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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  
     
 
   
Our refuge
  By James Chacko  
  ALLOW me to share a true story with you. June this year, our family were on a holiday tour across the United States.

One day, we decided to go for a swim in a large lake in Angola, Indiana, which is about 25 feet deep.

Our friends took us on a boat with all the safety gear and anchored our boat in the middle of the lake. My wife and children along with our friends were playing in the water with lifesaving floaters on.

I decided to show off to my family that I can swim. I threw the lifesaving floater at a distance near my family and jumped off the boat and began to swim towards my floater. Seeing that I could swim, my daughter jokingly took my lifesaving floater and threw further away to make me swim more. But in my mind, my security was gone and I began to panic and frantically swim towards the floater.

Because of the frantic pace at which I was swimming, the floater began to drift further away from me. The more energy I took to reach the floater, the more tired and weary I became and the further it drifted away from me.

On looking back, I realised that I had gone so far away from my boat and my family. Immediately, fear took a hold of my life! I started panicking and had this horrifying feeling that I was going to drown and die.

In the panic of it all I had unknowingly collected my lifesaving floater, but never realised it. I continued to believe that I was going to die and began to scream for help, until a friend of ours on the boat at a further distance yelled to me, "James, relax you have the lifesaving floaters on you."

Immediately, I began to rest and relax. Consequently, my fear was removed from my mind and I was floating in the water safe and well. To be honest with you, and to my embarrassment, I was so tired from this episode and a 14-year-old girl had to come and help me get to the boat.

Isn't this experience the reality of our everyday life in this world? We are bombarded with news of conflicts, natural disasters, diseases and new strains of drug-resistant viruses. We also hear of people losing their loved ones in freak accidents.

And we feel so tired and weary with this sinking feeling that I am not going to make it through in life and that I am going to die. And we ask ourselves, "Is there a place where I can take refuge fromm a world gone mad?"

The truth, my dear friends is, yes, there is! God foresaw all these things and He has promised in His Word protection from every evil known to man. There is no trap set by the devil that our Father God cannot deliver us from, if we trust in Him and take Him as our refuge. That is His promise in Psalm 91:1-2 "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust."

Whether it is an earthquake at midnight, a crazy sniper, an unknown virus or a terrorist attack at noonday, God says, "You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday." (Psalm 91: 5-6).

Because you have made Him your dwelling place, angels are watching over you right now (Psalm 91: 9-11). They give heed to the voice of God's Word, so you should give voice to God's Word. This means that you should agree with and speak what God's Word says about His preservation and protection over your life. Then, angels are sent to minister to you (Hebrews 1:14).

My friend, don't say, "If it can happen to them, it can also happen to me!" Instead say, "A thousand may fall at my side and 10,000 at my right hand, but it will not come near me!" (Psalm 91:7) The world says that there is danger everywhere. God says, "You are in this world but not of this world. You have My protection because you are of Me and in Me" (John 17: 14-23).

You have access by faith (Jesus Christ) into the secret place of the Most High where no evil can touch you. There is no need to fear living in the end times because the Lord is your refuge and your fortress. His Word says so. And those who trust His Word completely find His Word completely true! Rest and relax, your lifesaving floater is on you and you are in Him.
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Rev. James Chacko, the senior pastor of LifeBridge Worship Centre in Chandigarh, is pursuing Ph.D. in theology from the Centre for Religious Studies at Punjabi University, Patiala.

 
   
   
Weakness as strength
  By C.H. Spurgeon  
  A PRIMARY qualification for serving God with any amount of success, and for doing God's work well and triumphantly, is a sense of our own weakness.

When God's warrior marches forth to battle, strong in his own might, when he boasts, "I know that I shall conquer, my own right arm and my conquering sword shall get unto me the victory", defeat is not far distant.

God will not go forth with that man who marches in his own strength. He who reckoneth on victory thus has reckoned wrongly, for 'it is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, said the Lord of hosts'.

They who go forth to fight, boasting of their prowess, shall return with their gay banners trailed in the dust, and their armour stained with disgrace. Those who serve God must serve Him in His own way, and in His strength, or He will never accept their service.

That which man doth, unaided by divine strength, God can never own. The mere fruits of the earth He casteth away; He will only reap that corn, the seed of which was sown from heaven, watered by grace, and ripened by the sun of divine love.

God will empty out all that thou hast before He will put His own into thee; He will first clean out thy granaries before He will fill them with the finest of the wheat.

The river of God is full of water; but not one drop of it flows from earthly springs. God will have no strength used in His battles but the strength which He Himself imparts. Are you mourning over your own weakness?

Take courage, for there must be a consciousness of weakness before the Lord will give thee victory. Your emptiness is but the preparation for your being filled, and your casting down is but the making ready for your lifting up.

When I am weak then am I strong,

Grace is my shield, and Christ my song.
 
   
   
Pursuit of peace
  By James Chacko  
  PEACE I leave with you, My peace I give to you ... Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

The night before Jesus died, He gave His peace to His disciples -- "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you..." This peace was not just for His disciples, but also for us today. We have His peace.

The moment you believe in Jesus Christ, He who is the Prince of Peace comes to live inside you. And when the Prince of Peace resides in you, every blessing that you will ever need pertaining to your soundness and wholeness is already inside you.

"Pastor James, if this is true, then why do I still see problems in my health, finances, family and relationships?"

The answer is a troubled heart. That is why after Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you," He said, "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

A troubled and fearful heart works like fingers that clamp down hard on a water hose. The supply of water is flowing from the tap, but little or nothing is coming out at the other end of the hose.

God's ever-present supply of blessings toward you is like the water flowing freely from the tap. But you don't see the blessings when you allow your heart to be gripped by worry or fear.

So when fearful, anxious thoughts come, remind yourself of Jesus' words: "Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Even when things appear to get worse, say, "Lord, I refuse to worry about this. In the midst of all this, I see the finished work of Christ. He said, 'It is finished!'

So my child's healing is accomplished. My marriage is blessed. My debts are cleared. I will let not my heart be troubled by these things."

Beloved, I cannot "let not" for you. Your family and friends cannot "let not" for you. Only you can "let not your heart be troubled". So guard your heart from being troubled. You don't have to guard your career, reputation, children or even health. When you guard your heart, God will guard everything else for you!
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Rev. James Chacko is the senior minister at LifeBridge Worship Centre in Chandigarh and pursuing Ph.D. in theology from the Centre for Religious Studies, Punjabi University, Patiala.
 
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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