7 Keys to Multiplication

Acts 1:8 – Power of Holy Spirit
Acts 3.6 – Authority. Not Silver and Gold… Jesus didn’t leave them with monetary assets, but gave them authority in His Name.
Acts 4:30,31 – Not to flee the field, but to boldly proclaim despite opposition
Acts 5: 11,12 – Purity of Church
Acts 6:7 – Administrative Wisdom
Acts 9:31 – Divine Breakthrough. The Big Fish
Acts 12:24 – National Changes. The church prayed.
Share:

Classification of Miracles

Miracles of Creation – e.g Blind Eyes Opened, Aaron's Rod Budded
Miracles of Multiplication – e.g. Multiplication of Bread and fish, Widow's Oil Multiplied
Miracles of Resurrection - e.g. Raising Lazarus
Miracles of Power over Nature – e.g Stilling Storm, Walking on Water, Dividing Red Sea, Iron swims
Miracles of Destruction – e.g. Withering of the Fig Tree, Uzzah Struck Dead
Miracles of Healing - e.g. Healing of Naaman
Miracles of Transformation - e.g. Water Turned into Wine
Miracles of Opening - e.g. Balaam's Donkey Speaks, Elisha's Servant's Eyes Opened
Miracles of Protection - e.g. Daniel in Lions' Den; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Share:

The Basket and the Rope (Acts 9:25)

"Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket." (Acts 9:25)

Christians having access to the wall are responsible to help save lives of other Christians threatened by enemies of the Gospel; if unable to physically help, then at least fervently pray and send relief by any means possible. (Matt.10:23; 2Cor.11:23; 1Sam.19:12; Rom.15:30-32; Acts 12:5; 2Thes.3:1,2; Matt.25:37-40; Phil.4:15-18).


When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matt.10:23)

In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me; but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands. (2Cor.11:32-33)

So Michal let David down through a window. And he went and fled and escaped. (1Sam.19:12)

For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place.... Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14)

Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints.. (Rom.15:30-31)

Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. (Acts 12:5)

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. (2Thess.3:1-2)

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' (Matt.25:37-40)

Now you Philippians know also that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church shared with me concerning giving and receiving but you only. For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that abounds to your account. Indeed I have all and abound. I am full, having received from Epaphroditus the things sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God. (Phil.4:15-18)
Share:

Love God With All Your Strength (Mark 12:30)

"Love the LORD your God with all your ...strength." (Mk.12:30)

There is a reason why Solomon tells young people to remember God when they are still young (Ecc12:1); it's because youth is the time when one has great opportunities to love God truly with all one's strength. It's the time when one can choose to use his strength for the Master. To know God at an old age is fine; however, then strength is weak, the keepers tremble, and the grasshopper is a burden (Eccl.12:3-5). But, in the robust vigor of youth, one can truly speak of loving God with all one's strength. In his youth, David could talk of God as the one who trained his hands for war so that his arms could bend a bow of bronze and his feet could run against a troop and leap over a wall (Psa.144:1; 18:29,34). But, in his old age, he could not speak of being able in the same manner. David had the blessing of serving the Lord with all his strength in his youth.

There is no sadder sight than a young person giving up all hope saying, "I can't, I have no strength!" Some find repose in the teaching of a weak human nature. But, the Bible commands the young to be strong (2Tim.2:1), and positively says: "I have written to you, young men, because YOU ARE STRONG, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the wicked one" (1Jn.2:14).
Share:

Godly Sorrow Vs Godless Sorrow

There are two kinds of sorrow: godly sorrow and godless or worldly sorrow (2Cor.7:10). Godly sorrow over sin leads to repentance; godly sorrow over the state of people or things leads to prayer (often with fasting) and action. Godless sorrow leads to works of flesh, to anger, lust, bitterness, hatred, and ultimately death. Godless sorrow is abomination in God's eyes. Godless sorrow hurts self and others.

Examples of Godless Sorrow:
1. Cain's sadness that led to hatred and murder (Gen.4:5-7)
2. Sorrow of the Israelites for not having their lust for meat being fulfilled (Num.11:4-6)
3. Ahab's sorrow for not getting Naboth's land that he coveted (1Kgs.21:1-4).
4. Sorrow of Judas Iscariot that led to his suicide (Matt.27:3-5).
5. Sorrow of Abraham out of not knowing the will of God (Gen.21:11,12); but, when he knew God's will, he immediately obeyed God.
6. Sorrow of Jonah out of selfish pity (Jonah 4)

Examples of Godly Sorrow:
1. Sorrow of David over his sin (Psa.51).
2. Sorrow of Nehemiah over the state of Jerusalem that led to prayer and action (Neh.1).
3. Sorrow of Jesus in Gathsamane for the sin of the world (Matt.26:38). He was a man of godly sorrows (Isa.53:3).
4. Sorrow of Paul for the salvation of Israel (Rom.9).
Share:

We Shall All Give Account To God (Rom.14:12-15)

We will all have to give an account to God of our:
  1. Thoughts/Conscience (Rom.2:15-16; Heb.4:12,13)
  2. Words (Matt.12:36; Jude 14-16; 2Cor.5:10)
  3. Works (Eccl.12:14; Rev.20:12,13)
  4. Desires/Pursuits (Rom.2:7)
  5. Treasures, Stewardship/Talents, Expenditures and Investments (Matt.6:20; Phil.4:17; Matt.25:19; 1Tim.6:17-19; Rev.3:18)
  6. Obedience to Faith (Rom.4:3; 2Thess.1:8)
  7. Choices and Lifestyle, Time Spent (Eccl.11:9)
  8. Souls (Heb.13:17; Rom.14:12; 1Cor.8:12,13; 1Pet.5:4)
  9. Acts towards the Body of Christ (1Cor.3:10-17)
  10. Ministry (James 3:1; Lk.12:47-48; Jer.48:10; 2Cor.4:1-2)
Share:

National Integrity: Neighborliness, Not Culture is the Answer

In the past, empires and regimes identified national integrity with a cultural, ideological or religious unity of some kind. Thus, from Nebuchadnezzar's Golden Image and Alexander's Hellenization to Nazi Fascism and Soviet Communism, the attempt was to unify on the basis of symbols, forms, and slogans. However, it didn't unite but only divide turning a nation against itself and its own people, in some cases leading to persecution by the government of the very people it was called to protect.

Opposed to such false ideals of national integrity, modern secular constitutions envisage justice, equality, fraternity, and liberty as the chief principles of nationhood. In an increasingly globalizing era, cultural pride and cultural monism can never be the answer. The parade and propagation of symbols and slogans don't help much in the improvement of the nation. Pride goes before destruction.

Good Samaritan
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the best illustrations of the real need. The Samaritan was a cultural and religious "outcaste", one who violated the integrity of the Jewish nation. However, when the man robbed by robbers lay beaten and bruised on the side of the road, it was not the religious priest (symbol of religious pride) or the Levite (symbol of racial or tribal pride) who came to assist the man; they simply turned away; it was the Samaritan who not only gave first aid to the bruised citizen, but also lifted him up, took to the nearest inn, paid an amount to the keeper and assured that the man was properly taken care of till he returned to pay back the expenditure incurred. He was the true neighbor not because he shared the same culture and religion, but because he became a friend in time of need.

A culturally and religiously aflame society is the very opposite of the Good Samaritan ideal. In Nazi rule, "neighbors" turned against their neighbors, betrayals became common, shops were looted, homes were plundered, and things were done against humanity that humanity is still very ashamed of. But, why? Because one individual tried to identify national integrity with racial pride. Hatred is always damaging to self and nation.

But, look on the other hand the lives of the true saints, who don't discriminate humans on the basis of creed, caste, and culture, but know that humanity is one, that men are equal, that justice is the right of all, that liberty is the right of all. These are the ones who display fraternity in their actions. Loving our neighbor as ourselves is the answer. The Golden Rule is: "Do to others as you wish them do to you!"
Share:

The Third Temple At Jerusalem, How Far Now?

The building of the Third Temple is one of the most anticipated events for Jews all over the world; for, the Temple is considered to be the heart of the identity of Jerusalem as the Holy City of God. For about 2000 years now, Jerusalem and the Jewish people have been Temple-less. However, the vision of a third Temple burns brightly in their hearts.

History tells us that the First Temple built by King Solomon was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 BC. In 538 BC, Cyrus the Great Emperor of Persia ascended the throne and decreed the construction of the Second Temple. This temple was completed in around 516 BC under the leadership of Joshua the High Priest, Prince Zerubabel, and prophets such as Haggai and Zechariah. The Book of Ezra gives an account of this construction and the hindrances the people had to overcome during the work. The Second Temple was renovated and remodeled during the reign of Herod the Great in the first century BC. This temple was destroyed by the army of General Titus of the Roman Empire in AD 70. This year also marked the wide diaspora of the Jewish people and alienation from their own Promised Land.

After the Holocaust of World War II, Zionist movements finally succeeded in convincing the UN General Assembly to recognize for the Jews their own independent Jewish State. Consequently, on 14 May 1948, the State of Israel came into existence. The event is considered to be the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah the prophet that the nation will be born in one day (Isa.66:8). Christian scholars recognize this day as the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy of the fig tree budding (Matt.24:32), a sign of the end days.

Jewish scholars consider the Third Temple to be the temple revealed in the book of Ezekiel 40-42. Many believe this will be built during the reign of the Messiah (anticipated by the Jews). However, there are groups who believe that it is the Jewish people's responsibility to build the temple. At present, the Temple Institute and the Temple Mount and Eretz Yisrael Faithful Movement make endeavors concentrating on the prospective construction of the Third Temple. Articles to be used in the temple are already being collected.



However, controversy prevails over both the site and the time of the Temple. We already have seen the disagreements regarding whether it would be built after the advent of the Messiah (still anticipated by the Jews who do not accept Jesus as the Messiah) or whether it has to be initiated by the Jewish community. The site is also a matter of dispute with some saying that the original site is now occupied by the Islamic Dome on the Rock and others saying that the original site is actually between the Dome and the Al Aqsa Temple.

Most Christian prophetic scholars believe that the Jewish attempt to construct the Third Temple will go along with their submission to the Antichrist, whose reign will be marked by a great mass deception and the fall of a great number of the elect. According to the book of Daniel, the Antichrist will violate his covenant with the Jews in the middle of his 7-year reign and establish the abomination of desolation in the temple (Dan.9:27; 11:31). This will be the time of Jacob's trouble for the Jews and Great Tribulation for the world (Jer.30:7; 2Thess.2:3-12; Matt.24:21,22).

But, then what about Ezekiel's Temple? Some Christian scholars consider it to be the Fourth Temple of the Millenial reign of Christ on earth (Rev.20:4). However, there is objection to this interpretation since Ezekiel talks of sacrifices, and the New Testament teaches that the New Covenant has made the Old Covenant obsolete (Eze.44:15; Heb.8:13). But, the answer given is that the Jews will offer sacrifices in retrospection (which interpretation still doesn't seem honest to the rule of the New Covenant). However, seeing that a possibility of deception is still possible during the Millenium (Rev.20:8,9), this interpretation may not also seem to be completely unlikely. It is apparent that not everyone during the Millenium is actually saved in the sense of having believed in the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Of course, again, not everyone also believes in a literal and prospective 1000 years reign of Jesus Christ. However, the Millenium view does answer a number of enigmas in prophecy that could not otherwise be understood. Another suggestion is to interpret Ezekiel's Temple figuratively. But, not all agree with an absolute figurative interpretation. The Temple Institute acknowledges the fact that many details of Ezekiel's Temple are difficult to understand and looks forward to the Messianic era for an understanding of those aspects. Till then, it states, "it is the Second Temple's attributes that must be upheld when rebuilding the Temple."
Share:

Choices

Joseph
Life is made up of choices.
Man has been given the freedom to choose.
One may not be able to choose circumstances, but he can choose how to respond to those circumstances (Matt.25:26,27)

God will judge us according to our works, that is according to the choices we have made in life (Rev.20:12)

Choices involve acceptance and rejection; acceptance of good and rejection of evil. Those who choose good receive favor, but those who choose evil invite trouble (Pro.11:27).

Some Important Choices to Make
The Bible is filled with guidance regarding what to choose and what to avoid. Following are few of them:
Choose the Narrow Gate (Matt.7:13)
Choose Life (Deut 30:19)
Choose Blessing (Deut 30:19)
Choose Right Attitude (Gen.4:6-8)
Choose to Serve God (Josh 24:15-22)
Choose the Word of God (Psa.119:30,111,173)
Choose the Fear of God (Prov.1:29)
Choose Wisdom (Prov.8:36)
Choose What Pleases God (Isa.56:4)
Choose the Kingdom and God's Righteousness (Matt.6:33)
Choose to Spend Time with Jesus (Lk.10:42)
Choose the Virtues (Phil.4:8)

Significant Choices in the Bible
Good Choices
Joseph chose to honor God in temptation (Gen.39:9)
Job chose to glorify God in his sufferings (Job 1:20,21)
Ruth chose to be with Naomi her mother-in-law and take care of her (Ruth 1:16)
David chose to encourage self in trouble (1Sam.30:6)
Daniel chose to keep himself pure from the world when away from his own people (Dan.1:8)
Paul chose to know Christ and considered everything else garbage (Phil.3:8)

Bad Choices
Adam and Eve chose the forbidden fruit (Gen.3)
Cain chose to kill Abel (Gen.4:6-8)
Israelites chose to murmur (Num.16:41)
Solomon chose to follow his wives' religions (1Kgs.11:1-4)
Judas chose to betray Jesus (Matt.26:14-16)
Share:

Does Faith in God Make us Invincible and Devoid of Responsibility to Lock our Doors? (Matt 2:22)

"But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee." (Matt.2:22)

Faith-life in this world is doesn't mean that we should not lock our doors. It is not about supernatural invincibility and perfection all the time. Sometimes, God can also guide us through rational fear. A few verses earlier, God tells Joseph to flee to Egypt. Joseph could have argued, "Why flee? Isn't God powerful to protect us? Is Herod greater than God?" But, Joseph didn't; he just obeyed. And, then we may argue that God could have averted the death of so many infants. Why didn't He send legions of angels for the protection of the little ones? But, He didn't. There were times when Jesus Himself hid. It was not possible for the High Priests and his soldiers to find Jesus without having got a traitor like Judas on their side. The heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 not only received their dead raised to life again; some were also "tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection." (Heb.11:35). Doctrines that teach full invincibility and divine protection without any personal responsibility or action are strange to the Bible. Christians do go to hospital, use locks on their doors, and drive on the correct side of road; they are normally expected to.
Share:

Is Yoga Just About Exercises?

Yoga LogoContrary to popular assumptions that yoga is just about exercises, the Hindu scriptural text, Yoga Sutras declares yoga as the path to self-realization or union with God. The doctrines of karma, reincarnation, and spiritual powers are integral to the philosophy. If this aspect of philosophy is removed from yoga, then it becomes just a set of exercises and is no longer worthy of being called yoga. It would do injustice to call a set of exercises as "yoga" after subtracting from them the ground on which they are based. Therefore, the government of India website has tried to make it clear to the world to not misunderstand yoga as just a mere set of exercises (especially as the recently adopted International Day of Yoga on June 21 draws closer). The following are some statements quoted from the site.
"Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and well-being."

"Yoga is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with ourselves, the world and Nature."1

"The term ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘YUJ’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature. The aim of Yoga is Self-Realization, to overcome all kinds of sufferings leading to 'the state of liberation'. This is one of the oldest sciences of the world, originated in India, which is very useful for preserving and maintaining one's physical and mental health and also for 'spiritual evolution'."2

Yoga is the soteriological doctrine based on the cosmological doctrine of Samkhya of which it is considered to be the twin part. Thus, Samhya-Yoga are always looked together in Indian philosophy.

kundaliniThe Ashtanga (Eight Limbs) of Yoga state the following 8 limbs of yoga:
1. Yama (abstentions): from violence, falsehood, stealing, sexual activity, and possessiveness
2. Niyama (observances): of cleanliness, contentment, austerity, self-study, and God-centeredness
3. Asana (postures)
4. Pranayama (control of breath and life energy)
5. Pratyahara (shutting down of senses to external world)
6. Dharana (concentration on a point or object)
7. Dhyana (meditation)
8. Samadhi (union or oneness with object)

The 5 principles of Yama are identical with the 5 vows of Jainism. The doctrine of activating the Kundalini powers within the body are somewhat similar to the doctrine of chi power in popular Buddhism.

Biblical Analysis of the Theory

Briefly, while the Bible is not at all against any physical exercise that aids the health of body (1Tim.4:8), it certainly distinguishes itself from doctrines that teach that physical postures and exercises lead to salvation of soul. In this it does somewhat agree with the form of yoga known as "Bhakti Yoga" which stresses on faith and love as the path to salvation. The Bhakti track consists of the following 9 principles:
(1) śravaṇa ("listening" to the scriptural stories), (2) kīrtana ("praising"), (3) smaraṇa ("remembering"), (4) pāda-sevana (service), (5) archana (prayer), (6) vandana (worship), (7) dāsya (servitude), (8) sākhya (friendship), and (9) ātma-nivedana (complete surrender of the self)
The only main thing to note in the Biblical doctrine is that salvation is by faith in the accomplished atoning work of Christ. Also, Biblical worship is worship in the Spirit and forbids use of any imagination of the form of God or images during worship. Further, Biblical bhakti is different from the bhakti theory of Swami Vivekananda that states that God is the projection of the self, and in the worship of God, one is actually focusing on self. The Bible declares God to be separate from the creature and transcendent to the world; He is Creator and Judge of the universe not one with it. At the same time, however, the Bible also states the fact of divine immanence and omnipresence in the world.

Certainly, Bhakti Yoga is not what is in mind when one is talking of the International Yoga Day.

Now, for certainty, mudra and asana (posture) have a role in Christian worship. For instance, there is the gesture of kneeling down, raising hands, standing, and prostrating. However, in all these the view is absolutely not at all that the gestures prompt the feelings or experience. They are not mimesis to reality, but reality itself. One doesn't kneel in order to feel humble; one just kneels out of humility; one doesn't dance to reach ecstasy, one dances out of joy. And then, the internal posture is more important than the external one. It is possible that one can be kneeling externally but standing haughtily inside.

By stating that physical exercises profit little but godliness profits much (1Tim.4:8), the Bible establishes the distinction between the spiritual and the physical. They cannot be fused. It goes on to state that physical austerities can't help to save a person.
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations --"Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using -- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. (Col 2:20-23)

In fact, there is a verse that states that the Last Days will intensify contrary doctrines that teach to not marry (celibacy) and abstaining from God-given foods (1Tim.4:1-3); for instance, doctrines that state that food like meat, onions, and garlic intensify sensuality.

In addition, the concept of spiritual evolution in the sense of reaching higher levels of self-consciousness is alien to the Bible. Concentrating on a point, a flame, a word, or an object is popularly used in hypnosis. Some have noticed this as leading to hallucinations similar to those under influence of LSD and such hallucinogen drugs. While it is claimed that these heighten the sense of reality, it has been observed that these produce distorted sense of reality.

Of course, not everyone is interested in these philosophical and mystical aspects of yoga, and wish to contain themselves with only the physical exercises alone. However, it is suggested that one should call exercises as exercises alone and not as yoga if they are not considered to be yoga in the sense that "yoga" is meant to be understood. In that way, we do justice to the meaning of terms and don't confuse meanings.

Finally, it is important to be careful not to throw the baby with the bathwater here. Principles like non-violence, non-covetousness, and truth are morally upright. Also, right forms of exercises to improve blood circulation, muscular mobility, strength, and breathing and stretching exercises are certainly good for the body, when properly done. Just because they occur as limbs of Yoga don't mean that they are yogic in the philosophical sense. However, anything that is intended towards union with nature, shutting down of senses, and attainment of super-consciousness is fundamentally different from the teaching of the Bible. As such, one must be very clear in asserting what one believes and what one doesn't. India is immensely gifted with a very rich cultural heritage of health understanding. From ayurveda in medicine to the various schools of physical education, there is a corpus of literature and tradition that is a historical treasure of the nation. It continues to develop and share its riches with the world even as it absorbs understanding from others. But, when it comes to philosophical understanding, it is important to note that India has been pluralistic. Even within Hinduism there are schools that disagree with each other. For instance, some consider idolatry as non-Vedic while some consider it to be Vedic; some consider God to be a transcendent other while others consider God to be identical with the universe. As such, highlighting a single religious philosophy over the other and trying to make it mandatory is opposed to the cultural texture of the nation. It is important to keep politics and religion (or religiously colored culture) separate in order for peace, fraternity, and freedom to be secure. The true spirit of secularism will try to assure this.

Suggested Readings

Raja Yoga by Swami Vivekananda
Death of A Guru by Rabindranath R. Maharaj
Cults, World Religions and the Occult by Kenneth Boa


1http://idy.nhp.gov.in
2http://idy.nhp.gov.in/static/introduction
Share:

Ocean of Kindness - Poem

Ocean of Kindness, How great is Your Infinite Love;
I entered in dark, soiled, and dirty; I came out spotless and white.
I entered in broken, wormy, and leprous; I came out unblemished as a child.
I entered in troubled, confused, and ignorant; I came out with unspeakable peace of mind.
O Ocean of Kindness, Ocean of Kindness, How great is Your Infinite Love!

Your Kindness never gets deplete,
Your Kindness never gets soiled,
Your Kindness is constant forever;
Ocean of Kindness, How great is Your Love!
O Ocean of Kindness, Ocean of Kindness, How great is Your Infinite Love!
Share:

Sardis (Rev.3:1-6) - Poem

Storm in Lake of GalileeFrom the One who holds the Seven Spirits and the Seven Stars,
"I know you as you are:
By reputation, alive; by character, dead!"

"Watch and strengthen the things now dying; your works aren't perfect before God;
Hold fast, repent, and watch;
If you don't defile your garments, I'll give you garments white!"

"For, I am coming soon to take the overcomers home;
And, before the Father's throne,
Their names I will confess and won't blot from the Book of Life."

There is no overcoming, without a proper fight;
He who expects no fighting will falter from the right;
But, he who holds his faith in faithfulness will walk with Jesus in white.
Share:

Sowing Money and Goods to the Spirit (Gal.6:7-9)

"He who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." (Gal 6:8)

This speaks in relation to giving to the Lord. Verse 7 instructs us to assist full-time Christian workers and teachers in the ministry by sharing in all good things. Verse 9 tells us to do good to all, esp to the family of believers, whenever we have opportunity to help (and opportunity is precious, the season of sowing). The call is to sow into the kingdom of God in order reap incorruptible harvest. It doesn't say, "Sow your money in order to get a harvest of money!" NO. Rather, it says that he who sows to his flesh (who spends money only on his own personal, family, and business needs) will reap corruption (because everything in this world will be destroyed); but, he who sows to the Spirit, to the work of the Spirit, with faith in the spiritual, for spiritual purposes, to assist the work of God, will of the Spirit reap everlasting life, will have treasures in heaven. Also, He multiplies the seed that we sow today into His Kingdom, so that we have abundance always in order to give to the Lord (2Cor.9:8-11). God is not indebted to anyone; He pays back (Prov.19:17). We must be careful here because it is seen that some ministries are abusing this scripture by calling out people to "sow seed money" into their ministries, promising that God will double or multiply that money. This shifts our focus from the spiritual to the flesh. It plays on human selfishness and greed, the works of flesh; and carnal people fall into this snare. We must remember that we are pilgrims here and our hope is in Christ in heaven. Also, remember it is important first to clear our debts to humans before we try to desire to bring an offering to God (Lk.19:8,9; Matt.5:23,24; Rom.13:7,8). Finally, to "share in all good things" is not just about money; it includes all good things needed in the Kingdom business. Also, when one gives and wants everybody to know what or how much he has given, he has lost his heavenly reward (Matt.6:1-4).



Share:

The 7 Laws of Noah For All Mankind According To The Babylonian Talmud

Noah Ark
Judaism doesn't say that conversion to Judaism is necessary for non-Jews; however, it does hold it obligatory for every human to obey what are considered to be the 7 Laws of Noah. Anyone who abides by these 7 laws is considered to be a "righteous gentile" and is assured of a portion in the world to come.1 In other words, though the Law of Moses given to the Covenant people of Israel is not obligatory for the non-Jewish world, the Laws of Noah are obligatory for all mankind.

Tract Sanhedrin of the Babylonian Talmud lists the seven laws in the following words:
The rabbis taught: Seven commandments were given to the children of Noah, and they are: Concerning judges, blasphemy, idolatry, adultery, bloodshed, robbery, and that they must not eat of the member of a body while the animal is still alive.2
The view known as Noahidism builds its ideology on these. Six of the commandments were considered to have been Adamic: "(1) not to worship idols; (2) not to blaspheme the name of God; (3) to establish courts of justice; (4) not to kill; (5) not to commit adultery; and (6) not to rob". The seventh was added after the Flood: (7) not to eat flesh that had been cut from a living animal (Gen. 9:4)3

According to this view, it is obligatory for mankind everywhere to establish legal systems and courts (Law #3) in order to warn and judge people upon the basis of the 6 laws. Obviously, each of the basic laws needed to be interpreted into laws applicable for various crimes.

After the Holocaust, the title "Righteous Among the Nations", based upon the concept of "Righteous Gentiles", became an honorific given by the State of Israel to all those non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save the Jews from extermination by the Nazis.4


1 "Laws, Noachian," Jewish Encyclopedia. jewishencyclopedia.com
2 Babylonian Talmud, Book 8: Tract Sanhedrin, tr. by Michael L. Rodkinson, [1918], at sacred-texts.com
3 "Laws, Noachian," Jewish Encyclopedia.
4For details on the Righteous Among the Nations, visit Yadvashem.org by The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority.
Share:

Conditional Identities - Friend and Neighbor in the Bible

The New Testament talks of relations as conditional identities, implying that people can only claim certain identities with Christ if they fulfill certain conditions. Following are some of them.

1. Only those who receive Christ and believe in Him have the right to become the children of God (Jn.1:12)
2. Only those who obey the commandments of Christ are His friends (Jn.15:14)
3. Only those who deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Christ are fit to be called disciples of Christ (Lk.9:23)
4. Only those who do the will of the Father is mother, brother, and sister of Christ (Matt.12:50)
5. Only those who show mercy to others, regardless of who they are, are the true neighbor (Lk.10:36-37)
6. Only those who confess their sins and cry out for mercy are marked as justified (Lk.18:13-14)

Christ cannot recognize those who do not practically fulfill these conditions, no matter what they believe (Matt.7:21-23)
Share:

Freedom in Christ

Christ Gives Us Freedom From:
1. Falsehood (Jn.8:32)
2. Sin (Jn.8:33-35; Rom.6:7)
3. Power of Darkness (Col.1:13)
4. Corruption of flesh (2Pet.2:19)
5. Vain Traditions (1Pet.1:18)
6. The Law (Rom.7:6; Gal.5:1,13)
7. Corruption of this World (Rom.8:21)
8. This Present Evil Age (Gal.1:4)
9. Fear of Death (Heb.2;15)
10. Oppression (Lk.4:18)
Share:

Mega-figure Perversions in Christian Ministry

This kind of perversion is a spirit of high-class mindedness that prevails among Christian ministers and is evident in their speeches and gallery or media display in which they speak of friendships or acquaintance with rich, powerful, and popular or elite figures; portray themselves in context of or association with Universities, Clubs, or Associations; and create an environment of aloofness from the common people. Whenever they show themselves with the common, it is like condescending to help them. This pervert spirit craves to be seen as popular figures, whose meetings are jampacked, crowds number in thousands or millions, and who have a large subscription or fan following. The book of James rebukes this spirit of snobbish perversion.

Share:

The Narrow Gate (Matt.7:13,14)

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matt.7:13,14)
narrow road
To enter through the narrow gate means to leave every worldly luggage outside of the gate. One must save his own soul. Therefore, Christ said that he who wished to be His disciple had to deny self and all earthly relations, then take up his own cross, and follow Him. The cross is another symbol of the difficult road. For Peter and John, it meant to leave their business and life of security in order to follow Christ. For the rich young man, it meant to sell off his wealth, distribute it to the poor, and follow Christ. The rich man wasn't willing to leave his baggage behind; therefore, he refused to enter the narrow gate and chose the wide one instead. Jesus said that it would be easier for a camel to enter through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. They say that there was a gate called the "Needle's Eye", which was both narrow and low, and so caravan camels would have to unload their baggage and bow low in order to enter through it. The rich man wasn't willing to either unload his earthly baggage nor willing to bow low to a life that Christ chose to live Himself. How miserable is the state of a person who chooses the temporary enjoyment of this world and spurns the treasures of heaven!

To enter through the narrow gate also means to take the difficult path. Remember the gate is narrow and the road is difficult, but it is not crooked. It is still the King's Highway. However, it is not an easy road; firstly, because the road is given to us in a world that is now under the sway of Satan. We are just foreigners and pilgrims here. The devil has wide and broad roads in his kingdom; however, no matter how embellished and pompous they look, they are all going to perish with the world and the devil. The broad roads are roads to destruction. However, though the road of our Lord is very narrow and difficult, it is solid, strong, and secure. It will last forever. It leads to life.

Secondly, the gate is narrow and the road difficult because the gate is opposed to our natural inclination. Our natural inclination, after the Fall, has become sin and sinful pleasures, that is anything other than the enjoyment of God. Therefore, for a sinner, spending a few hours in worship is more difficult than a sports event, prayer is more tiresome than a day's labor, spending time with the Father is more difficult than spending time with friends and family. For the degenerate, even spending time with family is painful because he longs for sinful company. But, as a person becomes spiritual, the lusts of the flesh die and the things of God give more joy than anything else in the world (Rom.8:1; 1Jn.5:3). Yet, this doesn't mean that the flesh will not feel pain. However, the beauty of the narrow road is that one can rejoice even in the midst of pain and suffering (James 1:2; Acts 16:25; Phil.4:4).

Read Also: Heb.13:12-14; 2Cor.4:8-18; 1Pet.4:1; 1Pet.2:21-23
Share:

Sinful Nature and the Crucifixion of the Christian With Christ

The Book of Genesis records the historically vital account of the Fall of man. Now, there are those who are skeptical of this account. It seems to them very unlikely that a race can be condemned to eternal damnation just because its progenitors took a secret bite of the forbidden fruit. Firstly, the fruit-nature correlation itself seems to them incongruous. Then, there is the issue of justness of such damnation. However, there is something about this account that is unignorable; and, that is that it stands out as the most legitimate explanation of the root of human devolution.

Adam JudgedGenesis 3 records the first lie of Scripture, the demonic lie that man would not surely die if he ate the forbidden fruit but would rather become like God knowing good and evil. The first part of it was blatantly false; the effect of the fruit was instantly fatal on both Adam and Eve, for the moment they sinned they died spiritually. The opening of their eyes meant their spiritual death in the same manner that the opening of the rich man's eyes in hades meant his physical death. However, from the perspective of the devil, it wasn't so much really death, for to him the opening of eyes really was the life he wished to have, the life of eternal separation from God. The opening of eyes also marked the genesis of shame for human kind. It also marked the genesis of maya or a web of delusion, which is the life that is governed by the temporal separated from the eternal. The matrix of this carnality is so intense that God Himself had to provide for Adam and Eve garments of skins and all visions of the divine, thenceforth, also include the idea of "covering".

However, the devil was also blatantly false when he asserted that man would become like God knowing good and evil; for, firstly, man could never become like God; and secondly, God doesn't know good and evil; He knows only good in its moral perfection. He is good. It is the depraved state of man (of knowing good and evil, not as God knows but as the devil knows) that produces all forms of false images of God and religion in the world.

It must be understood that the Bible doesn't say that God condemns humanity because of its sinful nature. But, it says that man in his sinful state is already dead in his sins.

Genesis 3 is the point of the beginning of sin, carnality, and the works of the flesh that stands eternally opposed to the life of the Spirit. Therefore, God had to affirm that His Spirit would no longer strive with man who is just flesh (Gen.6:3). Flesh and blood could never inherit the kingdom of God because every child that is born in this world is born into a body of death (Rom.7:24). The earnest expectation is for the redemption of this body (Rom.8:19), that could have never been possible apart from the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ by the eternal Spirit (Rom.8:11,23). Therefore, in the redeemed there is no answer for deliverance from sinful tendency apart from the work of the Spirit (Rom.8:13). And, there is no eternal deliverance from sin apart from the resurrection of the body (1Jn.3:2; Rom.8:29).

The condemning factor is the rejection of Christ by which one becomes identified with the crucifier rather than the crucified. Those who are crucified with Him are those who accept Him (Gal.5:24). Therefore, also, those who accepted Him and then reject Him through apostasy become guilty of double crucifixion of Christ and become bereft of repentance (Heb.6:4-6; Heb.12:16,17).
Share:

Child-Like Faith

In this article, we will be looking at three simple aspects of child-like faith:
1. Primacy of Faith
2. Purity of Faith
3. Practicality of Faith

Primacy of Child-Like Faith
For a child, faith precedes understanding. His faith doesn’t say “I am never going to drink milk until I understand how a brown cow can eat green grass and produce white milk and yellow butter.” In modern times, there is a great clamor about providing evidences for belief; however, the Bible always talks about the primacy of faith over evidence. In fact, Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as itself being “the evidence”. This might appear to be very troublesome for some; however, the history of the Church has giants such as Paul, Anselm, Kierkegaard, and Barth who have affirmed the primacy of faith over understanding. We will try to understand this with the help of two examples from the Bible; but before that, it is important to understand that biblical faith doesn’t encourage blind-belief; in fact, truth is integral to faith: faith without truth is blind; truth without faith is powerless.

The Case of the Rich Man and Lazarus
In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells the parable of a rich man and a beggar named Lazarus, who sat at his gate in misery. The rich man died and found himself in great agony in hades. But, when he looked over the other side and saw Lazarus with Abraham in paradise, he wished that Abraham would send Lazarus to relieve him of his misery. When Abraham tells him that this is impossible, he requests Lazarus to be sent to his brothers instead, hoping that they would certainly believe if they saw someone raised from the dead. However, Abraham makes a classic statement about human nature when he says, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.” In other words, if one is not able to have faith in the words of Scripture, there is no other persuasion possible for such a person. Evidently, here, for a believer who starts with faith every blade of grass resounds with praises of God; however, for an unbeliever, who keeps looking for evidence, no evidence will suffice.

The Case of the Apostle Paul
In Acts 7-9, we read the story of an angry Saul, breathing violence against Christians. He was a person well educated in the Jewish Law and had these to say about himself: "circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." (Phil.3:5,6). For Saul, the Christian claim that Jesus was unfounded. He saw no compulsive evidence for the statement that Jesus is the Christ. However, in Acts 9, Christ encounters him and his life is instantly transformed. He is transferred from darkness to light and the veil that was over his mind earlier, when he read the Old Testament, is removed (2Cor.3:15,16). After this conversion experience, we find something amazing about Saul. We are told that he "immediately preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God", and that he "increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ." (Acts 9:20,22). Now, previously he did know the Scriptures about the Messiah, but he didn't understand them as referring to Christ. However, it was after his heart turned in faith towards Christ that the Scriptures began to come alive to him.

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis talks about how he found out, after his salvation, that the various theories of atonement weren't able to perfectly describe the fact of atonement, and yet the failure of the theories could not in anyway disturb Lewis' faith in the atonement of Christ. When we first believe in Christ, our minds aren't very compounded with theological questions and debates. A believer looks at theology as only an attempt to understand faith. There may be differences in the approaches people take to understand faith. However, it is very important for a Christian to not lose his first child-like faith due to the complexities of theology and experiences in the world, no matter how hard those experiences are. When we retain that original child-like faith, the Scriptures will come alive to us. If not, not even Lazarus sent from paradise can help us.

Purity of Child-Like Faith
The child's mind is not muddled with conflicting ideas that an adult has come to hold and experiences that he has underwent. The child's mind is pure and able to receive faith in its pure form (1Pet.2:1,2); therefore, the child's faith is pure, i.e. consistent. However, a variety of conflicting thoughts compounds the adult's mind with dispositions towards both faith and unbelief at the same time. Therefore, it is very important to have child-like pure faith. We must note that only pure faith is faith in the Bible, and Christ often refers to it as "great faith". Impure faith is equal to unbelief or little faith.

The Case of the Centurion
In Matthew 8:5-10, we read the story of a centurion whom Jesus praises for his great faith. The centurion's faith was great not because he had a large quantity of faith; it was great because it was pure and consistent. It was great in quality, in purity. His faith was unmixed; it was pure. Thus, he was able to see a logical connection between his authority over his soldiers and Christ's authority over diseases. He said, 'I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."' The words "I also" indicates his recognition of the authority of Christ. He reasoned properly and was able to apply his knowledge of authority in military office to faith in the power of Jesus over sickness. That's why Jesus called His faith as "great".

The Case of Peter Walking on the Water
However in Matthew 14:31, we see Jesus rebuking Peter for having little faith. It was because when he saw the storms and the waves, this latter experience made him forget or take into account the fact that he was still walking on the water because of the word of Christ. His adult-experiences of the fatal storms and waves interfered with his experience of Christ. Thus, he allowed fear to overpower his faith which resulted in his losing balance, prompting Jesus to rebuke him for his little or inconsistent faith.

The Case of the Disciples and the Epileptic Boy
In Matthew 17:14-20, we see Jesus rebuking his disciples again for failing to cast out a demon. These disciples had earlier gone out and cast out demons in Jesus' Name. However, when it came to this epileptic boy, unbelief interfered with their faith. Perhaps, the demon began to act up and twist the boy as if intending to kill him when they had began to command it, which disturbed them intensely and shook off their faith in authority of Christ. Perhaps, as a result unbelief took over their hearts and they weren't able to cast out the demon. Whatever, Jesus was not happy with the disciples for lacking faith even like a mustard seed. Mustard seed faith is not about small faith or big faith; mustard seed faith is about consistent and whole faith. As the mustard seed, though small, is complete in itself and able to bring forth and mustard plant, similarly when the disciple's faith is whole and complete and is free of all inconsistency and fragmentation through doubt, he can instruct the mountain to be removed and cast into the sea, and it would obey.

To have child-like faith means to have pure, consistent, and logical faith; one in which memory and logic are not confounded or perplexed by immediate oppositions of faith, one that doesn't forget the Word and works of God.

Practicality of Child-like Faith
James tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). If one asks the question, "What are the things that prevent adults from practising what they believe?" he will not be surprised to find that these are entanglements created by man himself: social pressure, economic pressure, position, reputation, false ideas, imaginations, and all worthless worldlings. Jesus said that these thorns and thistles prevent the seed of God's Word from bearing fruit in a person's life. However, child-like faith is not like that. It is prompt to put faith into action. There is a reason why Jesus said that it is difficult for the rich (meaning those who are slaves to the being-rich-mentality) to enter into heaven; it is because they have grown up in the wrong way and it would be impossible for them to practice or act out faith at all until they had undone the evil effects that mammon has had on them. That was one reason why Jesus asked the rich young ruler to sell his all, give it to the poor, and come follow Him; the young man had to be born-again, to become a child again.

Why was it so difficult for the pharisees and the sadducees to accept Jesus when the marginalized and even gentiles were flocking towards him? Why is the case that traditional Christians have difficulty in experiencing the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit while newcomers instantly receive healing, salvation, and the gift of the Spirit? The reason is simple: the traditional ones have grown up the wrong way and that wrong way prevents them from accepting all that Christ has for them. Now, this is not to say that this is the case with all traditional Christians. However, it often is. But, when one is broken down, when one has lost all hope and willing to do anything that Christ asks of him, then grace is given to the humble, the empty hand of faith is filled, and the child receives what he longs for.

Summary
1. Faith is primal. Often times, a child of God may not understand things, but his faith is unshaken because he knows whom He has believed. His faith is personal.
2. Faith is pure. The faith of the child of God is not mixed with unbelief or fear; his faith doesn't have a short-term-memory of God's works in his life and the life of the saints. The child of God is surrounded by a cloud of witnesses and he runs the race looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith (Heb.12:1,2).
3. Faith is practical. The faith of God's child is active and effective. He gets what he prays for because he does what he believes and acts in accordance to his faith. His faith is not a blind wager; it is evidence, it is substance (Heb.11:1).
Share:

Should a Christian Be Vegetarian or Non-Vegetarian?

After the Flood, God blessed Noah and granted to him every living creature as food even as he had given the green herbs (Gen.9:3). Prior to the Noahic Covenant, we don’t find any mention of humans being non-vegetarian. But, after the Flood, man was granted to kill and eat every living creature, with the following two conditions:

1. Humans, under the Noahic Covenant, are not permitted to eat flesh with its blood (Gen.9:4)
2. Homicide (murder of humans) is affirmed as a capital offence (Gen.9:6)

When the Mosaic Law was given, God further stipulated meat laws that distinguished between clean and unclean animals and forbade the Jewish people from eating anything unclean (Deut 14:3-21). He also reaffirmed that blood must not be eaten but must be poured out on earth like water (Deut 12:16). Scholars have considered several reasons for the prohibition of blood-eating; but the prominent reasons considered are that God wanted to protect the animals from human cruelty and also protect humans from falling to savageness.

When the New Covenant came, Jesus reversed the law of the clean and unclean and declared all food as clean (Mark 7:19, RSV). This is ratified again to Peter in Acts 10 when, in a vision, a voice from heaven commands him to kill and eat creatures considered as unclean in the Old Covenant. When Peter objects by saying that he had never eaten anything common or unclean, the voice declares "What God has cleansed you must not call common" (Acts 10:15). Thus, the Jewish-Gentile division is annulled here and the Old Covenant dietary law related to clean and unclean animals is repealed for both Jews and non-Jews who have become part of the New Covenant.

Again in 1 Timothy 4, Paul instructs that in the last days there will be an increase of demonically influenced legalistic doctrines that would prohibit marriage and eating of certain foods in opposition to the Biblical fact that "every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer." (1Tim.4:4,5). Jesus Himself was a non-vegetarian. He not only distributed fish as food to people but also ate fish, even after His resurrection (Lk.24:42,43). So, it would be hyper-religiosity to declare non-vegetarianism as being antithetical to Christianity. On the other hand, the Bible does have some instructions to govern the ethics of eating. Following are some of them:

1. The Bible forbids gluttony, especially gluttony in relation to meat-eating. It also forbids associating with people who are gluttonous eaters of meat. Proverbs 23:20-21 says, "Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags." We have a reminder in the Israelites who when they craved for flesh too much were destroyed by God in the wilderness (Num.11:4-35).

2. The Bible forbids cruel and unethical killing of animals. Proverbs 12:10 says that the righteous has regard for the life of his beast. Exodus 23:19 commands that one should not boil a young goat in its mother's milk. Leviticus 22:28 prohibits killing a cow and its calf on the same day. Deuteronomy 22:6 forbids taking a bird with its young ones and the eggs it is sitting upon. In Nathan's parable to David, snatching a poor man's dear lamb and cooking it is equated with ruthless homicide (2Sam.12:1-8).

3. The New Testament Apostolic Council in Jerusalem instructed the Church to "abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled" (Acts 15:29). The prohibition of blood is a ratification of the conditions of the Noahic Covenant. Regarding food offered to idols, Paul states that since an idol is nothing, therefore such food is innocuous if eaten unaware. However, he makes it clear that a partaking-eating of food offered to idols means partaking of the table of devils; it provokes the Lord to jealousy (1Cor.10:19-21). Jesus made it clear to the Seven Churches of Revelation that food sacrificed to idols was abomination in His eyes (Rev.2:14,20).

4. Paul instructed Christians to be context-sensitive and desist from eating meat if eating meat, whatsoever, could become a stumbling block for others. He says, "For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables....I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died... Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak." (Rom.14:2,14-15, 20-21).

5. He also instructs Christians not to judge anyone for eating or abstaining from meat, since each is accepted before God (Rom.14:3)

Thus, we see that the Bible doesn't prohibit a person from being vegetarian or non-vegetarian. However, carnality in matters of food is self-destructive. "Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them" (2Cor.6:13). God has called us to sanctification and holiness and He demands us to eat food in a sanctified manner with thanksgiving and prayer, accepted before Him (1Tim.4:4,5).


Last updated on June 18, 2015
Share:

Making the Best Use of Time

"Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (Eph.5:16, ESV)

Things that Waste Time
1. Godless Mysteries (Acts 1:7). Indulging time in things which are hidden by God is a wastage of time, because no matter how hard one will try, one cannot find out anything that is hidden by God. You cannot hack the secret files of heaven; there are no heaven-leaks. Beware of false teachers and mystery cults!
2. Gainless Controversies (2Tim.2:23; Tit.3:9,10; 1Tim.6:3-5). Do not waste time with someone who is obviously a rebel and has no interest in the truth. Those who are interested in truth will have a heart to listen as well. However, those who are obsessed with rebellion will persist in their folly. The Bible instructs about such, "Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them." (Tit.3:10)
3. Negative People . Don't waste time with negative people who have no faith, are chronic critics, abusers of grace, and scoffers of good. Negative people are like blackholes that absorb everything around and are still never satisfied. They are waterless clouds and wandering stars (Jude 1:12) who only take and have nothing to give in return but negativity. Someone said well that God has made enough in the world to satisfy everyone's need, but not enough to satisfy one man's greed. Greed is a bottomless pit, and those who associate with selfish, greedy, and carnal minded people waste precious time which when lost cannot be regained. Remember, each one of us has only a slice of time allotted in this life; we must watch and use time like nothing else.

Best Employment of Time
1. House of God (Psa.84:10). All time used in the work of Christ and the Father is time sowed into eternity. It has amplified results. Therefore, the psalmist says that one day in God's house is better than 1000 elsewhere. God knows only one place on earth specifically, "the House of God"; every other place is just "elsewhere" compared to it.
2. Meditate on God's Word Day and Night (Psalm 1:2). To meditate doesn't mean to keep reading the Bible all the time. That is impossible; for one has got many other things to do. But, one can meditate upon God's Word day and night. Meditation means to try to recall, to search in our minds, what we have read and heard of God's word. The Holy Spirit will bring to one's mind the truths that one needs for a situation (Jn.16:13); however, that cannot be unless one is fellowshipping with the Spirit all the time by asking questions and searching for truth even while engaged in the daily chores of life. Meditation helps one assimilate God's word by personally tasting each bite of truth as relevant to one's situation. It helps one to apply God's word to one's life situations. When one applies God's word to one's life situations, one experiences divine grace and power.
3. Profitable Labor (Eccl.9:10). There are those who idle away time saying that they have no job to do; they consider themselves unemployed. But, does anyone need to be employed in order to work? The earth is full of works if one has wish to do whatever his hands find to do. The Bible is against wasting time in profitless labor and commands everyone to find something good to do in order to have enough to give to others in need (Eph.4:28; 2Thess.3:10,12).
4. Fellowship Time (Eph.5:16-20). Fellowship time with spiritually minded believers is a time of mutual edification. It is never a wastage. The Bible tells us to not give up meeting together as we see the Day of Christ's return approaching close (Heb.10:25). Fellowship doesn't just mean attending a church service; it means to participate in worship, in singing, in reading, in listening, in praising God, and in sharing one's testimonies, requests, and praying for each other. There is nothing as precious as the sight of God's children getting together and ministering unto the Lord on earth. He says where two or three are gathered in His Name, He is in their midst (Matt.18:20)
5. Sharpening Your Axe (Eccl.10:10). God has created the sabbath for man, so that he will be refreshed for greater impact later on. Rest is instituted by God. Each one of us needs to have a time away from the madding crowd to spend it in self-evaluation, self-improvement, and self-refocusing in the presence of the Lord. But, it's abnormal if one is sharpening his axe for 6 days to use it just for a single day. God ordained 6 days for work and 1 for rest, and rest comes only after work, remember.
6. Giving Time: Service and Money, but more Service. When we give money, we also give time (that was spent to earn that money); however, time itself cannot be substituted with money always. For instance, a father who only gives things and money to his children but has no time to spend with them is not considering that time and money are not the same thing. When we give significant time to someone, we add to their time significance. Sometimes, it may mean helping someone around. Sometimes, it may only mean to spend time by their bed side while they are sick. But, the gift of time out of a spirit of love is a powerful opportunity to tell the world that we are the children of God who, as our Lord, are willing to go out seeking for the one lost sheep than being satisfied with the 99 at home. Someone who gifts time never loses it, because he actually sows it into eternity.
Share:

Gift of Time: A Day Doesn't Need To Have Only 24 Hours

Time is Precious
Two horses have more horsepower than the sum of both their individual powers put together. This is called the principle of synergy. Similarly, when two people work together on a job, their individual times add up to a greater whole than both of theirs individually. Thus, in a team work, one ends up getting more than 24 hours in his quota. Consequentially, a person in social engagement has more time than those who wish to work in solitude only. Of course, solitude has a place, especially when social engagement can mean destruction of synergy (like in two horses pulling a cart in opposite directions, in which case the single horse would do better than two opposite horses). Proverbs 21:9 says that "It's better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home" (NLT). When a husband and his wife have opposite perspectives and opposite directions, they end up destroying the energy of each other. But, where there is harmony, the overall results are magnificent. Therefore, a couple must work towards each other and for each other as one soul in two bodies, rather than become egotistical and get the ship to nowhere. Harmony is no difficult when both the instruments tune with the Master; and, conforming to Him, they are attuned to each other.

Now, there are also things (or people) that rob and steal time, so that at the end of the day one has had less than 24 hours. We are talking here about "personal time". For instance, when you allow yourself to be part of a futile chatter or a self-pity moaning, you allow yourself being robbed of precious time. Similarly, when someone violently demands your time and takes it, he gets the advantage of it at your loss. In general, one must be careful to assert ownership over one's time, without being selfish about the same. However, there are cases in which bad job-systems rob their workers of their daily quota of time. In other cases, workers are unjust towards their employers by not being faithful in the management of time (a sorry state of some government offices in India). When we make people wait or take more time than we promised we would take, we rob their time.

There are also cases of time wastage, when the daily quota is destroyed by either idling away time or by spending it with wasters. Proverbs 29:3 talks about the person who wastes wealth by hanging around with prostitutes. Wealth wasted is time wasted because it requires time to accumulate wealth.

While idle chatter is a great thief or waster of time, edifying conversations and fellowship help to synergize time, especially when there is mutual sharing so that what each has learnt over time is shared mutually for the benefit of both.

But, there is nothing better than gifting time to others, without expecting anything in return. When we give our time to someone, we lose it for a while, but we gain it in the form of the joy of selfless goodness, and selfless goodness has an infinite value because of God who is the ground and source of it. Therefore, those who do good are given eternal life (Rom.2:7). We are not talking about salvation by works here (the very idea of merit is contrary to faith and love); for, the quality of eternal life of God is sacrificial. God in the eternal Triune Community is self-giving Love. When we give our time to someone who cannot give it back to us in the form of either money or any worldly thing, that is called the sacrifice of time. It may be us serving them in time of their sickness or their weakness or their inability. But, it can also be us serving others in our daily allotment of day, by going the extra mile. There is no limit to the goodness of service when it is done out of love for Jesus. Therefore, the Bible exhorts workers to serve their masters as serving Christ, not with eye service as men-pleasers but as serving Christ (Eph.6:5,6).

I think it was Derek Prince who said that when we give of our wealth to the Lord, we actually give also our time along with the wealth because it equals to that amount of time that needs to be spent (or spent) in order to earn the money. When one gives to a poor person money or help in the form of service, the Bible says, he lends to the Lord (Prov.19:17) because it is God who has created both the rich and the poor, and one shows oneness with God by participating in His works of generosity.

We have a slice of time allotted to us in this journey of life. Let us sow this time into eternity to reap fruits eternal!
Share:

Australopithecus Deyiremeda: Strong Argument for Evolutionism?

hominin

Australopithecus deyiremeda is a proposed species of early hominin among those who lived about 3.3–3.5 million years ago in northern Ethiopia, around the same time and place as several discovered specimens of Australopithecus afarensis, including the well-known "Lucy", a juvenile specimen. (Wikipedia). Some 3 jawbones discovered on March 4, 2011 were proposed as specimens of this proposed species. While the discovery may have prompted overjoy in the evolutionist camp, it doesn't aid to quell doubts regarding the problem of transitional fossils (missing links), considered one big problem of the theory of evolution. Of course, while now and then specimen of so-called inter-species are claimed to have been unearthed, the question of why so less of these still lingers. Often, the missing links are either just a few pieces of fragmentary bones that are put together or only jawbones or such. One answer suggested is that the fossil record itself is meagre. But, obviously one can't sell his everything for not-very-conclusive proofs of treasure in the ground; it will require too much faith to hang the theory of evolution on just a few pieces of bones vaguely assumed as some links between notable species. Also, given the fact that the discoveries can be explained in any other way than referring to the evolutionary theories, these fossil facts do not in any way lend bulwark to evolutionism.Of course, there are arguments that there are other "proofs" besides. The creationists have always maintained that evolutionism violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics; to which the evolutionists have responded saying that living organisms belong to an open system and not a closed system; therefore, the 2nd Law doesn't apply to them: they receive energy from the sun. But, how does that answer the question of how life evolved out of mere atoms in the first place; for certainty, the atoms weren't above the 2nd Law. Yet, even if it was insisted that energy in the form of say lightning or sunlight aided the random collocation of atoms to form amino acids, proteins, and living bodies, the very idea of randomness makes disorder or chaos inherent to the process, thus self-defeating the theory of evolution that projects an anti-chaotic world, evolving upward. The resorting to feelings of "scientific sincerity" will not be bad only if "scientific sincerity" were for a moment freed from the shackles of "anti-supernaturalism". The excuse that "science is still young" or "fossil records are scant" is just an excuse that is willingly believed in hope of more proofs later on. But, is it scientific to build scientific theories on mere hopes rather than on mathematically accurate calculations and predictions? Of course, one doesn't need to be evolutionist to be scientific; that is clear.
Share:

Overcoming Language Barriers in Communication

Communication is a bi-way event; both the communicator and the receiver are actively involved in determining what the communication comes to be. There is nothing like passivity in the communication process. Some form of active involvement is always present. For instance, one cannot say about a listener that his mind is a blank slate (a tabula rasa) upon which everything that a person is saying or communicating is exactly imprinted in the way that the person intended to say. The listener is also very actively involved in trying to understand what is being said. And, if the hurdles of communication are not properly and skillfully tackled, the results could be grave misunderstanding if not blankness or sense. Thus, we know cases of people having a false memory of an event; it's because their mind was actively involved in resolving whether a color was red or orange or it was a particular person that they had seen passing by. Preconceptions and assumptions play significant role in what constitutes our understanding of things; and the results are not always infallible. Already, there are a number of issues evident when one considers any communication event.

1. The Limitations of the Communicator can be a hurdle in communication. If the communicator has a limited vocabulary, his communication will be affected by the same. He may not be able to fully express what he wants to impress. Similarly, if he has limited understanding about the audience and their limitations, he will not be able to enter their world of sense and meaning, and thus be unintelligible to them. For instance, if a communicator is using the word "sling" again and again, and the audience has never heard that word before nor have seen a sling nor have known what it means to sling, then the word "sling" itself becomes a hurdle rather than an aid in the communication. Suppose, the audience do use the word "sling"; however, it means something else to them than what is in the mind of the communicator, then this too becomes a hurdle. In order for the communication to be successful, it is important for "sling" to have the same meaning in both the mind of the communicator and the receiver. When a communicator is aware of the limitations of his audience, he will use means (e.g. pictures, a real sling, etc) again and again during his talk (or in his writing) to make sure the audience is drawn into his circle of meaning. Now, this extends to even gestures and cultural forms (dress, etiquette, etc): a form or gesture that may have one meaning in a culture may be different from the one in another. Misunderstanding the audience can result in a very faulty line of communication. Therefore, it is important for the communicator to make sure that he and the audience are on the same ground.

2. The Fallibility and Errancy of the Commuicator can also be a hurdle in communication. For instance, if the meaning of a word has faltered in his memory and he has confidently used it instead of the right word, that could be a hurdle. Now, in some cases, where the audience is sympathetic and perceptive of the communicator's error, the results would only be humorous. For instance, I once sat in a meeting where the speaker confused the word "circumcision" with "circumstance" and literally used the former instead of the latter throughout his speech! Of course, verbal failures are not just forgivable or hilarious always. At times they can greatly mislead and have unpleasant results. I once read the case of a company that suffered mega losses because the stenographer confused the word "effect" with "affect"; in this case, the boss was fired for not spell-checking the typed mail. It is not possible to avoid mistakes; but, by double-checking and vigilant care one can avoid many errors.

3. The Limitations of the Medium of Communication can be a hurdle. A speaker speaking face to face and person to person has more breadth in communication than a person speaking from the lectern or on a TV screen. Even more limitations exist in written communication, especially when words are not properly employed to communicate tone, mood, intensity, and pace. For instance, "Follow me and I will make you fishers of men!" may have been said in a soft tone, as a loud cry, in a serious manner, or in a smiling way. Various movies try to bring out various live interpretations of the written account; however, one can't be dogmatic about any. Yet, a video or even an audio recording of the event (which we don't have) could have had more breadth in giving us a picture of what transpired there. Nevertheless, one must understand that every form of communication (literature, lecture, lyric) has its own breadth and scope that may not be found in another. One must understand the medium of communication. For instance, a write-up for a public speech will differ from a write-up for a journal. It is important in any situation to put oneself in the audience' shoes in order to make sure that the communication accomplishes its purpose: of being understandable to the audience and evoking the intended response.

In addition to that, there may also be technical or technological hurdles, like a bad printing press or a bad PA system or internet or whatever (or limitations of them), in which case the best attempts of the communicator are hampered by the failure of technology.

4. The Limitations of the Audience/Listener can be a hurdle in the communication. Of course, not knowing the language of the speaker is a primary hindrance; knowing only a little is a partial hindrance. I know of a situation in which an evangelist asked a person in a village if he knew Yeshu Masih (Jesus Christ); the person replied, "No, there is no Usha Machine here!" (Usha Machines are sewing machines). He, of course, had never heard of Yeshu Masih; and at the same time, he was also not acquainted with the form of question "Do you know Jesus?" So, he interpreted "Yeshu Masih" of the evangelist as a faulty pronunciation of "Usha Machine".

Often, the limitations of the communicator are heightened by the limitations of the audience. Thus, if the audience has no understanding of the communicator's culture of gestures (who in turn is not aware of their culture of gestures), they can draw severely wrong conclusions out of the gestures the communicator has been using. Thus, even misunderstanding could become a bi-way event. A good listener is one who tries to understand the communication by the use of reasoning, questioning, and discovery. It is important to be swift to hearing and slow to speech. It takes more time to accumulate than to spend.

5. The Fallibility and Errancy of the Audience  can be a hurdle in the communication. Preconceptions play a great role in determining how memory and reason interplay to produce impressions on the mind of understanding. Also, illusions and delusions are not ignorable; if they were, the illusionists would never have been successful. The human mind, conditioned by the physical senses and members, is not infallible; and under pressure or shock or damage can create very faulty impressions. Now, in many cases the errancy is involuntary, influenced by previous experiences and affected by present situations. however, there can be cases in which the faulty interpretation is voluntary; where a person only hears what he was waiting to hear and believes what he wanted to believe. The latter leads to willful misinterpretation and twisting of meaning. In the first case, the situation would be like a lady desperate for marriage (under pressure), sees a gentleman seemingly interested in talking with her, and assumes that he is courting her (but, the gentleman may only be communicating due to shared interests and have no other intention). In the second case, deliberate interpretation occurs when the lady believes that the gentleman is actually very interested in her and then begins to interpret every action of his as an act of courtship. The danger in this is that it is possible for the lady to suppose that the gentlemen secretly is interested in her though he overtly confesses he has no marital intentions; thus, her impulse of hope is charged up every time the gentleman says anything that appears to her as evidence of her hopefulness. Obviously, it will not lead to desirable consequences. When the simplicity of communication is complicated by a web of innuendos, implications, insinuations, or cryptic suggestions, communication becomes messy, tangled, and garbled. Therefore, Jesus gave the rule: "Let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no'" (Matt.5:37).
Share:

How to Worship

Worship in Spirit (Jn.4:24; Phil 3:3) Not external, ceremonial, slavish, but spiritual.... Not carnal worship that focuses on performance. Not a worship that is connected with location or tradition. Worshiping God in the Spirit means to know God, not after the flesh, but in the Spirit; to not have confidence in the flesh but to rely in the Spirit of God.

Worship in Truth  (Not False, Rom 1:25; Psa 51:6). Sincerity in worship means that the worship is not a wearisome, burdensome act; it is sincere and sacrificial. Worship in truth also means to worship God according to knowledge of truth, not according to imagination. To worship God in truth, one must know the Scriptures.

Worship with Understanding (Psa.47:7; 1Cor.14:15). To worship God with understanding means to be attentive and watchful about what one is speaking and doing. It means to worship God reasonably and meaningfully; not just as a formality or as a ritual. It also means to serve God with having our whole mental attention focused on Him.

Worship with Fear (Psa 5:7). One must approach God with reverence in heart. To come into the Church and to be playing with mobile phones, or to have a careless attitude, or to sit with a judgmental spirit indicates a lack of reverence for God. When one is engaged in worship, whether it be corporate or personal, one must have an utter sense of respect and awe for God (Eccl.5:1).

Worship in beauty of Holiness (Psa.29:2). Without holiness no one can see God. God calls humans to draw near to Him with their hearts cleansed by the blood of Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ. Only holiness is beautiful in the eyes of God.

Worship in Complete Surrender (Rev 4:10). To worship God means to enthrone Him, to put Him in the center. A worship leader who wishes to hear applause and a Church that wishes to be known for its music have not surrendered themselves to God. In their hearts, they still pretend to be king and take the place of God, though with lips they praise Him. True worship is a falling down at the feed of Jesus with our crowns laid before Him.
Share:

Moving Forward

Things that Hinder Our Run

1. Social Bonds (Lk.14:26-27, Mat 8:21-22). A person who gives priority to social relations above Christ, can never walk with Christ.
2. Cares and Desires of World (Lk.8:14; Phil 3:7). When the cares of the world and its desires, the urge to not miss something "good" of the world, take control of a person's decision, he becomes deaf to the Spirit of God and fails to move forward anymore.
3. Besetting Sin (Heb.12:2). A person cannot be moving ahead as long as he is being pulled back by sin, everytime he wants to go ahead. The solution is in simply deciding to lay aside that besetting sin.
4. Things of Past (Phil.3:13). Neither idolize the past nor be traumatized by it. Don't say that the old days were better (Eccl.7:10); instead, say "The future is going to be better than the past".
5. Crooked Paths (Heb.12:13). Paths that sinners and godless men walk on must be avoided by the believer (Psa.1:1)
6. Bitter Root (Heb.12:15). Disregarding the great value of our Christian birthright and heirship in Christ is dangerous. A heart that is filled with anti-Christian bitterness defiles many.
7. Loss of focus (2Tim 4:7, Heb12:2). Our focus must be on Christ the author and finisher of our faith.

Solution

1. Self-Denial (Matt 16:24)
2. Spirit-filled Walk (Rom 8:5; Gal.5:16)
3. Setting Heart on Heavenly Things (Matt 6:33; Col 3:2; Phil 4:8)
Share:

Popular Posts

Blog Archive

Translate