, and through love and grace guide their children to the proper ways of the Lord. Through anger nothing will be communicated, the best way for children to respect their parents and obey is for them to know that the parents understand their struggles.     …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Sacrament of Marriage Proverbs 31: 10 – 31 “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.(30) Maya Angelou once said, “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her.” When the world tells us to go find the right person through various dating websites, dating around, and other social settings, God tells us to seek Him first, and we must focus on living our life for Him. As we do that, He will provide the right person. Being supportive and encouraging of each other Proverbs 31 is a well-known passage, and the passage that resonate in the hearts of many Christian women. Verse ten begins by asking the question of how one can find a wife of noble character. Then, the passage continues to list various qualities of what the right woman should be. Many portray women to be weak, overly emotional, and domestic housewives. Yet, in this passage we read that the Proverbs 31 woman does the work of the house, and she …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The sacrament of marriage Hebrews 13:4 "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." In this final Chapter of Hebrews the writer exhorts Christians to perform several duties to excel in life.  Among other things, marriage and sexual purity is highlighted in this verse. Marriage is honorable because God instituted it for human in the Garden of Eden, knowing it was not good for man to be alone. He conducted the marriage and blessed the first couple.  Christ honored marriage with his presence and first miracle.  It is honorable as a means to prevent impurity and a defiled bed.  Marriage is one of the seven sacraments recognized by the Mar Thoma Church. Marriage is not a contract but a covenant ("In good times and in bad times...sickness and in health, richer or poorer.") relationship for life that ends only with the death of one spouse or both. Through this union God intent them togethe…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Sacrament of Marriage Eph: 5:21-32 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” Paul wrote to the saints of Ephesians to strengthen and encourage the churches in the area. The key word of the letter to Ephesians is found in ch 4: 4-6, one body and one spirit, same is the message to husband and wife in today’s passage. Throughout the letter to Ephesians, Paul focuses on sanctification, cleansing, holiness and unity. Marriage is a sacrament ordained by God to unite a man and woman to be together and one. In today’s passage verse 26 says ‘to make her holy cleansing her by the washing with water through the word’. This points to sanctification and also to the sacrament of Christian baptism. Through the letter to Ephesians, Paul challenges us to a spiritual warfare to keep us sanctified and take a stand. He urges believers to function as living body of Christ on Earth. For the family, the implication of being in the body of Christ, the church, means mutual submission and love. God’s inte…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Sacrament of Marriage Mark 10: 1- 12 What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.... (v. 9)
This passage raises questions about marriage and divorce. The context of Jesus' discussion is one of many in the Gospels in which various authorities try to trap him by asking questions that had varying answers depending on the factions and schools of thought. This passage is used in the wedding liturgy as gospel reading and a source of Jesus' teaching about marriage and family. Marriage: Grounded in the creative love of God The sacramental nature of Marriage is in the fact that it is instituted by God, not by human. The basic understanding of family is given in the creation account in which the divine initiative is very evident. The wedding liturgy also affirms the unseen hands of God, which joins male and female through holy matrimony. Marriage is a divine call and whoever enters into it should accept the fact that the love of God is the basis of their union. Thus the …

Word for the day by Christian Education forum

Apostle’s advice 1 John 2: 7-17
 " I am writing to you..."
This passage is interesting because Apostle John has something to say to each Christian no matter where they are in their walk with God. He addresses children, young men, and fathers. This has less to do with age, and more to do with spiritual maturity.

To children, John says "I write to you little children because your sins have been forgiven for his name's sake"(v12) and "because you have known the Father"(v14)  If you are young in the faith, like a child, spend time realizing that you are forgiven and get to know God as your Father. Most young children think of their father as a real life hero. Our earthly fathers may or may not deserve that title but our Heavenly Father surely does. Revel in how great your Heavenly Father is. He has you in the center of His hand.

 To young men, John says "I write to you because you have overcome the evil one."(v13) "You are strong and the word…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

His promises are true Luke. 1. 57-64 “Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God” (64) The Bible is the revelation of God.  It reveals God’s nature, his character, works, purpose and his will.   Every passage reveals something about God.  In today’s portion the hand of God is everywhere and he reveals himself in three ways.  The story of the birth of John the Baptist is one of many examples where God reveals that his promises are true.  The Lord fulfills his promise to Zachariah through the angel in Luke 1:13, “Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you will give him the name John and you will have joy and gladness and many will rejoice at his birth,” and that is exactly what happened.  God kept his promise to Zachariah and this is important because God promises salvation to those who call upon Him.  He promises to receive whoever comes to Him.  He promises to forgive our sins when we confess them.  He promises strength to the weak a…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Hope in God Titus. 2. 1-7 But as for you, teach what is consistent with sound doctrine. – Titus 2:1 The English word “hygiene” comes from the Greek word that is translated as “sound” in this verse.  Paul here is telling Titus to teach doctrines that will create a healthy church and a healthy family.  A healthy church consists of both young and old members.  While there are plenty of   challenges when ministering to people from various ages, there also is a great blessing. People from different ages are to minister to each other.  In this passage it deals with older women encouraging younger women to live the proper Christian life (Titus 2:4-5.)  In other parts of the bible we are told of how the widows were taken care of by the whole community of disciples (Acts 6.)  The Bible shows that God does not show partiality (Acts 10:34-35.)  In Christ not only are the barriers between race and sex removed (Galatians 3:28), but also the barriers between age are removed.  People of all ages are to …

Word for the day by Christian Educan Forum

Overcoming Life’s Problems with God’s Solutions Eph. 6. 10-20 “…be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10) As life can present a number of challenges and obstacles, society presents us an equal amount of solutions to choose from in order to address them. We all would like quick and easy fixes for the problems that we have in our lives, and all too often we choose the wrong solutions. As Paul advises in his letter to the Ephesians, it is only by submission to God and equipping ourselves with His armor of truth, righteousness, and faith, can we truly be ready and able to respond to the challenges and obstacles that we face on a daily basis (v. 13). As our church commemorates Senior Citizens Day, we can look at the faith journey of the first generation members in our Diocese as an example of how their hope and trust in God’s guidance allowed the church to be the solution in overcoming their challenge of being spiritually nourished while living in a foreign land. As we l…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Caleb’s Relevant Spirit Joshua 14: 6-15 "Because you have followed the Lord my God WHOLEHEARTEDLY" (9) Caleb’s life story may not initially seem applicable to all our readers. The concept of an 85 year old man receiving an inheritance which was promised to him forty years prior may not relate to all segments of our churches, but I strongly feel Caleb’s life should be a blueprint for how each of us should live. The passage above tells of Caleb approaching Joshua and reminding him how he had followed God WHOLEHEARTEDLY. At the age of 40, he along with Joshua and 10 others were sent to spy on the land and to gauge whether they would be able to conquer it. He and Joshua were the only two who had faith and trust in God and believed WHOLEHEARTEDLY that the land could be conquered.  The other ten saw it as an impossible mission and even wanted to kill Caleb because of what he said. The younger members and leaders of our churches, if needed, must be willing and prepared to be in the mi…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Hope in God Psalm 92 “They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.’” The prospect of death and what lies beyond is of great interest to the secular world. Philosophers over the centuries have dedicated their lives to this endeavor and yet the modern world stands today still unsure. Fortunately, our faith gives us a great hope in Jesus Christ and transforms our lives so that death is only the beginning. We have been called, not to dedicate our lives to understanding death, but to live out Christ's victory over death on the cross. At first glance Psalm 92 is your quintessential Psalm. It offers praise to God, uses rich imagery and poetic language to describe the joys of worshiping God and describes in no uncertain terms the fate of those who oppose God. Yet, upon closer study, this Psalm also offers instruction on how to deal with the struggles of our sojourn in this world. Tw…