Reflections

Daily Meditations Published by IT Fellowship of North America & Europe Diocese of Mar Thoma Church
  • Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

    Better is One Day in His Courts

    Marybeth Babu
    Long Island MTC, NY

    “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

     
    Psalm 84 was written for the Sons of Korah. These men were in charge of the orchestrated music that played in the tabernacle during the time of King David.  They also played an important role in the specific services that took place whenever the Ark of the Covenant was in Jerusalem. Consequently, these worship leaders had a clear understanding of the importance of being in the dwelling place of God.

    In Psalm 84:2, the psalmist exhibits an intense longing to be in the presence of God. In fact, he states that both his heart and flesh cry out for the living God. This meant it was not just a spiritual or emotional feeling but also a physical craving. Furthermore, verse 10 states, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked." The psalmist makes his choice clear: to him life is most complete when it is spent in the presence of God.

    Now the question is: why don't we make bold declarations like these when we worship the Almighty God? It is necessary for us to be aware of the things that prevents us from prioritizing God's presence in our life over other things. Moreover, I believe some of us today think our God withholds good things from us, especially when things occur differently from what we had planned. However, we should not let the enemy manipulate us with these lies. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us God has plans that are meant to prosper us and not harm us and Romans 12:2 reminds us that God’s will is good, pleasing and perfect. And so we see that Scripture assures us that there is no reason to doubt in God's plan for us. Therefore, let us make the decision to actively pursue life in the presence of God.

    PRAYER

    God, we pray that You stir in us a desire to be where You are. Forgive us for placing idols in our lives that distract us from Your presence. We pray that we may boldly declare that one day in Your courts is truly better than a day anywhere else. Amen.

    THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
    Our God does not withhold good things from his children.   
  • Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

    Worship Celebration of the Faith of the people of God

    Lijo Chacko
    Long Island MTC, NY

    1.Praise the Lord . Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above....7.Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,


    As we grow up in this society, we are praised for many things such as accomplishments, deeds, status. In our culture, our parents always praised us when we came home with good grades or when we finally got the dream job (doctor,  lawyer,  pharmacist, etc) that they wanted us to have. These accomplishments indeed deserve a praise!

    But when we look at Psalms 148, we see the psalmist repeat the words “PRAISE THE LORD” in the poem.  They begin and end the poem with it.  However, when we dig in closer, we see that the praises are for different times in our lives, while we are in heaven and on earth. Verse 1 to 6 is us praising God for everything that He has created in Heaven. Verse 7 to 14 is praising God for everything that He has created from the smallest to the biggest things on earth.

    General theme is that God deserves our complete and total praise at all times. The verses 7 to 14  looks at praise from our mortal world perspective and gives God the praise that He deserves. He is worthy of our praise, when we receive a good grade or get an incredible job opportunity or even something as simple as being able to walk and breathe (may not be simple, yet we take it for granted)  He deserves our praise for everything that is good in our lives because  He gave us that life and everything that's around it.  

    Verses 1 to 6 is regarding the Heavenly praises. It says “Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.  Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.  Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.”  psalmist here says that even in heaven, we still need to continue  to praise God for what He has done in heaven.

    So from our earthly life and God willing heavenly life, we need to give all our thanks and praises to our Lord. Without Him, we would have nothing. So the next time we get that good grade, job, spouse, car etc, we should praise our Heavenly Father that gave us the abilities to achieve those goals and not think that it is on our merits.

    PRAYER

    Heavenly and precious Father,  we thank You, Lord,  for giving us the opportunity to praise You. Father, we know we are not worthy of everything You have done for us. Yet, You continue to shower us with Your unconditional love. We pray that we give You all the glory and praise now and forevermore. Amen.
     
    THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
    Faith comes through God’s Word and through praise. Faith grows as you praise the Lord. Wesley L. Duewel
  • Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

    Worship: Celebration of the Faith of the People of God.

    Mathews Thomas
    St. Peter's MTC, Bhopal, India.

    12 On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”


    How do we express our identity in this world? How do we respond when people ask, who are you? We express by what we do as I am a nurse or doctor, or an engineer or a teacher or a social worker etc. But our identity should not be based on by what we do.Our identity should be based on who we are. Our identity should be that I am a child of God. If we say yes, being a child of God is my identity, then just ponder are we known as people of God? Does the world recognise us as such? If not let's try to do some soul searching with the help of the scriptures.

    We have received our identity as a child of God from God. For those who believe God, He gave the right to be a child of God (John 1:12)No matter how lifeless we are, how messed up our life is, God joins us in that living river (Ezekiel 47:8-9).For some time we may keep aside our professional abilities and our capabilities but never can we forget that we are a child of God.

    This identity that we received is through faith in the love of God for us.(1John3:1) Shall we just ponder on this faith that gives us the identity of who we are. Faith in God gives us the identity of being the child of God. Faith has a component apart from believing in His name.

    Of course faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see and that is how Hebrews chapter 11 starts but as we dig in further in that chapter we find that our forefathers were commended for expressing their faith through actions. Thus we can say that faith is our response to what God has done for us. God showed us the extent of His love by what His son  Jesus did for us on the cross of Calvary. The agony of Jesus at the garden of Gethsemane expresses His love for us.

    How do we respond to this love is the expression of our faith. This expression of our faith is not limited to our Sunday worship or cottage prayer meetings. How do we go about in our daily chores of life, how do we react under stressful conditions, do we reflect our faith and form our worship to God? Thus worship is a lifestyle-a celebration of our faith.

    Therefore the apostle Paul while writing to Galatians says 'what counts is faith expressed in love'. So as we live in this world let us identify ourselves as a child of God, a people of God and make our daily actions a response to God's love for us.May this mode of lifestyle be our spiritual act of worship a celebration of our faith. Then we will be fruitful (Ezekiel 47:12)

    PRAYER

    Lord, help us to identify ourselves as Your child in this world and express our faith through acts of kindness and love. Amen.

    THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
    Faith is man's positive response to God's action.