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Showing posts from April, 2014

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Resurrection: Celebrating a New life in Christ Acts.24:14-16 “And I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.”(V.15) This passage explains St. Paul’s witnessing testimony about his faith in Jesus Christ and Resurrection. While Paul arrived at Caesarea as a prisoner the Jewish prosecuting team arrived there to state their charges against him. It was composed of the high priest Ananias, some of the Jewish elders and a special legal counselor named Tertullus. Tertullus was a common Greek name, and he was probably a Hellenistic Jew chosen because of his expertise in Roman law and skill in public speaking. He put forward many accusations against Paul in front of Felix, the Governor of Roman emperor. These accusations- trouble maker, creator of riots, ring leader of the Nazarene sect were meant to paint Paul and early Christians as a threat to local order and to the security of the Roman Empire in general. In this trial Paul …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Affirmation of Christ as Lord and God Isaiah 43:8-13 I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior”. (Isaiah 43:11) The book of Isaiah highlights God’s judgment and salivation. This particular passage highlights the fact that Israel was chosen as God’s witness in this world. Also, God declares himself as the gracious redeemer and savior. It is this nation that God considered as his own people and whom God cared to reinstate whenever they departed from God’s ways. In verse 8, God asks to encourage his people to come forward to stand as his witnesses. They are still deaf and blind. But they are the ones who have experienced God’s mighty ways to declare in front of the world. Who in the world can proclaim God’s ways in the best way? It is only Israel who can do this. Commissioning with a mission (Verse 8) God wants his people to declare His uniqueness in front of all in the world. If we say that we are His children, He wants us to make known the great things He has done in our life. …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Affirmation of Christ as Lord and God Exodus 3: 13-17
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.”This is what you are to say to the Israelites:  “I AM has sent me to you.”  (V.15)
Names are important: they are windows through which character or characteristic traits are revealed. In the ancient world this was especially true, a name stood for a special attribute, a characteristic - a personality. Egyptians, Greeks and all other ancient people identified their Gods with names that spoke their powers. The divine name was critically important as it was believed that the one who knew the name was able to invoke the presence and power of that deity. However, the God of Israel had not borne any name: He was simply called 'El' (the High) or 'Shaddai' (the Mighty). As Moses stood on Ho’reb , on that fateful day, Moses knew that the Hebrew people would certainly ask for the Name of the God that had commissioned him to the great task of delivering them from slavery. The name that God uses …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Affirmation of Christ as Lord and God Col.1:15-23
“He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones and powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him” (V.15,16)
Think about how many things you need to see to believe and what you’ve believed without seeing. How important is it to see and believe? What do you think God looks like?  Have you felt his power in your life? Maybe you’ve been at a low point in your life and sought God through it all.  How did God bring you through it? In many obstacles in our life we have seen God if we sought him. Maybe you just sat down and when you opened the bible and just happened to seen the verse you needed for encouragement. Maybe a friend noticed what you were going through and reached out in comfort. Maybe you’ve experienced a miracle in your life.  These are different ways of “seeing” God in y…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Affirmation of Christ as Lord and God
John 20:24-29
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (V.28)
St. Thomas the Apostle, has often been called "doubting Thomas".  However, I believe this is a misnomer; a more appropriate name would "daring Thomas".  That is because it is not his doubt that defines his identity but, his faith that reveals his true character and witness.  
Faith, as Bold Testimony: Thomas was a person of boldness who exhibited this through his faith as well.  He is the one who declared,  "Let us also go, that we may die with Him."(John 11:16).  Initially, while the other disciples were locked in the room for fear of the Jews, Thomas dared to leave that comfort and security and venture outside.  Likewise, he was not one to simply follow the crowd or accept the word of others.  Jesus Christ thus appears specifically for him and invites him alone to touch His body.  It is then that he proclaims, "My Lord and My God!".  His faith is r…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Resurrection Experience - An Upward Mindset Colossians 3:1-11 “[S]et your hearts on things above, where Christ is … Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” -Colossians (V.1,2) During college basketball’s March Madness, sixty-eight of the top men’s NCAA Division I teams from across the nation compete against each other over the course of twenty days to determine a national champion. To reach their championship goal, coaches urge their players to remove all distractions and prepare themselves physically and mentally for the challenges that lay ahead - executing consistent play, relying on each other as a team, and having a focused, singular mindset. Seeing the thrill of victory (or the agony of defeat) in players' faces demonstrates their total commitment, passion, and focus as they strive to achieve the ultimate goal. 1) What are the goals of your life? To this, we must all answer unequivocally - to bring glory to a God who gave us this life in the first place (Psalm 36:…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Resurrection-Celebrating New life in Christ
Exodus 15:1-11
“The Lord is my strength and my defense; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him”.(V.2) I still remember an incident while driving a motor bike in India. As I was passing another vehicle at a good speed, I see this bus suddenly appear in front of me from the opposite direction. I just had nowhere to go on either side. I still don't understand how God could fit my vehicle in between those two vehicles. How relieved was I. It was like a new life for me and my pillion riders. I am still in awe and wonder at that incident some 17 years later. Moses was in a similar situation. He had the Pharaoh’s army on one side. He had the Red sea on the other. How could he and his people escape. It was not humanly possible to escape. We can guess that there were probably more than a million people. No place could hide so many, feed so many, sustain so many. God was already protectin…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Resurrection- Sharing your New Life with Others Isaiah 60:1-11  “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”(V.1) What is new life? Most of us celebrate life when a child is born. In the Chinese tradition the birth of a newborn child is celebrated by colouring eggs. Why do we give such importance to birthdays? Or consider new life so precious? It is because we associate new life with new beginnings, fresh starts, and innocence. Jesus gave us the opportunity to experience the ultimate renewal of life in both the physical and spiritual sense through his resurrection. What does Isaiah have to say about new life? The book of Isaiah is known as the book of salvation as Isaiah means the Lord of salvation. The salvation that is referred to is the salvation Jesus brought to mankind through his resurrection. As you read through this passage it reads as a poem of awakening and realization of responsibilities of man, in the days to come. It starts off by pourin…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Resurrection: Celebrating New Life in Christ 1 Corinthians 15:42-58 “Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  (V.55) Paul’s letter to the Corinthians in chapter 15 is known as the Resurrection chapter. As Christ has been raised from death, then we have victory. This victory comes in many ways such as Victory over loss, Victory for today, Victory in the last day and finally Victory over Death. We all have suffered the loss of loved ones. We cannot imagine how we can cope with this loss. In this loss and in our suffering of this loss, Christ reminds that a glorious day is near. The day when the dead in Christ shall rise because of the power of His resurrection has given us this victory over loss. It gives us a glorious hope. Jesus Christ exists in our day to day grind. Christ has given us opportunities in our lives to be a shining example of His love and sacrifice. Are we being that example? We don’t need to preach from a pulpit to have others see us and hear our me…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Resurrection-Celebrating New Life in Christ 1 Corinthians.15:20-28 “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.”(V.22) The philosopher Socrates once said, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” Every time I read this quote, I find it to be a helpful reminder in my life. Sometimes we get caught up in the “busyness” of life, and therefore do not spend enough time in reflection about whether we are fulfilling our true purpose in life. We have to guard against this busyness, because it can consume us and conceal life’s meaning and purpose. This devotion is based on I Corinthians chapter 15, verses 20-28, and in this portion, Apostle Paul provides his readers with the hope of new life through Jesus Christ. In chapter 15, Paul discusses the resurrection of Christ, the fact that it is linked to the resurrection from death for all believers, and his triumph over death. An important point, is the way that Paul contrasts the results we would have under Adam to the results under Ch…

Word for the day By Christian Education Forum

Resurrection – Hope for the New Life Matt: 27: 62-66
“We remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said “After three days I will rise again”(V.63) Resurrection brings renewal and new beginnings. In the midst of despair and fear, resurrection brings hope. Hope gives life as Christ rescues us from sin by the power of his Resurrection.  The source of eternal life for a true believer is Jesus Christ the Son of God. The life of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, did not end in death but it continued through resurrection. The resurrection of Christ ensures us the assurance and hope that those who live in Christ will rise at the second coming of Jesus Christ. The resurrection of our Lord is glorious in contrast with his humiliation. The tomb is empty contrary to the precautions of His enemies:  As we can see from the above passage, despite the best efforts of the enemies, Jesus Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and ascension in to heaven gives us, His children, the eternal hope. Ch…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Resurrection: Celebrating New Life in Christ Luke 24:1-12 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body(V.2) We are ready to celebrate the feast of Easter. Easter is the greatest feast in the Christian calendar. On this Sunday we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. According to Apostle Paul, who even says that if Jesus Christ not been resurrected then the Christian faith is worthless and futile. Through his death, Christ saved human kind from bondage of sin and he destroyed the forces of death for ever. But it is his resurrection that gives us the promise of new life, both in this world and the next. Before Jesus' resurrection, his disciples were petty, fearful, contentious men. After their experience with him on the Road to Emmaus , by the Sea of Galilee, and in the Upper Room, they were men who were undaunted in their devotion to him in spite of beatings, imprisonment and even martyrdom .The Gospel is good new…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Cross: Finding God in the Depth of Silence Matthew 27: 45-56 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 46)
Recently I phoned a friend, just to say, ‘Hi’. After our initial pleasantries, she added in a calm tone: “I have been diagnosed with cancer; it is malignant.” I was speechless. How could…?This lady is a faithful Christian; the mother of a child with special needs, also her job is crucial to the income of the family. How could God allow this? Over the next few weeks, I noticed her Facebook postings; there was not a trace of bitterness or despair in them; they were messages of hope and faith. It was as if she had found a calmness in the silence that surrounded her. In today’s passage we are reminded of the silence of God. For Jesus’ fervent question on the Cross - “My God, why have you forsaken me?” God’s answer was: silence. The Mar Thoma Church’s Order of Service for Good Friday portrays the event of crucifixion in poignant terms: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Th…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Passover - Jesus the Bread of Life Mathew 26:17-30
And as they were eating Jesus took bread and blessed it, and break it and gave to the disciples and said, and take eat; this is my body. Then He took the cup, blessed it and gave to the disciples and said drink; this is my blood. (26,27) Jesus during his public ministry instructed His disciples more fully the meaning of His mission. But they could not guess that their teacher's death was part of God's sovereign plan, and they would scatter in fear once it happened. The Passover is an annual celebration in the Jewish community when they remember how God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. Jesus gave them a new way of looking at God's purposes. Through this Jesus shows that His own mission provides a new action of redemption, a rescuing of sorts from the slavery of eternal death and sin. By identifying His own mission with the Passover, Jesus indicates that He has come to enact the new redemption promised by the prophets. Th…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Eucharist: The Subversive Meal John 6:31-58 “….my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”(v. 55)
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.was assassinated just eight days before Passover, in 1968. In his final speech titled, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," delivered at Memphis, Tenn., he drew parallels between the Exodus narrative and the struggles of the African Americans. As Rev. King put it then, “I would take my mental flight by Egypt, and I would watch God’s children in their magnificent trek from the dark dungeons of Egypt… across the Red Sea, through the wilderness, on toward the Promised Land.”In his struggles and speeches, Rev. King constantly used the imagery of Exodus to convey the message of freedom and liberation from all forms of enslavement. The Passover is the feast of liberation but, over the centuries, it has been reduced to being a mere ritual,eroding the message. In today’s passage we see that the heirs of the Passover tradition could easily quote the scri…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Cross-   Self-giving Love of Christ Zechariah 13:1
"On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.” (Zechariah 13:1)
There is no other fountain besides the blood of Jesus that can cleanse us from our sin and impurity. This week, we’re talking about the cross and self-giving love.  Yet in stark contrast to the gentle image of love we’re accustomed to, the rest of the chapter is full of violent imagery.  False prophets shall be punished, even by death, by their friends and parents.  A repentant tells of the “wounds I was given at the house of my friends.”  You don’t normally think of wounding someone as the actions of a friend.  However, within the spectrum of love lies both the use of a gentle hand and the use of strict discipline.  We all have a different comfort level in how we reflect God’s love - some of us find it easier to show “soft love" and others to show “tough love.”  But only showin…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Cross-The Cost of Discipleship Luke 14:25-35
“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”
In today’s world, success is mostly measured by numbers. Thousands and thousands of people were following Jesus, probably attracted by his miracles and wonders. However, Jesus was not concerned with numbers. He knew that among these multitudes were spectators, superficial followers and true believers. It is at this point he makes this radical statement in (V.26-27).
You cannot be a disciple of Jesus until you:
Hate your family, yourself and your possessions: The word “hatred” is not used to signify animosity. Instead it specifies the priority or preference we give to these over our love for God, His Word and His Kingdom. Do our friends and family pose a hindrance to our spiritual growth? Are we constantly seeking to gain acceptance from others? Is our hunger for power, popularity and prestige swallowing the time we should be spending with our Master? Are my constant ob…