Malankara World Journal
Malankara World Journal
Happy Birthday Malankara World Journal!! (April 15)

Volume 2 No. 71 April 12, 2012

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Happy Birthday Malankara World Journal
Happy Birthday Malankara World Journal
Table of Contents
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1. Editor's Note

2. Bible Readings for This Sunday (April 15)

New Sunday (Sunday after Easter)

3. Sermons for This Sunday (April 15)

http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_new-sunday.htm

4. Inspiration for Today

One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness.

5. Why is Jesus Hidden?

When you and I have riddles, problems and perplexing things happen to us, we come together and talk about it. We discuss these things and pray about these things. He began to unfold the Scriptures to them concerning Himself, but they did not realize it was Jesus they were talking to. They did not see the Lord Jesus Christ in their trial. They did not see Him even though He was walking with them and talking with them.

6. What Happened After the Resurrection?

While the Gospels of Matthew and Mark end shortly after the Resurrection, Luke and John provide extra detail about what Jesus did during the time between his resurrection and his ascent into heaven. If your Gospel reading stopped at the Resurrection, you're missing out on several interesting stories. ...

7. Imitating Christ: Christ About His Father's Business

You never find Christ doing a thing which you may not imitate. You would scarcely think it necessary that he should be baptized; but lo, he goes to Jordan’s stream and dives beneath the wave, that he may be buried in baptism unto death, and may rise again—though he needed not to rise—into newness of life. ..

8. Mass Participation - In Body and Spirit by Bishop James D. Conley

Growing in greater awareness of the mystery of the Mass isn’t easy. We’re quite often distracted, and contemplation doesn’t come natural to most. The liturgy of the Church is designed to help us. The public worship of the Church invites us to engage our senses and our bodies, thus allowing us to be more easily drawn into the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrifice. ...

9. The Marvelous Value of the Holy Mass!

The Mass in a certain manner has as much worth for our Souls, as the death of Jesus Christ had on the Cross (St. John Chrysostom).

10. Do You Like to Qualify God's Love?

God loves me. These three words are a serious cause for pause. They are a time for reflection and delight. However, if you are like me you may find yourself chasing this sweet taste of divine benevolence with other theological tonics, as if we are feeling guilty or something. I think this is a problem.

11. Are You Discouraged Today?

Even the most committed believer has those moments when fear or worry can kick in.

12. The power of Christ’s resurrection

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. ...

13. Humor: Ten Commandments

14. About Malankara World

Editor's Note
This is a very special issue for us. As you have guessed from the unusual birthday cake on the font, this is the first birthday for the MW Journal. We started the journal on April 15, 2011. The first issue was nothing to be excited about. But the journal improved and grew from there. As our issue number indicates, we had published 70 issues last year. 52 issues would have completed  whole year; we had 18 special issues or supplements.

We now have subscribers all over the globe. After listening to you, we had improved the journal; we also learned that, in general, you like what you see. We hope that one day the Malankara World will reach every household of our faithful. Please pray for that. We do welcome your comments and suggestions.

In closing, I would like to remind you of God's love that manifested itself on the cross and His eventual victory of death by his resurrection.

"How wonderful it truly is that God loves each and every person He created.

The fact is: God loves us.

God cannot stop loving us. His nature IS love (1 John 4:7-8).

As God's love is not something that cannot be bought, earned, or rationalized; we are left stumped by the fact that it is something that God freely gives to any who are willing to take hold and receive it."

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (April 15)
Sermons for This Sunday (April 15)
This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today
Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness.

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, ... so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall acomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

II PET. 3:8,9. Isa. 55:8‑11. Rom. 11:32,33.

Why is Jesus Hidden?

by Ralph Bouma

"And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him," Luke 24:15-16.

In Mark 16:10 we read, "And she went and told them that had been with Him, as they mourned and wept." The disciples had no knowledge of what this was all about. Jesus was hidden from them.

Luke 24:11 says , "And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not." This was after the women came and told the disciples that He had risen as He had said He was going to. They just could not believe it. They could not understand it. The Lord Jesus had withheld their eyes from seeing.

Now we read in verses 14 and 15: "And they talked together of all these things which had happened. While they communed together and reasoned, Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them."

When you and I have riddles, problems and perplexing things happen to us, we come together and talk about it. We discuss these things and pray about these things. He began to unfold the Scriptures to them concerning Himself, but they did not realize it was Jesus they were talking to. They did not see the Lord Jesus Christ in their trial. They did not see Him even though He was walking with them and talking with them.

How often is the Lord Jesus knocking at our door to gain our attention to something, and we are not listening? How often do we not behold Him? That word behold means now listen, take notice, understand.

In Revelation 3:20 what was the Lord Jesus knocking on their door for them to understand? We read that in the previous verses. Verse 17 says: "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."

Their ignorance was their problem, and we are so often not cognizant of why the Lord Jesus is dealing with us. Their problem was complacency. They were too self-sufficient. They had come to the point where they were too capable of walking without Him.

He says in verse 18: "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see." When we start to see how naked we are before a holy and righteous God, then we start to understand that we need the clothing of that fine linen, which is the perfect robe of Christ’s righteousness.

What does it mean to anoint your eyes with eye-salve? When the Lord Jesus Christ opened the eyes of the one born blind, He spit on the ground and took the dust and the spittle and made eye-salve and opened the eyes of the one born blind.

Continuing in verse 19 we read, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent." We have to have our eyes opened to see that Jesus is in these very trials, that He is doing these things to get us to focus our eyes on Him.

The Lord may be hidden from our eyes while we are communing together and talking together. I want you to see though how the Lord is there. In Malachi 3:16 we read, "Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and thought upon His name."

This is synonymous with the context of our text. While they communed and reasoned, Jesus drew near. The Lord bows down His ear, and He hears this conversation. He hears the inner thoughts and intents of our hearts. As our hearts cry out to Him, He hears these things, and a book of remembrance is written, while we talk together, and while we commune together, and while we discuss these perplexing circumstances we do not understand. Every one of those prayers are written and remembered before the throne, and in His good time, He answers them. Amen.

"Give me thy heart," says the Savior of me,
Calling in mercy again and again;
"Turn now from sin and from evil depart -
Have I not died for thee? Give me thy heart."

Chorus:
"Give me thy heart, Give me thy heart."
Hear the soft whisper, wherever thou art;

From this dark world He would draw thee apart,
Speaking so tenderly, "Give me thy heart."
Eliza E. Hewitt, 1851-1920

Source: Devotions from the Gospel Chapel

What Happened After the Resurrection?
Christians around the world have spent a lot of time over the last few weeks pondering the Gospel accounts of Jesus' death and resurrection (and here at the Bible Gateway blog, we spent plenty of time discussing them too). During Easter week, we read the familiar stories of the Triumphal Entry, the Last Supper, the crucifixion… and then with the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, the story ends. Right?

Not quite. While the Gospels of Matthew and Mark end shortly after the Resurrection, Luke and John provide extra detail about what Jesus did during the time between his resurrection and his ascent into heaven. If your Gospel reading stopped at the Resurrection, you're missing out on several interesting stories.

Luke and John both describe at length Jesus' post-Resurrection appearances to his followers. (Mark mentions these briefly as well.) Jesus' appearance before "doubting Thomas" and the other disciples (in John and in Luke) are well known and contain a number of little details. For instance, Jesus appeared "when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders"—a minor sentence, but one that communicates the terror and bewilderment that must have plagued the disciples in the immediate aftermath of Jesus' crucifixion. If you had been one of Jesus' disciples, what might you have done in this situation—reeling from the death of your teacher, fearing for your life, and wondering if everything you believed in was really true?

The Gospel of Luke also describes an encounter with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. With tantalizing but confused rumors of the empty tomb still spreading, Jesus appears in disguise to a pair of his followers. After visiting with and teaching them for some time, Jesus reveals himself in a beautifully-described scene:

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

The Gospel of John provides a few more memorable stories. First, Jesus (again, unrecognized at first) performs his last recorded miracle, overwhelming the disciples' fishing nets with a huge catch. Shortly thereafter is the moving story of Peter's reinstatement. Peter, who had denied knowing Jesus three times during his master's trial, is questioned by Jesus… three times. It is during this questioning that Jesus gives Peter the famous charge to "Feed my sheep."

Matthew and Mark both close with the "Great Commission," Jesus' instructions to his disciples to go out into the world and spread the good news of salvation:

Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV)

This passage has long been the basis of the Christian emphasis on sharing the Gospel with the world through evangelism and missionary work.

Mark and Luke describe Jesus' departure from earth into heaven, "taken up into heaven" after speaking to his disciples a final time.

It's clear from the Gospel accounts that the story of Jesus reaches its culmination with the Resurrection. But the tidbits we do get about the post-Resurrection days not only satisfy some of our curiosity about how Jesus' Resurrection was received by his followers, but also give us the evangelistic direction that guides Christ-followers to this day.

Source: biblegateway.com

Imitating Christ: Christ About His Father's Business

by C. H. Spurgeon, 1857

[Editor's Note: While discussing Maundy Thursday, we talked about the new commandment Jesus gave to His disciples. It was to love one another and to do what He did. In other words, imitate him. He demonstrated it by washing the feet of His disciples. How do we imitate Christ? Read on. ..]

"Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?" Luke 2:49
"Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?" Luke 2:49 (NKJV)
"Didn't you know that I had to be here, dealing with the things of my Father?" Luke 2:49 (The Message)

Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 4:32-5: 10

You never find Christ doing a thing which you may not imitate. You would scarcely think it necessary that he should be baptized; but lo, he goes to Jordan’s stream and dives beneath the wave, that he may be buried in baptism unto death, and may rise again—though he needed not to rise—into newness of life.

You see him healing the sick to teach us benevolence; rebuking hypocrisy to teach us boldness; enduring temptation to teach us hardness, wherewith, as good soldiers of Christ, we ought to war a good warfare.

You see him forgiving his enemies to teach us the grace of meekness and of forbearance; you behold him giving up his very life to teach us how we should surrender ourselves to God, and give up ourselves for the good of others.

Put Christ at the wedding; you may imitate him. Yes, sirs, and you might imitate him, if you could, in turning water into wine, without a sin.

Put Christ at a funeral; you may imitate him—"Jesus wept."

Put him on the mountain top; he shall be there in prayer alone, and you may imitate him.

Put him in the crowd; he shall speak so, that if you could speak like him you should speak well. Put him with enemies; he shall so confound them, that he shall be a model for you to copy. Put him with friends, and he shall be a "friend that sticketh closer than a brother," worthy of your imitation.

Exalt him, cry hosanna, and you shall see him riding upon a "colt, the foal of an ass," meek and lowly.

Despise and spit upon him; you shall see him bearing disgrace and contempt with the same evenness of spirit which characterized him when he was exalted in the eye of the world. Everywhere you may imitate Christ.

For meditation:

The imitation of Christ is an impossible way to obtain salvation, but it is an excellent way of follow-up after conversion (John 13:15; 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Peter 2:21).

Mass Participation - In Body and Spirit

by Most Rev. Bishop James D. Conley
Apostolic Administrator, Denver Catholic Archdiocese

I have been thinking lately about Mary and Martha. We encounter these two sisters, who were friends of the Lord, when Jesus makes a visit to their home in the Gospel of Luke.

Most of us remember the story. Martha works actively to prepare the meal for the Lord, while Mary sits listening to Him at His feet. When Martha gets frustrated with her sister and complains, Jesus says that Mary, who is sitting in rapt contemplation, has "chosen the better part."

In contemporary culture, contemplation is difficult for us to understand. We live in a Martha kind of a world—a world of anxiety, stress and frenzied activity. It’s easy to believe that even our worship of God should be full of obvious, exterior activity—rather than be a time of prayerful contemplation.

"Sacrosanctum Concilium," the Second Vatican Council’s decree on worship, calls each of us to "a full and active participation" in the liturgy. In our "Martha mindsets" we often confuse "full and active participation" with "exterior participation" in the liturgy—service as lectors, acolytes, ushers or extraordinary ministers of holy Communion.

And many of us do participate in active exterior service in the liturgy—and we should. Assisting the community in the worship of God is a generous service. But "full and active participation" is something much deeper and even more engaging than our exterior service to liturgy. "Full and active participation" is the Church’s invitation for us to join Mary, Martha’s sister, in rapt contemplation at the feet of Jesus.

"In simple terms," Pope Benedict XVI writes, "active participation means a greater awareness of the mystery being celebrated and its relationship to daily life."

Growing in greater awareness of the mystery of the Mass isn’t easy. We’re quite often distracted, and contemplation doesn’t come natural to most. The liturgy of the Church is designed to help us. The public worship of the Church invites us to engage our senses and our bodies, thus allowing us to be more easily drawn into the mystery of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

Each gesture, each bodily movement at Mass is designed to draw us into God’s presence. The gestures are familiar to us—but we may not think about their meanings. Each one expresses the reality of God’s love and each one reminds us that our religion is incarnational.

The Sign of the Cross is a confession of faith in the Holy Trinity. In tracing the Sign of the Cross over our bodies, we place ourselves under the protection of the Crucified One and express our desire to follow Him.

Kneeling is a powerful Christian expression of humility. Although foreign in modern culture, kneeling expresses our worship of Jesus, at whose name "every knee should bow."

Standing is a posture of prayer, an expression of victory and of readiness, of anticipation of the glory that is to come.

Sitting is a posture that allows recollection and, through some relaxation, promotes a good disposition for a prayerful reflection and meditation.

Our gestures, movements and positioning also bespeak our role in the Mass and in the Church. At the consecration of the Eucharist, the congregation kneels, offering their own sacrifices with that of the priest and of Jesus, while the priest, acting in the person of Jesus Christ, stands, and uses his actions to recall the Last Supper.

At the Lord’s Prayer, the priest stands with arms outstretched in a gesture of supplication, the orans or "praying" position, on behalf of the people. The deacon, whose posture is governed by the liturgical rubrics, is instructed to stand with hands folded together in the same manner as the congregation. The faithful fold their hands, in a traditional posture of petitioning, to signify the humility of our congregation before God. Other gestures, such as extending arms or holding hands, are not found in the norms of the Mass. That our gestures are different does not mean that one role is more important than another—rather it points to a diversity of parts to the body of Christ.

It’s easy to engage in the gestures of Mass without thinking about them, to literally just "go through the motions." But as we move from one position of worship to another, we can be drawn into the mystery of God. Like Mary, who actively engaged Jesus by sitting and listening to Him, so we can express the presence of God in our bodies and thus truly love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength.

The Marvelous Value of the Holy Mass!

by Rev. Fr. Joseph Dwight

  • The Mass in a certain manner has as much worth for our Souls, as the death of Jesus Christ had on the Cross (St. John Chrysostom).
  • It is more acceptable to God the Holy Mass than the merits of all the Angels (St. Lawrence Justinian).
  • All the steps that one takes to go to participate in the Holy Mass are written and numbered, and for each step there will be granted a supreme award on earth and in Heaven (St. Augustine).
  • The Mass is medicine to heal the infirm and holocaust to pay for the faults (St. Cyprian).
  • I assure you, Jesus said to St. Gertrude, that he who participates devotedly in the Holy Mass, I will send in the last instants of his life as many of my Saints to comfort him and to protect him, as the number of Masses at which he assisted well (Lib. 3. c. 16).

 

  • Every Mass before the justice of God will perorate your pardon.
  • At each Mass you can diminish the temporal pain due to your sins, more or less according to your fervor.
  • Assisting devotedly at the Mass, renders to the holy Humanity of Jesus Christ the maximum honor.
  • He makes allowances for many of your negligences and omissions.
  • He forgives you the venial sins that you never confessed of which you had repented.
  • There is diminished over you the rule of Satan.
  • You can procure for the Souls in Purgatory the greatest suffrage possible.
  • A Mass at which you assisted in life will be more salutary for you than many others offered for you after death.
  • You are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would have befallen you.
  • You diminish your Purgatory with each Mass.

 

  • Christ, by means of men, renews his Sacrifice (D. C. Marmion).
  • The Mass is not just a simple representation of the Sacrifice of the Cross; it does not have only the value of a simple remembrance; but it is a true Sacrifice as that of Calvary, which it reproduces, continues and of which applies the fruits (D. C. Marmion).
  • The fruits of the Mass are inexhaustible since they are the same fruits of the Sacrifice of the Cross (D. C. Marmion).
  • Oh! If we might know the gift of God! If we might know what treasures we can draw for ourselves, for the entire Church!... (D. C. Marmion).
  • In the hour of death, the Masses which you will have devotedly participated in will form your greatest consolation.

 

  • Every Mass will procure for you a greater degree of glory in Heaven.
  • You will be blessed in your work and personal interests.
  • Might you know, Oh Christian, that you merit more participating devoutly in a Holy Mass than distributing to the poor all of your goods and making pilgrimages all over the earth (St. Bernard).
  • The Lord grants to us all that we ask for in the Holy Mass, and moreover, he gives us that which we do not even think of asking for and yet is also necessary (St. Jerome).
  • If we might know the value of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, what ever greater zeal would we offer in participating in it (St. John Mary Vianney).
  • It is worth more participating devoutly in a Holy Mass than fasting a year on bread and water (St. Leonard).
  • The Mass is the only Sacrifice which causes the Souls to quickly come out of the pains of Purgatory (St. Gregory).

Do You Like to Qualify God's Love?

by Erik Raymond

God loves me. These three words are a serious cause for pause. They are a time for reflection and delight. However, if you are like me you may find yourself chasing this sweet taste of divine benevolence with other theological tonics, as if we are feeling guilty or something. I think this is a problem.

THEOLOGICAL FLINCHING

Let's make it practical. You are talking with a friend about what you've been reading in your devotions.

You talk about Isaiah 43:4-5:

Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.

As soon as you hone in on the staggering truth of God's love you quickly get uncomfortable. How do I know you're uncomfortable? I do it too. I call it the theological flinch. When this glorious truth of God's love is heard in our ears and begins to seep into our minds and hearts, we quickly run to qualify the conditions of God's love toward us. Common demonstrations of theological flinching are the quick articulations of grace, mercy, election and depravity. Now, don't get me wrong these are all true expressions of God's love for us and an occasion to delight as well, but the sad truth remains that I feel uncomfortable just soaking in the rain shower of God's love toward me.

I wonder how comfortable you are just saying Paul's words like they are your own without qualification:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Galatians 2:20

This is not right. Any theology that cannot marvel and enjoy the love of God in Christ Jesus is not divinely calibrated. Something has gotten in the way.

SOME IDEAS AS TO WHY

I honestly don't know what it is. I have some ideas but they are speculative.

Money Laundering God's Love.

For me I think that it makes things more professional to funnel God's love for me through various theological words. It's like a money launderer trying to hide the original source of funds so they engage in layering (using multiple accounts and vehicles to hide the original source or nature of the money). That's what I do. I layer it. Instead of just letting it explode on my lap like, BAM! God loves me. I say, “Well, it is for his glory that he elected me despite my deadness in sin.” This is all true. And it is not supposed to cut the wires of divine benevolence but rather further communicate it. But, we are sinful. And God's love is pride arresting and soul staggering.

Too Much for Me.

Another reason I think I (we) do this is because God's love for us is just far to staggering to deal with. Let's face it, for the God of the universe to say that he loves you and that you are precious in his eyes is staggering, to say the least. This is threatening to our autonomy. It undermines our professional business relationship with God and thrusts us into a covenantal relationship. We are not partners with God like a law firm but covenanted with God like a marriage. This commitment runs deep both ways.

A CHALLENGE

So I challenge you as I challenge myself today, examine your heart, particularly in light of God's love toward you. Chew upon this truth: God loves his children. And stop right there! Loiter with me around this monument of theological truth, drink from the fountain of gospel love, and shut-up with the qualifiers—just enjoy the staggering truth!!

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1.5-6)

About Erik: Erik has been writing at Ordinary Pastor since 2006. He lives in Omaha with his wife and kids.

© 2012 Ordinary Pastor

Are You Discouraged Today?

by Greg Laurie

Even the most committed believer has those moments when fear or worry can kick in.

Anxiety can overtake us.

Maybe we're concerned about our future, feel discouraged about some of our failures and shortcomings, or find ourselves anxious about the lives of our family members.

Far too often, though, we are afraid of the wrong things in life, and not afraid of the right things . . . or the right One. Many people don't fear God, giving Him the awe and the reverence that is His due. Yet the Bible tells us that the fear of the Lord is the very beginning of wisdom.

What is the "fear of the Lord?"

The Bible says that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever" (Psalm 111:10).

To fear God doesn't mean that we cowering in terror before Him. Rather, the fear of God has been properly defined as a wholesome dread of displeasing Him. If I have sinned, my fear should not be based on the anticipation of what God will do to me, but on what I have done to displease Him. I love Him so much that I would never want to grieve His heart by turning my back on Him or going my own way. That is what it means to fear the Lord.

Don't be discouraged today

David wrote, "The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever" (Psalm 19:9). It is good for us to fear Him. The remarkable thing is that when you fear God, you fear nothing else. On the other hand, if you don't fear God, then you fear everything else, and you find yourself running from shadows.

In another psalm, David stated, "The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1). Only the person who can say, "The Lord is the strength of my life," can then say, "Of whom shall I be afraid?"

Maybe you feel that your life has been a failure, or perhaps find yourself discouraged, depressed, or afraid of something. If you're gripped by fear and worry today, then let the Lord be the strength of your life. Trade in all your lesser and destructive fears for the fear that will bring wisdom and peace.

Copyright ©2012 by Harvest Ministries. All Rights Reserved.

The power of Christ’s resurrection

by Pete Briscoe

"Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime." - Martin Luther

Sunday morning the disciples were still locked away in hiding. The body of Jesus was still sealed securely in the tomb… or so they thought.

At some point in the night or early morning, Almighty God the Father and God the Holy Spirit performed a miracle. Molecule by molecule they defied the natural laws. They were restructuring cell walls, purging toxins, replacing decayed biochemicals, expelling the microscopic scavengers… until the body was ready once again.

And with a breath, the soul and Spirit of Christ came to earth again. Emmanuel again. God in the flesh, alive, again! Supernatural? By all means it was. God’s business is supernatural—re-creating, reversing decay and destruction, and giving new life. God’s business is resurrection, and those who are in Christ are part of it, right here, right now:

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. —Romans 6:5-8

This is all part of the incredible mystery of life "in Christ." It’s hard to explain… perhaps even impossible to describe, but when we see this resurrection in action, it’s undeniable. A couple of years ago, right after Easter, this email said it all:

Dear Pete,

It was 7 years ago Easter weekend that I was at the end of my downhill spiral. I had just spent the weekend choosing drugs over life, and the custody of my first son, and felt as though I had nothing left to live for. I cannot describe the overwhelming peace and joy that I experience today! I was allowed to serve at two services and attended the third. It It’s like there is no other place I belong on Easter morning…

Chemical abuse, abortion, desperation—and then one day someone introduced her to the risen Christ. Today she walks with Him in forgiveness and grace and shameless worship. If you really want to see the resurrected Jesus, just look at people like her, because she, somehow, was resurrected with Him, too.

Jesus, this is really too amazing for my mind to absorb, but You are God, able to do far more than I could ever comprehend. By faith, Lord, I accept what You say is true—that my old self was crucified and that I have been raised with You for new life in You. Make this mystery a reality in my life today! Amen.

Source: Experiencing LIFE Today

Ten Commandments

Sunday school

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with a group of 6-year-olds.

After explaining the Commandment to "Honor thy father and thy mother," she asked, "Is there a Commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"

Without missing a beat one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill."

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