The Call of Moses: The Second Excuse - Authority - Divine Plan (Part 2)

"Then they will heed your voice...." (Exo 3:18)

Moses' second question also includes the concern about the "How" of doing this mission.

Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them,`The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me,`What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" (Exo 3:13)

He is already calculating the possible problems aforehand, which is not bad. Moses' question button turns on God's light on His plan of redemption. God tells him what he has to tell the elders and what they should do, how they should meet the Pharaoh, how he would refuse to let the people of Israel go, and then how God would bring them out.

Usually, the man or woman called to divine mission knows what the mission really is all about. However, not all of us have an idea of the divine plan. Sometimes, God shows us the entire plan at a glimpse. Sometimes, He leads us step by step. But, nevertheless, it is His desire to show to us His plan rather for us to design our own. God was certainly not going to leave Moses on his own to execute the divine commission. God was going to go with him, not like a co-traveler, but as the Leader and the Pilot.

What is God's immediate plan for the present mission? This is an important question to ask and seek God for. At this moment, God has not yet shown to Moses the plan of the Tabernacle or the plans related to entering the Promised Land. He is only giving to him a glimpse of His immediate plan of bringing out the Israelites out of Egypt. God may not always give us the entire plan for mission; He guides us step by step. But, He never leaves us without instructions.

By now, Moses' concerns regarding the mission should have come to end. But, they don't as we can see in the next chapter. He still has fears and doubts, which God will go on to remove through certain signs that prove the supremacy of God's power over all things that we consider to be our staff, support, and security (his rod and his hand). But, at this moment, God makes sure to comfort Moses with the assurance of His divine plan. Moses doesn't need to worry "how" this mission will be accomplished, because the Master knows "how" to use His vessel and "how" to accomplish His purposes. He is the Authority in charge. He HAS the plan.

We see the following ingredients of the Divine Plan:
1. Team Reaching and Team Building. Go and Gather the Elders Together (Exo.3:16). 
There are three sub-steps to this:
A. Identify the Family (Jesus identified that the first to be reached were the Jews, His own in genealogical terms).
B. Recognize and Reach the Leadership Structure. Moses had to go to the elders. (Jesus preached mainly in the synagogues. The disciples also began with synagogues. Similarly, Jesus understood the importance of raising elders; so, He chose disciples at the very beginning of ministry, even before He did His first miracle; Paul always usually started with preaching at synagogues and connected with local elders and believers).
C. Gather together. Build a team.

2. Communication and Discipleship. Say to Them (Exo.3:16). 
Moses had to communicate to the elders what God had communicated to him.
Jesus taught His disciples to teach others what He taught them. Paul's commission to Timothy was the same regarding the words of Christ: "And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also." (2Ti 2:2). Jesus could pray in His priestly prayer: "I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me." (Joh 17:8). Communication is vital to the work of the Father.

3. Respecting the Local Principality and Government. Communicate to Pharaoh. (Exo.3:18). 
This cannot be ignored. God didn't bypass the local authority and system. It was important for God that Pharaoh let the people go. But, God doesn't compromise with Pharaoh. God communicates and strikes Pharaoh for disobedience. Pharaoh has to recognize that there is a government above his government. However, the church is not allowed to disrespect or challenge this authority.

Mission is not against contextual authority legitimized by God (Rom.13:1-8). Mission is not even anti-cultural. However, where any context is openly in disobedience to divine authority, the presence of mission poses a challenge to it and God's deliverance of people brings them out of the power of such oppressive structures. For instance, Christians in India who have really experienced divine deliverance are also delivered out of the evil caste-system that is the contextual oppressive element of Hindu cultural authority. However, Christians who wish to remain in the caste-system and follow it are self-deceived. At the same time, the Gospel never disrespects authority structures given by God, and such that have legitimate authority in a political or cultural context. Therefore, even Christ was not crucified without going through Jewish, Judaen, and Roman tribunals. The same holds also for principalities and powers in the heavenly places. "Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" (Jud 1:9 NKJ)

4. Understanding the World's Response. Pharaoh would not want to let the people go  (Exod.3:19).
The world wants to remain godless and keep the people of God as its slaves. Therefore, Jesus said we cannot serve God and mammon. Jesus also reminded His disciples that the world will be against them as it is against Him (Joh 15:18-25). There cannot be friendship between the world and God. The world-system cannot be "transformed"; it refuses to be changed. God wants to save His people out of it. God doesn't save the world-system. Babylon will burn in fire (Rev.18)

5. I will stretch out My Hand (Exod.3:20). God will do wonders.
Jesus also promised His disciples that signs would follow (Mark 16:17,20). He promised to them the Holy Spirit and power from above. There cannot be mission without the power acts of God Himself by His Spirit. (Acts 2:22; 5:12; Rom.15:19; Heb.2:4).

6. I will give this people favor (Exod.3: 21). Connections of Favor.
However, there will also be people who will be friends of God's people. God will give favor for His purposes. We have the examples of Nehemiah, Esther, Jeremiah, Daniel, Paul and many others who were given favor with kings, princes, and leaders so that the work of the Lord could be done.

7. God will plunder the world to supply His children (Exod. 3:22). Provisions.
It doesn't mean that the Egyptians who gave would be plundered. In fact, they were giving out of favor. However, it symbolizes a plunder of the Egyptian economy as a whole, since gold and silver were being taken away out of the economy. This shows the supremacy of divine sovereignty over even world economy. The Anti-Christ will try to hijack this economy by introducing the seal (666) in connection with false worship. However, it will only end in self-destruction. God's work will never lack provision. Even the enemy cannot withhold anything from God. He is sovereign.

Luke 22:35. And he said to them, When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything? They said, Nothing.

Acts 3:6. But Peter said, I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!

God's working power is greater than human means.

A Winter Prayer

Protect children from the chill-hands of winter!
Protect families from accidents on foggy routes!
Provide for the homeless clothes, food, and shelter!
Fill hearts with warmness of love full of good fruits!
May eyes blinded by hatred find healing in Your love
That they may love and forgive and restore and build!
May hearts stiffened by indifference find life in Your love
That they may beat for the helpless and keep beating still.
May broken homes, sad and sorrowful, find a Visitor Friend--
You, O Lord, come to these homes, and may all sadness end!
For, times and seasons span our lives so short
Till Eternity takes us into Your Celestial Court!
Protect Your children, Lord, according to Your Promise:
"No evil shall befall you nor shall any plague come near your dwelling". (Psalm 91:10)

Vacuums, Covetousness, Temptation, and Victory

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psa 23:1)
You are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Col 2:10)

Covetousness is the desire-call of false and godless vacuum. Covetousness never desires God to fill its emptiness, boredom, greed, or desire because its hunger is false and godless. Covetousness looks for something more, something different, something other and is easily deceived into taking the unreal for real.

There are at least 3 kinds of vacuums:

1. Original Vacuum. This is the vacuum of infinity within the human spirit (Eccl.3:11). It can only be resolved by faith in the Infinite God and loving devotion to Him. A life without Truth, without God is a bottomless pit, infinitely empty, and that is hell. This vacuum manifests as meaninglessness, purposelessness, hopelessness. People try to cover it up by a false belief in either the immortality of personal soul or a recourse to nihilism (or nothingness, absurdity, meaninglessness, pointlessness).

2. Illusory Vacuum. This is a false vacuum created by false ideas, ideals, and allurements. Advertisements, for instance, are well known for creating a need where no such need is real. People buy an advertised object not because they need it but because the advertisement makes them unfulfilled without such an object and they desire fulfillment. The devil told Eve that she lacked something, though she lacked nothing; this false and illusory vacuum in her was her deception. She desired for the forbidden fruit because it was falsely projected to her that this was really desirable. This is how products are sold. The allurement was so strong that she felt bad that she, in her innocence, was kept away from this "good" thing. The allurement reeked with vile thoughts of suspicion, egoism, rebellion, and idolatry. She listened to the devil and forsook the commandment of God. Any mind that doesn't keep the Word of God before it and listens credulously to any other voice that makes it feel unfulfilled or lacking is susceptible to fall. In the illusory state, the mind is deceived and turns to false things in order to fill a false vacuum. The resulting action is always covetousness, unfaithfulness, disobedience, and rebellion.

3. Addictive Vacuum. This is bondage. It is recurrent. It portrays a pattern. Addiction to drugs is one example of addictive vacuum. The bondage is intolerably strong and inescapable. There are also other addictions like addiction to self (narcissism), addiction to sex, addiction to silver, addiction to societal living, addiction to shopping, etc. Addictive vacuum is not just false, it becomes systemic warping the personality of the person. It enslaves the mind and will and emotion of the person and destroys his spirit. Therefore, deliverance is urgent.

Deliverance: "You shall know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free." (John 8:32)

1. Knowledge of the Truth about the deception and about the bondage comes first.
2. Knowledge of the Deliverer, Christ, is crucial. Not just mental knowledge, but faith and commitment to and total submission to. The Son sets us free.
3. Reject all False Vacuum, covetous allurements, and anything that attempts to turn you from the Truth of God. They are all false and unreal and attempt to suck us away from the reality of God.
4. Be filled with the Holy Spirit "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs [confessing to others complete satisfaction in God], singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord [rejoicing in His goodness all the time even when alone], giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ [always filled with gratitude for the gifts of God that makes us lack nothing, doubting nothing, being certain that God has given us all the best for us, not fearing anything], submitting to one another in the fear of God [honoring the true godly connections in life]." (Eph 5:19-21). The Spirit is Reality. The Spiritual is the True Real.
5. Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Gal 5:16)

The Call of Moses: The Second Excuse: Authority (Ex.3)

Then Moses said to God, "Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them,`The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' and they say to me,`What is His name?' what shall I say to them?" (Exo 3:13)

"So, who are You?" Moses asks the Lord. In response, God gives to Moses a three-fold revelation of Himself.

1. He IS that He IS. The FINAL Authority of Mission. He replies, "I AM WHO I AM."..."Thus you shall say to the children of Israel,`I AM has sent me to you.'" (Exo 3:14). This reveals the ESSENTIAL IDENTITY of God. He cannot be identified with any definition because His existence is not dependent on anything outside Himself. My existence is dependent on many factors. So, if someone asks me who I am, I would reply saying, "I am the son of so and so, I live in such and such place, and I do such and such job or work for so and so...." This would still be only one aspect of the many things that makes me who I am. There are many defining factors. In fact, the very basic statement, "I am a human being" is a highly contingent or dependent statement; its meaning is dependent on a number of things like "mortal being," "rational being," "social being," "biped being," etc. However, God cannot be defined because He is that He is.

The gods of the world had contingent identities: god of river, god of pestilence, god of harvest, god of war, god of love, god of death, and so on. But, the ALMIGHTY ONE is the NECESSARY being. He is not existence; but, there is no existence without Him. He IS that He IS.

He is the self-existing, self-sufficient, self-contained, self-content one.

2. He is YHWH God of their fathers, The RIGHTFUL Authority of the Mission. "the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob". This reveals the RELATIONAL IDENTITY of God to Israel. YHWH is the God of Covenants. It is the Name which He revealed when He swore by Himself to Abraham, an oath that is impossible to be broken (Gen.22:15-17; 26:3; Heb.6:13-17).
Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: "By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only [son -- ] "blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which [is] on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. (Gen.22:15-17)
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, "Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you."... For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation [is] for them an end of all dispute. Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed [it] by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it [is] impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before [us.] (Heb.6:13-18)
God reveals two things about His Name YHWH:

  • This is His name forever. (Exo 3:15)
  • This is His memorial to all generations. (Exo 3:15)

Scholars have believed that the name YHWH may mean "The Existing One", which relates to His declaration that He is I AM [EHYH] THAT I AM [EHYH]. In that case, we have a linguistic relation [HEBREW] as well. However, God precedes humans and all human languages. Therefore, it is dangerous to sacralize any human language as being divine. For instance, the Name JESUS is Y'SHUA in Hebrew, but the New Testament calls Him as IESOUS. Now, there are some who feel that there is something to the Hebrew language [in the same way as Muslims regard Arabic as heavenly and Hindus regard Sanskrit as heavenly]. However, the Bible discourages such thinking by asserting God as the God not just of the Jews but also of the Gentiles. The New Testament gift of tongues actually transcends all human language barriers. The Age of the Holy Spirit is the Age of Gospel to All Nations. And, this is part of the Abrahamic Covenant: "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed." So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham." (Gal 3:8-9)

At this point, prior to the Exodus, this declaration of God affirms God's relation with the children of Israel by His covenant with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He is the God of their fathers. This was His relational identity with them.

We must contrast this with the New Testament declarations of God's relational identity with the church. He is not the God of our fathers; but, He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. This speaks about relationship with us by the New Covenant. Also, God is referred to as "our Father", i.e. through Jesus Christ.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort (2Co 1:2-3 NKJ)
The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever (2Co 11:31)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph 1:2)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3)
We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you (Col 1:3)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Phm 1:3)
Certainly, Jesus Christ is the One of whom God did say, "My name is in Him. (Exo 23:21)
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (1Co 10:4)
Moses was being sent by YHWH with a mission of deliverance; but, the True Deliverer, the Heir, was to come. And, in His Name is Everlasting Life. (Hebrews 3:1-19)

The Bible declares why God send Moses to save Israel out of Egypt.
...because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them; and He brought you out of Egypt with His Presence, with His mighty power (Deu 4:37)
The Bible also declares why God sent His Son to save us from our sins.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Joh 3:16 NKJ)

God had the Reason to Send Moses on this Mission: He Loved the Fathers.
God has the Reason why He sent Jesus Christ and will send Him again: His Love Us.

How much more shall we not love and await His Second Coming!?

3. HE has the Mission Plan. HE is the PERFECT Architect of the Mission.
God reveals to Moses His plan how to declare His Name (Exod.3:16-22). The commission was two-fold:

  • Declare to the Elders what the God of their fathers had Declared (Exod.3:16-17)
  • Declare to Pharaoh what the God of the Hebrews had Demanded (Exod.3:18).

The Servant of God doesn't need to be worried how to carry out God's commission. The One Who IS (In Himself) beyond all time and space, The One Who Is Our God (In Relation Through His Blood Covenant) Knows all things, Controls all things, and has Predestined His people to be saved.

This doesn't mean that all who are delivered out of Egypt will enter the Promised Land; but, only those who persevere in faith.
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. (Jud 1:5 NKJ)
whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. (Heb 3:6)
For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (Heb 3:14)
if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard (Col 1:23)
God is the FINAL AUTHORITY of Mission.
God is the RIGHTFUL AUTHORITY of Mission.
God is the PERFECT ARCHITECT of Mission.


Babylonian Captivity of Theological Education

Since the Early Period of Christian history, the world has presented an almost inescapable allurement of dry logic or fake glory to divine faith. The world challenges faith to fight with it on its worldly ground, the ground of space-time reason (which apologists, sadly, find very compelling). On the one hand are the contextualists who try to localize revelation in terms of contexts, which attempts, most of which, have certainly been quite helpful, though some idolatrously inclusive. But, nothing has been more devastating to the cause of theological education than the allurement of the secular "university" system in modern times. In 1520, Martin Luther talked about the Babylonian Captivity of the Church. The Protestant Church soon forgot the lesson as it continued to be enamored with the gods of the surrounding nations, the gods of Enlightenment, Scientism, and Modernism. The chief warriors who fell to this honey-trap were theological professors who wished to appear as intellectual, modern, and educated as possible. The effects of liberalism have continued on to post-liberalism and beyond to the extent that in recent times, theologians have expressed concerns regarding the Babylonian captivity of theological education.

Sadly, Pentecostal and Charismatic seminaries have not been very successful in resisting the temptation of pseudo-intellectualism. Theological books and popular apologetics have advertised secular tools that can be used, to the extent that the ministry and role of the Holy Spirit has become extra-curricular, and dispensable. No longer is it the Holy Spirit that guides us into the truth. Degrees and diplomas are the modern idols. Recognition and accreditation are the goals. Despisal of unassociated training centers are the modern fiery darts of the enemy against faith. And, those who have failed to know who they are, where they stand, and what they are called to, have fallen in for the devil's tactics.

Of course, there is also a vile plethora of mammon-serving, fake, theological centers. Association and co-working is, certainly, important. However, association that sidelines the Holy Spirit and reduces the supernatural to mere pulpit preaching and emotional altar-calls is anti-biblical.

Then, there are myriads of false prophets, miracle claimers, pseudo-workers who gamble on the emotions and vulnerabilities of theologically illiterate masses. Crowds love convincing stories and the weak are easily deceived. Right theological education will expose both false theology and false spirituality.

Jesus trained His disciples and sent them to preach the Gospel, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead. True and power-filled preaching of the Gospel wrecks the devil's plans and holdings. But, seminaries under Babylonian captivity are confused about what the Gospel is; they emphasize on a curriculum that has less to do with Biblical understanding; they de-emphasize the Person and ministry of the Holy Spirit, and if they emphasize, it's just dry talk and impractical; they are suspicious of testimonies regarding the supernatural; they are not open to the gifts and operation of the Holy Spirit in all His fullness suspecting that these are dangerous and a threat to the consistency that they think can only be found in the pure academic mind of the intelligentsia; they ridicule and mock at any excitement shown regarding the supernatural. They favor intellectual elitism. As a result, all preaching is dry; the only momentary stimulation is in the clever interplay of words, voice, pace, gesture, and captivating story-telling; the topics of interest: counseling, faith, motivation, inspiration, and such. All the while, true reality (the supernatural) is disregarded and this-worldliness is emphasized. There is silence about heaven and hell, judgment, and the Second Coming. Dreams and visions are ignored. Supernatural encounters are unheard. Gifts are limited to speaking in tongues, some healing and miracles (and more emphasis on the medical), doubtful prophecies...

But, the Gospel is not just a mere cogitation and communication of ideas; it is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe. We need theological training centers that are Spirit-filled, Scripturally sound, and Service-oriented (i.e. doing the work of Christ as He did).


The Call of Moses: The First Excuse (Exodus 3)

Exodus 3 and 4 record God's call of Moses to deliver the people of Israel and lead them into the Promised Land.


Hebrews 11:23 tells us that the parents of Moses were strong believers.

Hebrews 11:24-26 tells us that when the time came for Moses to choose, he "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. (Heb 11:24-26)

In other words, Moses was a person who made a honest choice to follow Christ and His path of suffering. It is wrong to imagine that if Moses would have been patient and not killed the Egyptian he would have become the next Pharaoh. The Bible says that He actually made the choice to refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. It seems that Egyptian politics was deeply tied with their polytheistic religion that in a way also deified, to some extent, the Pharaoh. It is possible that there came a point in Moses' life where identification with the palace meant identification with the Egyptian religion; therefore, he had to make a choice between Christ and Belial. His chose faith in Christ.

The Call

Moses was 40 when he fled Egypt. Moses was 80 when God called him.

It is interesting that in one of Moses' songs, he says that "The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years" (Psa 90:10 NKJ). But, God called Moses when he was 80, i.e. the age when according to his own song, he was supposed to anticipate the end of life and entry into the grave. But, God's ways are above man's ways. Moses' life was not wasted while in preparation for God's work.

When God called Moses, he was still tending the sheep of his father-in-law. From human perspective, he was a very non-prospective person who was not able, in his lifetime, to move from tending someone else' flock to having his own flock. How can he, at age 80, still be tending the flock of his father-in-law! What dependency! Also, it doesn't seem at any case that his condition was going to improve. He still worked for someone and had no business of his own. Imagine that when we can look around and find young men and women in their twenties who have businesses or "ministries" of their own. But, nobody in the world imagined that God was preparing Moses to lead over 600,000 men, besides women and children out of Egypt into the Promised Land. God had designed him to lead an entire nation and pastor the biggest church in history. Also, did anyone know that Moses would lay the legal and doctrinal foundation of the nation of Israel. In process of time, whenever people would refer to the Law, they would refer to it as Moses. The Bible tells us that Moses was faithful in all his house (Heb.3:2).

Man judges by appearance, but God knows His plan for every child that comes into the world. Isn't it most beautiful to read that when Moses was born, his parents acted by faith to protect him because they saw that he was a beautiful child? (Heb.11:23). Only the eyes of faith can see the beauty that is truly beautiful in God's eyes.

The Drawing

God knew how to draw Moses' attention to Himself. He came to him in the burning bush, a bush that burnt but wasn't consumed by the fire (Exod 3:2). This attracted Moses. What is the burning bush in your life that God has used to draw your attention to Himself?

So when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am."
Then He said, "Do not draw near this place. Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground." (Exo 3:4-5 NKJ)

The first thing Moses encounters when He meets God is the holiness of God. The holiness of God becomes an important theme throughout the Bible, in a very special way, from this time forth. God is holy. His law is holy. His people are holy. His gives laws of holiness, instructions to build a holy tabernacle, instructions for a holy priesthood. Holiness is a theme that echoes through the prophets. Isaiah 6 talks about a vision of God's holiness that shatters the self-image of the prophet. It is impossible to be a servant of God, to serve God without first having a transforming encounter with the holiness of God. God is holy in His character, in His acts, in His word. A man who loses sight of God's holiness will fall from grace.

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2Pe 1:8-11 NKJ)

The First Excuse: Identity

God says to Moses:
"I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." (Exo 3:7-10 NKJ)

Moses responds with the question, "Who am I..." (Exo 3:11)

It is important for us to understand that God doesn't send His servant on His mission because the servant has great passion for souls; He sends because God has the passion for souls and the lost sheep belong to Him. Jonah had no desire to go to Nineveh. But, God sent him because God wanted Nineveh to be saved. We were all under the cloud of destruction, but God sent His only Son because He loved us. Moses doesn't seem to show any desire for this mission. He seems to have no passion at all. But, God calls him and sends him. It is because He has heard the cry of the people for deliverance. The eyes of mission must be focused on the Great Sender, the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

Moses does ask a genuine question, "Who am I..." He is a nobody in the worldly sense. He is no savior-metal. He is an old man. He may be at the point of death. And then, he is disconnected from the people of Israel for decades. He's just a small shepherd looking after his father-in-law's flock. Who was he?

It is interesting to see that God never tells Moses who he is. What we are and who we are doesn't determine God's calling. His calling determines who we are. It is wrong to count our background, abilities, talents, prowess, intelligence, or whatever in the matter of divine calling. He doesn't call us because of who we are. His calling gives us the identity.

God's answer is simple: "I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain." (Exo 3:12)

God doesn't tell Moses, "Have you forgotten all your training in Egypt? You are Moses, the one taken out of water. You are that Moses who was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds. (Act 7:22) Not just that, you have the experience of this wilderness. There is none like you. You cannot see what you have in you. But, I can see the greatness that is in you. I can see the deliverer that is in you. Know yourself!"

Familiar with this? This is the gospel of false self-confidence. We see social media bombarded with these statements all the time: "Greatness that is in you" "Have confidence in yourself" "Believe in yourself". G.K. Chesterton once said that those who have strong self-confidence are usually found in a mental asylum. God is not interested in building the false self-confidence of Moses. God's call of Moses is not based on the training of Moses, the skills of Moses, the education of Moses, the connections of Moses. He is not called to rely on them. They all are fallible. God's call of Moses is based on God Himself, "I will certainly be with you...."

Isn't this beautiful? This is the only valid NT identity. God with us! Emmanuel.

"How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Act 10:38, bold emphasis mine)

"And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen. (Mat 28:20)

The first excuse of Moses was "Who am I?"
God's answer is "I will certainly be with you."

Mission is not about me and my skills and abilities. Mission is about God's presence in the world in redemptive action.

A King Will Reign in Righteousness

Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, And princes will rule with justice. (Isaiah 32:1)

Psalm 96:10; 103:17; 2Pet 3:13

A. He is Righteous and True and Just in His Character (Mal.4:2; Jer.23:5)
B. He is All-knowing and Nothing is Hid from His Blazing Eyes (Heb.4: 13; Jer.23:24)
C. He is All-powerful and No Wicked Can Stand Before His Power (2Thess.1:6-9; Jude 1:14-15)

He is Coming Soon. Blessed is the man who trusts in Him.


The Opposition in Democracy

"The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him." (Prov.18:17)

The Opposition is a vital part of modern democracy. It ensures that the government elected by the people is working on behalf of the people and fulfilling the goals it set before them. It also ensures that the ruling party practices transparency and accountability. The Opposition has the right to question the actions of the government and demand an account or rationale for its actions. It may be wrong in its assumptions, but it has the right to voice its questions, without which democracy will be annihilated. To try to silence the voice of the Opposition by any means whatsoever is to kill the soul of the nation which is liberty, unity, fraternity, and justice; for where the right to freedom is exterminated, democracy is dead. A government that labels the Opposition as traitor for questioning its actions is against the people. The Opposition provides an opportunity for the people, who are the real judges in a democracy ruled by the law and not a mob, to see the other part of the story instead of falling for the rhetoric of the first. A good government will answer the questions raised by the Opposition because they are questions raised on behalf of the people. Ultimately, it is the people who will decide whether the government was right in its decisions or not. But, there is a Moral Law that is higher and foundational to all manmade laws; and, one cannot kick against the pricks and not be hurt.


All of You, None of Me

"All of You, none of me,"
Is all I pray to Thee.
A clay pot filled with divine treasure
Of power and truth beyond measure
Is all I want to be.


The Rewards of Risk-Taking (Eccl. 11:1-6)

"Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again." (Ecc 11:1)

One should not fear taking risks. All work of production calculates risks. Risk-taking is key to farming, business, banking. In the Parable of Talents, the boss commended the two workers who went and took risks to do business with the money they received, doubling it by the time their boss returned. However, he was very unhappy with the worker who went and hid the capital depriving the boss of even the interest from the use of it. He rebuked him saying that he should have given the money to bankers if he was afraid of taking risks, for bankers (risk-takers themselves) assure of a set interest amount. Risk-taking must be accompanied by good counsel, calculation, wisdom, and diligent hard-work that explores various avenues of investment. Risk-taking investments forgo the present disuse or use of something for sake of future returns. For instance, the farmer sows the grain instead of eating it or storing it for consumption in order to reap multiple production.

Instead of investing the whole capital in just one industry, it is better to divide it into various. "Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land." (Ecc 11:2)

It is also important to be diligent and willing to use spare time (available labor-time--not to scrape it from family and rest time) in any other industry. "Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well."(Ecc 11:6)

Don't just wait for things to look very sure and certain. Move forward. Risk-takers move by faith, not by sight. "Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap (Ecc.11:4)

Also, be prepared for crisis-times. And, do not forget that charity and helping the poor has assurance of returns and rewards from God (Prov.19:17). That reward is always assured and never lost.

#Business #Risk #Disaster #Industry #Success

Eyes of Love

The Lord of the Universe watches from above,
He looks at the oppressed with eyes of love.
He feels their agony, their cries He hears.
He'll give them justice and wipe their tears.


Citizenship Cooperation With Country's Cause

And the children of Israel said to them, "Oh, that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger."(Exo 16:3)

People in general detest to go through the pain of transition though they immensely desire the Promised Land--they give in to intense complaining, wishing to go back to their previous state of misery, instead of walking through the ordeal of the uncomfortable journey. They, then, begin to despise authority and speak evil of dignitaries (2Pet.2:10), when they are called to cooperate with them, knowing the fear of the Lord (Rom.13:1; Tit.3:1). To citizens of various respective countries, if your government stands in rebellion against the express Moral Law of Heaven, resist it (Acts 4:19; 5:29); but, if it is on the side of righteousness and good governance with a vision to lead the nation to well-being, beware of joining the mass of complainers (Jude 1:8-10).

See Also
The Opposition in Democracy


Sanctification: Positional, Progressive, Perfect

  • Positional Sanctification: Sanctified by Faith in Christ (Acts 26:18) by His Blood (Heb.10:29)
  • Progressive Sanctification: Dedication to God, Partaking of His Holiness, Pursuit of Holiness, Sanctified Living, Offering Bodies as Living Sacrifice, Walking in the Spirit, Sanctifying Christ in Hearts, Daily Cleansing, Walking in the Light, Avoiding all Appearance of Evil, Having Purity of Conscience, Purity of Faith, Purity of Love, Striving Against Sin, Fleeing Lusts, Disciplining Body, Pursuit of God in Hope, Putting off old man, Putting on new man (Heb.12:10,14; 1Pet.1:15; Rom.12:1,2; Gal.5:22-25; 2Cor.7:1; 1Jn.1:7-9; Rom.12:9; Heb.12:3; 1Cor.9:27; 1Tim.1:5; 6:11; 1Jn.3:3; Eph.4:22-25). Note: Progressive doesn't mean one is less holy today and becomes holier later. One is either holy or unholy; clean or unclean. In the NT, there is no gradation of Holy and Most Holy. Progressive means daily walk of holiness with Christ in the Spirit. No man can say he is immune to temptation while on earth. Also, it demands constant watchfulness and prayer. One is called to be holy, and grow in maturity. One cannot grow in holiness. However, one is called to cleanse oneself, separate oneself from all impurity so that he can be a vessel of honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work (2Tim.2:21). One is called to maintain good works (Tit.3:8,14). Progressive sanctification is life lived in dedication to Christ in earnest expectation of His salvation.
  • Perfect Sanctification: Deliverance from the Presence and Power of Sin at Christ's Coming (1Thess.3:13)

Analogy of Marriage:
  • Positional Sanctification is like Engagement
  • Progressive Sanctification is like Faithfulness and Devotion to the Groom, Having Only Him in Mind, Staying Pure, Expecting Him, Saying No to Others
  • Perfect Sanctification is like the Marriage


Family Leadership

There are different models of Leadership:
1. Pyramid Leadership (Military, Hierarchial)
2. Functional Leadership (Team Playing)
3. Situational Leadership (Rising for the Situation)
4. Servant Leadership (Focuses on Serving)
5. Shepherd Leadership (Focuses on Leading, Protecting, Providing, Teaching)
6. Family Leadership (Leadership in the Father-Son Model)

Jesus gave us a picture of Family Leadership when He spoke about ministry and mission in the Divine Family. It was not a King who sent an Ambassador, but the Father who gave His only begotten Son. The Son learnt from the Father and obeyed His will.

We also find an example of Family Leadership in Paul's mentoring of Timothy. Paul was not a boss, or a teacher, or a team-leader, or even a senior pastor to Timothy; he was a spiritual father to him.

The modern cry of the youth is for true spiritual fathers who can set an example, who can teach and also correct with authority, who can mentor them. The cry is not for celebrity figures and mass events. The cry is for a personal touch. For personal discipleship.

The Church is not a business or an organization; the Church is a family whose Head is God.



Usury is the money charged for the use of money. What is understood as usury in the negative sense usually, is considered as interest in the positive or neutral sense.

Old Testament law discouraged practice of usury against fellow brethren. But, the Israelites were permitted to lend on interest to foreigners. Jesus mentions in His Parable of Talents that the servant with one talent should have deposited the money with bankers rather than hide it in the ground so that the Master could get back his amount along with interest. However, Aquinas considered the application of this suggestion in spiritual terms. For many centuries, usury was forbidden by the church (though Luther observes that many of the clergy did wickedly practice it). The Jews who practiced (or were marginalized to this trade) often became victims of persecution. A great example of the evil of usury is exemplified in Shakespeare's play, "Merchant of Venice", the usurer personified as the evil Shylock the Jew.

Aristotle considered usury as unnatural. In his Politics he wrote:
Now money-making, as we say, being twofold, it may be applied to two purposes, the service of the house or retail trade; of which the first is necessary and commendable, the other justly censurable; for it has not its origin in nature, but by it men gain from each other; for usury is most reasonably detested, as it is increasing our fortune by money itself, and not employing it for the purpose it was originally intended, namely exchange.

And this is the explanation of the name (TOKOS), which means the breeding of money. For as offspring resemble their parents, so usury is money bred of money. Whence of all forms of money-making it is most against nature. (A Treatise on Government, Gutenberg)
Thomas Aquinas, borrowing the argument from Aristotle, further argued:
To take usury for money lent is unjust in itself, because this is to sell what does not exist, and this evidently leads to inequality which is contrary to justice. In order to make this evident, we must observe that there are certain things the use of which consists in their consumption: thus we consume wine when we use it for drink and we consume wheat when we use it for food. Wherefore in such like things the use of the thing must not be reckoned apart from the thing itself, and whoever is granted the use of the thing, is granted the thing itself and for this reason, to lend things of this kin is to transfer the ownership. Accordingly if a man wanted to sell wine separately from the use of the wine, he would be selling the same thing twice, or he would be selling what does not exist, wherefore he would evidently commit a sin of injustice. On like manner he commits an injustice who lends wine or wheat, and asks for double payment, viz. one, the return of the thing in equal measure, the other, the price of the use, which is called usury.

On the other hand, there are things the use of which does not consist in their consumption: thus to use a house is to dwell in it, not to destroy it. Wherefore in such things both may be granted: for instance, one man may hand over to another the ownership of his house while reserving to himself the use of it for a time, or vice versa, he may grant the use of the house, while retaining the ownership. For this reason a man may lawfully make a charge for the use of his house, and, besides this, revendicate the house from the person to whom he has granted its use, as happens in renting and letting a house.

Now money, according to the Philosopher (Ethic. v, 5; Polit. i, 3) was invented chiefly for the purpose of exchange: and consequently the proper and principal use of money is its consumption or alienation whereby it is sunk in exchange. Hence it is by its very nature unlawful to take payment for the use of money lent, which payment is known as usury: and just as a man is bound to restore other ill-gotten goods, so is he bound to restore the money which he has taken in usury. (Summa)
Martin Luther also considered usury to be an evil; however, he rejected Aristotelianism altogether. His argument against usury was that it contravened the principle of Love. Luther considered that the Christian dealing and the right use of temporal goods consist in "giving them away, lending them without charge, and quietly letting them go when they are taken by force." (On Trading and Usury). He counters arguments in favor of usury in the following ways:
The concept of ”interesse”
We will now look at the arguments by which this tender business is justified. There is a little Latin word called interesse. This noble, precious, tender, little word may be rendered in German this way: If I have a hundred gulden with which I can trade, and by my labor and trouble make in a year five or six gulden or more, I place it with someone else, on a productive property, so that not I, but he, can trade with it, and for this I take from him five gulden, which I might have earned; thus he sells me the income – five gulden for a hundred – and I am the buyer and he the seller. Here they say, now, that the purchase of the income is proper because, with these gulden, I might perhaps have made more in a year, and the interest is just and sufficient. All that is so pretty that no one can find fault with it at any point. But it is also true that it is not possible to have such interest on earth, for there is another, counter-interest, which goes like this: If I have a hundred gulden, and am to do business with it, I may run a hundred kinds of risk of making no profits at all, nay, of losing four times as much besides. Because of the money itself, or because of illness, I may not be able to do business, or there may be no wares or goods on hand. Hindrances of this kind are innumerable, and we see that failures, losses, and injuries are greater than profits. Thus the interest on loss is as great as the interest of profits, or greater.

Safe profit in trade and money at interest are different things, and the one cannot be compared with the other. For money invested in income has a basis which constantly grows and produces profit out of the earth, while money in trade has no certainty; the interest it yields is accidental, and one cannot count on it at all. Here they will say, perhaps, that, because they place money on land, there is an “interest of loss,” as well as an “interest of profit,” for the income stands or falls according as the land stays or not. This is all true, and we shall hear more about it below. But the fact remains that money which one can place on land increases the “first interest” too much and decreases the “second interest” as compared with money that moves in trade; for, as was said above, there is more risk in trade than in land. Since, then, one cannot get ground with a definite sum of money, neither can one buy income with a definite sum.

There are some who not only deal in little sums, but also take too much return – seven, eight, nine, ten percent. The rulers ought to look into this. Here the poor common people are secretly imposed upon and severely oppressed. For this reason these robbers and usurers often die an unnatural and sudden death, or come to a terrible end (as tyrants and robbers deserve), for God is a judge for the poor and needy, as He often says in the Old Law. (On Trading and Usury)
However, modern Christian economist, Gary North observes that Jesus annulled the Jubilee laws of the Old Testament, thus rendering slavery laws as ineffective. Secondly, Jesus authorized interest in His Parable of Talents. He concludes:
The Mosaic law prohibited interest on a narrow class of loans: charitable loans to fellow Israelites and resident aliens. It did not prohibit interest on all other loans.

Charitable loans were to be annulled in the seventh year, at one time. Loans collateralized by rural land were to end in the seventh seventh year, or jubilee year. The land reverted to the heirs of the conquest generation.

The sabbatical year and the jubilee year system were annulled by Jesus and ended when Israel ceased to exist as a nation.

Jesus authorized interest-bearing loans. (Usury, Interest, and Loans)
  • It is evident that personal loaning on interest is regarded as an evil even in scriptures. Or else, God would not have forbidden it for the Jews against their fellow-Jews. Usury contradicts the principle of love as it is based on profit-making and not on charity.
  • However, the banking system is a system of lending and keeping. It not only pays interest to those who save money in the bank, but it also charges interest for those who would borrow from the bank. The interest rates can be regularized and governed by proper legislation. In addition, it is through the banking system that currency notes are issued and kept in check. Therefore, it is different from the personal loaning system. Jesus didn't discourage this banking. In fact, His parable encouraged depositing money with bankers who would give interest for the same. There are certainly bad and vicious banking systems; however, that is another topic altogether.
  • Charitable loans must be distinguished from luxury and commercial loans. Charitable loans must not be charged interest. In fact, it is Christian to lend without expecting anything. However, Christians are not expected to lend money in order for people to enjoy luxuries. You can lend money to a man in need. But, you are not obligated to lend money to someone who wants money in order to buy a Mercedes Benz. The same holds for commercial loans that are non-charity in nature.
  • The Bible discourages borrowing of money, but doesn't discourage giving.
  • The Bible encourages that we do not owe anything to anyone. In other words, people are expected to pay back what they borrow.
  • Jesus encouraged the idea of depositing with bankers rather than hiding money or keeping it unused, for God established multiplication as the nature of creation. But, hording wealth for selfish purposes is anti-social. We must distinguish between hording and pursing (pursing is keeping some money at hand for immediate uses). The modern banks actually can act as both purse and safety lockers, while at the same time having the advantage of the money not remaining unused.
  • The Aristotelian concept of money breeding money doesn't apply to modern banking systems. Government systems may help inflate economies by not regulating the influx of fake currency or growth of black money. However, this is dilution and not growth. On the other hand, a banking system in modern times actually can help save money by providing proper loans on low interests so that people can use money to avail greatly and pay back. It is like the Master in Matthew 25 who gives talents to his servants and actually expects them to multiply them. He actually deposits or saves the talents with them. Wise stewardship is encouraged. Of course, this is not the Parable of the Forgiving Master, and banking is not about Masters and servants; the Parable was only quoted to highlight that multiplication is expected through wisdom, integrity, and diligence. But in the Parable of the Forgiving Master, Mercy (the quality upheld in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice) comes into spotlight. The Master forgives the one who is indebted to him and expects him to do the same. This is the essence of the Gospel ethics. Contrary to the OT Law that would have made slaves of this debtor and his family, the NT principle encourages forgiving of debts when payment becomes impossible.
  • The Bible discourages bad loans as well as merciless collaterizations. The poor man's cloak must be returned to him for the night. The poor man cannot borrow more than the value of his cloak. The poor man cannot engage in multiple borrowings.
  • Greed and love of money is the root of all evil.
  • An economy based on unjust and merciless practices of loans and borrowings is bound to collapse.
  • The Christian principle is to give to the needy without expecting anything in return. However, it doesn't ask Christians to refuse the use of bank notes, banking, and systems of monetary use as long as the use doesn't blatantly rebel against the true revelation of God (e.g. Rev.13). Jesus knew that the Jews used the Roman coin that had the image of Caesar, and didn't tell them to forsake such use. Instead, He encouraged them to give to Caesar what is due to Caesar and to God what is due to God. 

Fight Against Corruption

Denmark ranks as the 1st among the world's least corrupt countries. Singapore ranks 8th. India ranks 65th. North Korea and Somalia rank 149th.

A study of these systems reveal the following facts.

1. An Anti-corruption agency, independent of the police and executive is crucial to check corruption. Countries having multiple anti-corruption agencies don't seem to have much success. One cannot remove dirt with dirt; one has to use an agent that is intrinsically anti-dirt (soap-water). Singapore's "anti-corruption agency, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), is well resourced and independent. It is empowered to investigate any person, even police officers and ministers, and conducts public outreach to raise public awareness and shape social norms." (Lee Hsien Loong)

2. In countries like Singapore, the high-level officials are paid well and corruption is kept at bay at that level. The idea is that anti-corruption begins from top to bottom. "There is a Chinese proverb: "If the top beam is askew, the bottom beams will be crooked." Keeping a system clean must start at the very top." (Lee Hsien Loong)

3. Spreading awareness and educating the people in order to encourage them to support a corruption-free society is important. The citizens must detest a corrupt system and be willing to report instances of corruption to the concerned authorities.

4. Integrity and willingness to be corruption-free is crucial among both leaders and citizens.

5. Ideologies that endorse and justify corruption must be discouraged.

6. Citizens must be willing to cooperate with policies that aim at combating corruption. They must be careful not to criticize before having tried to understand. Citizens must "expect and demand a clean system." (Lee Hsien Loong)

7. Governance systems and services that facilitate corruption must be dealt with immediately. One open example is the weak state of Indian railways that makes it easy for TTE's to practice grafting by abusing their powers since people who really have no other means to obtain seats succumb to bribing these TTE's since the railways do not provide sufficient travel facilities to meet the demands of the people.

8. Transparency norms must be binding on all government servants, citizens and all businesses. Accountability must be mandatory. "Beside law enforcement, there is a broad consensus that fighting corruption involves public participation and transparency mechanisms such as disclosure of information." (Marie Chêne)

9. Freedom of Press is a crucial element in curbing corruption.

10. Deterrence, Prevention, and Education is the three-pronged strategy applied by Hong Kong. "Hong Kong ICAC adopts a three-pronged approach: deterrence, prevention and education. As a result, the Commission consists of three separate departments : the Operations Department to investigate corruption and to prosecute the offenders: the Corruption Prevention Department to examine the systems and procedures in the public sector, to identify the corruption opportunities and to make recommendations to plug the loopholes; and the Community Relations Department to educate the public against the evil of corruption and to enlist their support and partnership in fighting corruption." (Kwok Man-Wai)

The Goodness of God

The Bible celebrates the fact that God is Good (Psalm 135:3). To state that God is good is to also acknowledge at the same time that God is the summum bonum, the Highest Good. His goodness is absolute in Himself, for He is perfect. His goodness is also towards us, in relation.

  • God is Good in His Being
  • God is Good in His Character
  • God is Good in His Acts
To the rich young ruler, Jesus declared that only God is good (Matt.19:17), i.e. in the sense of being the absolute good and perfect Teacher who alone can absolutely declare the truth that leads to eternal life. Sadly, the rich young ruler could not accept Jesus as the Good Master, refusing to follow Him. In his eyes, the world and its possessions were the more immediate good.

There are at least four crisis-situations in relation to our attitude towards God's goodness.

1. Doubt Regarding the Selflessness of God's Goodness
This was the situation that Eve faced in the garden of Eden when the devil deceived her to doubt that God's goodness is selfless. He tried to make her think that God had some selfishness in keeping the forbidden tree's fruit from humans; He knew if they ate of it they would become like gods. The devil attempted to severe "goodness" from God's goodness. As a result, when Eve was deceived and sought the good apart from God, the forbidden fruit and tree appeared to be "good" in relation to her desire.

It is important to trust in God's goodness as being selfless and impartial. He makes the sun to shine on both the just and the unjust. He is not good because of anything or anyone. He is good in Himself and is the ground of all that is good.

2. Fear Regarding the Surety of God's Goodness
In Psalm 27, we find David assert that even if he is surrounded by enemies on all sides, he will not fear because God is with him. When we become afraid if God's goodness would hold towards us and we are terrorized by uncertainty and anxiety about the future, we begin to lose hope. But, David asserts: I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.  "Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!" (Psa 27:13-14 NKJ). 

The Scripture promises us: "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Rom 8:28 NKJ)

3. Vexation Regarding the Significance of God's Goodness
In Psalm 73, Asaph, a priest in the Temple of Solomon is vexed and frustrated because He knows that God is good (Psalm 73), but fails to see how God's Goodness has any significance for him. He looks at the wicked and sees them prosper and asks if he has cleansed his heart in vain (Psalm 73:13). This turns him bitter, though he doesn't show his inner struggle to people. But, then when he enters God's sanctuary, where he beholds God's goodness and beauty, he finds the solution to his problem. He has to learn that God's goodness is not something about things and possessions in this world; God Himself is Good, and the heart that this Summum Bonum needs nothing else. One doesn't find any true and lasting meaning in life unless one finds satisfaction in God alone. He writes:

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For indeed, those who are far from You shall perish; You have destroyed all those who desert You for harlotry.
But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works. (Psa 73:25-28 NKJ)
He has understood that good is not about things, heaven is no heaven without God; for God alone is good and it is good to be near God alone.

4. Confusion Regarding the Sensitiveness of God's Goodness
Job is a great paragon of patience in the Bible. However, there was a time he was confused too, because he knew that God is good and perfect, He is blessed; but, he was unable to see if God really cared for him. The devil wanted to prove that the just served God, or were just, for material or personal benefits alone. But, Job proved the devil false. That is the difference between true faith and utilitarian faith. Job stood through the test. Yet, Job felt darkness and confusion cover him. He cries out in anguish: "If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard. If I cry aloud, there is no justice. (Job 19:7 NKJ). But, God answer him from chapters 38-41 and shows how God cares for the universe; how much more for Job. In chapter 42, Job breaks down saying "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes."  (Job 42:5-6 NKJ)

God cares for the sparrows of the air and the lilies of the field; how much more for us..

His goodness is selfless, sure, significant, and sensitive. He is all-giving, all-trustworthy, all-satisfying, and all-caring.

Skeptical Fideism

The Enlightenment thinkers felt that reason had come to age and elevated it above faith. But, mathematics is not the book of life. It is impossible to expel faith. As the wise sage Pascal observed, reason has to be find support on something, and that something can't be reason itself, to avoid circular reasoning. Reason is also based upon faith. Again, he showed that reason cannot irrefutably prove God, but it can neither disprove His existence. It proves nothing.

Spiritual skepticism is the willingness to concede that our minds cannot have certainty alone by themselves. This is not to deny certain certainties that are axiomatic and undeniable. For instance, one can't contradict the law of non-contradiction. However, it certainly means that one has no confidence in his own reasoning and wisdom. Only this form of skepticism regarding self can truly set us free to find our fullness and certainty only in Him.


Laying on of Hands - Derek Prince

Four Purposes
1. To recognize but not appoint the persons of God's choice
2. To set apart a person for a particular task or ministry
3. To endorse a person with authority
4. To equip, that is to transmit the spiritual gift or spiritual authority or whatever else is needed by the person to carry out his God-appointed task

Love is Causeless

Everything in the world, including feelings and thoughts, are caused, except divine love. Love is uncaused and causeless, so it is not possible to causally or pragmatically explain the love of God. It is wrong to ask why God loves us. Therefore, when we speak of divine love, we also know that God is Love. And, this love among us is a sign that we are His disciples. A man can be slave to his passions, but is liberated by love (is not slave nor causally determined in his acts anymore). Therefore, there is a difference between those who seek to fulfill the law and those who are led by the Spirit of God. The latter are sons of God, free from the corruption that is in the world, and will be manifest at His Coming. All godly decisions and actions in the world are the acts of love.


4 Deceitful Things

1. Charm is deceitful (Pro.31:30)
2. The heart is deceitful (Jer.17:9)
3. Riches are deceitful (Mat.13:22)
4. Sin is deceitful (Heb.3: 13)


Abounding Grace

"But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." (Rom 5:20)
- Creeps undetected
- Convinces of being received
- Controls our thoughts, feelings, attitude
- Cuts off our relationship with God

- Abounds much more than our sin
- Accepts us as we are
- Administers unto us abundant gifts of forgiveness, healing, eternal life, ministry, enablements, strength, the Holy Spirit
- Available always at the Throne of His Grace. He calls us to Draw near, Humble self, Submit, Receive.


Send Your Fire

Send Your fire, light this wet,
Damp and lifeless altar!
Motivate, inspire! Help us get
To where we will not falter.
Sprinkle sparks, fan the flame,
Heat us hotter, slay our shame.
Take our treasures, grant us grace
To walk in wisdom, to run this race.


Circumstantial Guidance

'When Jacob saw that there was grain in Egypt, Jacob said to his sons, "Why do you look at one another?.... Indeed I have heard that there is grain in Egypt; go down to that place and buy for us there..." (Gen.42:1,2)

Oftentimes, God uses circumstances to guide us. But, He always guides to only the good, never into evil. In this incident, Jacob is being constrained towards the only logical and practical option left. But, this constraint was what God actually used to get them to Egypt according to His plan. When we trust in divine sovereignty, we can give thanks to God in everything. If we feel confused about some decision, we can ask, "What is the good, practical and God-pleasing final option or solution to this issue?" We don't need to just stand looking for some answer or for someone to do something. Just take a decision.


Saving Wisdom

Joseph applied the principle of proper saving when he advised the Pharaoh to save before they spent. Saving for the bad times is not a bad idea.
One must save or reserve something for the future from the surplus one has today.

The Foolish Virgins were foolish because they didn't take extra oil with them. But, the Wise were really wise because they not only took the extra oil, but they also did not surrender their wisdom to the folly of the foolish. When the foolish asked for help, they refused. Refusing somebody is not callous when the request itself is foolish.
Compassion is not irrational. Compassion doesn't encourage irresponsibility. Compassion calculates value.

Jesus said that before a man constructs anything, he must first calculate the cost.
Calculating and Planning are not unspiritual. The Spiritual don't just jump into the water by blind faith; the spiritual calculate the cost and know what they are doing and risking.


Meaninglessness is a condition in which the soul has a loss of purpose. A meaningful existence has three ingredients:
1. Purpose
2. Prudence
3. Pursuit

One can also look these as
1. Worth - What one considers worth living for
2. Wisdom - What one knows about how to pursue what's worth for
3. Work - What one does in order to gain what's worth gaining

1. Love - Love is the strongest compeller.
2. Leading - Direction
3. Labor - Action

1. Motivation
2. Means and Methods
3. Ministry


On Family, Familiarity, and Fear

"Familiarity breeds contempt,"
I have heard them often say.
It's wise to not be too frequent,
It's important for one to have his own space.
But, frequency is not the same as familiarity;
Familiarity and family go together.
True friends see each other's weaknesses,
And, they help each other grow strong.

These fig leaves that hide false shame
Will not remain for very long.
The desire for human honor
Only tears humans apart.
But, He gave us garments
Washed in His blood.
He came and lives in us,
We are the sons of God.

The closer I draw to Him,
The deeper grows my love.
The closer He draws to me,
The greater He shows His love.


The Peace of God that Surpasses All Understanding

the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Phi 4:7 NKJ)

The peace of God and the faith of God belong together. Peace keeps us constant while the winds and waves of doubts try to assail from without. Peace helps us walk on water though everything looks contrary to it.

The Spirit witnesses with the spirit and reveals the things of God. He is the Spirit of wisdom and the fear of the Lord. The Spirit raises a banner of peace when floods come against us.

The peace of God is the agreement of the Spirit with our spirit. The flesh disagrees and tries to be violent and aggressive. The carnal mind involves in carnal, godless rationalizations. The spiritual mind agrees with and submits to the Law of God.

Discernment is important in all this. The Spirit gives us discernment.

The Spirit forbids and our spirits are not peaceful. The Spirit is the spirit of fearlessness, of courage, of love, of power, and of a sound mind.

Peacelessness creates an insane-like situation. The peace of God guards our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Preaching Before Experiencing

The general rule is that one must not preach what one doesn’t practice and one can’t know in order to share something unless one experiences it. But, especially, if someone knows the truth and preaches it but doesn't practice it, not because he can't but because he doesn't want to, that constitutes rebellion. However, this doesn’t mean that if a person doesn’t practice what he preaches, one must reject what he says. Jesus warned us against this.
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don't follow their example. For they don't practice what they teach. (Mat 23:1-3 NLT)
Certainly, whether one practices or does not, truth is still truth. Principles never change. However, Jesus also made it clear that only those who really seek to obey God will be able to know the will of God and recognize the revelation of God.
Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. (John 7:17 NLT)
The Pharisees certainly missed on this. They had no desire for true righteousness that comes by faith in the revelation of God. They were motivated by pride and the desire for honor from men.
"How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God? (Joh 5:44 NKJ)
But, when one has a deep desire for God’s truth, God will reward those who seek Him in faith.

In this, the desire to experience the will of God and to practice His word is a prerequisite to a life lived by the living word of God. In such situations, preaching before experiencing is not discouraged because of the presence of this deep desire for righteousness of faith and the longing for God.

For instance, we have not been to heaven yet, but we know of it from God’s word and long for it. We have not experienced immortality yet, but we preach it and we long for it (2Cor.5:2; Rom.8:23). This longing is the part that leads to the recognizing and the receiving by faith. It’s like a baby that knows (not intellectually nor empirically) that pure milk is what she really longs for and when she is given the milk, she finds rest. This desire to have or will to obey is on the same path of the experience of having and the practice of obedience. The seed and the fruit belong together. It is like the confessing of faith with the deep assurance of the evidence of things unseen.

Now, there is some vicarious aspect of common human experience that validates speaking on something even if we have not experienced it. For instance, how is it that one weeps or may experience increased heartbeat or fear while watching a movie story even though what’s happening in the story is not actually happening with him? Also, there is an aspect of imagination that can infer from previous understanding and try to conceive of an experience in real terms: for instance, the depiction of sea experience by Shakespeare though he himself is said to have never been at sea. Some form of such imagination is part of what our minds also do when trying to understand the Bible. However, much is clarified, corrected, and improved as we continue in the studies and learn to interpret as we listen to the voice of the Spirit.

But, then there are cases where preaching has preceded experience.

Let me quote just two examples from Church history, one from the life of John Wesley and the other from Charles Parham.

(From Basil Miller, John Wesley (Minn: Bethany House, 1943), 57-61)
“I found my brother at Oxford … and with him Peter Bohler,” John enters in his Journal under date of March 4, “by whom I was on Sunday, the fifth, clearly convinced of unbelief, of the want of faith whereby alone we are saved.”
This turbulency of soul caused John to despair of ever preaching again, and he told Bohler that he would “leave off preaching. How can you preach to others, who have not faith in yourself?” Bohler urged him to continue his gospel work, to which John retorted, “But what can I preach?”
“Preach faith until you have it; and then because you have it, you will preach faith,” came the Moravian’s response.
John was not long in starting on this adventure, for he says, “Accordingly, Monday 6, I began preaching this new doctrine, though my soul started back from the work. The first person to whom I offered salvation by faith alone was a prisoner under sentence of death.”
The condemned man arose from prayer and exclaimed, “I am now ready to die. I know Christ has taken away my sins, and there is no condemnation for me.”
Week by week John continued his preaching as Sundays rolled around, and meantime his searching went on with diligence….
…he wrote to a friend, “Let no one deceive us by vain words, as if we had already attained unto this faith. By its fruits we shall know. Do we already feel peace with God and joy in the Holy Ghost?... Does the Spirit bear witness?... Alas with mine he does not….”
He was on a soul search which should cease only when he had found this glorious peace. His spiritual quest went on by the hour until Wednesday, May 24, arrived. Let him tell the story:
“We. May 24 – I think it was about five this morning that I opened my Testament on these words, ‘There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be partakers of the divine nature.’
“Just as I went out, I opened it again on those words, ‘Thou art not far from the kingdom.’
“In the afternoon I was asked to go to St. Paul’s. The Anthem was, ‘Out of the deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord… O Israel, trust in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy…’”
During that memorable soul-shaping day everything seemed to point John to one thing – redemption as a soon-wrought work in his life. When evening came down Aldersgate Street not far from St. Paul’s, John was unwillingly dragged to a meeting.
“In the evening,” he says, “I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before ning, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed…”
“I felt I did trust in Christ,” he goes on to relate, “Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
(From Retrieved August 22, 2016. Bold emphatics, mine)
In December of 1900 examinations were held on the subjects of repentance, conversion, consecration, sanctification, healing, and the soon coming of the Lord. But there was the problem of the book of Acts. Parham had always felt that missionaries to foreign lands needed to preach in the native language. Having heard so much about this subject during his recent travels Parham set the forty students an assignment to determine the Biblical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and report on their findings in three days, while he was away in Kansas City. He returned on the morning preceding the watch night service 1900-1901.
Parham was astonished when the students reported their findings that, while there were different things that occurred when the Pentecostal blessing fell, the indisputable proof on each occasion was that they spoke in other tongues.
About seventy-five people (probably locals) gathered with the forty students for the watch night service and there was an intense power of the Lord present.
It was here that a student, Agnes Ozman, (later LaBerge) asked that hands might be laid upon her to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She believed she was called to the mission field and wanted to be equipped accordingly. At first Parham refused, as he himself never had the experience. Nevertheless, she persisted and Parham laid his hands upon her head.
“I had scarcely repeated three dozen sentences when a glory fell upon her, a halo seemed to surround her head and face, and she began speaking in the Chinese language, and was unable to speak English for three days. When she tried to write in English… she wrote in Chinese, copies of which we still have in newspapers printed at that time”
Ozman’s later testimony claimed that she had already received a few of these words while in the Prayer Tower but when Parham laid hands on her, she was completely overwhelmed with the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.
After this incredible deluge of the Holy Spirit, the students moved their beds from the upper dormitory on the upper floor and waited on God for two nights and three days, as an entire body.
On the night of January 3rd 1901, Parham preached at a Free Methodist Church in Topeka, telling them what had happened and that he expected the entire school to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. On returning to the school with one of the students they heard the most wonderful sounds coming from the prayer room. “The room was filled with a sheen of white light above the brightness of the lamps.” There were twelve denominational ministers who had received the Holy Spirit baptism and were speaking in other tongues. Some were gently trembling under the power of the glory that had filled them. Sister Stanley, an elderly lady, came to Parham, and shared that she saw “tongues of fire” sitting above their heads just moments before his arrival.
“My heart was melted in gratitude to God for my eyes had seen….. I fell to my knees behind a table unnoticed by those on whom the power of Pentecost had fallen to pour out my heart to God in thanksgiving”
Then he asked God for the same blessing, and when he did, Parham distinctly heard God’s calling to declare “this mighty truth to the world. And if I was willing to stand for it, with all the persecutions, hardships, trials, slander, scandal that it would entailed, He would give me the blessing.” It was then that Charles Parham himself was filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke in other tongues. “Right then and there came a slight twist in my throat, a glory fell over me and I began to worship God in a Swedish tongue, which later changed to other languages and continued so until the morning”

God and Professional Training

"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain." (Psalm 127:1)

We do not go to someone having no training and experience in construction to get a building project done. We hire trained professionals for it. When the time came for the making of the Tabernacle, God chose skilled workmen for the job. Similarly, He expects us to be skilled workmen in the ministry of the Word.

But, it is vain to rely just on knowledge, training, and experience. Unless the Lord builds, all labour is in vain.

Similarly, a man with a heart problem is expected to go to a cardiologist and not to a dentist. However, unless the Lord heals, the doctors labour but in vain.

Paul tells Timothy about the training of a soldier. An untrained soldier is not expected to be sent into battle. Similarly, an untrained athlete is unqualified for any competition. The Bible encourages wisdom, understanding, and skill, but it caps it with the instruction to not rely in our own understanding but trust the Lord with all our heart.


The Leading of the Spirit

*He REMINDS, brings to our mind, remembrance, the things we heard or saw.
*He helps us REALIZE, helps us come to our senses, brings conviction, gives understanding.

Romans 8:12-17. Matthew 16:16ff
Being LED by the Spirit means:
+To put to death by Him the works of flesh. Deny self. Take up cross.
+To pray in the Spirit in accordance to His witness with, and utterance, beyond utterance He gives to our spirits. Follow Christ. Listen to the Son.
......Help in weakness
......Prayer according to will of God
......Strength. Grace

2Corinthians 3-4
Openness to Scripture, the veil removed.
God spoke face to face with Moses, but he had to keep a veil. The veil is still on the eyes of unrepentant people when they read the Scripture, but is removed when one turns to Jesus. A believer is open faced.
So, we with open faces, looking as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The devil's thoughts are for TEMPTATION
The Spirit's thoughts are for EDIFICATION, SANCTIFICATION


God Speaks Through Dreams - Poem

In deep sleep at night,
When the body is at rest,
The soul still has sight
In dreams it must test,
Whether they be from God
Or from the soul unrest;
For God often speaks
When our thoughts are quiet,
And the soul that truly seeks
Will surely have light.


Elisha Miracles

2 KGS 4:38




Bible Truths - Hindi


बाईबल हमें सिखाती है कि परमेश्‍वर जगत का सृष्टिकर्ता हैं (उत्‍प.1:1)। सृष्टिकर्ता के रूप में वह सृष्टि के समान नही हैं – अर्थात वह अजन्‍म, अनादी, एवं अनंत हैं (निर्ग.15:18; व्‍यवस्‍था.33:27)। बाईबल यह भी सिखा‍ती है कि परमेश्‍वर आत्‍मा है (यूह. 4:24)। किसी ने भी परमेश्‍वर को कभी नही देखा क्‍योंकि वह अदृश्‍य है (कुलु.1:15; 1तिम.1:17)। परमेश्‍वर सर्वोपस्थित है, (भजन 139:7-10), सर्वसामर्थी हैं (मत्ति 19:26), एवं सर्वज्ञानी है (लूका 12:2)। परमेश्‍वर एक है, जिससे पहले तो यह तात्‍पर्य है कि वह अखण्‍ड है, फिर यह कि उसके तुल्‍य और कोई दूसरा नही जो ‘परमेश्‍वर’ नाम से जाना जा सके। एक ही परमेश्‍वर है (व्‍यवस्‍था.4:35)। परमेश्‍वर जीवन का दाता है (अय्यूब 33:4)। परमेश्‍वर जगत का शासक एवं न्‍यायाधीश है, जगत उसी का है (भजन 10:16)। वह मनुष्‍यों के हर विचार, वचन, एवं कर्मों का आंतिम न्‍याय के दिन में हिसाब लेगा (2पत.3:7)। बाईबल सभी मनुष्‍यों को आदेश देती है कि वे परमेश्‍वर के सम्‍मुख में अपने आप को भय, भक्ति, पापों से फिराव, एवं आज्ञाकारिता का विश्‍वास के साथ अपने आप को समर्पित करें (सभो.12:13; प्रेरित.17:30)। बाईबल सिखाती है कि परमेश्‍वर हमारा पिता है (मत्ति6:9; प्रेरित.17:29) जो हमसे शाश्‍वत प्रेम करता है (यर्मि. 31:3)। वह नही चाहता है कि हम अपने पापों (उन बुरे विचारों एवं कार्यों के चलते जिसके हम दोषी है) में नाश हो जाए । इसलिए, परमेश्‍वर ने मानव रूप धारण किया ताकि क्रूस पर हमारे पापदण्‍ड सह कर उस बलिदान के द्वारा वह हमारे लिए एक उद्धार का मार्ग बनाएं। इ‍सलिए, परमेश्‍वर ही हमारा एकमात्र उद्धारकर्ता है (यहूदा 1:25)। जो कोई दिल से इस सच्‍चे परमेश्‍वर से प्रार्थना करता है, उसकी प्रार्थना तुरन्‍त सून ली जाती है क्‍योंकि परमेश्‍वर की उपस्थिति हर जगह पर है और वह हमारे स्‍वांस से भी अधिक हमारे करीब है (भजन 34:17; 130:1)। जो कोई उस परमेश्‍वर से कहता है कि ‘प्रभु, मै अपने पापों के कारण शर्मिंदा हूँ, मुझे माफ कर’, उसके पाप मिटा दिए जाते हैं (भजन 103:12)। यह क्षमा और जीवन में नई शुरुवात प्रभु यीशु मसीह (जो परमेश्‍वर का स्‍वरूप है और हमारे उद्धार के लिए आज से 2000 वर्ष पूर्व मानव रूप में प्रगट हुआ) के उस बलिदान के कारण हमे उपलब्‍ध किया गया  जिसके  द्वारा उसने पाप और मृत्‍यु के पुराने जगत का अंत किया और अपने पुनुरुत्‍थान (मृतकों में से तीसरे दिन जी उठने) के द्वारा हमारे लिए नया जीवन का प्रबन्‍ध किया। 

यीशु मसीह

बाईबल हमें बताती है कि यीशु मसीह परमेश्‍वर का पुत्र है (यूह.3:16) जिसमें और जिस के द्वारा परमेश्‍वर हमें प्रगट हुआ (इब्रा.1:1,2)। वह परमेश्‍वर का वचन है (यूह.1:1), अदृश्‍य परमेश्‍वर का स्‍वरूप है (कुलु.1:15)। वह अजन्‍म है; उसका नाम ‘पुत्र’ से यह तात्‍पर्य नही कि उसका जन्‍म हुआ या वह सृजा गया; वह अनादि और अनंत है, वह परमेश्‍वर है (यूह.1:1)। परमेश्‍वर और मनुष्‍यों के बीच वही एकमात्र मध्‍यस्‍त है (1तिम.2:5)। परमेश्‍वर के विषय में जो कुछ हम जान सकते है वह केवल यीशु मसीह में और यीशु मसीह के द्वारा ही जान सकते हैं, क्‍योंकि उसमें ईश्‍वरत्‍व की परिपूर्णता सदेह वास करती है (कुलु.2:9; इब्रा.1:3)। वह परमेश्‍वर का तत्‍व का छाप है और इस जगत का सृष्टिकर्ता एवं पालनहारा है (कुलु.1:16; इब्रा.1:3)। वह परमेश्‍वर के अलावा दूसरा परमेश्‍वर नही परन्‍तु परमेश्‍वर है और परमेश्‍वर के साथ एक है (यूह.17:22) जो त्रिएक है। परमेश्‍वर पिता है, परमेश्‍वर पुत्र है, और परमेश्‍वर पवित्रात्‍मा है। लेकिन परमेश्‍वर तीन नही है। वह एक है। वे तीन एक है। यह कैसे हो सकता है? इसलिए क्‍योंकि परमेश्‍वर सत्‍य है, परमेश्‍वर आनंद है, एवं परमेश्‍वर प्रेम है। सत्‍य स्‍वरूप में वह ज्ञाता, ज्ञान का विषय, एवं सर्वज्ञानी आत्‍मा है। प्रेम के स्‍वरूप में वह प्रेमी, प्रिय, एवं प्रेम की आत्‍मा है। आनन्‍द स्‍वरूप में वह आनंदित, आनंद का विषय, एवं आनंद की आत्‍मा है। यीशु का अस्तित्‍व इब्रा‍हिम से पहले था (यूह.8:58)। यीशु जगत की सृष्टि से पहले था (यूह.1:1,2)। यीशु आनंत है। सब कुछ यीशु के द्वारा और यीशु के लिए ही सृजा गया (कुलु.1:16)। वह परमेश्‍वर का वारिस है एवं सृष्टि में पहलौठा है (कुलु.1:15)। वह सृष्टि का मुक्तिदाता एवं जगत का उद्धारकर्ता है जिसके निमित वह मनुष्‍य बन गया (यूह.1:14) ताकि हमारे पापों का दण्‍ड चुकाये और परमेश्‍वर की धार्मिकता को पूरा करे (इब्रा.2:9-18)। वह मृतकों मे से जी उठा और नई सृष्टि का कर्ता बन गया ताकि जो कोई उसे विश्‍वास की आज्ञाकारिता के साथ ग्रहण करेगा वह उसके संग परमेश्‍वर का राज्‍य का वारिस ठहराया जाएगा। वह अंतिम दिन में जीवितों और मृतकों का न्‍याय करने आयेगा (2तिम.4:1)। 

पवित्र आत्‍मा

बाईबल में पवित्र आत्‍मा का वर्णन कई नामों से किया गया है, जैसे ‘परमेश्‍वर का आत्‍मा’ (उत्‍प.1:2), ‘सत्‍य का आत्‍मा’ (यूह.14:17), ‘पवित्र आत्‍मा‘ (लूका 11:13), ‘पवित्रता की आत्‍मा’ (रोम.1:4), एवं ‘सहायक’ (यूह.14:26)। पवित्र आत्‍मा सारे वस्‍तुओं का सृष्टिकर्ता एवं जीवन का दाता हैं (अय्यूब 33:4; भजन 104:30)। उसी ने पवित्र शास्‍त्र की लेखन को प्रेरणा दिया (2पत.1:21)। उसी के द्वारा जगत में परमेश्‍वर के अद्भुत वरदान परमेश्‍वर के लोगों के द्वारा प्रगट होते हैं (1शम.10:10; प्रेरित 10:38; 1कुरु.12)। वह आत्मिक बातों की समझ देता है (अय्यूब 32:8; यश.11:2)। वह परमेश्‍वर के दासों को अभिषिक्‍त करता है और उन्‍हे सेवकाई के लिए अलग करता है (प्रेरित 10:38; 1यूह.2:27)। वह यीशु मसीह का महान गवाह है जो संसार को पाप, धार्मिकता, एवं न्‍याय के विषय में निरुत्‍तर करता है (यूह.15:26; 16:8)। उसी के अंतरनिवास की परिपूर्णता (उससे भरे जाने) के द्वारा शिष्‍य सारे विश्‍व में मसीह के गवाह होने की सामर्थ प्राप्‍त करते हैं (प्रेरित 1:8)। 


बाईबल हमें यह सिखाती है कि परमेश्‍वर ने जगत एवं सारी वस्‍तुओं की सृष्टि छ: दिनों में किया (उत्‍प.1:2; निर्ग.20:11)। जो वस्‍तुएं आज दृश्‍यमान है वे अनदेखी बातों से अर्थात शून्‍य से सृजे गये (इब्र.11:3)। परमेश्‍वर ने जगत की सृष्टि आवश्‍यक्‍ता से नहीं परन्‍तु अपने ही स्‍वतंत्र और सार्वभौम इच्‍छा के अनुसार किया (प्रकाश.4:11)। परमेश्‍वर ने अंधकार और ज्‍योति दोनों को बनाया (यश.45:7; उत्‍प.1:3) – दोनों भौतिक हैं, पहला दूसरे की अनुपस्थिति हैं। परमेश्‍वर ने अंतर एवं समय की सृष्टि की (भजन 90:2 – ‘तू ने पृथ्‍वी और जगत की रचना (इब्रा. ख्‍़यूल – घुमाना, मोड़ना) की’)। परमेश्‍वर ने जगत की सृष्टि यीशु मसीह के लिए किया जो सारे वस्‍तुओं का वारिस हैं (कुलु.1:16-18; इफि.1:10)। 


स्‍वर्गदूत अमर स्‍वर्गीय प्राणी हैं जिन्‍हे परमेश्‍वर ने बनाया (प्रकाश.19:10;22:8-9;कुलु.2:18;लूका 20:34-36)। उन्‍हे ‘सेवा टहल करनेवाली आत्‍माएं’ कहा गया है (इब्रा.1:14)। वे अलैंगिक एवं अनेक है (लूका 20:34-35; दानि.7:10; इब्रा.12:22)। स्‍वर्गदूतों के अलग-अलग प्रकार है। करूब परमेश्‍वर की वाटिका एवं उपस्थिति में नियूक्‍त किए गये हैं (उत्‍प. 3:24; निर्ग.25:22; यहे.28:13,14)। सेराफ (अर्थात ‘जलने वाले’) को हम यशायाह 6:2,3 में परमेश्‍वर की आराधना करते हुए देख सकते हैं। प्रधान स्‍वर्गदूत दो हैं, मीकाईल, जो योद्धक दूतों का प्रधान है (यहूदा 1:9; प्रकाश.12:7) एवं जिब्राईल, जो परमेश्‍वर का संदेशवाहक है (लूका 1:19; दा‍नि.8:16; 9:21)। स्‍वर्गदूत ‘चुने हुए स्‍वर्गदूतों’ के नाम से भी जाने जाते हैं क्‍योंकि उनका स्‍थान परमेश्‍वर की उपस्थ्‍िाति में है (1तिम.5:21)। शैतान, जो अपने पतन के पूर्व अभिषिक्‍त करूब था, उसके बलवा के समय वे परमेश्‍वर के प्रति विश्‍वासयोग्‍य रहे। स्‍वर्गदूतों के पास बुद्धि है (2शम.14:17; 1पत.1:12), वे परमेश्‍वर के आदेशों का पालन करते हैं (भजन 103:20), परमेश्‍वर के सम्‍मुख में आदरमय भक्ति के साथ खड़े रहते हैं (नहे.9:6; इब्रा.1:6), वे दीन हैं (2पत.2:11), सामर्थी हैं (भजन 103:20), एवं पवित्र हैं (प्रकाश.14:10)। वे परमेश्‍वर के सेवक हैं और परमेश्‍वर की ही आज्ञा के अनुसार कार्य करते हैं (इब्रा.1:14; भजन 103:20)। 


दुष्‍टात्‍माएं वे दूत हैं जिन्‍होंने उस प्रधान दूत लूसिफर के साथ मिलकर परमेश्‍वर का विरोध किया था जो शैतान, अर्थात विराधी, पुराना अजगर, परखनेवाला, दुष्‍ट, संसार का हाकिम, इस संसार का ईश्‍वर, हत्‍यारा, एवं झूठों का पिता के नाम से जाना जाता है) (यशा.14/12-15; यह.28:12-19; यूह.12:31; 2कुरू.4:4; मत्ति.4:3; 1यूह.5:19; यूह.8:44)। इस कारण से इन प्रेत आत्‍माओं के विषय में कहा गया है कि वे वही स्‍वर्गदूत है जिन्‍होंने ‘अपने पद को स्थिर न रखा’ (यहूदा 6)। वे गिरे हुए स्‍वर्गदूत हैं। वे परमेश्‍वर के कार्य का विरोध करते हैं (1थेस.2:18), लोगों को भरमाते हैं (प्रकाश.20:7-8), घमण्‍डी हैं (1तिम.3:6), अभक्ति को बढ़ावा देते हैं (इफि.2:2), क्रूर हैं (1‍पत.5:8), दोषारोपन करते हैं (अय्यूब 2:4), और मनुष्‍यों को अनेक वेदनाओं एवं बिमारियों से पीडित करते हैं (प्रेरित 10:38; मरकुस 9.25)। वे अविश्‍वासियों के शरीरों को कबज़ा करते हैं (मत्ति 8:16), किसी व्‍यक्ति में प्रवेश कर सकते हैं (लूका 22:3), किसी व्‍यक्ति के विचार को प्रभावित कर सकते हैं (प्रेरित 5:3), एवं जानवरों के शरीरों को भी वश में कर सकते हैं (लूका 8:33)। एक विश्‍वा‍सी कभी भी दुष्‍टात्‍माओं से ग्रसित नही हो सकता हैं क्‍योंकि उसका शरीर पवित्र आत्‍मा का मंदिर हैं और उस में दुष्‍टात्‍माओं के लिए कोई जगह नही हो सकता (1कुरू.6:19; 10:21)। दुष्‍टात्‍माएं भी परमेश्‍वर पर विश्‍वास करते हैं और उसके सन्‍मुख्‍ में भय के साथ थरथराते हैं (याकूब 2:19)। शैतान और उसके दुष्‍ट दूत परमेश्‍वर के न्‍याय के प्रतीक्षा में ही हैं (मत्ति 8:29; प्रकाश. 20:10)। यीशु मसीह के विश्‍वासियों को पुकारा गया है कि वे परमेश्‍वर के आधीन हो जाएं और शैतान का सामना करें (याकूब 4:7)। विश्‍वासियों का एक चिन्‍ह यह है कि वे दुष्‍टात्‍माओं को निकालेंगे (मरकुस 16:17)। 

दुष्‍टात्‍माओं को निकालना

एक विश्‍वासी के पास दुष्‍टात्‍माओं को निकालने का मसीह द्वारा दिया गया अधिकार है (मत्ति 10:1,8; मरकुस 16:17)। इस अधिकार का स्रोत मसीह यीशु ही है।मसीह ने  दुष्‍टात्‍माओं को परमेश्‍वर के आत्‍मा के द्वारा निकाला (मत्ति 12:28); इसलिए, एक विश्‍वासी के लिए आवश्‍यक है कि वह आत्‍मा से परिपूर्ण चाल चलें (गल.5:25)।प्रार्थना, उपवास एवं परमेश्‍वर के प्रति संपूर्ण समर्पण अनिवार्य है (मरकुस 9:29; याकूब 4:7)।विश्‍वासी को आत्‍माओं की परख के वरदान के लिए प्रार्थना करना चाहिए (1कुरु.12:10)।उसे दुष्‍टात्‍माओं के साथ, सामान्‍यत:, बात नही करना चाहिए (मरकुस 1:24)। वे भरमाने वाली आत्‍माएं हैं।विश्‍वासी इन प्रेतात्‍माओं को यीशु के नाम से निकालें (प्ररित 16:18)।दुष्‍टात्‍माओं को निकालते समय अपने आंखों को बंद न रखें; आप आदेश दे रहे हैं, प्रार्थना नही कर रहे; कभी कभी यह पाया गया है कि दुष्‍टात्‍माएं आक्रामक हो जाते हैं (मत्ति 17:15; प्रेरित 16:18)।विश्‍वासी दुष्‍टात्‍माओं को यह अनुमति न दें कि वे उसके विश्‍वास को, जो परमेश्‍वर, उसके वचन, एवं मसीह के पवित्र आत्‍मा की सामर्थ पर है, कमज़ोर करें। संदेह शैतान का एक महत्‍वपूर्ण शस्‍त्र है (उत्‍प.3:1; मत्ति 4:3-10)।हर छुटकारे की सेवकाई के दौरान परमेश्‍वर के सेवकों के मध्‍य क्रम एवं अनुशासन होना चाहिए; एक अधिकार के साथ सेवा करें और अन्‍य उसे प्रार्थना के द्वारा समर्थित करें (1कुरू.14:33)।सब प्रकार के ताबीज या जादू टोनें के चीजों को शरीर से दूर करें अन्‍यथा छुटकारे का कार्य नही होगा। इन चीजों को रखने के द्वारा व्‍यक्ति शैतानी ताकतों के लिए गढ़ स्‍थापित करता है (प्ररित 19:19)।छुटकारे पाए हुए व्‍यक्ति को पापों का अंगीकार, मन फिराव, एवं पवित्र आत्‍मा की भरपूरी में अगुवाई करें ताकि दुष्‍टात्‍माओं के लौटने की गंभीर दशा उत्‍पन्‍न न हों (मत्ति 12:44,45)। पवित्रता का जीवन एवं परमेश्‍वर की इच्‍छा में बना रहना आदेशित हैं (1यूह. 5:18)।


परमेश्‍वर ने मनुष्‍य को छटवे दिन पुरुष और स्‍त्री के रूप में अपने ही स्‍वरूप और समानता में बनाया (उत्‍प.1:26-28)। वे परमेश्‍वर का आदर और महिमा को प्रतिबिम्बित करते थे और उनहें सारी सृष्टि पर हुकूमत दिया गया था (भजन 8:5; उत्‍प.1:28)। परमेश्‍वर ने मनुष्‍य को दैहिक, व्‍यक्तित्‍व, एवं आत्मिक स्‍वरूप में बनाया; इस कारण से मनुष्‍य शरीर, प्राण, एवं आत्‍मा हैं (उत्‍प.2:7; अय्यूब 32:8; सभो.11:5;12:7; 1थेस.5:23)। पहला मनुष्‍य आदम ने पाप किया और इसके द्वारा जगत में पाप और मृत्‍यु लेकर आया (रोम.5:12)। बाईबल बताती है कि आदम में सभों ने पाप किया, इसलिए मृत्‍यु हर मनुष्‍यों पर आ गया (रोम.5:12)। यह मृत्‍यु तीन रूप में हैं: आत्मिक मृत्‍यु (परमेश्‍वर से अलग होना और उसके साथ शत्रुता), शारिरिक मृत्‍यु (आत्‍मा का शरीर से अलग होना), एवं दूसरी मृत्‍यु (नरक में अनंत दण्‍ड) (इफि.2:1; कुलु.1:21; रोम.5:10; प्रकाश.21:8)। मनुष्‍य पाप के दण्‍ड के कारण मरनहार हो गया। बाईबल बताती है कि ‘मांस और लोहू’ अर्थात नया जन्‍म प्राप्‍त नही किए मनुष्‍य स्‍वर्ग राज्‍य के वारिस नही हो सकते और न विनाश अविनाशी का अधिकारी हो सकता है (1कुरु.15:50)। इसलिए, उद्धार का एक मात्र मार्ग पवित्रात्‍मा के द्वारा विश्‍वास से नया जन्‍म प्राप्‍त करना ही है (यूह.3:5,6)। जब कोई यीशु मसीह का प्रभुत्‍व को स्‍वीकारता है तब वह पुराने संसार के दोष से मुक्‍त होकर प्रभु यीशु मसीह के आने वाले राज्‍य का वारिस हो जाता है। बाकी लोग इस संसार के ईश्‍वर अर्थात शैतान के आधीन रह जाते हैं (2कुरु.4:4; इफि.2:2; 1युह.5:19)। 


सुसमाचार यह घोषणा करता है कि सभी मनुष्‍य प्रभु यीशु मसीह पर विश्‍वास करने के द्वारा अपने पापों से छुटकारा प्राप्‍त कर सकते हैं। परमेश्‍वर ने यीशु मसीह को संसार में अपने बलिदान के मेमने के रूप में भेजा ताकि वह संसार के पापों के लिए प्रायश्चित करें (यूह.1:29)। यीशु मसीह का देह बलिदान के लिए पवित्रात्‍मा के द्वारा अभिषिक्‍त एवं अलग किया हुआ देह था (लूका 1:35; इब्रा. 10:5)। पवित्रात्‍मा ने यीशु मसीह के उन दु:खों को जो वह हमारे पापों के प्रायश्चित के लिए सहने वाला था पुराने समय के अपने भविष्‍यद्वकताओं पर पहले से ही प्रगट कर दिया था (1पत.1:10,11)। मसीह अपने देहधारण एवं प्रायश्चित की मृत्‍यु के द्वारा मनुष्‍य एवं परमेश्‍वर के बीच में मध्‍यस्‍त बन गया; इस तरह, अपने शरीर का उस अनंत आत्‍मा के द्वारा बलिदान करके उसने हमारे लिए परमेश्‍वर की उपस्थिति में प्रवेश का मार्ग बना दिया (इब्रा.10:19;20)। इस प्रायश्चित की मृत्‍यु एवं पुनुरुत्‍थान (मृत्‍कों में से जी उठने) के द्वारा वह परमेश्‍वर और मनुष्‍य के बीच में मेल मिलाप का मार्ग बन गया (रोम.5:10; इब्रा.1:3)। जो इस उद्धार के दान को ठुकरायेंगे वे अपने पापदोष में पड़े रहेंगे और ‘प्रभु के सामने से, और उसकी शक्ति के तेज से दूर होकर अनन्‍त विनाश का दण्‍ड पाएंगे’ (2थेस. 1:9)। जो यीशु मसीह को अपने प्रभु और उद्धारकर्ता के रूप में ग्रहण करेंगे वे अंधकार की शक्ति से छुड़ाए जाकर प्रभु यीशु मसीह के राज्‍य में प्रवेश कराये जाएंगे (कुलु.1:13)। उनहे पुत्र होने एवं यीशु मसीह के संगी वारिस होने का अधिकार दिया गया हैं (यूह.1:12; रोम;8:17)। उद्धार के आशीषें इस प्रकार से हैं:पापों से क्षमा (इफि.1:7) धर्मि ठहराया जाना (रोम.4:25) अनंत जीवन (यूह.3:16) स्‍वर्ग में नागरिकता (फिलि.3:20) अनंत मिरास (इब्रा.9:15) दुष्‍टात्‍माओं और बिमारियों पर अधिकार (लूका 10:19) पवित्रात्‍मा का फल (गल.5:22,23) एक महिमायुक्‍त पुनुरुत्‍थान (1कुरु.15:51-54) 


कलीसिया प्रभु यीशु मसीह के शिष्‍यों का समुदाय हैं। वह मेमने की पत्नि (प्रकाश्‍.21:9; इफि.5:25-27; प्रकाश.19:7), मसीह की देह (1कुरु.12:27), एवं परमेश्‍वर का मंदिर (1पत.2:5,6; इफि.2:21,22; 1कुरु.3:16,17) के रूप में भी जानी जाती है। कलीसिया ‘प्रेरितों और भविष्‍यद्वक्‍ताओं की नेव पर जिस के कोने का पत्‍थर मसीह यीशु आप ही है,’ बनायी गई है (इफि.2:20)। इसलिए, प्ररितों की शिक्षा एवं भविष्‍द्वाणी के द्वारा आत्मिक उन्‍नति कलीसिया के लिए बुनियादी हैं (प्रेरित 2:42; 15:32)। कलीसिया संगी विश्‍वासियों की संगति है। इसलिए, मसीहियों को आदेश दिया गया है कि वे आपस में इकटृठा होना न छोउ़ें (इब्रा.10:25)। कलीसिया परमेश्‍वर का परिवार हैं; इसलिए, उस में एकता, सहयोग, उन्‍नति, एवं फलदायकता होना चाहिए (इफि.2:19; 1कुरु.1:10; यूह.13:35; गल.6:1,2)। कलीसिया विश्‍वक और स्‍थानीय दोनों है। प्रभु यीशु मसीह कलीसिया की उन्‍नति के लिए उस में प्ररित, भविष्‍यद्वक्‍ता, सुसमाचार प्रचारक, शिक्षक, एवं पासवानों को नियुक्‍त करते हैं (इफि.4:11-12)। पवित्र आत्‍मा व्‍यक्तियों को अपने वरदानों से सुसज्जित करता हैं ताकि कलीसिया की उन्‍नति हो (1कुरु.12)। कलीसिया को बुलाया गया है कि वह यीशु मसीह के सुसमाचार को हर जाति में प्रचार करें, उनमे से शिष्‍य बनायें, और यीशु मसीह की शिक्षाओं को उन्‍हे सिखाएं (मत्ति 28:19-20)। यह प्रचार चिन्‍हों और अद्भुत कार्यों के साथ होता है जिन्‍हें प्रभु अपने वचन को प्रमाणित करने के लिए करता है (मरकुस 16:20; इब्रा. 2:4)। कलीसिया के दो नियम हैं जल का बपतिस्‍मा (मत्ति 28:19) एवं प्रभु का मेज (1कुरु.11:23-29)। यीशु मसीह अपनी कलीसिया के लिए पुन: पृथ्‍वी पर वापस लौटेगा। तब मसीह में जो मर गए हैं वे पहले जिलाए जाएंगे, फिर जो जीवित हैं वे उसके साथ बादलों में उठा लिए जाएंगे ताकि उसके साथ सदा के लिए रहें (1थेस.4:16,17)। 


बाईबल मसीह यीशु के विश्‍वास द्वारा उद्धार पाने के लिए परमेश्‍वर द्वारा दिया गया शिक्षण ग्रंथ है (2तिम.3:15)। यह उन पवित्र लोगों के द्वारा लिखी गई थी जो पवित्र आत्‍मा की भविष्‍यद्वाणी के अभिषेक के द्वारा चलाये जाते थे (इब्रा.1:1; 2पत.1:20,21)। इसलिए, यह परमेश्‍वर का प्रेरित वचन के रूप में जाना जाता है (2तिम.3:16)। बाईबल को हम सांसारिक रीति से नही समझ सकते हैं। उद्धार के निमित शिक्षा हमें पवित्र आत्‍मा के द्वारा प्राप्‍त होता हैं (1कुरु.2:10-16)। इसलिए, एक अनात्मिक व्‍यक्ति अत्मिक बातों को न तो समझ सकता है न उनहें ग्रहण कर सकता है। केवल बाईबल ही दैवीय ज्ञान का एकमात्र अभ्रांत (तृटि रहित) स्रोत है जिसे परमेश्‍वर ने मनुष्‍यों को दिया है (प्रकाश.22:6)। बाईबल या पवित्र शा‍स्‍त्र यीशु मसीह के विषय में गवाही देती है (यूह.5:29; गल.3:8); इसलिए, कहा गया है कि ‘यीशु की गवाही भविष्‍यद्वाणी की आत्‍मा है’ (प्रकाश. 19:10)। विश्‍वासी को पवित्र शास्‍त्रों को पढ़ने और अध्‍ययन करने के लिए बुलाया गया हैं (भजन 1:2)। बाईबल के वचनों का तोड़ना मरोड़ना या उसमें अन्‍य बातों को जोड़ना या उसमे से निकालना सख्‍त रूप से प्रतिबंधित हैं (2पत.3:16; प्रकाश.22:18;19)। 


बाईबल हमें सिखाती हैं कि सभी नैतिक प्राणी परमेश्‍वर के न्‍याय सिंहासन के सामने जगत के अंतिम दिन लाए जाएंगे। यीशु मसीह ने उन चिन्‍हों के विषय में बताया जो उस अंतिम दिन से पहले होने वाले हैं। वे इस प्रकार हैं: मत त्‍याग, झूठे भविष्‍यद्वक्‍ताओं का बढ़ना , ख्रीस्‍त विरोधी का आगमन जो परमेश्‍वर के लोगों को सताएगा और राजनैतिक तौर से विश्‍व पर नियंत्रण करेगा, युद्ध, भूकम्‍प, आकाल, बुराई का बढ़ना, पंथों का बढ़ना, एवं अंतरिक्ष में चिन्‍ह (मत्ति 24)। इस‍के पश्‍चात परमेश्‍वर का पुत्र आसमान में अपने सामर्थी स्‍वर्गदूतों के साथ प्रगट होगा (2थेस.1:7)। वह इस बार अपने लोगों का उद्धार एवं संसार का न्‍याय के लिए प्रगट होगा (इब्रा.9:28)। मसीह में जो मर गए हैं वे पहले जिलाए जाएंगे; फिर जो शिष्‍य जीवित हैं वे प्रभु के साथ हमेशा रहने के लिए उठा लिए जाएंगे (1थेस. 4:16,17)। शैतान और उसके दूत नरक में डाल दिए जाएंगे (मत्ति 25:41; प्रकाश.20:10)। वे जिनका नाम जीवन की पुस्‍तक (यीशु की पुस्‍तक) में नही लिखा गया है उन्‍हें आग की झील मे डाल दिया जायेगा (प्रकाश.20:15) क्‍योंकि उनका न्‍याय उन के कार्यों के अनुसार किया जाएगा (रोम.2:5,6; यहूदा 15)। मसीह में विश्‍वासयोग्‍य जो रहेंगे वे स्‍वर्ग राज्‍य के वारिस होवेंगे (प्रकाश.21:7)। 

© Domenic Marbaniang, 2009


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