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Showing posts from June, 2014

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Disciples as witnesses
John. 3:22-30
He must increase, but I must decrease” (V.:30) The concurrent ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus provide the context for John’s disciples to complain about Jesus. However, John chooses this as an opportunity to renew his witness about Jesus, particularly, in the presence of his disciples who were reluctant in accepting Jesus the true Messiah. John employs three different stages in answering his disciples’ complaint. Firstly, he uses an aphorism (V27) to correct their reading of the situation. This aphorism is another instance of words with double meaning. John’s proverbial words offer a general truth specific to his disciples’ complaint. That general truth is that a person can receive only what God gives to him or her. Yet this general truth also contains a truth specific to Jesus. A central theme throughout the fourth Gospel is that those who come to Jesus are given him by God, that what Jesus has is a gift from God. Secondly, John testifi…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Disciples as Witnesses 2 Kings 2:1-15 He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over. (V.14) We have all been put in this world with a purpose.  We are all disciples being called to witness in different ways in accordance with God’s plans.  Sometimes that calling may not be readily apparent, the path may seem tough, or we may find ourselves unable to act.  As part of our Christian journey, we must (1) be faithful to our calling, (2) act when we are called to witness, and (3) look to our Redeemer God for guidance and strength. Be Faithful to Our Calling As we see in the passage, Elisha is true and faithful to his calling, although the path is difficult and he is asked three times to stay behind.  We are often faced with difficult journeys and given options for the easier route.  However, we must be faithful and be willing t…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

DISCIPLESHIP John.3:22-30 “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete” (V.29) “The Apostles Lent” ends tomorrow and it is one of the oldest feasts in the church. It was a feast of thanks giving to God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that the apostles received.  The Holy Spirit empowered them for another ministry, which was to preach gospel to the world. As a continuation of the apostolic ministry, the church has a responsibility to share the Good News to all people. This feast reminds us our role as a disciple with a witnessing life. Today's passage explains Jesus' testimony about his forerunner John the Baptist. The understanding of the role and importance of John the Baptist is helpful to know a model disciple and a disciplined life.    His Austere Life:  John appeared in the wilderness like Prophet Elijah (2Kings.2:8), we…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Worship: Celebration of Faith Psalm 148 “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His splendor is above the earth and the heavens.” (V 13) The Psalmist has written about the creation giving praise and honor to the creator. All things celestial and terrestrial are called to offer praises to God thus acknowledging his supremeness. Our praises lead us to a greater awareness of the miraculous nature of God’s power, grace, wisdom and presence in our lives. A lifestyle of praises is an expression of mature faith, and a humble declaration of a victorious life. Praise, naturally becomes an important component of the prayer life of a person with a grateful heart. In order to grasp the awesome manifestations of God’s blessings and grace in our lives, our adorations must come from the entire heart, mind and soul. We are to offer praises and sacrifices as joyful givers as the children do. We should ask ourselves, do we offer all that we are and all that we have to our …

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking
1 Thessalonians 5:5-10 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. (V.6)
What does it mean to be a good Christian?  We go to church, we read our Bible, we pray twice a day, and complete all the other model behaviors of the ideal Christian.  These behaviors are instilled in us from a very early age and are foundational in the development of our faith.  However, if we lead our spiritual lives by only completing these checklists, we can draw parallels to the lives led by the Pharisees during the times of Jesus.  These were people who led upright lives and did all the right things but struggled to develop their faith from the foundations in understanding the message of Christ.  This is the message that we love the Lord our God and love one another.  In order to live this message in our lives we must first learn to deny ourselves to take up His cross. In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he enc…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

---------------------------------------------------- Worship: Celebration of Faith Ezekiel 47:1-12
“Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” (V.12)
Take a moment to think- where were you 10 years ago from this moment? A lot may have changed since; and with each new change you embrace, you redefine who you are and how you contribute to this world. This renewal of identity makes us appreciate a Father who constantly guides our lives in directions we may not perceive. In Ezekiel’s vision, a man leads him through deep waters. They wade through the waters, as it progressively gets deeper till they could go no further. Once they return back to the riverbanks, they notice the plethora of trees. These trees, found on either side of the river, have grown out of fertile soil…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

WORSHIP: CELEBRATION OF FAITH. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."(v.18)
Because of the disobedience of Adam, man lost his fellowship with God. But God wanted to re-establish that fellowship. For that God devised a plan. According to his plan He sent His Son Jesus Christ in to this world to die on the cross as the sacrificial Lamb of God. The work of salvation originated with God's grace. In Eph.2:8 we read. "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourself: it is the gift of God” Man who is utterly hopeless and helpless to save himself from his sin, receives salvation by God's grace through faith and this salvation is a gift from God. This free gift is offered to all people everywhere. Because he receives salvation, his broken fellowship with God has been re-established and he has been adopted in to the family of God as a child of God. Now he can call God his heavenly fat…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

---------------------------------------------------- Worship: Celebration of Faith Rev.4:1-11
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (V.11)
Revelation to those who open their hearts In the first verse of this chapter we see the door is opened to John who has a deep, intense spiritual encounter with God and he is witness to one of the most wonderful sights ever imaginable to the human mind - God and the Throne of God. When we open our hearts to God in faith, He will reveal the glorious things of Himself and this world.
God alone worthy of Praise The four living creatures represent whatever is noblest, strongest, wisest and swiftest in the created order. Yet, they were praising God night and day. The twenty four crowned elders symbolize authority but they showed their subservience to God by casting their crowns at the throne of God and falling prostrate at His feet. The secul…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Christian Education forum Diocese of North America and Europe of the Mar Thoma Church  Word for the Day  June - 22 - 2014 ---------------------------------------------------- WORSHIP: CELEBRATION OF FAITH Isiah.6:1-8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, whom shall I send? and who will go for us? And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”(V.8)
A  Fresh Vision of God- Inspiring and Challenging. Uzziah was the tenth king of Judah and he was very Godly man. Under his influence the southern kingdom attained power, wealth and success unlike any it had enjoyed since the days of Solomon .Prophet Isaiah is disturbed by the sudden death of the king. His death shows the end of time of great prosperity and consistency. Today text is wonderful God encounter by sheer grace of God steps in and awakens us to different reality God has this way of stepping in to our experience and turning our ordinary days in to extra ordinary ones. What we need in the down times of life, we need vision o…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Worship: Celebration of Faith John 4:16-26 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.  (V.23-24)           We are designed to worship God in spirit and truth.  As Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well, He sought to help her do this by imparting to her God’s living water (John 4:13-14).  Jesus sought out this woman personally to give her abundant life.  In the same way, the Father seeks an encounter with each of us that is real and personal.  Worship is not mere religion or ritual; worship is an intimate and vital encounter with the Personhood of God.  True worship includes the full recognition of who God is: Holy, Sovereign, Almighty, Loving, Merciful.  This recognition of God’s  Personhood brings about the personal realization of our own sinfulness.           Thus, true worship is life-c…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

WE BELIEVE IN THE TRIUNE GOD Job. 38:1-11 “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?” (V.2) Faith in the Triune God is one of the basic Christian beliefs. We believe that God is one but manifested in three persons. Various functions are associated with these three persons. In this passage manifestation of God in three persons is not mentioned. But different functions of Triune God are visible - God as the creator, the divine wisdom and the comforter. Creator God encounters with his afflicted creation Job never denies the existence of God. But he has many questions to the creator. Here God appears to Job to answer his questions. Job.38-41 is a portrayal of God's creation. A storm often accompanies a divine appearance in biblical tradition. The same term 'whirlwind' is used to describe the theophany to Ezekiel. (Ezekiel 1:4). Elijah went up into heaven by a whirlwind (2Kings 2:11). God encounters Job with three sorts of questions: Who are you? Where were y…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Call and Commissioning of the Apostles Luke 6:12-19 Jesus called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.(V.13)   Who does God call for His work?
When we read about the Apostles in the book of Acts supernatural events are recorded, but performed by common men. God called ordinary men, men of different background, for one purpose. God calls all His children to be messengers of His Word. For over two thousand years, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been carried to the ends of the earth by these men and women of God. When we make ourselves available to God, He calls us and sends us out to be His messengers. How does God equip those who are called? God equips His children through discipleship, once we enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The fundamental truth of the Gospel, which is the Good News of Jesus Christ, has not changed and will never change. 1) The Bible reveals the spiritual truths given by God to man as God’s message. The grass…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Call and Commissioning of the Apostles 1 Cor. 12:27-31 “ And in the church, God has appointed, first of all, apostles”(V.28) In today’s passage, the apostle Paul, using the analogy of the human body, emphasizes that we are the body of Christ. People have always been fascinated by the way in which the different parts of a healthy body function together. Similarly the characteristic of a healthy church is that everyone functions for the good of the whole. Unity does not mean uniformity and diversity does not mean chaos. Within the church are differing gifts and differing functions but every one of them is a gift of the Holy spirit. Paul lists eight various forms of service in the Church and at the head of everything he puts the apostles.( 1 Cor.12:28). The word Apostle itself may mean “one sent as a messenger.” However when applied to the twelve apostles, it means that they were chosen by Jesus and sent into the world in His name to spread His message. When applied to Jesus, the apostle an…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Call and the Commission of the Apostles
Jeremiah 1: 1-12
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”(V.5) When we think of “prophets” and “disciples” we think of men of great gravitas, with powerful booming voices, long flowing beards, and a larger-than-life-presence, compelling us to change our ways through their influence and compelling oration.  The Bible shows us, however, that those who are called to discipleship and ultimate sacrifice are actually often reluctant, unwilling, and weak - unlikely candidates for God’s purposes.   Jeremiah’s first reaction to God’s call, in today’s passage, is to say “alas, Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”  Jesus’ disciples were not well-educated men of great stature in the community.  Rather, they were fishermen, tax collectors, simple men without great learning.  Days after Jesus’ crucifixion and re…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

We Believe in the Triune God (Father’s Day) Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up”(V. 7).
In the movie Courageous, the main character Adam Mitchell said, “I now believe that God desires for every father to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. But more than just being there providing for them, he is to walk with them through their young lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their father in heaven. A father should love his children, and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them, and teach them about God.”  In the Jewish faith, Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is known as  the Shema or the affirmation of faith. During their daily prayers, and in their Sabbath worship, this is often recited. What we read in verses four and five is a command for the people of Israel to know that God is one,…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

We believe in the Triune God Mat.28:16-20 “Therefore go and make disciples of all  nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (V.19) This Sunday is set apart as Trinity Sunday. Today's passage is known as Great Commissioning. The Risen and Exalted Jesus entrusts the Apostles to continue His mission in this world. So the mission entrusted to the Church is not a new mission but the continuation of Jesus’ earthly ministry. The mission is to “go and make disciples of all nations.” The Church is entrusted to baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit. Here the Trinitarian formula is emphasized in relation to Baptism. It is one of the basic faith proclamations about our understanding of God, “We believe in Trinity”. Though the word “Trinity” is not there in the Bible, there are passages that reveal to us the Triune nature of God or Holy Trinity(Eg.Gen1:2,26;Matth.3:16-17;2Cor.13:14)  The Holy Trinity as the perfect mod…

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Come Holy Spirit-Transform the Creation Psalms. 29
“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name; worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness”(V.2)           Psalm 29 (1-2) begins with a call to adore and worship God and to give glory to him that he alone deserves. We must be holy and devoted to God and ascribe all glory awe, wonder and honor to him. Then verses 3-9 describes a storm that David saw lashing out in its fury  with peals of loud thunder , flashes of lightning, gushing wind and torrential rain, causing havoc to the point of splitting the tall cedar trees of Lebanon, stripping the forests bare, shaking the mountains and deserts and causing the deer to go into premature labour. The storm came from the Mediterranean sea, lashed on Lebanon, then went to Sirion (Mount Hermon) and then through the river Jordan towards the south to Kadesh, shaking the desert land. David was scared when he experienced this storm and calls the thunder as the seven thunders or the voices of God.…