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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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  DEVOTIONAL  
     
 
   
Gay grace
  By Joshua John  
 
GRACE is our Creator's unmerited favor towards us. It is the power that propels us into our destiny. We cannot earn it by our good deeds. Without it we are doomed to become self-righteous and judgmental.

Grace can only be received by a humble heart that is willing to acknowledge its inability to tame the tendency to do wrong. God gives grace to the humble but opposes the proud.

When we look at Jesus, his most vehement criticism was towards the so-called 'religious' teachers and leaders of His time. 'Hypocrites', 'white-washed tombs', 'blind guides', 'brood of vipers' etc. were some of the choice names shouted out by this sinless, holy Son of God.

What caused such an outburst of anger? Why would he be so passionate about the way these learned men had interpreted God's Word?

The prime reason was that their learning had made them proud and hard-hearted which disqualified them from receiving the grace of God. Without that grace, their best efforts were limited to outward spiritual displays which impressed people but didn't glorify God.

On the other hand, Jesus was a friend to an assorted mix of social outcasts -- corrupt tax-collectors, prostitutes, leprosy patients and Samaritans (for the Jews, they were the untouchables), illiterate fishermen. The list goes on. But Jesus didn't shout and condemn them. Why? He loved the sinner and hated their sin. He saw everyone first and foremost as somebody created in the image of His heavenly Father, each one, worth dying for.

He did not punish them for their bad character and their wrong habits. He simply proclaimed the truth and healed the sick. He told of parables about the prodigal son and the lost sheep.

The point being, God condemns our perverted and corrupt actions but never rejects us when we turn to Him. There is the evidence of the dying murderer on the cross who hung beside Jesus receiving forgiveness moments before entering paradise.

The truth is always meant to set us free. Those who come to Him are no longer condemned but set free from a mindset that accepts the perversion of truth as normal.

Followers of Jesus or 'The Truth' must guard themselves from playing God and condemning those they think are unworthy of His favor. We are simply encouraged to receive grace to do what is right and to impart that grace to others without compromising the truth.

Many find it contradictory to take a holy stand against issues such as homosexuality because they cannot see the person beyond that issue. It is sad to see a person or group reduce their entire identity to their sexual preference but what is even more tragic is when disciples of Jesus choose to keep them in that box.

Instead of proclaiming truth and freedom and being gracious, we agree with their silly name tags. A riot of rainbow colors and theatrics and being called 'gay' won't change the truth.

The truth is God loves everyone. Because He loves us He sets parameters so that we don't destroy ourselves. When He created man and woman he began the heterosexual family unit, the Godly way to raise a healthy family.

Whether our current laws are manipulated to call a homosexual union a 'marriage' or 'normal' or 'legal' will still not produce a child. God's intention is that a child is born out of the intimacy between a husband and a wife and is nurtured in a loving home. And as far as true sexual intimacy goes, that too, is intended by God to be found in a heterosexual marriage.

We must be moved with compassion to see the tragic state of thousands of people who believe that this life is all that there is. Who are unaware that their identity can only be found when they submit their lives to God, instead of their lust.

Because grace by nature is most extravagant and evident and necessary where sin abounds.
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The writer is a painter, drummer, biker, documentary film producer and pastor.
 
   
   
Choose not to worry
  By James Chacko  
  Matthew 6:27 reads, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?"
You might be familiar with Jesus' rhetorical question, "Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?" But not many of us actually let it get into our hearts and allow the love of God to free us from our habit of worrying.
The truth is, no amount of worrying can lengthen your life or add anything to your physical person. Instead, worrying robs you of sleep, health and many good years. In fact, it is only when you are worry-free that Godís anointing flows freely in you, strengthening, healing, restoring and adding to you.
A church member, after undergoing a mammogram, found lumps in her breast. Upon receiving the doctorís report, she immediately wrote this down on the report: "Jesus is my healer. I receive my healing. I am healed. I rest in God completely."
She was due to go back to the clinic on the same day in the late afternoon for a biopsy to see if the lumps were malignant. Her sister-in-law, who was having lunch with her that day, witnessed her cheerful and worry-free attitude while she was eating her lunch.
Back at the doctorís clinic, this precious sister sat among other ladies who were also there for their biopsies. They looked very worried, so she started sharing Jesus with them and prayed for some of them. When her turn came to do an ultrasound scan, the doctor was puzzled ó her scan showed no evidence of any lumps!
The doctor went back to consult her colleague who had first discovered the lumps. Stunned, both doctors conducted their own investigations. They returned to her only to say, "Itís a miracle!"
My friend, when you worry, you are actually believing that the devil has the power to make inroads into your life that God cannot protect you from. But when you refuse to worry, you are putting faith in God. You have more confidence in God's love and power working for you than in the devil's ability to harm you! When you refuse to worry but choose to rest in the finished work of Christ, you will see the manifestation of your blessing. You will see your miracle!


The writer is a Chandigarh-based theologian.
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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