Monday, April 23, 2018

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Encounter With the Risen Lord
Acts 9:1-18
Vs. 5 He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.
 The Damascus road experience is a great event that we see in the Bible. This is when Saul, a staunch Pharisee had an encounter with the risen Christ on his way to Damascus. Damascus is about 150 miles away from Jerusalem and after Stephen’s death many Christians fled Jerusalem seeking refuge in other cities and countries. Saul was so zealous for his Jewish beliefs that he was keen to bring to chains anyone who was “following the way “. We see 5 reasons why Saul even went to Damascus to persecute Christians:
1. Saul wanted to advance his career and build up his reputation as a true Pharisee.
2. He wanted to prevent the spread of Christianity as Damascus was a major trading town where many foreigners come daily.
3. He wanted to seize the Christians who had fled.
4. He wanted to prevent the newly converted Christians from causing trouble for the Roman empire.
5. He wanted to create a unified Jewish front against the common enemy-Christ and His followers.
But the sovereign God had a different plan. He chose to meet Saul on his way. Saul was the first eyewitness to see the risen Christ with his own eyes. God often breaks into our lives in a mysterious manner. Saul refers to this experience as the beginning of a new life. Saul acknowledged Jesus as Lord and savior and surrendered completely,  becoming the greatest   apostle of Jesus.
Another character we see in this episode is Ananias. Even though he was afraid to to meet Saul, he obeyed and prayed for Saul when the Holy Spirit guided him Ananias.
What do we learn from this encounter experience?
1. True conversion and change in oneself comes only when we have a personal meeting with Jesus Christ. If one is with Christ he is a new creation the old is dead and has a new beginning.
2. We must obey and follow God’s guidance even when He leads us to difficult peoples and places.
We were fortunate to celebrate another Easter this season. Let us pray that the power and strength of the risen Lord strengthen us day by day to go forward and work for His kingdom.
 PRAYER
Gracious Lord, we acknowledge this morning that we are sinners. We have not lived the way you want us to live. Yet  because of your mercy and kindness you have extended our life span in this world. Talk to us today and make us worthy to be your child. The Lord who met Saul on his way to Damascus is  still watching our moves  and actions everyday. As Peter said,  "Lord you know who we are." When we hear your voice, do not make our hearts harden rather melt us completely and make us surrender totally to you. Have mercy on us and bless us. In your precious name we pray, Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is risen and He is coming back.
Dr. Thomas K. Jose, MTC of Staten Island, NY
Christian Education Forum, Diocese of NAE of the Mar Thoma Church