Pot of Pottage

Esau sold his birthright for a pot of pottage. The devil seems to have been in the pottage industry ever since then.

God Holds Our Future - The Story of 3 Trees

A great story that I saw this morning:

God’s Ways

by Dr. Shaily Bhashanjaly
(Value Education - VIII, Holy Faith International)

Life is a mixed bag of joys and sorrows, success and failures. It is in difficult times that your inner strength, perseverance and, most importantly, your faith are tested. We don't always know what God's plans are for us. But just know His ways are not our ways, but his ways are always the best. Remember to place your unwavering faith and trust in God. You will receive untold blessings.

Once there were three trees on a hill in the woods. They were discussing their hopes and dreams when the first tree said "Someday I hope to be a treasure chest. I could be filled with gold, silver and precious gems. I could be decorated with intricate carving and everyone would admire the beauty."

Then the second tree said, "Someday I will be a mighty ship and take kings and queens across the waters and sail to the corners of the world. Everyone will feel safe in me because of the strength of my hull."

Finally the third tree said, "I want to grow to be the tallest, straightest tree in the forest. People will see me on top of the hill and look up to my branches, and think of the heavens and God and how close to them I am reaching. I will be the greatest tree of all time and people will always remember me."

After a few years of praying that their dreams would come true, a group of woodsmen came upon the trees. When one came to the first tree he said, "He looks like a strong tree, I think I should be able to sell the wood to a carpenter," and he began cutting it down.

The first tree was happy, because he knew that the carpenter would make him into a treasure chest.

At the second tree the woodsmen said, "This looks like a strong tree. I should be able to sell it to the shipyard." The second tree was happy because he knew he was on his way to become a mighty ship.

When the woodsmen came upon the third three, the tree was frightened. He knew that if they cut him down his dreams would not come true. One of the woodsmen said, "I don't need anything special from my tree, so I'll take this one," and he cut it down.

When the first tree arrived at the carpenters, he was made into a feed box for animals. He was then placed in a barn and filled with hay. This was not at all what he had prayed for. The second tree was cut and made into a small fishing boat. His dreams of being a mighty ship and carrying kings had come to an end. The third tree was cut into large pieces and left alone in the dark.

The years went by, and the trees forgot about their dreams. Then one day, a man and woman came to the barn. She gave birth and they placed the baby in the hay in the feed box that was made from the first tree. The man wished that he could have made a crib for the baby but this manger would have to do. The tree could feel the importance of this event and knew that it had held the greatest treasure of all time.

Years later, a group of men got in the fishing boat made from the second tree. One of them was tired and went to sleep. While they were out on the water, a great storm arose and the tree didn't think it was strong enough to keep the men safe. The men woke the sleeping man, and He stood and said. "Peace" and the storm stopped. At this time, the tree knew that it had carried the King of kings in its boat.

Finally, someone came and got the third tree. It was carried through the streets as the people mocked the man who was carrying it. When they came to a stop, the man was nailed to the tree and raised in the air to die at the top of the hill. When Sunday came, the tree came to realize that it was strong enough to stand at the top of a hill and be as close to God as was possible, because Lord Jesus had been crucified on it.

The moral of this story is that when things don't seem to be going your way, always know that God has a plan for you. If you place your trust in Him, He will give you great gifts. Each of the trees got what they wanted, just not in the way they had imagined.

But God takes care of each and every one of His creations.

The Paradox of a Sinful Mind

One paradoxical condition of the sinful mind is that it doesn't know itself as sinful -- except for the grace of God, mankind would be bereft of the consciousness of sin, judgment, and repentance (Tit.2:11,12; 2Tim.2:25,26). The Spirit shakes us to our senses and brings life through the soul-rifting word of the Cross.

The Cross is the Mission

My Lord is there and He’ll show me
The cross to take, the path to go.
The cross is the mission that He gives me,
The meaning of life He lets me know.

Denying Self and Following Christ (Matt 16:24) - Sermon

Text: Matthew 16:24 
Sanjaynagar, Sunday, July 17

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (Matt.16:24)

The first requisite for one to be a follower of Jesus Christ is denying oneself, then taking up one's own cross and following Him.

A little while ago, Jesus had asked what his disciples thought of Him. Peter answered, "You are Christ, the Son of the Living God," and Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jona, for flesh and blood [meaning man] has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." Peter may have felt elated and so began imagining that he was someone important now. So, when Jesus immediately began speaking of His death and resurrection, he took Jesus aside (just think how daring does blind pride make one) and began rebuking (!) Him saying that such things won't happen. Jesus immediately rebuked him saying, ""Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men." Then, He went on to say that one can only be able to follow Him if he has first denied himself.

Four Kinds of People Who Can't Follow Christ

1. Mr. Prideful alias Self-Boaster

Remember the story of the Pharisee who went to the temple and boasted of himself. He was not justified in the sight of God. But the sinner who stood afar and beat his breast was. God resists the proud but exalts the humble, the Bible says. The proud man is filled with thoughts of himself so much that he can't bend to receive the gifts of God.

2. Mr. Spiteful alias Rebel

There are some who keep opposing all good and right things, because of a rebellious nature. They may be filled with arguments to support their rebellion and are puffed up, having not the Spirit of God (1Tim.6:3-5). Such people bring divisions and seditions (Jude 18,19) and will perish because of their rebellion (Jude 11). They take things lightly and mock the things of God, and so can't look into God's reality, deny themselves and take up their cross. Such people will never inherit the promises of God.

3. Mr. Self-Piteous alias Negative

There are some who cringe and perish in their self-pity. They don't have faith and so can't rely on God. They keep looking at themselves and pass their days in self-pity. Such people can't follow Christ. Satan attacked Job in many ways; first, he destroyed his wealth and family, but Job didn't sin; so, he afflicted his body; still Job didn't sin; then, he brought in his friends (religious people) who began condemning him and he soon fell to self-pitying, talking negative words, despising his life, and crying why he was suffering without any hope. But, God broke in and revealed to Job that his thoughts were too small before the magnitude of who God was, His sovereignty, power, and control over the whole universe. Job immediately repented and surrendered in faith to God. God blessed him.

Self-pity and worry doesn't add any positive thing to life. Bring your negative lifestyle and turn it positive by allowing the Lord to wash it in His blood. Cast your burdens on Him, and start giving thanks, for He really cares for you.

4. Mr. Backslider alias Loser

Proverbs 14:14 says that the backslider in heart is filled with his own ways. Such a person cannot walk with Christ for long; sooner, he turns back, and gives up the walk of the cross for the sake of his own thoughts, doubts, desires, and imaginations. The Scripture admonishes us:
"Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him."
But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Heb. 10:38-39)

Let's keep moving forward in step with the Lord. Let's forsake all traces of pride, doubt, and fleshly desires and submit ourselves in total humility before the Lord. He will bless us with His grace. Those who follow Him to the end, will inherit His promises and His kingdom.

Aasra - Hindi Christian New Year Song (Domenic M)


Everything Beautiful in Its Time (Eccl. 3:11) - Sermon

Text: Ecclesiastes 3:11
Sanjaynagar, Friday, July 15.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time." (Eccl.3:11)

If you have been wondering if life has any meaning or purpose, remember this, that you are beautiful, not because of how you feel or what people say, but because the Word of God declares that He has made you beautiful in your time.

Some people give up very soon thinking it's all over and nothing's gonna work out. Remember Job's wife, how she came to him and said "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" But, Job knew that suffering is not meaningless. When the fire blazes hotter, the beauty of the gold gets clearer. There is a time for everything, and He has made everything beautiful in its time.

1. God Has Made Us So That We May Seek Him and Know Him
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. (Act 17:26-27)
Animals do not know God to the effect that there can be fellowship between God and them. God didn't made them that way. He made man that man may know Him and have fellowship with Him. But, sin brings separation and blindness. However, through the preaching of the cross, God opens up the eyes of people that they may see His light and walk in it.

2. God Has Made Us So That We May Be Holy And Blameless Before Him in Love
just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. (Eph. 1:4)
but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."(1Pet. 1:15-16)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification... that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.... For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (1Thess. 4:3,4,7)

3. God Has Made Us So That We May Come to the Fullness of Christ
till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Eph 4:13)
This is not possible in isolated living, but in fellowship within the Body of Christ. "grow up in all things into Him who is the head--Christ--from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." (Eph.4:15,16)

Each member in the Body must know his role and effectively fulfill his share of duty. There is synergy in the Body, and it is found in the words "what every joint supplies" and "the effective working by which every part does its share." The joints are important. Evangelism and the work of the ministry is the joint work of the Body of Christ. The effort must be synergistically put forth in love of the Spirit and bond of peace, so that each part will mutually benefit. There is edification only through fellowship in the Body.

One must aim to be a vessel of honor by His grace, in order to be useful for the Master's glory as a vessel of honor.
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work. (2Ti 2:19-21)

4. God Has Made Us So That We May Attain the Adoption As Sons
having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will (Eph. 1:5)

This is not just limited to the experience of sonship that we have now, but relates to the adoption manifested at the resurrection from the dead.
"Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body." (Rom 8:23)
Paul looked forward to this as his goal:
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Php 3:10-11)

5. God Has Made Us So That We May Proclaim the Praises of Him
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1Pet. 2:9)
See how beautiful He has made us that we may bring glory to His Name. Let's declare His praises through our words and our walk.

Let's remember that God has a purpose for our life, and He wishes us to seek Him and know Him, to be holy and blameless before Him in love, to come to the fullness of Christ, to attain the adoption of sons, and to declare His praises, to be His trophies in this world. Isn't it marvelous to just know Him and live by His grace alone.

Knowing God's Will in Life (Rom.12:2) - Sermon

Text: Romans 12:2
Wednesday, July 13.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2)
Knowing God's will is important. It is not an option, but a necessity.

Jesus walked according to His Father's will. "Not as I will, but as You will" He prayed in the Garden of Gethsamane. He was led by the Holy Spirit and worked and taught by the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:1,2; 10:38). He has given us the Spirit so that we may walk according to His leading in our life.
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. (1Co 2:11-12)
There are three things necessary in order for us to be able to discern and be led according to the will of God:

1. Repentance from Sin
Which means turning away from sin, the world, and a carnal way of living.
Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.(2Cor 3:16)
Sin separates man from God (Isaiah 59:1). Repentance towards Christ the Lord is the entry door into the life and walk of the Spirit. As long as one lives a carnal and worldly life, one cannot expect to know the will of God.

2. Renewal of Mind
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Rom 12:2)
When we get soaked in the voices and influences of the world, we conform to it. The devil does his best to bombard us with such influences.

But, when we turn to prayer and meditation on the Word of God, it renews our mind. Remember, the Spirit never acts contrary to the Word of God. He confirms the Word and brings conviction according to it. He speaks to us through the Word of God. Jesus never spoke anything apart from the Scriptures. He always used to point to what was written and how it is fulfilled in Him. Unless our minds have become mature by exercises of the Word, we can't expect to receive the things of God.
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1Co 2:14)
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Heb 5:12-14)
3. Spirit-Filled Living
Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.(Eph 5:17-21)
Being filled with the Spirit, praying in the Spirit, in tongues, fellowshipping with other believers, testifying, worshipping, and glorifying God through a life of faith and love are important in order for us to be receptive of and be sensitive to the Spirit of God. Unless we are Spirit-filled, we cannot expect to be led by the Spirit of God.

May the Lord grant us the grace to seek His will in His Word and live a life that is pleasing to Him!

The Ultimate End of Man - Fichte and the New Testament Compared

Fichte, The Vocation of the Scholar

"To subject all irrational nature to himself, to rule over it unreservedly and according to his own laws, is the ultimate end of man; which ultimate end is perfectly unattainable, and must continue to be so, unless he were to cease to be man, and become God. It is a part of the idea of man that his ultimate end must be unattainable; the way to it endless. Hence it is not the vocation of man to attain this end. But he may and should constantly approach nearer to it; and thus the unceasing approximation to this end is his true vocation as man; i. e. as a rational but finite, as a sensuous but free being."

~ Johann Gottlieb Fichte, The Vocation of the Scholar

The New Testament

Subjection of Nature Through Christ

"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Rom 8:19-21)

"For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. It has been testified somewhere, "What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man, that thou carest for him? Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels, thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one." (Heb 2:5-9)

"Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same nature, that through death he might destroy him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage." (Heb 2:14-15)

"But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. "For God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "All things are put in subjection under him," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one." (1Cor 15:23-28)

Unity of All Things in Christ

"For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will..." (Eph 1:9-11)

"He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent. For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross." (Col 1:15-20)

Fichte on 18th Century Christianity and Christian Ministry of Europe

Of a project for engaging him in the ministry, he thus writes -- "I know my opinions. I am neither of the Lutheran nor Reformed Church, but of the Christian ; and were I compelled to choose, I should (since no purely Christian community now exists) attach myself to that community in which there is most freedom of thought and charity of life ; and that is not the Lutheran, I think. . . . . . I have given up these hopes in my fatherland entirely. There is indeed a degree of enlightenment and rational religious knowledge existing among the younger clergy of the present day, which is not to be found to the same extent in any other country of Europe. But this is crushed by a worse than Spanish inquisition, under which they must cringe and dissemble, partly because they are deficient in ability, partly because in consequence of the number of clergy in our land their services can be spared, while they cannot sacrifice their employment. Hence arises a slavish, crouching, hypocritical spirit. A revolution is indeed impending : but when? and how? In short, I will be no preacher in Saxony."

~ Johann Gottlieb Fichte
Memoir of Fichte
The Popular Works of Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Vol.1, London: John Chapman, 1848, p.34

By the Gate Called Beautiful - Poem

THERE'S A BEGGAR sitting by the gate called Beautiful,
And he needs more than just silver and gold;
The priests scoff by,
The rich walk by,
The people throng by,
The children ask why
This beggar's sitting by the gate called Beautiful.

There's a preacher coming to the gate called Beautiful,
And he ain't got any silver or gold;
But, he won't lie,
And, he won't shy;
For, he's the kinda guy
Who'll just stop by
This beggar sitting by the gate called Beautiful.

A priest gnarls by,
"Wretched beggars defacing the Temple!"
A vendor calls by,
"Come, you fella! Got any change of coins?"
A youth rocks by,
"Hey dude! Got good style ha; keep on rockin'!"

The beggar's not listenin',
He's eyes are on the preacher transfixed;
He stretches out his palm for alms;
The preacher grasps his arm,
"Silver and gold have I none," he says
But what I have I give to you;
In the name of Jesus of Nazareth,
Rise up and walk, I say to you!"

Boy, he jumps up and dances,
Cries, "God's power touched my bones!"
The crowd cast baffled glances,
"Wasn't he a cripple a while ago!"

What a pulpit, O Master Carpenter,
You grant a fisherman who left his boat!
See how he blazes one fiery rhetoric,
One sermon wins 5000 souls!

The priests get angry,
The captain is mad,
They run down in hurry,
With Sadducees sad;
They all are sayin',
"What happened's very bad!"

They put them in prison,
They drag them to court,
They warn them "Listen,
"Don't ever preach this sort!"

Ah, don't show them your paperguns,
They ain't some timid blokes;
They've seen their Master risen
From the dead to die no more!

Such were some events one day by the gate called Beautiful,
A beggar got more than just silver and gold;
The priests still cry,
The rich still sigh,
The people stop by,
The children ask why
There ain't any beggar by the gate called Beautiful!

© Domenic Marbaniang, July 2011.

Shepherd of my soul (with Hindi Translation)

Shepherd of my soul
Shepherd of my soul I give you full control,
Wherever You may lead I will foll-ow.
I have made the choice to listen for Your vo-vo-ice,
Wherever You may lead I will go.

Be it in a quiet pasture or by a gentle stream,
The Shepherd of my soul is by my side.
Should I face a mighty mountain or a valley dark and deep,
The Shepherd of my soul will be my guide.

मेरा चरवाहा
मेरा चरवाहा मेरा प्रभु महान
जहा भी ले जाएं मै चलूंगा
मेरा यह निर्णय तेरी आवाज सुनूं
जहा भी ले जाएं मै चलूं
चाहे हो ये ठंडी छां,झरनों के पास
मेरा चरवाहा मेरा प्रभु
ये पहाड़ है विशाल, घोर अंधकार
मेरा चरवाहा है मेरा प्रभु



Trans. D. Marbaniang

7 Ghastly Sins of Ministry (Micah 3)

Text: Micah 3

1. Hatred of Good and Love of Evil (Mic 3:2)
A. Values that are Self-Centered, Not Christ-Centered
B. Values that are Self-Defined, Not Spirit-Defined
C. Values that are Self-Glorifying, Not God-Glorifying

A confused value-system that honors culture, man, and the world rather than the Law of God

Luke16:15 And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

2. Exploitation of the Sheep (Mic 3:2)
A. Manipulating People Like Things and Not Treating Them as Persons
B. Over-Demanding
C. Not Caring for the Well-being of Sheep

Mat 20:25-28 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

1Pe 5:2-4 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

3. Misleading the Sheep (Mic 3:5)
A. Leading People Into False Beliefs
B. Leading People Into Sin (by their lifestyles, by the systems they build)
C. Leading Them Into Disfavor with God (People lose God's blessings)

Acts 20:29 For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
Gal 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

4. Giving False Consolation (Mic 3:5)
A. No Seriousness Against Sin/ Do not Condemn It
B. Acting as if There will be no Judgment
C. Pointing People to Feelings and Present Circumstances Rather Than At the Justice of God

1Thess 5:3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
1Cor 5:2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? (RSV)
Jas 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness

5. Abhorring Justice and Perverting all Equity (Mic 3:9)
A. Showing Favoritism to People
B. Having No Accountability
C. Creating an Atmosphere of Factions

Jas 2:2-4 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
Rom 14:10 But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

6. Building up Zion with Bloodshed and Jerusalem with Iniquity (Mic 3:10)
A. Building their Empires at the Expense of People
B. Building their Empires on Principles Opposed to God's Law
C. Building their Empires instead of Building the Kingdom of God

Php 2:20-21 For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus.

7. Judging for Bribe, Teaching for Pay, and Prophesying for Money (Mic 3:11)
A. Building a System of Ministry that is Money-Oriented/Can't Go Further Unless There is Funding and Support/ A Ministry Based on Silver and Gold Rather than on the Spirit of God. Money has a part to play (the Temple collected offerings and Jesus had financial supporters and a treasurer), but money should not take the place of the Holy Spirit.
B. Unwilling to Serve Except for Some Monetary Return/ Prefer the Rich Above the Poor And Seek Not the Will of God in Taking Appointments, etc
C. The Quality of Ministry is Determined by the Pocket of the One Being Served/ Commercialization of God's Work

Act 3:6 Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."
1Ti 3:2-3 A bishop then must... not [be] greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous.
Joh 10:12-13 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep.

An Eternally Caring God (Deut.33:27)

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deuteronomy 33:27, NIV)

THE ETERNALITY of God demonstrates His unfailing power of self-existence and self-sustenance. He is both invincible and indestructible. Therefore, He is our best refuge. Earthly shelters and shields have their bounds against bruises but God is a sure refuge of all those who trust in Him. The promise of the Scripture not only tells us that God is our refuge but also that this security is undergirded by His everlasting arms, which speak of at least three things:

1.  Care. His everlasting arms underneath us speak about His love and care towards us. As a mother holds her child in her arms, so does He hold us in His everlasting arms.  Someone said that the four letter word LOVE can also be spelt as CARE. For if we don’t care for someone then we don’t even love that person. But God demonstrated His care and love towards us so much as to send His beloved Son to die for us.

2. Comfort. “When the cares of my heart are many,” said David “Thy consolations cheer my soul” (Psalm 94: 19, RSV). The Bible doesn’t ask us to deny the anxieties and cares of our heart; instead, it exhorts us to roll our burdens on Jesus because He cares for us.  It is when we rest assuredly in His arms of comfort that we find rests for our souls. The God of all comfort holds us with His everlasting arms; and this awareness itself brings great peace to the heart of the believer.

3. Covering. His strong arms are our shield. No bullet can penetrate it; neither can any destruction prevail against it. Man-made bullet proofs and bomb-shields may fail but faith secures us everlastingly in the bosom of God. It is only when man becomes haughty and strolls away from the domain of God that he becomes victim to the darts of the enemy. But He is a safe haven to those who trust and live by His name. Man’s search for true love, peace, and security can only find fulfillment in God. Evidently, that has to be that way since our life and existence has its source in Him. One can peacefully nestle in the arms of God despite of all that is occurring outside. We can rest confidently in Him for He holds us with His everlasting arms.

Prayer: Lord, I commit myself into your strong and loving arms. I acknowledge you in all my ways. May your guidance be my protection, my comfort, and my peace. Thank you for reaching out to me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Truth & Reality: Epistemology & Ontology

From Marbaniang, Domenic. Epistemics of Divine Reality © 2007. p.31

EPISTEMOLOGY is related to knowledge while Ontology is related to reality. Epistemology seeks to understand the nature, sources, and scope of knowledge; Ontology, to understand the nature of reality. Epistemology deals with the meaning of Truth; Ontology deals with the meaning of reality. True or false is predicated of statements only. Real or unreal is predicated of existence. Therefore, logic and semantics are important issues in the study of truth. Truth is mental; reality is essential. Truth is dependent on reality; reality is independent of truth. Truth is usually contextual. There are different kinds of truths that are truthful only within their contexts. For instance, there are poetical truths expressed in statements that would appear total falsehood in any other linguistic context or genre.  Truth is that which is known about reality. As such, therefore, truth, in common experience, is substantial.

© Domenic Marbaniang, 2007

Imagination: Productive, Reproductive, and Creative

Imagination is the faculty of forming mental images or concepts.

There are three kinds of imagination:

Productive Imagination. Also, referred to by Kant as transcendental imagination, whose function is to synthesize, by means of the a priori categories, the manifold experience. It is spontaneous and a priori. By the help of this faculty one is able to experience the world of senses in a meaningful way.

Reproductive Imagination. It is the power of reproducing images stored in the memory under the suggestion of associated images. (Random Dictionary)

Creative Imagination. It is the power of recombining former experiences in the creation of new images directed at a specific goal or aiding in the solution of problems. (Random Dictionary)

Time will test

Time will test both friends and enemies,
The ones who war, the ones who make peace;
Don't watch the stars, don't divine by any breeze,
Time itself will tell the friends from the enemies

Zeno's Arguments for the Irrationality of Plurality and the Rationalityof Monism

From Marbaniang, Domenic. Epistemics of Divine Reality © 2007.

To the attacks of the pluralists, Zeno of Elea, disciple of Parmenides offered several arguments in form of paradoxes that demonstrated the utter absurdity of commonsense realism. Since absurdity is a sign of falsity, it is false that reality is many. Hence, Zeno argues that reality must be one. It may be noted that the paradox may also mean, contrary to Zeno’s contention, that reason is false and experience is true. However, since it is difficult to label reason as false without the use of reason itself, the certainty of rational reality looms over that of experience. Few of Zeno’s most famous proofs are as follows:

The Paradoxes of Plurality

The Argument from Denseness

If there are many, they must be as many as they are and neither more nor less than that. But if they are as many as they are, they would be limited. If there are many, things that are are unlimited. For there are always others between the things that are, and again others between those, and so the things that are are unlimited.[1]

The paradox is that things appear to be as many as they are, that is as limited, whereas rationally speaking they must be unlimited; a pair of two is separated by a third, which pairing with its next is separated by a fourth, and so on ad infinitum. Thus, the view that reality is many, or numbered plurality, involves a rational impossibility.

The assumption is that it takes something to separate an other. That means that if the ‘separator’ theory is abandoned the paradox doesn’t exist. Why can’t it be said that the things are separated by the void? In that sense, the void (meaning nothing) could rationally not separate anything; for to be separated by nothing is not to be separated at all. However, if empirically understood, the void (space) separates things in the sense that in between things there is the void. Thus, the rational-empirical paradoxical situation is not resolved but heightened by the different meanings of void by reason and experience. The paradox, consequently exists because the rational (immaterial) is applied to the empirical (material) and the fusion creates an either/or situation in which experience is ultimately dismissed as illusion.

The Argument from Finite Size

… if it should be added to something else that exists, it would not make it any bigger. For if it were of no size and was added, it cannot increase in size. And so it follows immediately that what is added is nothing. But if when it is subtracted, the other thing is no smaller, nor is it increased when it is added, clearly the thing being added or subtracted is nothing.

But if it exists, each thing must have some size and thickness, and part of it must be apart from the rest. And the same reasoning holds concerning the part that is in front. For that too will have size and part of it will be in front. Now it is the same thing to say this once and to keep saying it forever. For no such part of it will be last, nor will there be one part not related to another. Therefore, if there are many things, they must be both small and large; so small as not to have size, but so large as to be unlimited.[2]

The first part of the argument which purports to show that if there are many things they cannot possess size is missing. The second part shows that if they do not possess size they are nothing. The third part shows that if reality is plural and, thus, composed of different parts, the following paradox results: Each part is divided into a front and a rear part. Each front and the rear part have a front and a rear part of their own respectively, and so on ad infinitum. Thus, the size would be zero and unlimited, which is paradoxical.

The Argument from Complete Divisibility
  1. If a line segment is composed of a multiplicity of points, then the line segment is infinitely divisible; that is to say an infinite number of bisections can be made in it. One cannot come to a point where further bisection of the line segment is not mathematically possible. No singular point can thus be found. Therefore, a line segment is not composed of a multiplicity of points.
  2. The line, which is made up of points, has a particular measurement (just as many points as it is and nothing more) and so is limited. It is a definite number, and a definite number is a finite or limited number. However, since the line is infinitely divisible, it is also unlimited. Therefore, it's contradictory to suppose a line is composed of a multiplicity of points.[3]
Speaking thus, then, the existence of plurality is rationally impossible. For, according to each of the above the paradox of the limited and unlimited can be seen. Rationally speaking, things, if not one but many, involve infinity by divisibility. However, they must of necessity be limited in order to be numbered as many. Thus, the phenomenal experience is proved to be rationally untenable.

The Paradoxes of Motion

The Dichotomy

The first asserts the non-existence of motion on the ground that that which is in locomotion must arrive at the half-way stage before it arrives at the goal.[4]

Suppose a runner is standing at point A and must reach point B in order to finish the race. The only way he can reach point B is by reaching the halfway point, say A1, between A and B, before reaching B. But then the only way he can reach halfway point A1 is by reaching the halfway point, say A2, between A and A1, and so on ad infinitum in order to finish the course. Thus in order for the runner to reach point B, he will have to traverse an infinite number of points in a finite time, which is impossible. Therefore, motion is absurd.

Achilles and the Tortoise

Suppose Achilles and a tortoise begin a race. Achilles allows the tortoise to have the head start since he is confident that the slow tortoise will never win the race. But now in order for Achilles to get past by the tortoise, he will first have to reach the point left behind by tortoise; but by that time the tortoise would have already gone by farther from the point, and so on ad infinitum. In other words, if A1 is the point where the tortoise is presently and Achilles has to reach this point before he can overtake the tortoise, by the time Achilles would have got to point A1 the tortoise would have gone a bit away and be at point A2 which would then become the next point which Achilles would have to reach in order to overtake the tortoise, but by the time he gets to A2 the tortoise would have gone a bit more farther, and so on ad infinitum. In this way, logically Achilles can never overtake the tortoise. But empirically Achilles is seen to overtake the tortoise, and therein lies the paradox. Empirically Achilles overtakes the tortoise but logically he cannot. And since overtaking the tortoise is seen as logically absurd, it cannot be true.

The Arrow

Consider an apparently flying arrow, in any instant. At any given moment, the arrow occupies a particular position in space equal to its length. But for an arrow to occupy a position in space equal to its length means that it is at rest. However, since the arrow must always occupy such a position in space equal to its length, the arrow must be at rest at all moments. Moreover, since space as quantity is infinitely divisible, the flying arrow occupies an infinite number of these positions of rest. But the sum of an infinite number of these positions of rest is not a motion. Therefore, the arrow is never in motion. The absurd conclusion would then be that the flying arrow is ever at rest, which is impossible. Therefore, motion is false.

The Stadium

The fourth argument is that concerning equal bodies [AA] which move alongside equal bodies in the stadium from opposite directions – the ones from the end of the stadium [CC], the others from the middle [BB] – at equal speeds, in which he thinks it follows that half the time is equal to its double…. And it follows that the C has passed all the As and the B half; so that the time is half … . And at the same time it follows that the first B has passed all the Cs.[5]

The stadium is an argument from the relativity of motion to the absurdity of motion. Stumpf [6] has a good illustration of passenger cars  for this argument. Imagine three passenger cars of equal length on tracks parallel to each other, each car having eight windows on a side (see Figures 1 & 2).

One of the cars is at rest; the others, moving in opposite directions at the same speed. In order for the two cars (B & C) moving in opposite direction of car A, to come to the position in Fig. 2, car B’s front has to cross one more window of car A, while car C has to cross two windows of car B. Each window represents a unit of distance, and each such unit is passed in an equal unit of time. Since car B went past only one of car A’s windows, while car C went past two of car B’s windows, and since each window represents the same unit of time, it would have to follow that one unit of time is equal to two units of time or that one unit of distance equals two units of distance, which is absurd. The mathematical solution to this third paradox is as follows:

Speed of car B towards A


S m/s
Speed of car C towards A=S m/s
Speed of car C towards B=2S m/s
Distance to complete motion=2D (2 windows or units)
Time needed to complete motion=2D/2S
=D/S = 1unit of time

Therefore, one unit of time was needed for car C to cross the two windows of car B. The paradox is, thus, resolved; nevertheless, at the expense of absolute motion. The only way this paradox is solved is by accepting that no absolute motion exists. Motion is relative. The speed of car C, thus is seen to be twice greater in relation to car B, than car A. But saying that no absolute motion exists is similar to saying that motion does not exist. What may seem to be motion to one may not seem to be motion to another, and so on. Thus, no absolute statement regarding motion can be made. Thereby, then, Zeno wins.

Thus, the phenomenal world of empirical plurality is shown to be false. The main parts of the arguments of Parmenides and Zeno are summarized as follows:
  1. Being cannot arise out of non-being, for then it would have to be even before it arises out of non-being; therefore, being is eternal and ungenerated.[7]
  2. Being is indivisible, for it cannot divide itself from itself.
  3. Being is one and not many, for if it were many it would have to be diversely differentiated by something other than being, namely non-being, which means to be differentiated by nothing.
  4. Being cannot be falsified; for if spoken of, it must be; if not spoken of, then nothing is spoken of. If being is not, then nothing is.
  5. Being is indestructible, for change cannot be predicated of it, it being absolute.
  6. The phenomenon of plurality is absurd, for it involves the paradox of the limited and the unlimited in the one divisible unit.
  7. The phenomenon of change is absurd, for it involves completion of an infinite series in a finite time, as Zeno’s paradoxes show.
Thus, reality is one, eternal, indestructible, immutable, and thus, absolute.

Implications for Divine Existence

Either of the following implications results from the supposition that being is eternal and singular:
  1. God is being and the only one reality; all plurality of selves is an illusion.
  2. God as an ontological distinct does not exist, for reality is one.
  3. God is not, only being is; if the individual definitions of ‘God’ and ‘being’ are to be retained and not confused.
However, though Parmenides and Zeno have attempted to solve the ontological problem of the nature of reality, they have left the cosmological problem of the same unanswered. If reality is one, what accounts for the plurality that is manifest; or why does or how did reality come to appear as many? To this Parmenides and Zeno remain silent, and since a theory that doesn’t take into consideration the whole avenue of the subject in question cannot be considered to be complete and unified, attention must be turned to the Indian philosophers to see whether they have a rational answer to this cosmological question. Nevertheless, this far the contradictions between reason and experience have been aptly demonstrated by the Grecians. And the culmination of their rational search in the Eleatics was anticipated; for if reason alone is trustworthy, then experience must be dispensed with, as Zeno clearly showed

[1] Simplicius as cited in “Zeno’s Paradoxes,” http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/paradox-zeno/
[2] Ibid.
[3] “Zeno of Elea,” http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/z/zenoelea.htm
[4] Aristotle as cited in “Zeno’s Paradoxes,” http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/paradox-zeno/
[5] Aristotle as cited in “Zeno’s Paradoxes,” http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/paradox-zeno/
[6] Samuel Enoch Stumpf, Socrates to Sartre, p. 20
[7] Samuel Enoch Stumpf, Socrates to Sartre, pp. 16, 17

© Domenic Marbaniang, 2007

Faith as Substance - Hebrews 1:1

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)

From Explorations of Faith, 2009.

Secondly, faith is “the substance of things hoped for.” In other words, the things that we hope for are, at present, composed of and given to us as faith. Therefore, whenever we have faith we also have the things we hope for in the form of faith now.  That is why Jesus said “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk. 11:24). He doesn’t ask them to believe that they will receive it in future but to believe that they have already received it in faith. In other words, if someone has faith in God for something, he already has that thing. I believe this is so because God is not conditioned by time but if something is “yes” in Him then it is eternally “yes” and the same in future, present, and past. Thus, it is not whether that thing will be real to us in the future but whether it is already real in the sight of God that is significant. We may have those things later on, but if God has already said a “yes”, then there is no doubting about their reality which we experience in the form of faith. Faith itself, thus, becomes the evidence, as we shall see later, of things yet unseen. But more than just being evidence, faith is the fact of our having what we are hoping for. It is in this spirit that we know that we are the children of God, that our citizenship is in heaven, and that the devil is a defeated foe. Obviously, all these facts will be physically manifest only at the last day but they are readily known as facts by us now without any doubt. That is faith: to know the future in the present as true. Therefore, a man of faith doesn’t live his life regretting about the past or worrying about his present but he is elated by faith to see the hopes of the distant future as a timeless reality and lives his life in accordance to the reality of those facts in the sight of God (Phil. 3:7-10). That is one reason why unbelief in God’s revelation is sin; because it attempts to falsify God (1Jn. 5:10). It attempts to deny what is true and undeniable in the sight of God. Therefore, the unbelievers cannot inherit the kingdom of God since they cannot see it and know it now. Weighing the ultimate value of spiritual faith, it has infinitely greater value than the temporary escapism of drug hallucinations, day-dream fantasies, and entertainment. These may provide temporary escape from the inescapable void of the future inherent in the blank realities of the present that the unbeliever experiences, but can’t liberate the soul in reality, engendering more vexation of spirit than peace. Life, as a result, becomes more banal, confused, and dissatisfying. But faith connects the life of the believer to the eternal realities of God and, therefore, his spiritual experiences possess the value of a far greater reality that the world can’t counterfeit.

Faith as Ground or Foundation - Hebrews 1:1

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)

From Explorations of Faith, 2009.

The Greek word for “substance” used here is hupostasis (υπόστασις), from which is derived our English word “hypostasis”, which means, in metaphysics, “essential nature or underlying reality.” Literally, it meant “that which is placed under”, that is the ground beneath something on which the thing gains a firm foothold. It is in this sense that the Septuagint (LXX) uses it for “standing” in Psalm 69:2, where the psalmist says, “I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing,”[1] or place for the foot to rest. The word is used five times in the New Testament; thrice as “assurance” or “confidence”, once as “person” or “essential nature”, and once, i.e. here, as “substance”. Obviously, a word can be used in more than one sense, as for instance the word “ground” in the English language can be used to mean “the surface of the earth”, “a piece of land”, e.g. a playground, “the basis for some action or belief”, e.g. moral grounds or grounds for belief, or “a preliminary coat of paint applied to a surface”, among many other things.

Firstly, faith is “the ground of things hoped for.” It is on the basis of faith alone that God can give to us what He desires to give us. However, faith can only be a basis because of God’s Word (Truth of God). The faith that is not based on God’s Word is not foundational about the things of God. It leads to somewhere else. But the faith that is connected to God’s Word is the ground for experiencing the things of God. There are many instances in the Scriptures that illustrate this truth. The Israelites perished in the wilderness and couldn’t enter the Promised Land due to their unbelief (Jude 5). Moses could not enter the Promised Land because of his unbelief in the word of God (Num. 20:12; disobedience is a form of unbelief). Jesus could not do many miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief (Mk. 6:5, 6; Mt. 13:58). Scripture tells us that those who do not believe in Jesus Christ will not be saved (Mk. 16:16). It is on the basis of faith that we receive healing (Mt. 9:22), salvation (Eph. 2:8), the promise of the Spirit (Gal. 3:14), and eternal inheritance (Ac. 26:18). Obviously, faith is the inevitable condition for the appropriation of divine gifts, not because God is incapable of acting without our faith but because faith is the spiritual relation between a heart that willingly receives and the heart that willingly gives. However, the text also has a second implication: that faith is the ground upon which things are hoped for. We can only hope of better things because we have, first, faith. As has already been seen earlier, if I can’t believe in someone, I can’t hope anything from him. I can’t have hopes of victory, for instance, from an army that I don’t believe to be capable of victory. Without faith there is no hope, without hope there is no vision, without vision there is no strength, and without strength there is no thrust. In other words, faith determines a lifestyle by providing both vision and inspiration, and also a reason to live.
  1. Faith as Ontological Basis of Spiritual Blessings. By ontological basis is meant that it is not just a mental assent but is also a real and solid basis for spiritual blessings. In fact, faith connects knowledge of truth with the reality of the truth itself. In that sense, it is the basis of the things hoped for. Faith is a real act of commitment to the truth, a space-time event that pierces through time to eternity. Therefore, an act of faith has inevitable results. When Moses acted out in faith on God’s word and struck the Red sea, it was inevitable that it split into two parts. When the blind man obeyed Jesus and washed his eyes in the pool of Siloam, it was inevitable that his eyes be opened. This is so because faith is the basis of things hoped for. The faith of God is an act directly related to God and not this space-time world; therefore, it pierces through space-time and catches hold of the hem of God’s garment unleashing His power and blessings in this temporal frame. That is why miracles are possible, despite the general laws of nature. Peter walked on water by the faith of God that sees God as the Lord of creation and not limited by its phenomenal functions, its natural laws, or the way things happen. God is the source of all created reality and all phenomena owe their existence to God. His infinite power spans the difference between being and non-being and brings things out of nothing. Therefore, He is Lord of all creation. For God, nothing is impossible. An act of faith connects to the will and power of God. Therefore, Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing shall be impossible to you” (Mt. 17:20); for through faith what is possible to God is also possible to the believer.
  2. Faith as Epistemic Basis of Spiritual Experiences. Faith not only connects to the will and power of God; it also connects to the knowledge of God. It is both mental consent and commitment to the truth proclaimed by God. Therefore, it is the epistemic basis of spiritual knowledge.  The experience of faith is the experience of divine truth. This is very obvious in the Scriptural assertion that the natural or carnal man cannot receive the things of God (1Cor. 2:14). They have no personal significance for him. There were many people who saw and heard Jesus during His physical ministry in this world; however, it was very few who really believed and, consequently, experienced Him. Let’s compare two perspectives here: the first, of the high priest and the second, of Jesus’ disciple, John:
(1) And the high priest answered and said unto him, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus saith unto him, “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, “He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy” (Mt. 27:63-65).
(2) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (Jn. 1:14).
The contrary experiences of the high priest (feelings of desperation, fury, anguish, discomfort, and rage) were governed by his refusal to believe the confession of Christ. He could never know Christ because he could not believe Him. On the other hand, John saw Jesus as the Son of God who came and dwelled among us. The high priest accused Him of blasphemy; but John saw Him as being full of grace and truth. The high priest could not know God because of his unbelief. Thus, faith is considered to be essential to knowledge. To know means also to believe. This is very true also in relation to statements about this temporal world. For instance, if someone says that he knows that the earth is spherical, it also means that he believes the earth to be spherical. Further, knowledge is composed of truth; therefore, knowing something means also to believe in the truth about that thing. To believe in falsehood does not constitute knowledge. For instance, one may believe that the earth is flat, but since this belief doesn’t correspond to reality therefore, it is obvious that this person doesn’t really know what the earth is like but is, on the other hand, deceived about it. False belief doesn’t constitute knowledge; it constitutes ignorance and deception. True belief alone, therefore, is knowledge. Evidently, then belief is elemental to knowledge. There is a difference between sensory experience and spiritual knowledge because spiritual knowledge is not given to us in the form of sense-perception but must be received on the basis of faith alone. For instance, the knowledge of Christ’s atonement on the cross is not derived from a sense-observation of the crucifixion – there were many who saw the crucifixion but only few who truly understood it. It is based on faith in God’s revelation and a communication of this conviction to the heart of the believer by the Spirit of God. Therefore, the nature of this revelation is spiritual, transcending all limitations of language and thought though not contradicting them. Evidently, then, faith is the basis of spiritual experiences. Therefore, the Scripture says:

Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God (1Cor. 2:9- 10).

[1] The Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) renders it as ἐνεπάγην εἰς ἰλὺν βυθοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ὑπόστασις·

Plato on God and the Problem of Evil: Is God the Author of Evil?

From The Republic

And no good thing is hurtful?
No, indeed.
And that which is not hurtful hurts not?
Certainly not.
And that which hurts not does no evil?
And can that which does no evil be a cause of evil?
And the good is advantageous?
And therefore the cause of well-being?
It follows therefore that the good is not the cause of all things, but of the good only?
Then God, if he be good, is not the author of all things, as the many assert, but he is the cause of a few things only, and not of most things that occur to men.  For few are the goods of human life, and many are the evils, and the good is to be attributed to God alone; of the evils the causes are to be sought elsewhere, and not in him.
That appears to me to be most true, he said.


On Work, Time, and Vocation - Plato

From The Republic

I am myself reminded that we are not all alike; there are diversities of natures among us which are adapted to different occupations.
Very true.
And will you have a work better done when the workman has many occupations, or when he has only one?
When he has only one.
Further, there can be no doubt that a work is spoilt when not done at the right time?
No doubt.
For business is not disposed to wait until the doer of the business is at leisure; but the doer must follow up what he is doing, and make the business his first object.
He must.
And if so, we must infer that all things are produced more plentifully and easily and of a better quality when one man does one thing which is natural to him and does it at the right time, and leaves other things.


On Sin, Hope, and the Fear of Death - Cephalus to Socrates

Pindar, Roman copy of Greek 5th century BC bus...

Cephalus to Socrates in Plato's The Republic

... let me tell you, Socrates, that when a man thinks himself to be near death, fears and cares enter into his mind which he never had before; the tales of a world below and the punishment which is exacted there of deeds done here were once a laughing matter to him, but now he is tormented with the thought that they may be true: either from the weakness of age, or because he is now drawing nearer to that other place, he has a clearer view of these things; suspicions and alarms crowd thickly upon him, and he begins to reflect and consider what wrongs he has done to others.  And when he finds that the sum of his transgressions is great he will many a time like a child start up in his sleep for fear, and he is filled with dark forebodings.  But to him who is conscious of no sin, sweet hope, as Pindar charmingly says, is the kind nurse of his age:

Hope, he says, cherishes the soul of him who lives in justice and holiness and is the nurse of his age and the companion of his journey;--hope which is mightiest to sway the restless soul of man.

How admirable are his words!  And the great blessing of riches, I do not say to every man, but to a good man, is, that he has had no occasion to deceive or to defraud others, either intentionally or unintentionally; and when he departs to the world below he is not in any apprehension about offerings due to the gods or debts which he owes to men.  Now to this peace of mind the possession of wealth greatly contributes; and therefore I say, that, setting one thing against another, of the many advantages which wealth has to give, to a man of sense this is in my opinion the greatest.

Pastor Karamchand Hans, Miracles at Sanjaynagar (Convention, October 1992)

From Marbaniang, Domenic. The Story of Prarthana Bhavan of Sanjay Koyala Nagar, 2005, pp.7-9.

THE FIRST Christian Convention of any kind in Sanjay Koyala Nagar was organized during October 8 – 10, 1992. Pastor Karamchand Hans arrived with his son Pastor Rajinder Hans and a disciple on October 7th. They were lodged at the Guest House of Sanjay Koyala Nagar.

Pamphlets advertising the healing services had already been circulated. On the evening of October 8th, a huge crowd gathered at the Durga Ground, the site of the Convention. People were anxiously waiting to have a darshan of the Baba (that’s how holy saints or miracle workers are referred to by non-Christians in this area). After a few songs, Pastor Karamchand Hans was introduced and he came to the dais with his tambourine in hand. He was to sing a song before he preached. Suddenly, the clouds grew darker and began to drizzle down. The people, who were seated under open heavens, began to flee seeking shelter as there was no pavilion spread over on the ground. As the uproar rose higher, Pastor Karamchand Hans called out to the people not to leave the ground. Many stood still. Pastor Karamchand looked to the sky and commanded the rain to stop. Immediately, the clouds stopped pouring down rain and began to depart swiftly. The crowd was wonderstruck. That first night was history for Sanjay Koyala Nagar. It is unforgettable. Pastor Karamchand presented a few songs, and then proceeded to give the word of God. After the preaching, he prayed for healing. Many experienced the healing power of God. Since that memorable evening, people began to flock over anywhere during that time they knew where Pastor Karamchand was. He could not get the necessary rest for his body, yet he untiringly ministered to the people in need out of the love of God.

The next morning, meeting was conducted on the stage itself. A Hindu sadhu present there began to speak abusively aloud. But Pastor Karamchand paid no attention to him. At last, the sadhu left by himself. Many were blessed spiritually through these meetings. The morning studies and the evening crusades went on till October 10th and when Pastor Karamchand Hans saw the thirst and thrust of the public, he extended the meetings for one more day.

Many miracles took place during those meetings. Many blind, deaf, dumb, crippled, demon possessed, and people distressed by various sicknesses were healed. One, the daughter of Mr. S..., was instantly healed of her dumbness and began to speak clearly as soon as Pastor Karamchand prayed for her. Mr. S...  happened to know about the meetings through a pamphlet he found outside the Club. After this miracle in his daughter’s life, he became convinced of Jesus’ power. He himself was healed of sore and cracked feet...

Pastor Karamchand left an indelible mark in the lives of the believers of Sanjay Koyala Nagar. It was he who suggested the construction of the Prarthana Bhavan during his first visit. He, by the Spirit, showed the site where the Bhavan was to be constructed, that is beside the house of Mr. David S. Paul. He also influenced many Christians and non-Christians to attend the meetings every Sunday evening at Mr. David Paul’s house. In that way, he played the most vital role in the founding of the Prarthana Bhavan in Sanjay Koyala Nagar.

After the Convention in Sanjay Koyala Nagar, Pastor Karamchand and his team moved on to Chachai, then Anuppur, and then to Jamuna Colliery to speak at the Conventions there. The Christians of Sanjay Koyala Nagar followed him to all of these places. It was during this time that Mr. R. Venkata Rao was touched by the power of the Holy Spirit, baptized in Him, spoke in different tongues and received power from above. This happened during one of the many times of prayer that he spent with Pastor Karamchand during these meetings.

After these meetings, the believers of Sanjay Koyala Nagar who had been attending all through, returned to Sanjay Koyala Nagar and continued in the word, prayer, worship, and fellowship. Mr. R. V. Rao, however, followed Pastor Karamchand to Raipur as well where they had mighty healing meetings. It was in Raipur that Mr. Rao first cast out a demon in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not return to Andhra with the intention to attend the Chris Panos Gospel Healing Crusade in November 1992. This stay prolonged since it was made known that Pastor Karamchand was going to speak at the Convention in Hirakud, Orissa. Mr. R. V. Rao Paulus (Pastor Karamchand gave the name Paulus to him at Raipur) attended these meetings with his wife. Pastor Karamchand was unable to come for these meetings but sent Pastor Om Prakash (General Secretary of Spiritual Christian Church Fellowship of India) and Pastor Surinder Masih in his place. There was also a singer with them. This singer had not yet taken baptism. But when Mr. Paulus preached, he immediately expressed his decision to be baptized and was baptized. On seeing this, Pastor Om Prakash and Pastor Surinder Masih, moved by the Spirit ordained (or recognized the ordination of God upon) Mr. Paulus on November 20, 1992.

© Domenic Marbaniang, 2005

Faith Births Miracles (John 6:1-14)

Text: John 6:1-14 (The Feeding of the Five Thousand)

After these things Jesus went over the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias. Then a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His signs which He performed on those who were diseased. And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. Then Jesus lifted up His eyes, and seeing a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" But this He said to test him, for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may have a little." One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down." Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted. So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the sign that Jesus did, said, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world."(John 6:1-14)

1. The Supernatural Perspective of Faith

He said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" .... Philip answered Him, "Two hundred denarii worth of bread is not sufficient for them,..." One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to Him, "There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two small fish, but what are they among so many?" Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down."

The disciples had a natural and rational perspective; but, Jesus had a supernatural perspective. What reason sees as naturally impossible, faith sees as supernaturally possible.

2. The Spoken Word of Faith

Then Jesus said, "Make the people sit down."

The disciples were speaking negative words of fear. Jesus spoke the positive words of divine confidence.

3. The Specific Act of Faith

And Jesus took the loaves, and when He had given thanks He distributed them to the disciples, and the disciples to those sitting down; and likewise of the fish, as much as they wanted.

Jesus did not just speak faith, He acted according to it. Faith without works is dead. Do what you believe God can do through you!

4. The Sumless Power of Faith

So when they were filled, He said to His disciples, "Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost." Therefore they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves which were left over by those who had eaten.

There is nothing impossible for Jesus and nothing impossible for those who believe in Jesus, i.e. those who walk according to His will.

Believe in Jesus and experience His miraculous power in your life right now!

विश्‍वास के आश्‍चर्यकर्म (यूहुन्‍ना 6: 1-14)

पाठ: यूहुन्‍ना 6: 1-14

Joh 6:1 इन बातोंके बाद यीशु गलील की झील अर्थात तिबिरियास की झील के पास गया।
Joh 6:2 और एक बड़ी भीड़ उसके पीछे हो ली कयोंकि जो आश्‍चर्य कर्म वह बीमारोंपर दिखाता या वे उन को देखते थे।
Joh 6:3 तब यीशु पहाड़ पर चढ़कर अपके चेलोंके साय वहां बैठा।
Joh 6:4 और यहूदियोंके फसह के पर्ब्‍ब निकट या।
Joh 6:5 तब यीशु ने अपनी आंखे उठाकर एक बड़ी भीड़ को अपके पास आते देखा, और फिलप्‍पुस से कहा, कि हम इन के भोजन के लिये कहां से रोटी मोल लाएं
Joh 6:6 परन्‍तु उस ने यह बात उसे परखने के लिये कही? क्‍योंकि वह आप जानता था कि मैं क्‍या करूंगा।
Joh 6:7 फिलप्‍पुस ने उस को उत्तर दिया, कि दो सौ दीनार की रोटी उन के लिये पूरी भी न होंगी कि उन में से हर एक को योड़ी योड़ी मिल जाए।
Joh 6:8 उसके चेलोंमें से शमौन पतरस के भाई अन्‍द्रियास ने उस से कहा।
Joh 6:9 यहां एक लड़का है जिस के पास जव की पांच रोटी और दो मछिलयां हैं परन्‍तु इतने लोगोंके लिये वे क्‍या हैं।
Joh 6:10 यीशु ने कहा, कि लोगोंको बैठा दो। उस जगह बहुत घास यी: तब वे लोग जो गिनती में लगभग पांच हजार के थे, बैठ गए:
Joh 6:11 तब यीशु ने रोटियां लीं, और धन्यवाद करके बैठनेवालोंको बांट दी: और वैसे ही मछिलयोंमें से जितनी वे चाहते थे बांट दिया।
Joh 6:12 जब वे खाकर तृप्‍त हो गए तो उस ने अपके चेलोंसे कहा, कि बचे हुए टुकड़े बटोर लो, कि कुछ फेंका न जाए।
Joh 6:13 सो उन्‍होंने बटोरा, और जव की पांच रोटियोंके टुकड़े जो खानेवालोंसे बच रहे थे उन की बारह टोकिरयां भरीं।
Joh 6:14 तब जो आश्‍चर्य कर्म उस ने कर दिखाया उसे वे लोग देखकर कहने लगे? कि वह भविष्यद्वक्ता जो जगत में आनेवाला या निश्‍चय यही है।

1 विश्‍वास का अलौकिक दृष्टिकोण

Joh 6:7 फिलप्‍पुस ने उस को उत्तर दिया, कि दो सौ दीनार की रोटी उन के लिये पूरी भी न होंगी कि उन में से हर एक को योड़ी योड़ी मिल जाए।
Joh 6:8 उसके चेलोंमें से शमौन पतरस के भाई अन्‍द्रियास ने उस से कहा।
Joh 6:9 यहां एक लड़का है जिस के पास जव की पांच रोटी और दो मछिलयां हैं परन्‍तु इतने लोगोंके लिये वे क्‍या हैं।
Joh 6:10 यीशु ने कहा, कि लोगोंको बैठा दो।

शिष्‍य स्‍वाभाविक बुद्धि के अनुसार सोच रहे थे। परन्‍तु यीशु विश्‍वास का अलौकिक दृष्टिकोण रखे।

2 विश्‍वास का अंगिकार वचन

Joh 6:10 यीशु ने कहा, कि लोगोंको बैठा दो।

शिष्‍य भय के नकरात्‍मक शब्‍द कह रहे थे। यीशु ने विश्‍वास के शब्‍द कहा।

3 विश्‍वास का आदर्श कार्य

Joh 6:11 तब यीशु ने रोटियां लीं, और धन्यवाद करके बैठनेवालोंको बांट दी: और वैसे ही मछिलयोंमें से जितनी वे चाहते थे बांट दिया।

विश्‍वास कर्म बिना अधूरा एवं मरा है। यीशु ने विश्‍वास के अनुसार कार्य किया। क्‍या आप विश्‍वास करते है और उसके अनुसार कदम लेते है।

4 विश्‍वास की असीमित सामर्थ

Joh 6:12 जब वे खाकर तृप्‍त हो गए तो उस ने अपके चेलोंसे कहा, कि बचे हुए टुकड़े बटोर लो, कि कुछ फेंका न जाए।
Joh 6:13 सो उन्‍होंने बटोरा, और जव की पांच रोटियोंके टुकड़े जो खानेवालोंसे बच रहे थे उन की बारह टोकिरयां भरीं।

यीशु के लिये कुछ भी असम्‍भव नही। यीशु पर विश्‍वास करने वालों के लिये, अर्थात उसकी इच्‍छा के पालन करने वालों के लिये, भी कुछ असम्‍भव नही।

यीशु पर विश्‍वास करें और आज एक महान आश्‍चर्यकर्म अपने जीवन में देखें।

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