Showing posts from March, 2015

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Passion Week:Standing Firm on the Promises of the Cross Matthew 24:1-28
Varghese Thomas Christos MTC, Philadelphia, PA 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Looking back fifteen years ago, the word "Y2K" caused anxiety all over the world. The thought of the world ending at the stroke of midnight on January 1st, 2000 was hard to swallow. Jesus in this passage talks about the end times and the destruction of temple. He outlines the events leading up to end of the world as we know it. Dear friends, we are witnesses to many of the signs in our current time. Famine, war, persecution, earthquakes and false prophets are just some of the signs occurring every day all around us. In verse 13, Jesus tells us to stay vigilant and firm in our faith. Through His death, He has saved mankind and given us a chance at eternal life one day. But until then, we are to preach the good news, as He says in verse 14, “as a testimony to all the nations”. In order to do this, we must believe…

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Passion Week:Living Unto God Matthew 22:15-23
Anil Abraham MTC of Dallas, Farmers Branch, NY 21 They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

Passion week is the holiest week of the Christian calendar. It leads to the remembrance and reflection of the ultimate sacrifice of our Lord and the truth that He is alive and living! Are we a reflection of Christ’s sacrifice of Love? Do we render to God what we owe Him?

The Pharisees with the help of the Herodians attempted to trap Jesus in His last days. They asked a pointed question ensured to entangle Jesus, “Is it lawful to pay taxes to Ceasar, or not?” Jesus’ response amazed them, “Render therefore to Ceasar the things that are Ceasar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Jesus did not instruct them to avoid their obligations to man/government, but fulfill them and to give unto God what is owed to Him.

We are reminded of our earthl…

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Hosanna - "Save Us Now" Matthew 21:1-11
Rev. V. M. Mathew Youth Chaplain, Northeast Region 9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

The term ‘Hosanna’ is from from Hebrew word hōshi āh nnā; which means ‘save now, we pray’. The crowd who followed Jesus, shouted with this small prayer, had completely misunderstood Jesus’ personality and divinity. The history of Israel reveals that the people were always under some kind of political regime and for a long time their religious freedom was threatened because of these regimes. So they were eagerly waiting for a saviour who delivers from the political slavery. So the crowd was following Jesus and shouting with a wrong intention. When they shouted they wanted Jesus to deliver them from their political slavery but Jesus was here on earth to save us from the slavery of sin.  Who is Jesus to us and w…

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40th Friday:Prone to Wander, Lord I Feel It.  Matthew 4:1-11
Suthin John Long Island MTC, NY 12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. 13 No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one. [James 1:12-13]

We are all created to find our satisfaction in God and pursue our joy in Him. Even when we are adopted into His family, having full communion with the Trinity, there is still a part of us that is “prone to wander, Lord we feel it!” Each of us develops addictions to the things that are stealing life from us. We are tempted when we are led by our own desires. “Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown bring forth death. (James 1:15)”

Temptation often presents us with a small part of the story. The serpent said to Adam and Eve, “eat this fruit and you will rec…

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A New Vision of the Messianic Age 1 Peter 4:12-19
Juby Panachakunnel MTC Farmer's Branch, Dallas, TX 19 Therefore, let those suffering in accordance with God’s will entrust themselves to a faithful Creator, while continuing to do good.

I was talking to my mom the other day about how I had told an aunty that Lent was really hard, the aunty berated me and told me never to say that again. I went home that day and thought through why it might be wrong to express the hardship of sacrificing something to know Christ better. Although I had given up things for lent before, this Lent specifically had been especially hard and on more than one occasion I had asked God if this was really needed. But in those times, He was more than faithful in bringing me through with strength and covering me with grace.

It reminds me sometimes of when Paul had the thorn in his side and our Lord told him, “My grace is all you need. My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Every time we are made …

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Jars of Clay 2 Corinthians 4:1-12
Jessin Varghese  Carmel MTC, MA 8 Yet, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. - Isaiah 64:8 

“But if I can't swim after forty days
and my mind is crushed by the thrashing waves
Lift me up so high that I cannot fall
Lift me up"

- “Jars of Clay “Flood”

Charlie Lowell is a lead singer from the band Jars of Clay, which is a well known Alternative Christian Rock band from the nineties. When he was asked where the name from the band came from, he replied that he thought about the name in college as the band was laying down it’s roots.  “He recalled a Bible verse he had read which discussed the frailty of man, and the irony that this amazing life has been breathed into our frail, physical bodies by our Lord.” (Lowell, 2007). This passage, which related the struggles of man and the testing of our wills and bodies, which ultimately provides us the strength to endure the hardships of life, included …

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A New Vision of the Messianic Age Daniel 3:14-25
Jeswin John Ascension MTC, Philadelphia, PA 25 He replied, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god.”

The Messianic Age is defined by Alister McGrath, a theologian, as a time of “righteousness, justice, and peace”, which was “inaugurated by the first coming of Jesus Christ and [is] to be consummated at his return.” It is something never before seen in the world since the fall of Adam. The prophets of the Old Testament eagerly waited for this new era in human history. The incarnation of Jesus the Christ heralded the Kingdom of God and he sits at the right hand of God the Father as the King of Kings. Even as we ourselves patiently await the reign of Christ on Earth, our hope is strengthened by the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The account in Daniel chapter 3 is a well-known story of the three friends of Daniel being thrown into a furnace because they refused to …

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Prophets:A New Vision of the Messianic Age Deuteronomy 18:15-22
Tina Suraj Carmel MTC, MA 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet, who shall speak to them everything that I command. 19 Anyone who does not heed the words that the prophet shall speak in my name, I myself will hold accountable. 

“Where do you see yourself in five years?” This is a common question asked in many applications and interviews. Humans have a desire to anticipate, structure, plan, and foresee the future. Businesses project their profits and growth, economist predict the free market cycles, technology companies envision the most innovative inventions, and financial analysts try to forecast the most profitable investments. Prediction is pervasive in the modern world. Humans use science, technology, patterns, and even social behavior to predict the future. 

Throughout the narrative of the Bible, God sends prophets who proclaimed God’s wo…

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Christ our Deliverer 2 Corinthians 1:3-11
Jensen Varghese Carmel MTC, MA 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Living on earth as human beings destines us for challenges and hardship. This was as true in the time of the apostle Paul as it is today. While cultural circumstances may have changed since Paul's letters to the Corinthians, our source of strength in difficult times is always constant: the Lord God Almighty. Here specifically, Paul refers to God as the "God of all comfort" who comforts us in our troubles. So we should not despair, because God is always present to console us.  But God doesn't do this exclusively for our own benefit. Rather, after learning from our own experiences, we are expected to reach out to our brothers and sisters in affliction and provide the same comfort that God afforded us in our time of need.

It would seem then that our own suffering may serve a…

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New Vision Luke 18:35-43
Rev. Christopher Daniel St. Stephen's MTC, NJ 42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has saved you.” 43 Immediately he regained his sight and followed him, glorifying God; and all the people, when they saw it, praised God.

God often uses the most simple and unlikely people to teach us the most profound spiritual lessons.  And the same holds true in this passage where we are able to learn from the blind beggar that Jesus heals as he approached Jericho.  In order to learn from the blind beggar, we must all admit that we are spiritually without vision and spiritually impoverished.  Without Jesus in our lives, we will remain in darkness, in a state of spiritual blindness.  Not only will we be rendered blind, but we will be reduced to being spiritually destitute, left without anything of real spiritual value to bless and enrich our lives.

In this passage, the blind beggar intrinsically realized his need for both physical and spiritual healing.  Thus, w…

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True Worship that Liberates Romans 8:31-39
Sunayana Thomas Carmel MTC, MA 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

Over the past year and a half, I have fully learned the true meaning of this beautiful passage.  It has been an exciting, yet scary time for me. ELATED to begin my life with the partner that God had truly chosen for me. STRESSED during the planning phase of the wedding but above all it was the ANXIETY and the AMBIGUITY of moving across the country leaving my family and everything I knew and loved, to begin my new life.  I kept all these worries in prayer and I felt God’s presence comforting me.  And then, only one week after the wedding, my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. I felt that my whole life had come to a standstill. Many questions ran through my mind to which I had no answers.  I became emotionally and physically drained. 

One year and five months later, it is hard to believe …

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True Worship that Liberates Acts 3:1-10
Tanaya Kunnenkeri Carmel MTC, MA 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[a] stand up and walk.” 

In this passage we learn that Peter and John were given the authority to heal in Jesus’s name. These apostles didn't claim to have self-derived resources to provide to the crippled beggar. They admit to not having any material possessions to give to this poor man who comes to them with hope for a coin or two. But they know that they have something much richer and more meaningful for this man. A miracle occurs through these apostles at this temple gate so appropriately named “the Beautiful Gate”.

Jesus doesn't promise us material wealth, but does promise to heal us when we make ourselves vulnerable and put our trust in Him, as the beggar did with Peter and John. The apostles in this passage exhibit true worship. Peter and John take up their cross and their calling, for a cause…

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True Worship that Liberates Exodus 3:11-18
Anitha Oommen Carmel MTC, MA 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

In our own lives we may question ourselves in certain situations. One might not have the full confidence to step out of our comfort zone but we must remember to always turn to the Lord during those times. In the passage above we see Moses questioning himself and feeling a sense of insecurity. He questions why God had chosen him to go to Egypt and God tells him that he will be with him throughout it all. Moses had to realize that he was called upon by God for a reason. He was called to go to the Egyptians and let the Israelites free. He had to remember to put his faith in the Lord and truly believe that every step that he takes, he takes with the Lord. True faith and worship would liberate the Israelites.

When we face taking a risk, we often doubt ourselves. We start questioning every single detail of the situation wh…

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Life-Saving Faith:Offering to God in Living Faith Genesis 22:1-14
Christina George St. Thomas MTC, Delaware Valley, Philadelphia, PA 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.”

While Abraham is known as ‘father of all nations,’ he is a man of great faith in intricate circumstances. A portion of Genesis focuses on Abraham’s life events in which his faith is tried. He walked with God closely and left familiar homeland for a place he did not know. Abraham and Sarah bore Isaac at a very old age, a time when they laughed to themselves about God finally providing a son. Isaac was at the brink of sacrifice at the hand of his own father. Though Abraham undergoes tests and tribulations similar to our own, he consciously chose in each event to walk with God in order to further His will. Abraham’s human understanding could not fathom God’s will, yet he chose to obey the one who dir…