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Malankara World Journal Issue 43 (Dec 15) is online

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  • Dr. Jacob Mathew
    The Malankara World Journal Issue 43 (December 15, 2011) is now available online at:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2011
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      The Malankara World Journal Issue 43 (December 15, 2011) is now available online at:

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm


      Table of Contents: Malankara World Journal Issue 43

      1. Editor's Note

      After, what it looks like a long Advent season filled with anticipation and mystery, the Christmas Day is finally within our reach. This Sunday, the Sunday before Christmas, the Holy Church looks at the Genealogy of Jesus Christ. St. Matthew's Gospel begins with a list of x begat y and y begat z etc. When I was young, if I came across this portion, I used to skip fast to another section; no one wants to hear these long list of names. I am sure this is also true with the average laity in our church.
      In researching this week's lectionary readings and that for Christmas, I came across a wealth of bible study material that, frankly, blew my head. Finally, it dawned on me the importance of these long list of names and why Matthew and Luke went through all the research needed to compile these names. I strongly recommend that you read the articles in today's sermons as well the Malankara World Special Supplement for Christmas. I can assure you that your time will be well spent and you will have a better appreciation for the bible and its inspired content.

      If you recall, our themes for the incarnation of God were, 'promises kept' and 'God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.' This week's bible study further elaborates these themes. Both Matthew and Luke shows that Jesus Christ was born in the lineage of David, as promised:

      "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever" (2 Samuel 7:12-16). God repeated this promise in Psalm 89:34-37.

      If we look through Jesus' long list of ancestors, we find a long number of people we don't recognize. They were just ordinary people. There were 5 women mentioned. Thee of them had shady backgrounds and one of them had gentile origins! The people in Jesus' historic lineage were a part of fallen humanity. For example:

      We are reminded of the shameful story of Judah, the son of Jacob who begot Perez and Zerah through incest with his daughter-in-law Tamar (v. 3). We'll find Rahab who was a harlot (v. 5). We'll find that David begot his son Solomon through his adulterous affair with "her who had been the wife of Uriah" (v. 6). We'll find Solomon, whose heart was drawn away from God into idolatry by his many foreign wives (v. 7). We'll find Rehoboam, whose pride and arrogance caused the nation of Israel to be split in two (v. 7). We'll find Uzziah, who died in shame as a leper because he dared to enter the temple of God and offer an unlawful offering (v. 9). We know of Ahaz who fell into gross idolatry (v. 9). We also find the murderous Manasseh, who so filled the land of Israel with bloodshed that God cast him out of the land (v. 10). We read of Jeconiah, whose rebelliousness led to the people of Israel being carried off in captivity to Babylon (v 11).

      WOW, an impressive list, isn't it! What does this tell us? That Christ descended from sinners. That Christ entered the sinful human race. That He Who knew no sin entered humanity and its sin for our sakes. That He humbled Himself.

      By highlighting both women and Gentiles – even one woman who was considered so bad as to remain un-named – Matthew is forcing us to accept the fact that eternal life is available to everyone. I’m sure every one of us feels a sense of comfort in that; no matter what we have done or how bad we’ve been, God’s grace is abundant for every one of us. The power of the cross is not just for only a certain type of person; we can find the Spirit at work in the hearts of every single person in the entire world. And that is truly something to praise God for!

      As we reflect on today's text and the essays we have provided, we cannot but marvel at the elaborate plans God had made for saving mankind and the wisdom behind it. The message continues to be "promises kept" and "ordinary people have great role play in God's kingdom."

      We wish you all a Merry Christmas!

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      2. Bible Readings for This Sunday

      Sunday Before Christmas
      Evening
      St. Matthew 1: 1- 18
      Morning
      St. John 1:1-18
      Before Holy Qurbana
      Genesis 46: 8-27
      I Kings9: 3-7
      Isaiah 7: 14-15, 11: 1 -9
      Holy Qurbana
      Acts 3:16-26
      Romans 4:13-25
      Galatians 4:18-20
      St. Matthew 1:1-17
      Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church
      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_Koodosh-eetho-to-Kothne.htm

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      3. Sermons for This Sunday

      Sunday Before Christmas
      We have greatly expanded our Sermon Resources. The sermon collection now includes general and classical sermons. This will give a broader appeal to the Gospel Reading for the week. We also added bible commentaries for the bible reading to facilitate study and meditation. Please check it out.

      Sermons, Bible Commentaries and Bible Analyses for the Sunday Before Christmas (Genealogy of Jesus Christ)
      http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_sunday-before-Christmas.htm

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      Malankara World Christmas Supplement

      Malankara World Christmas Supplement is our Christmas gift to you. Has plenty of articles on Christmas, devotionals, prayers, homilies and sermons and bible studies. In addition, there are also plenty of Christmas stories, Inspirational stories, articles on handling the stress during the holiday season, tips on celebrating Christmas on a budget, recipes for delicious Christmas dishes and plenty more. Please visit: Malankara World Christmas Supplement - http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Seasonal/Christmas/Default.htm

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      4. Inspiration for Today

      by Rev. Fr. Andrew

      On Christmas Eve and Day we celebrate the reception of a gift. We received the gift, for nothing is greater than God. In the midst of our busy cleaning, eating, returning and more; do we stop and think: what does this gift, the gift of God mean? What does it mean that God chose a human being to save humanity? What does it mean that Jesus had a divine will and a human will united within one person? What does it mean that Jesus was raised in the quiet of a poor human family for 30 years?

      God deliberately chose a family to rear, teach, and love the Son until He began His saving work at the age of thirty. God deliberately chose a frail human: body, mind and soul for His own in Jesus Christ, Emmanuel. This means there must be some higher good, some higher aim for us as human beings within human relationships. We know that our humanity is weak, we know that we are sinners and yet God chose that same humanity for Himself to show us what more we can desire from our human life.

      One of the most important thing for newlyweds to do is to simply be with each other. From that simple appreciation they grow in wonder and awe that each would choose the other and truly become a beautiful couple. By coming to us in human flesh, God has wedded His divinity to our humanity. We must spend time in these twelve days of Christmas wondering what this great gift means.

      Christian salvation isn’t simply a matter for the end of our life, for our deathbed, but is something that can season and change our whole life. This is why our enemy, Satan, opposes us- not simply in going to Christmas Mass but in even thinking about what Christmas means. Jesus was true God and true man from the first moment of His conception in the Virgin's womb. In the life of Jesus from conception to death and the resurrection, God shows us what human life can be. Our own life will be richer, our own humanity more truly human, if we make the time this Christmas to read, to pray, and to wonder.

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm#inspiration

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      5. Featured This Week: The Genealogy Of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17)

      by Mark A. Copeland

      INTRODUCTION

      1. We begin our study by reading the first seventeen verses of Matthew (Mt 1:1-17)

      2. In 2Ti 3:16-17, we are told that ALL scripture is profitable
      a. This includes such sections as the one we have just read
      b. Though some may consider it a dry, laborious genealogical table of names...
      1) It is profitable for doctrine
      2) It is profitable for instruction in righteousness

      3. My objective will be to share some spiritual thoughts that can be gleaned from this scripture

      [Since Matthew is the only one of the four gospel writers to begin his gospel with a genealogical record of Jesus, let me first suggest a reason why...]

      I. WHY MATTHEW BEGINS WITH THIS GENEALOGY

      A. IT IS CONSISTENT WITH THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF HIS GOSPEL...

      1. It has been observed that:
      a. Matthew wrote for the Jews
      b. Mark wrote for the Romans
      c. Luke wrote for the Greeks
      d. John wrote for the church

      2. Matthew's gospel was designed to convince Jews that Jesus is the Messiah
      a. Fulfillment of Jewish prophecy is a recurring theme - e.g., Mt 1:22-23; 2:4-6,14-15,17-18,23
      b. Genealogy was certainly important to the nation of Israel - Gen 5, 10, 1Ch 1-9

      B. TO SHOW THAT JESUS FULFILLS TWO MESSIANIC PREREQUISITES...

      1. The Messiah had to be a descendant of Abraham - cf. Gen 22:18

      2. The Messiah had to be a descendant of David - cf. Isa 11:1-2, 10
      -- Mt 1:1 proclaims this to be true of Jesus, and Mt 1:2-17 demonstrates it

      [Whatever else Jesus may have done, if He was not a descendant of Abraham and David, He could not be the Messiah. So a gospel directed especially to the Jews would naturally settle this issue before proceeding. Now let's note some...]

      II. SIGNIFICANT FEATURES OF THIS GENEALOGY

      A. THE WAY IT IS DIVIDED...

      1. Into three sections of fourteen names each - Mt 1:17
      a. Abraham to David
      b. David to the Babylonian captivity
      c. Babylonian captivity to Jesus

      -- This may have been to facilitate committing to memory

      2. Which may explain why some names were omitted
      a. Between Joram and Uzziah there were three kings (Ahaziah, Joash, & Amaziah) - cf. Mt 1:8
      b. But such omission was not unusual in Jewish genealogies; minor figures were often deleted

      -- The main purpose was to establish essential connections, not minor details

      B. JESUS' "LEGAL" RIGHT TO DAVID'S THRONE IS ESTABLISHED...

      1. Not His "fleshly" right, for Matthew describes Jesus as the adopted son of Joseph

      2. Luke records the "fleshly" ancestry of Jesus in Lk 3:23-38
      a. A record of His ancestry from His mother's side
      b. Where He is shown to have descended from David through Nathan, not Solomon

      -- A careful study of Lk 3 confirms this

      3. This helps to answer a puzzling dilemma found in the OT
      a. God promised that the Messiah would come from the loins of David
      b. But a descendant through Solomon, Jeconiah (Mt 1:11), was so wicked that God promised none of his descendants would rule on the throne of David - Jer 22:24-30
      c. How then would God fulfill His promise to David?
      1) By a descendant from a son other than Solomon
      2) Which Jesus was, having descended in the flesh from Nathan

      4. So Jesus is both "legal" and "fleshly" heir to the throne of David...
      a. "Legal" heir by virtue of His adoption by Joseph, descendant of Solomon
      b. "Fleshly" heir by virtue of His birth by Mary, descendant of Nathan

      C. THE INSERTION OF FOUR MOTHER'S NAMES...

      1. They are unique, not only to be included in such a list, but in that:
      a. Three were tainted in regards to moral purity
      1) Tamar played a harlot
      2) Rahab was a harlot
      3) Bathsheba was an adulteress
      b. Ruth, though morally sweet and noble, mingled the royal blood line with Gentile blood!

      2. Why mention these four women? Perhaps to suggest...
      a. The relation of Christ to the stained and sinful?
      b. Jesus would be a King to show mercy and pity to harlots, and open His kingdom to include Gentiles?

      [Whether this was Matthew's intention here, he does illustrate later that Christ extended mercy to the morally repugnant and would enlarge His kingdom to include all nations.

      Finally, let's consider...]

      III. LESSONS TO BE LEARNED FROM THIS GENEALOGY

      A. GOD ALWAYS KEEPS HIS WORD...

      1. He made promises...
      a. To Abraham
      b. To David
      c. Through Isaiah

      ...and the coming of Jesus, son of David, son of Abraham, fulfilled that promise!

      2. We can therefore have confidence that God will keep His word!
      a. E.g., the promise of His Son's final coming - cf. Ac 1:9
      b. There is no need to lose heart!
      1) The duration between this promise and its fulfillment has barely reached the time between the promise made to Abraham and its fulfillment!
      2) I.e., 2000 years passed, but God still kept His promise to Abraham
      3) Likewise He will keep His promise to us!

      B. GODLINESS IS NOT INHERITED...

      1. Many godly fathers have had ungodly sons!
      a. Solomon had Rehoboam
      b. Hezekiah had Manasseh
      c. Josiah had Jeconiah

      2. As it has been said, "God has no grandchildren"
      a. Being a child of God does not insure that your children will be God's children!
      b. As parents, let us...
      1) Be diligent to raise our children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord"
      2) Not lose heart when our children stray (even Manasseh eventually repented)

      C. THE GREATNESS OF OUR LORD'S MERCY AND COMPASSION...

      1. Jesus humbled Himself when He came to this earth in the likeness of men - cf. Php 2:5-8

      2. He did this for our sakes!
      a. To taste death for everyone - He 2:9
      b. To help bring us to glory - He 2:10
      c. To deliver us from the fear and power of death - He 2:14-15
      d. To become our merciful and faithful High Priest - He 2:16-18

      CONCLUSION

      1. All this and much more, Jesus did by becoming what the first seventeen verses of Matthew's gospel proclaims: "...the Son of David, the Son of Abraham"

      2. This genealogy of Jesus Christ...
      a. Establishes the right of Jesus to be the Messiah
      b. Reminds us of God's mercy
      1) In the lives of Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba
      2) In our own lives by fulfilling His promise to send Son to die for our sins

      Have you received the mercy God offers through "Jesus Christ...the Son of David, the Son of Abraham"?

      Source: Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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      7. Book Excerpt: In the School of Prayer - Lesson 17: Prayer in Harmony With the Being of God

      In the New Testament we find a distinction made between faith and knowledge. 'To one is given, through the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, in the same Spirit.' In a child or a simple-minded Christian there may be much faith with little knowledge.

      Childlike simplicity accepts the truth without difficulty, and often cares little to give itself or others any reason for its faith but this: God has said. But it is the will of God that we should love and serve Him, not only with all the heart but also with all the mind; that we should grow up into an insight into the Divine wisdom and beauty of all His ways and words and works. Continue reading the rest of the lesson in Malankara World.

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm#book

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      8. David and Bathsheba

      Editor's Note: King David is an important figure in bible. God promised that the messiah will come from the line of King David. We all know the famous sin committed by David and the consequences that led to the writing of Psalm 51 - the masterpiece that is part of every repentance prayer in Orthodox Church. Bathsheba is one of the 5 women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Here is an intriguing study of David's sin with Bathsheba based on the 3000 years of Jewish scholarship written by a Rabbi. Not quite the story we learned in Sunday School! Interesting for further study. Continue reading this interesting article in Malankara World Journal.

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm#article1

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      9. Its All About Him

      A little girl noticed that her mom was getting really stressed out around Christmas. Everything was bothering her mom, and she was very irritable.

      Evening came and the mom bathed the little girl, got her ready for bed, put her under the covers, and had her say her prayers. She would usually pray the Lord's Prayer, but on this particular evening, she amended it a little bit.

      Her petition went something like this, "Father, forgive us our Christmases, as we forgive those who Christmas against us."

      That is what happens when we lose focus of the real meaning of Christmas, isn't it? We get so caught up in the busyness of the season that sometimes we forget the wonder of it all: that deity took on humanity, that God became a man. Read the rest of this article in Malankara World Journal.

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm#article2

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      10. The True Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

      Editor's Note: One of our recurrent themes in describing Christmas had been how God picks ordinary people to do extraordinary things - Moses, David, a 13 year old teen ager named Mary, etc. One of the most loved Christmas stories and Christmas Carole describes how Santa Claus picked a raindeer named Rudolph, who had been mocked by other raindeers because he was different - he had a shiny nose. Here is the true story behind Rudolph. Enjoy. Read the story in Malankara World Journal.

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm#article3

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      11. 18 Affordable Ways Families Can Prepare for Christmas

      Need a little Christmas spirit that doesn't break the bank? Check out these low-cost and free ways to commemorate the reason for the season.

      In these times of economic uncertainty, many of us yearn for a simpler, less stressful holiday season. "There is a universal wish to end the year with a festival of renewal that rekindles our faith, brings us closer to the people we care to ward off the commercial excesses of the season and create an authentic, joyful celebration in tune with our unique needs and desires," write authors Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli in 'Unplug the Christmas Machine.'

      How can you accomplish this? First, think about what children really want for Christmas, such as time with family, an unhurried holiday and family and cultural traditions. Then keep your focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

      Pick a few of the following low-cost and free ways to celebrate the season with our families and friends, or use the ideas as a starting place to create your own unique holiday traditions. Continue reading in Malankara World Journal.

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm#article4

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      12. Health: The Effects of Coffee on Medications

      For many Americans, the thought of a morning without coffee is unbearable. More than half of adults drink it regularly, typically about three cups a day.
      Most people rarely consider the side effects beyond restlessness, or trouble falling asleep at night. But coffee and espresso can have other consequences in people taking certain drugs, by either blocking absorption or enhancing their effects.

      In many cases, caffeine causes the interactions. But other compounds in coffee may also play a role. Studies show that coffee consumption can affect more than a dozen medications as varied as antidepressants, estrogen, thyroid and osteoporosis drugs.

      A study in 2008, for example, found that people who drank coffee shortly before or after taking levothyroxine, a common thyroid medication, experienced a reduction of up to 55 percent in absorption of the drug. Other studies have found that coffee can reduce absorption of osteoporosis drug alendronate by up to 60 percent and that it can lower circulating levels of estrogen and other hormones in women.

      Some prescription drugs can enhance the effects of coffee and other caffeinated drinks. A number of these drugs, including some antidepressants, antibiotics and birth control pills block the enzyme known as CYP1A2, which helps metabolize caffeine.

      As a result, caffeine may persist, in the body for several hours longer than normal. One study showed, for example, that women taking birth control pills held caffeine in the systems four hours longer than women who were not on the pill.

      Source: New York Times

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      13. Recipe: Strawberry Hazelnut Cookies

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm#Recipe

      14. Forgetful Einstein

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm#article7

      15. Amazing Information

      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm#article8

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      Please share MW Journal and Malankara World website with your friends and acquaintances. Thank you for your support and help.
      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/MWNewsMWNews_43_December-15-2011.htm

      In HIS Service

      Dr. Jacob Mathew
      Malankara World
      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/

      Malankara World Journal
      http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Newsletter/
      Hudson, Ohio
      ID No: 956
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