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Stewardship and Trusteesh
  By A.J. Philip  
  I ACCOMPANIED Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to South Africa on the occasi  
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  DEVOTIONAL  
 
   
Letter to Metropolitan
  By Rev A.P. Jacob and five other priests  
  Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar  
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  COUNSELING
 
Back to infancy -- they n
 
  By Shaheen Chander  
  ENJOYING a relaxed weekend, I was checking updates on the Facebook page. I came across a b  
     
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Flood of Noah
  By Anonymous  
  DID the Flood of Noah really Happen?
There are many Christians who do not take the record of the Flood in Genesis seriously. They consign the account to a moral lesson without regarding the narrative as actual fact.

Furthermore, most people do not fully understand the reason for the Flood because they haven't done their homework on the "days of Noah" that Jesus highlighted prophetically (Matt 24:37). Careful study will reveal that Satan had succeeded in creating a "gene pool" problem in his stratagems to thwart the plan of God. But this discussion exceeds the space available in this brief review.

Did It Really Happen?

There is no question that tangible evidence indicates there was once a flood over the entire earth. Many competent books have chronicled the numerous fossils of sea animals found at extremely high altitudes all over the world, as well as fossils of land animals in arid areas below sea level.

The evidences of a global, hydraulic catastrophe are ample in the many sources readily available. Henry M. Morris and John C. Whitcomb's book, The Genesis Record, has become a classic. There are many serious scientists that suspect that a water vapor canopy enveloped the pre-Flood earth, as this is hinted at in Scripture. There also are technical -- and Scriptural -- indications that favor a hydroplate theory that certainly justifies diligent inquiry by the serious student. There are even informed conjectures that the Planet Mars may also have had a role, but these topics also exceed the space available here.

Was The Ark Big Enough?

Many people are skeptical about a literal ark having saved all the animals, etc. They are doubtful that it could have been big enough. (They don't really know how big it was, or how many animals were involved, but still they remain skeptical.)

The ark was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits abeam, and 30 cubits high. The cubit was a measure intended to represent the distance between the elbow and the tip of the fingers, and is approximated by most scholars at about 18 inches. (Various cubits have been discovered ranging from 17 to 25 inches.)

Assuming an 18-inch cubit, the ark would contain 1.5 million cubic feet, and would displace approximately 24,000 tons. This space approximates over 500 railroad cars and could contain 125,000 sheep or their equivalent. Since it has been estimated that there were about 18,000 species, and most of those would be smaller than a sheep, the space doesn't seem to be a real problem.

(Some scholars suggest that a 25-inch cubit might have been involved, which would almost triple that capacity.)

Where Did It Rest?

There is a "Mount Ararat" in eastern Turkey, right near the Armenian border and this is regarded by many as the Biblical site. There are numerous stories of sightings, but these expeditions have proven problematical at best.

However, there are some textual problems to be considered. When Noah's descendants ultimately came to establish Babel (later Babylon) they came "from the east":

"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there." -- Genesis 11:1,2

From the Biblical text, it would seem that one should look for the ark east of Babylon -- somewhere in Iran, not in Turkey which is slightly west of north of Babylon.

It has yet to be actually found. I personally suspect that God still has a purpose for the ark. Perhaps that's why Noah was instructed to "pitch it within and without." You don't need to cover the craft with pitch on both sides of the hull except to preserve it. I suspect that it will be found in God's timing to provide a testimony, once again, to an unbelieving world of a coming judgment.

When Did the New Beginning Start?

"And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat." -- Genesis 8:4

Why did the Holy Spirit want us to know that the Flood ended on the 17th day of the 7th month? (If you are a normal, well-adjusted reader, when you come across a verse like this, you simply go on reading. However, if you have listened to my Bible studies, you are no longer a "normal, well-adjusted" reader! You remember that one of my premises is that every detail is here for our learning (Rom. 15:4) and that God always rewards the diligent!)

This one takes a little digging. We know that the seven feasts of Moses are not only commemorative, they are also prophetic (Col. 1:17). Passover is, of course, prophetic of our Passover, Jesus Christ; who, as the Lamb of God, was offered on the 14th of Nisan. The morning after the Sabbath after Passover is the Feast of First Fruits (Lev. 23:11,15). and that particular Sunday morning some women were discovering the empty tomb: His resurrection was, indeed, the ultimate "first fruits." Three days in the tomb would indicate that He rose on the 17th of Nisan.

When we examine the institution of Passover, God also instructed Moses to make that month, Nisan, the "beginning of months," (Exodus 12:2). Therefore, the Jews observe two calendars: the original (Genesis) one which begins at Rosh Hoshana, the 1st of Tishri, in the fall; and the religious one that begins on the 1st of Nisan, in the spring.

So when you examine the "new beginning" of the world under Noah, it was on the very "anniversary- in-advance" of our "new beginning" in Jesus Christ! The New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed; and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed. One book. One Message. It's all about Him.

This is another of the many inexhaustible evidences of an integrated, deliberate design that highlights that these 66 books we call the Bible, although penned by over 40 guys over almost 2000 years, are a single message -- a message that features, on every page, the mission, the achievement, and the astonishing blessings of, by, and through our Lord Jesus Christ! (Courtesy: Mar Thoma Yahoo Group)
 
   
   
One day at a time
  By Mihaela Gligor  
  WHEN I was in high school, I used to read Latin and Greek quotes. The Latin 'Festina lente' -- hurry slowly -- was for many years my motto. I had found wisdom in it. Like all teenagers, I was always in a hurry, but at the same time I did things slowly, thinking hard before any action. Of course, it didn't always work, but at least I tried.

Another one that caught my attention was the Greek expression 'Gnoti seauton' -- know yourself. In my last year in high school, while participating in a Philosophy Olympiad, I used a Sanskrit quote, the well-known 'Tat Tvam Asi', usually translated as 'You are that'. My teachers were very impressed.

In another paper, I explained in many pages my ideas about the individuality of each human being. That was my first philosophical paper. It was, I think, the first time I asked myself the question: What is life? I tried to give an answer; a philosophical one. Today, 15 years later, even after studying Philosophy and reading so many books, I have no idea what life means. But I live it, even if I feel so only sometimes.

Let me explain. I'm sure many of you have seen the film 'Life or something like it' (2002) with Angelina Jolie in a leading role. It is one of my favorites. I think the best part is when Lanie (the character played by Angelina Jolie) realizes that life is something we have to live, everyday, as it is. "Someone once said: live everyday as if it were your last, cause one of these it will be. Jack was right; a part of me did die that day, the part of me that didn't know how to live".

There is a difference between living life and a life that is really lived. We all live our lives. We are born, we grow up, we learn things, make decisions, become old and wonder when the years passed away, and finally die. For some of us, life is nothing special; just a beautiful and linear way to live -- from yesterday to tomorrow.

But how many of us really live every single day of our lives with passion, happiness, confidence, doing things what we really want? Not too many, I think. Not because we are poor, scared, or old for this, but because we are caught in a trap. We're caught in LIFE. And we all know that we can't do everything we want, when we want. We have responsibilities and expectations. We are not alone in life. If we think we are, we are so wrong.

'Life' is not an easy word to define. In fact, we don't really know what it means. Have you ever tried to respond to the question: 'What is life?' when a kid asks you that? It's simpler to tell him how the clouds float, or how some things are made. But you don't know how to tell him what life is, because nobody told you either and what you think about it is your own personal definition. Because each life is different.

Identical twins have different opinions regarding a flower. One might like roses, the other hate them. What I think about life may be so different from what my younger brother thinks. And we were both raised in the same way and lived in the same house. The psychological factor is also important. Sometimes, I think life is beautiful and I am so happy to be alive. At other times, I think life is just an unfair race, and no matter how hard I try to win, I won’t. And, that scares me.

So, the way we think about life is somehow related to our emotions. I wish it could be Christmas everyday, but that does not happen. Not in this world. Not in this life. As Lanie says in the film: "Things happen. Things you never see coming. And you think afterward, if I've known this, would I have changed things? Would I've done more?"

I don't want to change anything, I just want more, I want the best, I want. This selfish desire is part of everybody's life. It is there, deep inside of each and every one of us. And sometimes, only sometimes, we can have more, even more than we need and can handle. And that 'more' makes us so happy, so complete, and so alive. And we receive this when we expect less.

The only synonym for life that comes to my mind is 'unexpected'. We can't tell or know what will happen. All we can do is live. One day at a time, with our hearts open, and our minds free. Then, it will be Christmas everyday, for the rest of our days. I hope so.
 
   
   
The parable of John Goodman
  By Dr James W Gustafson  
 
THERE once was a good-hearted king who thought it his duty to see to the welfare of his people.

He cared so deeply for their welfare that he proclaimed an open invitation for any of his subjects to come to the palace at any time -- day and night -- to meet with him.

His neighbors asked John Goodman if he was planning any time soon to go visit the king.

"O Yes!" he replied, "but I must get myself together and be ready."

At times, when he felt troubled, John would get out his best suit of clothes and start brushing it so he would be proper for his visit with the king.

But then some diversion would come. He would distract himself with pleasures at hand with his buddies.

Soon his troubles got deeper and John decided he would indeed go to the king.

But he noticed his clothes needed some mending in places. And the waist needed to be let out on his good suit so he would look trim and not be bulging at the seams in the king's presence.

So time went by.
Finally John was so distressed by his circumstances that he put the best touches he could on his suit, polished his well-worn shoes to hide the scuffs, and set out for the palace.

"I still am ashamed to look like this before the king. But I am so in need of his help that I will take the risk now."

As he approached the palace he was met at the gate by a guard. "Why have you come?" asked the guard.

"I have summoned my courage and cleaned up as best I can in these old garments and have come for the open invitation of our king. I hope I am not so unpresentable as to be turned away."

"That's no matter," said the guard. 'Do you see that huge pile of old clothing by the palace walls? That is the clothing of all who have come before you. The king does not look upon the sorry garments of his people. He has each one strip down in order to be dressed in garments of silk and gold the king provides them."

"O, I wish I had known that," said John.

"No matter," replied the guard. "You are too late now anyway. The king has taken all the subjects who have come and sailed off to a new world to establish a better kingdom. The gates here are closed by the usurper who has taken control and intends to ravage the land."

"How dreadful!" John remonstrated. "What is to become of me now? Why didn't the king send officers to arrest me and take me by force if he knew the day was approaching? Now I am left here at the mercy of this usurper you mention with nothing but these rags to cover me."

'I know little of that," said the guard. "But I know the king would never force people to come to his presence. I wish you well, Sir, but there is nothing I can do for you."
---
Dr James W Gustafson has been teaching philosophy at Northern Essex Community College, United States, for over 30 years. He also teaches as a volunteer in Kenya and India. Dr Gustafson has published 'The Quest for Truth', an Introduction to Philosophy, now in its 6th edition.
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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