CHRISTIAN NEWS BIWEEKLY PUBLICATION FOR KERALA MALAYALEE CHRISTIANS FROM INDIA AROUND THE WORLD
May 1, 2002 ARCHIVE
Vol:2Issue:9


STEWARDSHIP OF CHRISTIAN MINISTRY

By DR.MATHEWS MAR SAVARIOS



H.G.DR.MATHEWS MAR SAVARIOS
Diocesian Metrapolitan of Kandanad Diocese of Malankara Orthodox Church. A Theologigical and Biblical Scholar, Orator and a good writer. Patron of many Charitable Chritian Organizations.

The Parable of the Talents told by Jesus (Matt 25:14-30) really illustrates the gifts given by God to a Christian and usage of the same according to the will and expectation of the Master, God. A talent was a great sum of money and came to designate special gift or endowment. The main Emphasis is on the full accountability and responsibility of the servant who receive the talents/gifts. We are stewards of the gifts/talents given to us by God. These talents are meant to be utilized for the salvation of our self and our neighbors. Idleness in this effort is a sinful renunciation of God’s Grace. More than that, it is a lack of love for God and humanity. Since we are stewards of God’s gifts/talents, each one of us is accountable for hours/minutes/seconds we utilized the abundance of these gifts/talents bestowed on us.

How can we be truly faithful servant?

1.
Stewardships as an Evangelist: Study of The Bible and proclamation of the word of God to others, is of prime importance in Christian way of living. St.Paul exhorts Timothy, who is his spiritual son, ‘to give attendance to reading, exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee which was given thee by prophecy’ (1 Tim 4:13-15), to teach others the faith we are entrusted with (2 Tim 2:2) and preach the Gospel is a method of feeding the church and edifying it (1 Cor 1: 17-23) Eph 3:8 2Ti 4:2-5, Jer 21:15-17 Eph 4:12
2.
Stewardship as a life example: A well disciplined and ecclesiastical life enriched with prayers is expected from every Christians. So we have to be Diligent (1 Cor. 15:10), Industrious (2 Cor 10:12-16 4:8-9), Meek (2 Tim 2:25) and worthy of true example to others (1 Tim 4;12) as well as responsible even to rebuke others concerning the right path (Tit 2:15)
3.
As a Family witness: As a responsible parent, a loving brother or sister, persevering the drawbacks of all members of the household is expected from us. We must have availability, approachability, credibility, dependability, sincerity and reliability. (1 Tim 5:21, 2 Cor 11: 23-33)
4.
As a responsible treasurer: Christian attribute towards wealth is very important. We must be ardent faithful in the matters of dealing with money. There is no compassion to this aspect. (Rom 15 1-19) This aspect measures however we are sincere to God and men as well. (2 Cor 113-13) We should not pervert the truth for our selfish motives we must practice and exhort others to invest our money as treasures in heaven (Matt 6 19-20) seeking the possession of the kingdom of God.(Matt 6:33)
5.
As a Good Samaritan: ‘A friend indeed is a friend in need.’ This doctrine is valid always. The real incest of Piety is enumerated beginning with visiting orphans and widows in their trouble (James 1:27). We should be sympathetic towards the poor (Hebr 5:2), temperate to their needs (1 Cor 9:25-27), willing to lift them any time (1 Peter 5:2), Comfort them as and when ever necessary and this (1 Cor 1:4-6) measure much in exerting our stewardship with souls (1 Cor 9:19-23) The works of Charity were counted more than anything else to inherit the eternal bliss of Christ’s kingdom.(Mtt 25 31-46)

Conclusion:

We are called to be Originals and not expected to be of Imitating. Stewardship is a marvelous gift. So be vigilant in our life to hear from our Lord 'faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants' against that of the trembling voice 'You Wicked Servant'. The Parable of the Talents refers to the metaphor 'life is a precious possession’. If you have any talent, you must 'invest' them wisely--no matter what is the quantity of the talent we are in possession. As the wise Solomon told 'How blessed is the man who finds wisdom; the man who gains understanding for whom the profit is better than the profit of silver and the gain is better than fine gold'. Stewardship or Sacrificial Giving get emerged as "Attitude of gratitude." If we recognize where our gifts have come from, we cannot do other than make a return for what we have been given.

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IT AIN'T BROKEN !!!

By THOMAS KOSHY, WASHINGTON

Whenever we are confronted with a potentially challenging situation on a vulnerability, we jump to the defensive mode of operation and state " If it ain't broken, don't fix it." This philosophy has several desirable applications in life--an old lawn mover, an old car, an old air-conditioning unit, etc., could be allowed to breakdown when its useful life has almost expired and further investment on it does not appear justifiable. Therefore, the breakdown will be a decision point to replace it or reassess the useful life given the cost of an acceptable restoration. Expendable or disposable articles could be viewed in this manner.

What about human relationships? The above philosophy may not be advisable due to the following reasons:

1.
Broken relationships under unpredictable circumstances could result in death, and other types of permanent damages.
2.
Restoration could be very hard, costly, and sometimes impossible.
3.
Consequential damages may not be limited to the two primary parties but often result in traumatic experiences that affect several members of family, and other loved ones.

The high cost of the broken relationship demands increased sensitivity and diligent attention for maintaining the relationships. Some technical jargons for the types of care that would be needed are corrective, predictive, and preventive maintenance. Jesus gave one equation that should satisfy all required relationships - Love your God and Love your neighbor. We all claim to know this very well, but the question is how sensitive are we in recognizing this love fading out?

Corrective Maintenance:
When our valuable car makes a strange noise, gets a flat tire or it is slow to get started, we get it fixed. Some of the reasons for getting it done is the importance to have reliable transportation and we do not want the problem to escalate and lead to major damage and consequently an enormous cost for restoration. A parallelism to the human relationship is the sign of strange noises like the car, breakdown or significant change in tone of communication, expression of intolerance, avoidance, etc., are signs of needing corrective maintenance in relationships.

Predictive Maintenance:
We do predictive maintenance on a car when we know that winter is coming and the required traction is not sufficient on the present tires and we invest on a new set of tires before the snow hits the ground. ie., an anticipated need for additional preventive measures to overcome a potential vulnerability. Human relationships also go through certain predictable rough environments such as tests to be taken, short term employment, aging, anticipated financial needs, terminal illness of oneself and loved ones, etc,. Advance preparation with shared responsibility and expressions of love could make such situations more tolerable.

Preventive Maintenance:
The periodic oil change and the lubrication are considered the routine care based on normal use. The parallelism to the human relationship is the frequent expression of love that sustains and ensures the confidence in that relationship. Lack of this preventive care and negligence often result in a higher cost for the restoration of relationships.

Joseph and Mary presumed for a day that Jesus was with their friends while returning from the Jerusalem temple (Luke 2:44-46). One day's presumption of their son's activity resulted in three days of search to find him. Here is a case, where preventive maintenance failed and a corrective maintenance at a higher price solved the problem. Our lack of diligence and presumptuous attitude could often lead to a higher cost for recovery. Jesus was found in an activity that far exceeded the parents' expectation. The verse ".. but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart." (Luke 2:51b) indicate that his mother gathered new godly wisdom about her son and better equipped herself to predictably deal with her son in the days ahead.

There are times when relationships may be broken. In the parable of the lost son (Luke 15:11-21), the son decides to leave the family because he could not do what he wanted to do while his father is in command of the household. The loving father did not compromise the discipline of his family to please his son's wishes that included squandering the wealth in wild living. This son had to learn the hard way that he was not mature enough to manage his resources. When he came to his senses, he was eager to go back and accept a "Servant--Master" relationship while he embarrassingly remembered that he had previously walked away from a "Son --Father" relationship.

To a parent, the relationship includes leading, directing and supervisory responsibilities of their children. It is the fulfillment of God-given duties and an expression of loving relationship to "inspect for what you expect" from your children. Therefore, a Christian parent diligently searches out the faithful developments of a child; the shared information when a parent finds the child in the expected duties, strengthens the relationship, and builds faith and confidence. The instinctive response to such a growing confidence in relationship is "You have been faithful with a few things. I will put you in charge of many things." (Matthew 25:23) The trust and confidence are earned over time but it could be broken in an instant. However, the young and the old, often revert to impulsive actions and reactions that lead to severed relationships. We can fix many of those broken relationships if we would choose to come to our senses and go the extra mile for corrective maintenance of relationships.

Godly Assistance:
Godly Assistance I saved the greatest for last. It is not possible to maintain relationships without Godly help. In Jesus' equation the relationship to God comes first and relationships to people comes second and its foundation is love. A strongly rooted relationship with God produces certain characteristics through the gift of Holy Spirit that helps to maintain relationships with the children of God around us.

Joy is
Peace is
Longsuffering is
Gentleness is
Goodness is
Faith is
Meekness is
Temperance is
LOVE
LOVE
LOVE
LOVE
LOVE
LOVE
LOVE
LOVE
exulting.
in response.
on trial.
in society.
in action.
in endurance.
at school.
in discipline.

WHY SHOULDN'T A CHRISTIAN KEEP THE REQUIRED RELATIONSHIPS AT IT'S BEST, WHEN THERE IS HEAVENLY ASSISTANCE TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE?

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TEN PRINCIPLES OF TRUE WORSHIP

By FR.DR. MATHEW VAIDYAN
(Principal, St, Paul'sMissionTraininCenter, Mavelikara – 690 103, Kerala.)



1.
Transfiguration of the whole being:
Human mind is provide with conscious, sub conscious and unconscious layers. Worship is not only the transfiguration of the conscious mind. It transforms the whole being. St.Paul explains this process as follows: " And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord as by the Spirit of the Lord". (2 Cor. 3:18). The three representatives of the Apostles could experience this glory of the Lord in their Taboric Transfiguration. Christian witness is not only to see the glory of God, but also to become glorified. Human beings, created in the image of God are transfigured form glory to glory through incessant prayer and worship. This process is not intellectual but experiential. The whole being is involved in this process. In other words, worship is infinite growth in goodness. It is Theosis or Deification.
2.
Communication with the five senses:
The five senses help us in human communications. The same is applicable to our communication with God. In real worship we see, hear, smell, taste and experience the divine communion. Preaching the Word of God and listening to it are not the exclusive factors of worship. Take the example of the three fold colours by which the Holy Altar is decorated. The red covering at the altar indicates the universe and the solar system. The green covering denotes the earth with the greenish variety of biological species. The white covering indicates the Church made sanctified and pure through the blood of the unblemished Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. The Blood and Body of Christ given to the Church and the whole creation is sanctified through the church. In worship, we listen to the Word of God, smell the odour of the incense, touch the hands of our brethren in Kiss of Peace and taste from the divine chalice perceiving the mysteries of the liturgical scenario.
3.
Rituals, offerings and incense:
God became man. He took flesh, matter was used in the redeeming process of Incarnation. Rituals, offerings and material objects were given sufficient role in the ministry of Jesus.St. Luke Chapter 5 verse 14 states, "And he charged him to tell no one; but go and show yourself to the priest and make an offering for your cleansing as Moses commanded for a proof to the people". Thus Jesus commanded to give offering and rites of thanks giving. Jesus is serious towards those people who disobeyed the commandments. Jesus taught that offerings and rituals must help to be firm in faith and for the glorification of God. Jesus was respectful towards priesthood, offerings of thanks giving and vows. Even St. Paul cut his hair at Cenchreae, for he had a vow (Acts18: 18). Bread, wine, water, oil and soil are all seen used in the redemptive process according to the Bible. "You do this in remembrance of me, this is my body and this is my blood" commanded Jesus. The offering of the incense is practiced in Christian worship (See Rev.8: 3,4 Rev.5: 8, Heb 9: 4, Mt. 2:11). Offering of the incense is to get rid of the plagues, to remove the foul smell of sin, to please the Lord with complete dedication and to keep the Biblical commandments (See Num 16: 46 – 50) Ex. 35:8,2 Chron.2: 4, 1 Kg. 9: 25, Malachi 1: 11 etc.) With the offering of incence we are mingling with the prayers of all the saints (Rev. 8: 4)
4.
Symbolic Representations:
We have to acknowledge our linguistic limitations. Words and language alone fail to reflect or gratitude to God Almighty. Symbols speak volumes and help us for meaningful communication with God. The early church developed symbolic art in the Catacombs. Symbols used by early Christians include, lamb, dove, fish, shepherd, vine, bread, cross and the like. The dove represents Holy Spirit, Christ is the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God. The Greek word "ikhthus" which means fish denotes "Jesus Christ, son of God, Saviour" when alphabetically expanded. This was the creed and declaration of faith used by ancient Christian. The symbolisms of salt, lamp etc. are inspirative and educative for a Christian. They are parts of the Christian devotion. The cross speaks out the sacrificial act of Jesus. Signing of the cross also is a silent, but meaningful worship. The icons first came into existence in Syria and Egypt. The Byzantine Church developed icons and iconostasis with a sound theology of symbols called iconography.
5.
Fasting, feasting and festivals:
In worship there are factors beyond human reasoning and intellect. Through the particular cycle of prayers, rites of purification and courses of meditation together with lent, fasting and deeds of charity we find amalgamation with such factors beyond our reason and intellect. In worship we bow or heads, keel down and pray to the Lord. (See Gen. 24: 26, Gen. 24: 28, Ex. 4: 31, Dan. 6: 10, 1 Kg. 8: 54, Mt. 2: 11, Rev. 7: 11, Ps 95: 6 etc.) Fasting is pleasing to God Is. 58: 6-8, God asked His people to observe fast. Joel 1: 12-15. The evil one can be overcome by fasting Luke 2: 37, Mt. 17: 21 Esther 4: 16. Elijah's Moses observed fasting Ex. 34: 28, Mk. 9: 29. Acts 14: 23, fasting is mentioned in 1 Kg. 19: 18. Also we see 21 days fasting of Daniel (Dan. 10. 2,3) 14 days' fasting in Acts, 27: 33, 35, 7 days' fasting of David 2 Sam 12: 16, 1 Sam 31: 13,3 days fasting of Esther 3: 13, 4: 16, Acts 9: 9, Dan 9: 3 – 21, Ezra 8: 3, people of Nineveh Jona 3: 6 etc. Jesus is the best example Mt. 4: 2. Feasts are observed as days of special honor and reverence. Jn 7.2, Acts 20: 16, 1 Cor. 1.6:8. The Jews observed Feast of Passover (Ex. 12: 14-17), Pentecost (Ex. Ch 19,20), Tabernacle (Lev. 23: 24), Purim (Esther 9: 26), Trumpet (Lev. 23: 24), Feasts and Festivals of Christianity commemorate events related to Christ, saints and martyrs –sharing the experiences in and with so great a cloud of witnesses (Heb 12: 1).
6.
Conformity with the mind of the Church:
We are bound to hold fast the traditions transferred to us through the church by our Lord, the Apostles and the church Fathers. The Greek word paradosis used in the Bible means "that which is transferred" or "traditions" (See 2 Thess. 2: 15, 3: 6, 1 Cor 11: 2 etc.) The continuity and apostolic authority together with the rich spiritual fragrance behind these traditions are to be counted. Tradition is the mind of the church. It is difficult to write down everything that we see, know and experience. The canons, faith declarations and textual formations of the liturgical practices form the spiritual code of conduct made by the Holy Spirit through the Apostles, gospel – writers and Church Fathers. These traditions (oral and written) act as catalytic agents for our spiritual upbringing. These traditions are not to be ridiculed, misused and misunderstood. See 1 Cor, 11: 34, Phil 4: 9 2 Tim 1: 13, Heb 2: 1,3 Jn. 1: 13, 2 Pet 3: 16.
7.
Communion with the departed ones:
The church is the communion of all believers in the past, present and future. Both the living and the departed are members of the church. A believer never dies. Jn. 11: 26. The departed ones stand around us like clouds today. Heb 12: 1. They live 1 Pet 4: 6. They speak Luk 9: 30.31. They please God 2 Cor. 5: 8,9. They pray for the world. Rev. 6: 9, 10. Death is not capable of separating us from the love of God. Rom 8: 38. The departed Moses and Elijah are seen with Jesus talking. Mt. 17: 3. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. James 5: 16. See also. Prov. 10: 7, Hab 13: 7, 1Cor 6: 2, Rev. 2: 26, Luk 16: 27,28. The departed ones are alive in paradise. Luke 23: 43. St. Paul prayed for the departed Onesiphorus. 2 Tim. 1: 16 – 18. We commemorate and unite in prayer with the departed ones who form the larger part of the church.
8.
Intercession for the whole creation:
Intercession for the living and the departed was practiced in the Church from the very beginning. If it is all right to ask a living person to pray for us without violating the principle of one unique Mediator, it cannot be wrong to ask a departed saint pray for us. We also pray for them. Even the relics of the departed saints can do miracles. See 2 Kings 13: 20, 21. The rich man in hades prays for his five brothers who are living Luk 16 : 27, 28. The Orthodox Church believes that the range of Christ's saving activity is the whole creation at large. The Creation is based on the will, wisdom and power of God. Purpose of the creation is to glorify God. With our prayers and intercession we transfigure the world for the glorification of God.
9.
Liturgical hymans with diversity of tunes:
The highest form of worship is to use hymns with diversity of tunes as in the Psalms. Through liturgical hymns we are getting into the horizon of the fact of incarnation. We are exploring the divine mysteries through our hymns. Music is human response to divine love. Music transforms human mind. It is the highest form of devotion and the strongest mental shock absorber. With the heavenly angels who stand in rows and repeat the chanting of melodious prayers, the earthly beings participate in the worship with melodious songs. In the book of Psalms there are directions to lift up the voice of the choir. The word "sela" means, "lift up". In the communal worship and singing, the choir members are reminded here to raise and slow down the voices and tunes. Worship is our state of being immersed into the ocean of God. We feel relaxed when our burdens, problems, afflictions and aspirations are submitted before God. Worship is the state of our relaxation before God.
10.
Strong biblical basis:
The apostles and early disciples described the mystery of Incarnation based on the Law of Moses, prophets and other writings. See Acts 28: 23. The worship and liturgical practice of the early church were developed with the contents of Synagogue worship and Temple worship. The worship in the Jerusalem Temple followed morning and evening sacrifice, offering of the incense and hanuka processions with lighted candles. The Synagogue worship followed readings from the Old Testament, verses of blessings, singing of psalms, exegetical sermons by religious scholars and Aaronic benediction. Assimilating these ancient practices of worship, the church developed and regularized reading from the Old Testament, New Testament, songs, offering of incense and the Holy Eucharist which is the liturgy of the sacrifice. The worship of the Orthodox Church is saturated with verses form the Holy Bible.
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HOW CAN WE BE SANTIFIED

By MATHEW VARGHESE BRAMPTON, CANADA

The greatest evils in world are: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). But in these days these evils are clearly visible in believers. These sin prevades and prevails everywhere.

In Eden, the Serpent persuading Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. It says that the woman saw that the fruit was good, it was pleasent to her eyes and she took and ate and also gave to her husband. She was lured by the fruit. She disobeyed and transgressed the specific command of God and thereby did sin to God. The evil which conquered the Eden were, the lust of flesh (good food), lust of eyes (pleasent to eyes) and desirable to make one wise (pride). The consequence was whole mankind faced sin from generations and continuing even beyond words.

When Israelites entered the land of Canaan, God has specifically told them through Joshua that all the spoils of Jericho viz. gold, silver etc. were sanctified (separated) to the Lord and no one was to take anything out of it. Was the direction clear? What happened? Aahan saw the nice Babylonian garment, two hundred skekels and gold of 50 shekals. You can see clearly here, the lust of flush, the lust of eyes and the pride of life. Afterwards the whole family of Aahan was stoned to death. Are we serious of these evils in our life?

Our Lord, was tempted by Satan. Satan told Him to command the stones to made bread. But Jesus chose not to compromise with the devil. Having defeated in his attempt, Satan again and again tempting Him. Our Lord overcame him. The second Adam was triumphantly victories in all the temptation.

Belivers, we live in days where the Satan is active and tempting believers with evils. The riches of the world, its pleasures and glorious position of power and authority. Let us get awake from our slumber and ready to fight these evil. Let's name of our Lord be glorified.
(Courtesy to Mr. E.J. Mathews)

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LET US KILL HER!

By JOHN KUNNATHU

"There is no doubt that she should be stoned to death," he continued. "This is an abomination which the Lord, our God cannot tolerate. The wrath of God will fall on the entire community if we let her live among us."

Nabas waited for a response from his audience.

The scene of action was the first century Israel. It was a group of people who had sworn to bring the Kingdom of God upon earth by eradicating evil from the face of the earth. Nabas was their leader. It was to prostitutes that their attention turned first. They found that prostitutes have a key position in keeping the world in evil. Not only do they do sins, but also they lead others to sins. The presence of prostitutes leads to the breakdown of family structure, and eventually, to the breakdown of the entire community.

They made a list of prostitutes in the city of Jerusalem, and planned to catch them one by one, and stone them to death. They hoped that eventually, other cities would follow their example and kill all the prostitutes in the nation, which, they believed, would hasten the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth. They were all excited at the thought of participating in such a great campaign.

At the top of the list appeared the name of Mary. She was the most famous among them. Perhaps, the most beautiful and enticing, too. She had very important political and religious figures among her regular customers.

"Let us kill her," said one of the men who listened to the speech of Nabas. "Let us kill her, let us kill her," the others repeated.

"I guess no one has a contrary opinion," Nabas said. "Now what remains to be decided is just the time and place. Since this is the beginning of a great holy campaign, we need to do it at a holy place on a holy day."

Thus, they decided to stone her to death in front of their temple on the next Sabbath. Some of them were assigned to go to Mary's house the next Sabbath, and bring her to the temple.

Early in the morning, they brought her to the temple, hands and feet tied. After giving her to the charge of two strong men, Nabas took the men aside, and talked to them.

"Listen," he said. "We are lucky. Jesus is here. If we can get him to cast stones at her, our campaign will get immediate support from the people. He is the most popular leader in our nation today." The men were happy to hear it. One of them hurried to look for Jesus. While the others were anxiously waiting, he came back and said, "He is over there. Why don't we take the woman there, and ask him to join us?"

Jesus was talking to his disciples and some others when the men approached him with the woman. "Master," Nabas said. "Sorry for interrupting. But we need to talk to you about something very important and urgent." Then he began to tell Jesus everything about their campaign of eradicating prostitutes from the nation in order to hasten the establishment of the kingdom of God.

Listening to the words of Nabas, Jesus looked at the face of the woman. Then he looked at the face of each of the men in the group. Then he looked at the face of Nabas and listened to him intently. The way he looked had a quality. It was as if he was looking directly into their hearts and their deepest motives. Perhaps, he had a third eye with which he could see what others could not see.

When Nabas finished talking, Jesus said, "Well, it is really a great idea. God does not want any more evil in the world. This woman deserves the condemnation of God."

The men were excited to hear it from Jesus. "Let us kill her, let us kill her," they shouted.

"The one to cast the first stone," Jesus continued, "must be a sinless person--one who hasn't committed any sins in all life. Only a sinless person has the right to punish a sinner."

Hearing that, they looked at one another.

When Jesus bent over and touched the ground, Nabas thought that Jesus was going to pick up a stone to cast at her. To his surprise, instead of picking up a stone, Jesus was writing something there with his finger.

Impatiently, but with utmost curiosity, he tried to read it. "Someone can keep a shop open only if there are people to buy things from there."

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UNION FELLOWSHIP CONVENTION : PHILADELPHIA, USA

9th Annual Gospel Convention (2002) was held by the Union Christian Fellowship on 26, 27, 28th April 2002 at Ascension Marthoma Church, Philadelphia. Union Christian Fellowship is an interdenominational Prayer Fellowship in and around the City of Philadelphia. The speaker of the Convention for all the three days was Rev.P.K.Zachariah, a renowned Convention speaker and Vicar of Bethel Marthoma Church, Philadelphia. The 8th Convention of the fellowship was conducted at the same venue during 2001 and the speaker was Rev.P.K.Zacharia himself. The organizing committee is constituted of members from many denominations of Malayalee Christians in Philadelphia and Suburbs. The current Organizing Committee is constituted of:
Rev. Thomas Nainan (President)
Rev.Fr.Chacko Punnoose(Program Coordinator)
Mr.K.Varghese (Vice President)
Mr.Samuel Koshy(Secretary)
Mr.George Pulimala(Treasurer)
Mr.Dennis John(Youth Coodinator)

SPEAKER: REV. P.K.ZACHARIAH

Rev.P.Zacharia is blessed and renowned Convention speaker. Currently he is the Vicar of Bethel Marthoma Church. Achan had severe accident during last year and suffered a spinal injury for which his bottom portion of the body is paralyzed. Now he is on a wheel chair. By the Grace of God he is recovering from his disability. His strong faith and visions took him through a series of hard times with unshaken commitments to the service of Lord. Now he is transferred to India. Rev. Zacharia is a Author Team member of 'Light of Life' and his messages are in the repository of the Publication.

Message : 'Why God'
Article: Abraham The Missionary

FRIDAY APRIL 26, 2002
TITLE: 'BLESSING AND CURSE ARE SET BEFORE YOU'

Scripture Reference:Deuteronomy 11: 26-28
'Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.'

This is message given by God to Israelites, His own people through his servant Moses. This is a very clear message given by God and it is not only for Israelites, but also for the Modern generation of mankind. We see many points involved in this message. 

1. Our God is a blessing God: Bible reveals that our God is a God of Blessing. St.Paul exhorts to Ephesians 'Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:' (Eph 1:3) God called Abraham and blessed him and blessed all nations. If God blesses us, the blessing will be without any limit and it overflows in our life.
Attributes of God's Blessings: 

a. There is no Limitation for God's blessings: There is no limitation or insufficiency for God's Blessings. 

b. God's Blessing make narrow situations to more wider area : 

2.There are some conditions God keep for the His blessings: Anywhere we see a blessing from God, we always see some conditions attached with it. There are no unconditional blessings from God. The condition what we see in this scripture part is that if we obey his commandments His blessings will be given. If You deny, the curse comes to you in place of blessings. 

3. What are God's blessings: Gods blessings are not in the form of Wealth, health or any material gifts. It may not be the prosperity in all our walks of life. Many saints lived very poor life.
Criteria of God's Blessing: 

a. God's Blessing make us satisfied: This is a Godly satisfaction in the midst of difficulties, sufferings, tribulation, failures and all kind of Calamities in our life. Jesus not only save us, but also gives us satisfaction. Satisfaction given through the God's Blessing is also limitless. Psalmist says 'Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time [that] their corn and their wine increased.' (Psalm 4:7) When God blesses no body else is needed who can satisfy us. Many may have wealth but never have satisfaction. God's blessings gives us an overflowing satisfaction. 'Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst;' St.Paul had only one Blanket, Book and writing materials when he was in prison; but he tells that he got everything. This is the satisfaction received from the Blessings of God. 

b. Gods' Blessings gives us strength: When we get the Blessings from God, never we are helpless or hopeless. 'They go from strength to strength, [every one of them] in Zion appeareth before God.' (Psalms 84:7) 

c. God's Blessings gives us Joy and Happiness: In the journey of life if we get lost, God's blessings gives us Joy and Happiness. God is caring and sharing. Experience with God brings us tremendous Joy and happiness. Christ should become an experience in our life. 

CONDITIONS OF GOD'S BLESSINGS: 

OBEDIENCE: Obedience is the condition God keeps with Israelites to receive the blessings. If we look at the Bible many stalwarts failed in their life due to disobedience. Disobedience perished Lot in the God's land. Lot was a man who experienced God. There are many like that who experienced God and eventually ruined due to disobedience.
Attributes of Obedience:
1. Obedience is expensive: We have to give up certain things in our life for obeying God. We have to give a cost for obedience. Obedience calls for Love, not only to God, but also to our family and neighbors.
2. Obedience come out of Holy Spirit in us: For obedience we need the Spirit of Love, Spirit of Word of Love. 


PRINCIPLES OF OBEDIENCE: 

1. Obey completely: Obedience should be complete, always and in all walk of life. Partial Obedience is failure of Obedience and will be considered as disobedience. It is not considered , how many things we obeyed, but the matter is whether obeyed completely. God commanded God to annihilate everything of Amalekites. But Saul did not obey God fully. 'But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all [that was] good.' This was the downfall of King Saul. Samuel said 'Obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams' 

2. Obey quickly: Obedience should not be gradual or slow. We should be quick to obey the word of God. Elisha, when he got his master's blanket he never delayed or consulted anybody, but he immediately followed. Tax Collector Mathew, when Jesus called he throw away everything and followed immediately. 

3. Obey at any cost: What ever may be the circumstances or scenarios we should obey God at any cost. Even if there is danger of life, loose our position or any other adverse result we are bound to obey God at any cost. 

PONDER ON: 

1. There is no substitute for Obedience: King Saul disobeyed God. He has done procession, sacrifice etc. But they were not a substitute for the disobedience. 

2. Don't rationalize disobedience: There can not be any justification or arguments for disobedience. 

3. Don't blame anybody for the disobedience: When Eve disobeyed she blamed Satan and Adam blamed Eve for the disobedience, indirectly it was blame on God himself for their disobedience. 

CONCLUSION: If we obey God we get his blessings. While Obeying God humbly we attain Holy Spirit. The more we obey God the more we receive Holy Spirit. God cares for the one who obey him.

SATURDAY APRIL 27, 2002
TITLE: 'WHO EVER THINK THAT HE STANDS, HEED LEST HE FALL'

Scripture Reference:St.Luke 22: 31-33
'And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.'

These words which Jesus spoke during his last days are of very in-depth meaning. Jesus never told ant idle word during his ministry. This was very unexpected passage for Simon Peter. Peter was a man who followed Jesus throwing every thing back. He was a man who was with Jesus always for last 31/2 years. He was a man who has witness of the Glory of God during the Transfiguration in the Mount Olive. He was witness of the healing done by Jesus. He heard all his sermons. He was considered the most predominant disciple of Jesus. With all these qualifications Peter never thought that there will be a scenario on which he may have to deny his master. He never expected a failure in his life. 'Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.' (Mark 10:28) With very much confidence Peter told that he would never fail. In spite of all these Peter has fallen. He failed. There many truths in this incident. 

1. Fall can happen to anybody at any time: Many of the early Christians who had strong faith bumbled and fallen down. One example is the life of Themas. He joined with St Paul in the ministry. But he loved world more than God and left. David was a man who lived as per the heart of God. David failed once for a lady. Moses was man for who God himself had given the testimony the he was the humblest man. But in spur time anger over powered him and he failed, that also immediately after he talked with God. 

2. Heaven eagerly wait for your return: Satan has an agenda for all. But once you com back God has an agenda for you. When you confess on your sin and come back to God heaven rejoice and God executes his plan and agenda about you. Never return to your old ugly life. Turn back to God. Peter went back to his old boat as his mind was still with it. 

3. God brings back those who love him: God's heart is always following us. After Peter denied Jesus in front of a damsel , Jesus turned and looked at him. God is the one who make us to return back. 

4. Good Old memories with God make us always to return back.: When Jesus turned and looked at Peter, Peter might have recollected all the blessings and joy he experienced with his master. The prodigal son had decided to come back as he remembered the good old days he had at his father's house. 

5. Returning Back should be quick: When Jesus appeared to John and Peter after his resurrection, when John told this is none other than Jesus Peter reached the shore before the boat reached. This is the experience of fast returning back. 

6 There is an assurance of acceptance when we return back: In Isaiah we read about a potter . The pot got spoiled in the hands of the potter. But the potter never throw it away . He remolded it. The maker remake us, reshape us.

SUNDAY APRIL 28, 2002
TITLE: 'SANCTIFY TODAY FOR THE BLESSING OF TOMMOROW'

Scripture Reference:Joshua 7:13
''Up, sanctify the people, and say, Sanctify yourselves against to morrow: for thus saith the LORD God of Israel, [There is] an accursed thing in the midst of thee, O Israel: thou canst not stand before thine enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you.''

God tells Joshua to sanctify today to see the miracle tomorrow. Today's holiness comes as blessings of tomorrow. Israelites came to Canaan. First they saw the city of Jericho. Jericho was one of the strongest cities. They conquered the city of Jericho with out any bloodshed. It was an easy job. They surrounded city blowing the trumpets for seven days. On the seventh day the City has fallen. God made it to fall. They entered the city victoriously. This could do it because all the Israelites obeyed the God. But next they came to conquer the city of Ai. They failed. They could not stand before their enemies. Joshua had fallen to the earth before the Ark and prayed to God ' Wherefore had thou at all brought this people over Jordan, to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites.' Then God revealed Joshua 'Israel had sinned' Therefore children of Israel could not stand before their enemies. A-Chan was caught for the sin against God. A-Chan answered Joshua ' I saw a goodly Babylonian Garment and hundreds Shekal silver and wedge of Gold, coveted and took.' These are the root cause of the sins of our generation 'Saw, Coveted and Took.' The failure to Ai was due to the sin of A-Chan. The sin of one man counted for the full tribes and for the full nation. So God ordered Joshua 'Sanctify the Camp as I have to do wonder tomorrow.' A-Chan was stoned and buried under a pillar of pebbles. Eventually they could conquer Ai city. A sinful life spoils a victorious life. Those who celebrated the victory at Jericho failed at Ai due to the sin. There are many characteristics for sin. 

1. Sin is a very serious matter in our life: Till the character of A-Chan 'Saw, Coveted and Took' is not removed from our life we can never be victorious. 

2. Any time, any circumstances sin can enter to our life: It can be at the time of singing song and praising God or while praying or even doing any good thing. Sin entered King David when he was walking upon the roof. Peter tells 'Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:' (1 Peter 5:8) The pot can be spoiled while it is in the hands of the potter. 

3. Sin is not always visible: Nobody even Joshua or the family members of A-Chan did know about the sin of A-Chan. Adam and Eve sinned and tried to hide wherever they felt ugly. They felt everything is covered. 

4. Sin can not be confined to our private life: Family life is a private affair. But sin can not be confined to the privacy of our Family life. 

5. Sin could not be covered by our righteousness: By doing good things like praying or going to church or giving alms can not hide or annul sin. 

6. Sin should not be covered by Power: David did a lot things to Uriah to cover up the sin done to his wife, even killed him using the power of his kingdom. God did not leave him with any of these good things done. Man can be fooled but God can not be fooled. 

7. God sees us wherever we are: We can never hide away from God. He sees us where ever we are. Our actions cannever be hidden to Him. Just this knowledge that God sees us, the innermost, is enough to surrender to Him. God does not absolve considering as human weakness. 

8 God knows where the things are hidden. 

9 Sin is infectious.: 

10 Sin Spoils our personality 

11 Sin remove the grace of our eyes. Kain sinned to envy his brother. His face faded. 

12. Sin makes us dumb: David was the heart of God. Few weeks before he enchanted in the meditation with God. But after he sinned, he prayes ' Open my mouth so that I can praise you once again.' 

13. If we sin we loose the power of standing proudly: David was a king. After sinning he lost his face. He could not stand proudly in front of his people or in front of his house hold. 

14 Sin shake our family and even our Clan. 

15 Sin brings forth Calamity: After David did sin vulgar ness started in his own family. Son stood against father.

16. With Sin we loose our Communion

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Bible Word to by heart:

For me to live is Christ,
and to die is gain.


 (
Philipp 1:21)

BIBLE STORY
SAMSON-2

Once Samson grew up he went to the land of Timnah and saw a woman there and liked her. She was one of the daughters of the Philistines. He came back and told his father and mother that he liked one girl who is the daughter of a Philistine and he wants to marry her. Then his father and his mother asked him, "Why don't a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or of our clan and why he wants to take the daughter of the uncircumcised Philistines as your wife?" But Samson told his father that he likes her and want to marry her. His father and mother did not know that it was an act from God, so that he will get a chance against Philistines. Philistines were ruling over Israel during this time and God wanted to deliver them.

Then Samson went down to land Timnah with his father and mother to show the girl to them. On the way a young lion came roaring toward him. The Spirit of the LORD came upon Samson and he tore up the lion like that he tears an young goat, though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done . So he went down and talked to the woman and they found her as a good mattch for Samson. When he went that way next time to bring her he looked at the carcass of the lion he killed and found a swarm of bees and honey in the body of the lion. So he scraped the honey into his hands and ate the honey. When he came to his father and mother, he gave them also the honey but he never told then that he took it from the lion's body.

As per their custom Samson's father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there. When the Philistines saw them they brought thirty companions to be with him. Samson told them, "I will now propound a riddle to you; if you tell it to me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes, But if you fail, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty changes of clothes ." They agreed and listened to the riddle of Samson. So he told them, "Out of the eater came something to eat, And out of the strong came something sweet." But they could not tell the riddle in three days.

on the fourth day that they said to Samson's wife, "Find out from your husband the answer of the riddle unless , he will burn you and your father's house with fire. Did you invited us to impoverish us? " Samson's wife wept before him and said, "You do not love me; you have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told me the answer." Samson told here that he did not reveal it to his parents even and he is not going to tell her. " As she went on weeping before him seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her the answer because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people . So Philistine Yout told him the answer of the riddle on the seventh day before the sun set, "What is sweeter than honey ? And what is stronger than a lion ?" And hetold them, "If you did not hear from my wife, You would not have found out my riddle."

Spirit of the LORD came to Samson mightily , and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty of them and took their spoil and gave the changes of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father's house. But Samson's wife was given to his companion who had been his friend.

TO BE CONTINUED ......

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