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Showing posts from November, 2013

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Good works through generations
Luke 1: 39-45

“When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” (41-42)
 The word blessed literally means “happiness” or “joy”. Many times we find ourselves saying that we are "blessed to have a house, and blessed to have a family,” but our actions and attitudes do not reflect the joy we mention in passing. After Mary received the good news from the angel Gabriel, she traveled 80-100 miles to visit her relative, Elizabeth. Her trip to Judea was proof of her belief that the Lord would fulfill His promise and that she felt comfortable going to Elizabeth. If we put ourselves in Mary’s shoes, we can imagine the roller coaster of emotions she might have been experiencing, including feelings ranging from fear to happiness. Mary’s boldness illustrates her willingness to fully trust and obey God…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forums

Making the Impossible Possible 1 Samuel 1:9-20
“Then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life” (v.11)
The passage details a picture of a wife who has been sorrowful in heart for many years.  She has a husband that loves her dearly but because of her barren womb, the Bible tells us “she was in bitterness of soul.” In those days, being unable to bare children was viewed upon as not being in the Lord’s favor.  Hannah had a heavy heart, and so year after year, she would ask the Lord for a child.  Even though her prayers seemed to go unanswered, she was steadfast in her faith and persisted in prayer.  
We too have hopes and dreams close to our hearts that we present to the Lord.  Yet when the answer seems delayed or there seems to be silence from the Lord, or no change in the situation, we too may become dismayed.  You may be praying for entrance into a specific university, praying for a spouse or praying for a job.  It could be a couple praying for a child; whatever the situat…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Making the Impossible Possible 1 John 3:1- 16
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay own our lives for our brothers.”- 1 John 3:16
What attributes define an object of worth? Is it one of sentimental value? Or is it one that fulfills a direct purpose in our lives? Now, if we want to keep this object, how much effort would we put to make sure it remains in our safekeeping? We sacrifice our energy, our time, our belongings, and our sleep to make sure nothing befalls on these objects of great value. John writes about this exactly- about the ultimate offering that changed our lives forever.
In John’s letter, we witness the Gospel at its core- that we are a people who chose ourselves over a relationship with God to embrace lawlessness, leaving us ultimately flawed and broken; that only through the sacrifice of One who is sinless we have any communion with God, and that is through Jesus Christ. John writes to an audience who has heard this…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Making impossible possible Gen. 18. 1- 15
He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,  do not pass your servant by” (3)

            Our belief in God allows us to throw the word impossible out of our vocabulary. Time and time again in our lives we doubt and deny the power of God and time and time again we are proven wrong. We continue to say that we believe the impossible is possible but the truth is we don't understand that our God is truly limitless and the more we think He has limitations the more we put limitations on the amazing things He can allow to happen in our lives. Sarah's limitation on God was that He wouldn't be able to give Sarah a child, but God easily broke through the limitations Sarah put on Him and right at the time of her doubt, she was called her out. Only being able to go so far, is such a fundamental part of our worldly reality that when we are told that the reality of God is that there is no "so far", our minds can't comprehen…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

The Passion to Evangelize Mark 16:14-19 “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’ (Mark 16:15)
In today’s meditation, we read of Jesus’ call to the Eleven to go out all over the world to preach the gospel. That call from Christ held power, and holds power still. Yet, before Jesus commissions the eleven disciples to preach the gospel to all creation, he rebukes these men for their stubbornness to believe the others that had seen him after he had risen. They were rebuked for their lack of faith, but the call of Christ showed a different path for them. Jesus called them people of little faith, people of no faith and also he commended the people with a great faith. Jesus wanted them to have a faith like the faith of the Canaanite women; a great faith. They received the faith and passion which brought them to know and accept God’s will for their lives. Jesus used the Eleven, imperfect as they were in their faith, and let them know the faith and passion th…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Making the Impossible Possible Galatians 4:1-7
“So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:7)
            In this passage, Paul describes the children of God as being heirs.  Paul also refers to the elementary principles, which is the Law of Moses in which Christ came to redeem those who were held captive in slavery.  We can think of the law as being the guardian that we are entrusted to when we are young in our faith.  The guardianship of the law protects us and builds a foundation for us to grow and become mature.  Just as we are protected by our parents as children, the law also protects us and teaches us obedience.  It is an important stepping stone for our growth.  But as we grow in our faith and begin to have a relationship with the Lord, we are no longer bound by the guardianship of the law but instead through God’s grace we are given the full rights of sons as God’s children through His spirit. Paul rem…

The Sunday Musings

                       When one does the Lord's ministry, and as you minister to countless number of people, there are times when you meet certain people who leave an indelible mark on your life and in your ministry. These are ordinary people,  but what makes them extraordinary is the way they have responded to challenges in life, people who are overcoming daily some of the most painful crisis in life all because of the way they have viewed their faith in God. I have been fortunate enough to meet number of people who in their own and unique ways have taught me some valuable lesson in my life and ministry. While serving as the youth chaplain  previously in Philadelphia, I was very fortunate to meet a 76 year old, young energetic lady named Rebecca Varghese. The opportunity to meet this wonderful lady came because her granddaughters Susie, Sasha and Sneha were active members of the youth fellowship while her parents Tom Varghese and Anita were also actively associated with the Marth…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Making impossible possible Zach. 2. 10-13
 “’Shout and be glad, Daughter Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord”.
Zechariah 2 discusses a vision of a man with a measuring line, who claims that he will measure how long and wide Jerusalem is. Later on in chapter, we realized that the Jerusalem being described is not the earthly one, but the unlimited and glorious one in heaven. Even the notion of measuring the physical Jerusalem is impossible, simply because of its vastness, which is why Zechariah was baffled. The angel goes on to say “flee from the land of the north,” implying Babylon, and warns the Israelites to save themselves from this crooked generation. The angel talks of God shaking his hand over Babylon, so that those who were cruelly subjected to their power would be able to rise up and overthrow them. In verse 10, where the passage begins, the angel insinuates that the Holy Spirit will come and live in the Church, among the people. We can see evidenc…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Making Impossible Possible
Luke 1:26-38
 “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” (28)
            Outspoken neuroscientist and atheist Sam Harris stated that “believing in the virgin birth of Jesus requires us to suspend what we know are the facts of human biology, chemistry and physiology.  For this reason alone, we know the virgin birth is impossible”.  As Christians, we believe that this did happen.  We believe that the birth of Christ was nothing short of a miracle, nothing short of God making the impossible possible.  But because of the magnitude of the miracles that are recorded in the Bible, we’ve allowed ourselves to become conditioned to the idea that if it’s not raising someone from the dead or making a blind person see, the impossible does not happen today.             All around us, God is performing miracles.  Many times, it is things that we take for granted.  How many of us drove to work this morning safely?  Turn on the news on any given day and ther…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Vision in the temple Hebrews 5:1-10
In the same way, Christ did not take on himself the glory of becoming a high priest. But God said to him, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father.”
Priests were the chosen leaders whose roles were to be mediators between the people and God. The role of those in the priesthood included dealing with (1) the ignorant and (2) those that are going astray (vs.2). God created the ultimate priest in His son Jesus Christ. God appointed Jesus as a priest of a higher order than that of Aaron. The priesthood of Aaron was to be but temporary. The priesthood of Christ was to be perpetual. In verses 7-8 Christ’s journey in this world was not without pain: he hungered, he was tempted, he suffered and he died. Christ’s life is the ultimate example of how we should live. Not only did Christ pray, but prayed with fervent cries and tears (vs. 8). How many dry prayers do we offer up to God!?
Christ became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (vs. 10…

Word for the day by Chriatian Education Forum

Making impossible, possible Psalm 84
“Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you” (14)
Psalm 84 is a chapter that is applicable to this theme and also very unique.  In verse 2 it says, “My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.”  In our daily lives we face challenges that seem so huge to overcome.  Whether these challenges arise in our schools or workplaces, it can make us question if we can overcome the situation at hand.  This verse is important because in big or small challenges or situations we should always be yearning for God’s guidance.  We should always be calling out to God to help us because we always need Him.  Things that seem impossible to us we already know is possible with God; He is trying to get us to seek Him and make our ‘impossible’ possible.  Verse 4 goes on to say “Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.”  A lot of times in our lives we tend to come to God when we…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

God who listens to our cry
Psalm 145
‘Praise God who lifts us up when we fall and listens to our cry.’ (v.19)
 ‘The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love him.’ (V: 18-20). This Psalm celebrates the Kingdom of God and echoes the theme of the Lord’s Prayer – where Jesus pictures God the King as a father who ‘gives us our daily bread’ and ‘forgives us our sins’. King David praises God, our creator, who is not only eternal and universal, but also has compassion on all human beings and listens to their cry. David was strengthened by God’s power when he was tending his father’s sheep, fighting Goliath, and being chased and hounded by Saul and later Absalom. He also experienced the love, mercy and forgiveness of the Lord when he sinned and cried out to the Lord with remorse.            Genesis (Ch. 16 & 21) tells the story of Hagar and her son …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Aroma that Brings Life 2 Cor. 2: 12-17
“To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?” (16)
In this day and age, the use of cologne and perfumes is extremely popular.  People ‘present’ themselves to an event wearing a fragrance because it makes one appear ‘pleasing’ in others’ company.  In the Old Testament, several references allude to worship where the smoke of sacrifices spiraled upward to God.  For every such worship, the head of the household would select from his flock the finest male lamb to offer to the Lord as a sacrifice.  The lamb had to be without ‘blemish’.  "It is a burnt offering, an offering made by fire, an aroma pleasing to the LORD" (Lev 1:9 NIV).  It is difficult to conceive that our God enjoyed the smell of burning flesh and hair.  More importantly, God looked for the choice of a perfect, unblemished animal as representing the best that man could offer to Him. In the New Testament, Mar…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Another World is Possible Revelation 8: 1-8 “… there was silence in heaven…” Revelation 8:1 Revelation is the last book in the Bible and often, the last book we want to read! Mention ‘Revelation’ and scary images about “Armageddon”, “666” and strange symbols as coded prophecies of future events come immediately to our mind. Yet, what is often overlooked is the fact that this book has a profound message of hope, especially for people who are in despair. As the Biblical scholar Pablo Richard points out, the most powerful readings of Revelation are through the eyes of the oppressed living out their Christian faith in the context of the modern empire. Chapter 8 begins with a series of seven trumpets. According to Jacques Ellul, the vision of the trumpets announces the coming of God in human history, to live and suffer like human beings but ultimately overcome the powers of evil. The earlier chapters depicted heaven and the Lamb on the throne. The focus henceforth, however, is on Christ in th…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Vision in the Temple Luke 1 5- 23
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid Zachariah, for your prayer has been answered.” (13)
Annunciation to the priest Zechariah is the topic of today's meditation, where the priest had a theophanic experience and message of the birth of John the Baptist. Both of these priestly couples where just, righteous and delighted to observe all the commands even in their old age. During that time heavenly visions were very rare. However God is so concerned about Israel and the whole humanity. This divine encounter led to the birth of a new prophet.
Waiting is an art A culture of impatience is prevailing everywhere. We do not have to wait for anything. But in the past if we want to buy anything, we would have to save our money until we had enough to buy it. Currently it is reversed as Buy Now and Pay Later. Instant satisfaction of our needs and wants are expecting even in the spiritual matters also. Contrary to it Zachariah and Elizabeth are the exemplary e…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Vision in the Temple
1 Chronicles 24: 1- 19
They divided them impartially by casting lots, for there were officials of the sanctuary and officials of God among the descendants of both Eleazar and Ithamar. (5)
Biblical scholars consider the chronicler’s history as sacred history that describes the action of living God in the affairs of humanity. They were more interested in Davidic religious and cultic influences than political power. In the given text, according to the Torah, David upheld the Aaronic priesthood and divided the priestly families into twenty four groups, and they worked on a rotational basis. The Levites were also divided with multiple responsibilities in the temple.
Everyone get a role and space in the system          There was an overabundance of priests and had the tendency to concentrate power on certain families. It was settled by casting of lots. When God determined their lot there could be no room for strife. This might be one of the earliest forms of conflict resolut…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Renewal of the Church 1 Peter 1: 13-25
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled” (13)
Renewal of the Church begins primarily with the renewal of the individual, and Peter, the disciple of Jesus, tells us how this can take place. In order to have a renewal of the Church, we, the members of the Church, have been given three imperatives in this passage:
Being Holy - “be Holy, because I am holy.”  (v. 16)Peter admonishes us to prepare our minds as it will require time, effort and initiative to realize holiness. Self- control, obedience and discipline is of primary importance to achieve holiness.  Because of our new birth, we can live new lives, marked by holiness. The Hebrew word here for holiness is “gadosh”, which means to be set apart, sacred, or pure. The Greek word here for holiness is “hagios”, which means to be different. We must prepare and we must dare to be different. To be holy, we need to really learn from Him and spend time with Him in the scriptures. Since …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Renewal of the Church I Corinthians 12:27 Paul says “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (27) As individuals, since we form part of the church, our lives play a vital role in the effectiveness and growth of the church. When we consider the body of Christ and the members of the body, there are two factors that are important that affect the effectiveness of the body of believers or the church Relationship with God The apostle Paul urges the believers in Ephesus “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. “ (Eph. 4:1) It may be easy to make a commitment or decision to trust Christ as our Savior, but to keep our faith in Christ in our Christian journey and, letting him be our Lord and master of our lives is challenging. This becomes more pertinent when we live in this world with competing priorities, busy schedules, balancing family and work responsibilities etc. A constant check is needed in the believer’s life to see where one stands…