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Showing posts from March, 2014

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Redeeming Christ Isaiah 12: 1-6 V. 2 “(And in that day you will say)...Behold, God is my salvation” Isaiah 12 is a song of praise. It is like the song of praise sung by Moses and Miriam during the great exodus from the land of Egypt (Exodus 15). The people of Israel were always in political unrest from the founding time. During the times of Isaiah, Assyrians threatened the borders of Israel. The prophecies concerning the invasion by Assyria is followed by prophecies related to Israel's hope in the Messiah. From the branch of Jesse (the father of David) will come one who will reign in righteousness and peace, and whom even the gentiles will seek.
The prophetic words of a savior in this politically charged environment had the people of Israel believe that the Messiah would be born as a King. They were expecting a King who would trample their enemies with a sword. Little did they know that their Savior would be born in a manger and would not fulfill the political ambitions in a fashion …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Redeeming Christ Galatians 6: 11-16 “For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything but a new creation is everything” Gal.  6:15 Quaker John Woolman was an itinerant preacher who waged his own personal campaign to end slavery in Colonial America. Woolman felt that slaveholding was inconsistent with Christianity and spent his life travelling, observing and advocating against slavery. He met with slave holders to speak of the injustice of holding other human beings as property. Although Woolman did not eradicate slavery completely, he did persuade many masters to free their slaves. Christian Freedom is the main theme of this epistle. Martin Luther said: “This is a letter to me. I am betrothed to it.” The context in which the letter was written is clear from the letter itself. When Paul left Galatia the Jewish Christians who belonged to the pharisaic group approached the Gentile Christians and told them that it was their Christian duty to observe the Jewish law. They were very parti…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

REDEMPTION IN CHRIST Rom.8:31-39 For  I am sure that neither death nor life , nor angels, nor rulers……………..nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (v.38,39) Paul's letter to Romans is the most systematic of all Pauline letters in its theological presentation. The themes like justification and redemption by faith through the love of Christ are supplemented by a series of rhetorical questions. The conclusion of the discussions are summarized in the last verses of Ch.8," All things work together for good to those who are called and loved according to the divine purpose". They will be predestined and justified too. REDEMPTION BY SACRIFICIAL SHARING The redemptive experience is a continuing journey with Christ. No one can stand against us on the track as God is omniscient and omnipotent. God in Jesus Christ loves us and choose us first. Paul says " among the sinners I am the foremost" ( 1 Tim.1;12) By Hi…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

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New Creation in Christ Galatians:  6:11- 16
For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a New Creation is everything (V.15)
                   Since Paul used most of his letter to the Galatians to urge them not to be circumcised , it may surprise us that, towards the end of the letter he write. Neither circumcision, nor uncircumcision means anything. To understand this,we must see the difference between the physical act of circumcision and their reason for  doing it .The reason for the letter was to explain as clearly as possible that Christians don't need to obey, the Jewish ceremonial law. Once we understand that a Gentile Christians fully accepted by God through repentance and faith in Jesus' atoning sacrifice, we should not act as though there is more than needs to be done to obtain that acceptance. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything. There is nothing to gain from being circumcised and nothing to gain from being uncircumcised .The Galatia…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Preparation to Face the Cross 1 Cor. 1: 18-31
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (V.18)
At the Mount of Olives Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Lu: 22: 42).  We see Jesus preparing to face the cross by emptying himself and submitting Himself to God’s will.  In Luke 9: 23, Jesus instructed His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”  Hence, the message of the cross is to sacrifice one’s self and one’s most prized possessions, take up one’s cause (cross) for living, and follow in the manner that God sacrificed His only Son (Jn..3: 16), and in the manner that Jesus submitted Himself to His Father’s will.
This message is easy to state but difficult to pursue because God’s will is not always in alignment with the human will. However, if we believe in the power of …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Preparation to face the Cross Mark- 10:32-34 “….Three days later he will rise.” (V: 34)
In the life of a Christian, Cross is the most reminded form of Lord’s providence. Cross reminds struggle, prayer, salvation and most importantly, Cross reminds eternal fellowship with Lord.
Jesus gives explicit hints about his imminent trial in Gospels. By no means was it easy for Jesus. We learn in scriptures, Jesus was heavy hearted about looming Cross- “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”(Luke 22:42). What’s remarkable here is, son of God’s firm determination to submit for heavenly father’s will.
Preparing and facing the Cross was not easy for son of God and nor it will be easy for we faithful. Jesus facing the Cross has shown us how the will of God prevails and takes completion. Cross is holistic and has many planes ranging from suffering to salvation, for today’s mediation our focus will be verses above. Jesus submitting to the Cross, the father’…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Proclamation of Hope
1 Thessalonians.1:2-10
“We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”– (V.3) In his letter to the Christians in Thessalonica, Paul begins by thanking God for all that He has done; “the Lord is faithful to His promises and loving towards all He has made.” Before the world was made, He chose us to be holy and blameless in His sight because of His love for us. It is not because of our good deeds or of anything we have to bring but because of our Salvation which was freely given through the sacrifice at Calvary. With this, our focus can shift to the essence of study. There are three distinct characteristics of Christians that Paul illustrates, their faith, hope and love. If you took those words all by themselves, you might treat faith, hope, and love as very general psychological forces that have inevitable effects on our productivity and durability. You might…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Accepting Christ Hosea 2: 14 -23 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in loving kindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” (V 19-20) This passage tells us of God’s inexplicable, relentless, unfailing, everlasting and unconditional love for mankind despite of our unfaithfulness and spiritual infidelity. Our lust for worldly matters traps us in the quick sand of sin. However, God does not forget us; He has our names engraved in the palms of His hands. His love for us withheld from us the punishment that we deserve and extended to us the forgiveness that we did not deserve. Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. God loves us personally and intimately, like no other person can ever love us. This does not mean that we will not have our wilderness experience on our way to our Promised Land. It is part of God’s plan of training us to endure the marathon of life and c…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Accepting Christ Galatians 6:1- 5 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Vs.2) “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Cain’s response to God was a denial of his responsibility for the welfare of his brother. We all admit that the world is becoming more selfish as days go by. Many think it is safer to take care of their own business instead of getting into troubles by becoming involved in “brother keeper business”. However the Word of God always reminds us about our responsibility for each other. In Ezekiel 33 we see that God appointed the prophet as the watchman for the people of Israel to protect them from sinful ways. The text for our meditation today also reminds us our Christian responsibility to become burden-bearers for others. In Galatians 5 Paul talked about the freedom in Christ from the law. The freedom which we received in Christ is not a freedom to walk in our own ways, but to yield to the Spirit of God, bearing the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, the libert…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

------------------------------------------------------------------- ACCEPTING CHRIST Mathew. 15: 21-28 This portion is about a Canaanite woman with a demon –possessed daughter, who longed for her child to be set free. She knew Jesus was nearby, although she was a gentile, she went to Him and pleaded for His mercy and help. At first sight His treatment seems to conflict ,but inspite of His attitude towards her, the woman continued to plead with him until she received his commendation. She had great faith. (a)  Her faith was great because of who she was:    Mark 7:26 tells us she was a “a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia ‘’. She was a gentile, not a Jew. In the case of Samaritan woman, Christ approached her, but here we see the Syrian woman came to the Lord. Even though she was outside the privileges, “a foreigner to the covenant of promise”, yet she believe that if she come and cast herself upon His mercy, Jesus would heal her child. (b)Her faith was great because it came from right source: …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Forgiveness – a Christian virtueMatthew 18:21-35
“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”(V. 35)This parable tells the story of a servant who was forgiven a very large debt (ten thousand bags of gold) by his king. Yet, he was not able to forgive his own servant a very small debt (one hundred silver coins). When we recognize God’s amazing love, mercy and forgiveness towards us, we should be moved to love and forgive others. Jesus calls us to “forgive from our heart” as holding grudge will destroy us from inside out. Lack of forgiveness shackles us to the past, causes negative thoughts to cloud our mind and robs us of our energy to be in the present moment. In order to be truly liberated, not taking revenge is not enough; we must totally forgive and love the person who wronged us.In his classic novel, “Le Miserables” Victor Hugo tells the story of Jean Valjean, a convicted criminal, who was imprisoned for stealing …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Forgiveness and Restoration Acts 16: 11-18                                 “Come and stay at my house” (v15) The text chosen for today’s meditation, based on the theme Forgiveness and Restoration, talks about the transformation of two lives, Lydia and the slave girl. Historical evidence shows both were well accomplished women from a worldly standard. Luke covers the stories of three individuals (jailer being the third) who became believers through Paul’s ministry in Philippi during his second missionary journey. Here we see how act of forgiveness liberates these two women from the bondage of sin and darkness. As mentioned above, they both were financially well accomplished and socially recognized individuals but it’s quite evident from the passage that they both experienced a vacuum within until the deliverance happens. For Lydia it was a delivering experience of opening of her heart and a spontaneous transformation of accepting and receiving others. For the slave girl, it was a deliveri…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Forgiveness and Restoration Psalm 25 Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. (V.6 ) Psalm 25 is evidently a composition of David’s later days, for he mentions the sins of his youth and the painful references to the craft and cruelty of his many foes. This has been known to be the second of the seven Penitential Psalms. The Psalmist’s sorrows remind him of his sin which drives him to God. With poetic passion David cried out to God. Truly, this is a fervent prayer. His heart was bared, his soul was offered up in prayer. God pays heed to such prayer. In worshiping  God we must lift up our souls to Him. Prayer is the ascent of the soul to God. When we come before God deeply sorry of what we have done, He will forgive us. He will heal us and restore us. When we sin, we can feel so unworthy and unholy to come before God. But, don’t let that stop us coming to receive God’s forgiveness and reconciliation.  In life we all make choices. When things get tough because …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Forgiveness - a Christian virtue Jonah 4: 6-11 “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left- and much livestock?”(V.11) Prophet Jonah was a man like us, with flaws like us. He was a proud Jew, rebellious, stubborn, disobedient, unforgiving, retaliating, angry and selfish. He believed that God belonged to the Jews only. Jonah reluctantly preached in Nineveh and the greatest evangelization took place. Jonah was displeased as he did not want the people of Nineveh to repent and be saved. He wanted them to be punished and destroyed. He believed that those gentiles deserved death for their sins and for brutally torturing the Israelites during wars in the past. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but wants them to turn from their evil ways and live righteously. As a potter makes his pot out of clay breaking it, molding it, shaping it and designing it accordi…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

God accompanies a murderer Gen. 4. 8-16
“And the Lord put a mark on Cain, so that no one who came upon him would kill him.” (15)
What is the length and depth of God’s love? Can we measure the limit of God’s forgiveness? This passage once again telling us that these are immeasurable and unfathomable. No one forgives a cruel murderer who killed an innocent brother and no one forgets this brutal act of killing someone without any provocation from the other. God accepts Accepting someone will require a number of considerations in a normal human behavior. As human beings we definitely look into the past history, past relationships, previous words and actions etc. In this passage God simply accepts someone who didn’t have any positive characteristics in these areas. Cain has nothing to show up to God, nothing to claim and nothing to submit except his cruel and brutal heart. A liar, a murderer, a cheater, a rebel, a person with anger and jealousy, all these descriptions are fitting to Cain.  But…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Forgiveness &Reconciliation 
2 Corinthians 5: 14-24
As a small town shopkeeper’s son in Kerala, one of my duties when helping out at the shop was reconciling the day’s accounts at closing time. I will add up the day’s receipts and payments, count the funds in the till and if the difference between receipts and payments matched the difference between the funds in the till at the end and beginning of the day the reconciliation is complete.
What does reconciliation mean in Christian life? More or less the same way as it is in accounting. There are two kinds of reconciliation as it applies to us Christians.
Reconciliation with God
All of us are sinners. Sin is a debt to God. We were born in sin, that is with a debt in our account and we keep on adding to this account by our actions. The wages of sin is death and that is what we have earned. However God in his infinite mercy gave us a way out, regardless of the enormity of our sins (debt). He sacrificed His only son on the cross as a means…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Forgiving Christ Mark 2: 1-12 “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up, take your stretcher, and walk?” (V. 9) This passage teaches us meaningful lessons and reveals more about the nature of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  We see our Lord’s compassion for all those who come to Him in faith and His healing powers proves He is God.    Faith The men who brought the paralyzed man had strong faith and their willingness to open up the roof of someone’s house showed love, determination, and willingness to take risk for the hope of healing their friend. Forgiveness When Jesus saw their faith, even before he healed the man, Jesus said to him, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”  In order for us to be physically healed or even for our prayers to be heard, we must first repent of our sins to restore fellowship with God. Lord has authority to forgive sins and heal Anyone can say that your sins are forgiven; however, Jesus had to die for our sins, a sacrifice…