Filthy Rich

There is nothing filthier than the pride of being filthy rich. These surround themselves with illusions of material privileges while, in reality, spiritually clad with filthy rags.

There is nothing more disgusting than the sight of one who pretends to be a servant of God, but whose life only betrays of his being a slave of mammon. Such a personality is filled with talks of luxury, riches, special privileges, power, prosperity, superior than others mentality, and an agonizing desire to be regarded with special consideration for the sake of his wealthier position. The love of honor for any reason whatsoever is despicable in God's sight. The Bible stipulates that a man of God must be free of any love of filthy lucre (1Tim.3:3,8; Tit.1:7; 1Pet.5:2 KJV). How unhappy is the sight of a servant of God who uses phrases such as "filthy rich" without considering the element of menace that is associated with the term "filthy lucre"!

But, how much more vile is the tapping of such greed to convert it into an incentive for ministry! One offers another the incentive of greater pays in return for ministry--how impossible! Can one show mammon to attract a servant of God? Equally vile is the use of Scripture or prophecy to lure in donation for a return of a hundredfold blessing of God, isn't it?

Certainly, the Bible doesn't praise poverty that results from laziness. "He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich." (Pro 10:4). However, the Bible openly condemns the love, craving for, pursuit, and pride of wealth. It condemns all feelings of superiority, pride, and privilege that comes from the covetousness of wealth. It condemns seeking to retain all returns for selfish use, hoarding of wealth for personal enjoyment alone, and disregarding of the fact that riches on earth cannot assure a place in heaven; neither can a man give anything in return for his soul. And, what does it matter if a man has gained the whole world but lost his own soul? Jesus taught through the Parable of the Rich Fool that a man who hoards wealth for himself alone without considering the true purpose of life briefly allotted to man, is a fool. "But God said to him,`Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luk 12:20-21). Jesus told those who sought Him, "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." (Joh 6:27). He said, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Mat 6:19-21)

There are some who claim that Jesus was a rich man, a rich carpenter in fact. Some try to prove that the gold, myrrh, and frankincense Jesus' family received from the Magi might have made them wealthy. Usually, such arguments are used by rich men or by those who wish to become rich and richer and richest.

There is one reason why Jesus didn't say, "Ye cannot serve God and Satan;" He said, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Mat 6:24). The Bible tells us that the Lord of Universe, rich, became poor for us, so that through His poverty we might be rich" (2Cor.8:9). This doesn't talk of material affluence. Jesus did not come to the earth so that we may become rich barons. He came to give us life and life more abundantly. He came so that we might become rich in good works and rich in faith.
Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1Ti 6:17-19)
Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? (Jam 2:5)
Certainly, God blesses the work of the laborer. But, He praises the widow who puts her two mites more than those who flaunt their riches, even at church. He looks not at how much one has, but at how much one loves. Contrast this to those who send gold certificates to the ones who give them more offering or donations, and privilege those who have paid above 100,000 or whatever by etching their names on stone slabs.

The man of God was wise to pray: "Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain." (Pro 30:8-9)

The Bible exhorts us:
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. (1Ti 6:6-11)
There are some who think that the only best way to influence a culture is by ascending to a seat of great wealth and great political authority. They do not answer why Jesus did not choose to be born in a palace, rather chose to be born in a manger. Albert Einstein, though not a theologian or missiologist, was wiser in this regard when he said:
I am absolutely convinced that no wealth in the world can help humanity forward, even in the hands of the most devoted worker in this cause. The example of great and pure individuals is the only thing that can lead us to noble thoughts and deeds. Money only appeals to selfishness and irresistibly invites abuse.
Can anyone imagine Moses, Jesus, or Gandhi armed with the money-bags of Carnegie?
(Mein Weltbild, Amsterdam: Querido Verlag, 1934, Ideas and Opinions (1954),, 12-13)
James was vociferous to denounce the wealth-seekers:
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you!
Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you. (Jam 5:1-6)
To fellow-Christians, he wrote:
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool," have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (Jam 2:1-9)
Here, James says that those who claim to have faith and show partiality at the same time have their faith nullified by their transgression of the commandment of love. Such faith is dead.

I am glad Peter was not CEO of some NGO whose main job was to raise funds for cripples. If he were so, he could never have said to the lame man: "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." (Act 3:6)

When the disciples brought the problem of money before Jesus, that 200 denarii worth of bread was not sufficient to feed the multitude, He did not call for a committee meeting to consider the problem. The Bible says "He Himself knew what He would do." (Joh 6:6) And, He did.

When money becomes the chief concern of a servant of God, then he has joined the ranks of the filthy. Better is a man who can say with Paul, "I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me." (Act 20:33-34).

Wasn't Paul the one who considered everything of the world (this included riches as well) as dung that he may gain Christ? (Phil.3:8). How come then we have people who claim to love Christ and at the same time are thrilled by the love for big cars, big houses, big shots (being friends with such), and big money -- in a word, filth?

But, here is the comfort:
Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You." So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time-- houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions-- and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mar 10:28-30)
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Excerpted: Time-Travel and Trinity

Excerpted from Omniscience

Time-fictions that imagine oneself traveling to the past or the future and being able to see oneself as another self only cash on the imagery of a realistic video playback. One can go to the past in the same way that one can go back to a time frame in a video and playback from there, they imagine; the exception in this reality playback: one can interfere. Similar is the imagination about the future. Of course, this involves the paradox of going back and killing oneself and yet being able to survive in the present. Some have even tried to suggest theories about several parallel universes and possibility worlds, which look interesting to the mind, but pose an interesting plurality. Of course, this could be one area where fiction allows for man to imagine a unity of being and yet a plurality of persons at the same time. For instance, in this imaginary time-trip, I find myself in 2010 at a University campus where I am presenting a paper. I (standing under a tree) see myself (near another building) on way to the Seminar hall inside. There is a duality here. I am standing under a tree and yet I am near another building on way to the Seminar hall. It doesn’t appear very problematic to those who think this could be possible in time travel; because, at least from one point in time (2016), I have gone missing. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem impossible to the imagination to allow two different persons of the same one being in the same place with two different personalities at the same time. Also, in this view, the present is meaningless; for, 2010 is as really present to me (both me standing under the tree and myself on the way to the Seminar hall) in that framework as 2016 was real to me “earlier” (i.e. in my past). At the same time, due to the possibility of time-travel, I (2016) and myself (2010) are both at the same place and the same time, fictionally speaking. This temporal imaginative permission is incredulous. This violation of reason, perhaps, should forbid us trying to question how the eternal Godhead cannot be three persons in His eternal being.
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Omniscience

Omniscience is an article of faith among people across various faiths that hold faith in the Supreme God. Omniscience baffles reason. How can God know all things beyond time: things that were, things that are, and things that will be?
I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and [I know] the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but [are] a synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw [some] of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Rev 2:9-10)
The biggest challenge comes in the form of the objection:
1. Knowledge is cognizance of something that exists.
2. The future doesn’t exist yet.
3. Therefore, one cannot know the future.

There have been various reactions to this and attempts to try to explain omniscience of future events. Some subscribing to the eternalist theory of time (the view that events already exist at various points of time and that time is tenseless; i.e. there is actually no past or present or future) think that eternalism is helpful in explaining that divine foreknowledge doesn’t contradict reason, for future events already exist in the temporal-points of time. However, in experience, we know that we are not already there in the future while we are still here. Thus, time-fictions that imagine oneself traveling to the past or the future and being able to see oneself as another self only cash on the imagery of a realistic video playback. One can go to the past in the same way that one can go back to a time frame in a video and playback from there, they imagine; the exception in this reality playback: one can interfere. Similar is the imagination about the future. Of course, this involves the paradox of going back and killing oneself and yet being able to survive in the present. Some have even tried to suggest theories about several parallel universes and possibility worlds, which look interesting to the mind, but pose an interesting plurality. Of course, this could be one area where fiction allows for man to imagine a unity of being and yet a plurality of persons at the same time. For instance, in this imaginary time-trip, I find myself in 2010 at a University campus where I am presenting a paper. I (standing under a tree) see myself (near another building) on way to the Seminar hall inside. There is a duality here. I am standing under a tree and yet I am near another building on way to the Seminar hall. It doesn’t appear very problematic to those who think this could be possible in time travel; because, at least from one point in time (2016), I have gone missing. Nevertheless, it doesn’t seem impossible to the imagination to allow two different persons of the same one being in the same place with two different personalities at the same time. Also, in this view, the present is meaningless; for, 2010 is as really present to me (both me standing under the tree and myself on the way to the Seminar hall) in that framework as 2016 was real to me “earlier” (i.e. in my past). At the same time, due to the possibility of time-travel, I (2016) and myself (2010) are both at the same place and the same time, fictionally speaking. This temporal imaginative permission is incredulous. This violation of reason, perhaps, should forbid us trying to question how the eternal Godhead cannot be three persons in His eternal being.

However, that God sees the future and knows everything is an article of faith. The eternalist (e.g. block universe) theory, itself is an assumption that seeks rational evidences. I do not subscribe to the eternalist view because it gives a picture of a fixed-history. Events are fixed in the timeline of history. Of course, we can imagine an infinite number of possibilities by bringing time-travel into the equation (like the one we imagined above). However, this will turn our experience into a framework of determinism. What happens will happen as if it has already happened. But, then this would contradict the possibility of truth, since truth will become subject to determinism as well, in which case, truth loses the attribute of transcendence and freedom. If so, how can one know if this idea of determinism itself is true?

Consequently, the conviction that God knows the future and sees it is rationally inexplicable. With regard to the block universe argument, this immediately raises the question of how God can see the universe as a block (from the beginning to the end of time) and yet be able to atemporally be involved in it. That, of course, poses the rational-empirical conflict. Reason’s God is atemporal but His actions have to be located temporally. Also, to state that God has created the universe with all His actions included in it from the beginning to the end will turn the world deterministic. Also, it still would impose the temporal framework on God in order to understand the terms “God created”.

Nevertheless, we know that God sees the future and knows what will happen with us. He also knows what we will choose. He knows what is going to be and tells us what we should do when we see those things happening. We know all these by faith. In other words, the concept of God as the omniscient one is given to us by faith. The certainty of the conviction is neither a proposition of reason nor a memory of experience; it is a conviction of faith. How God knows and what His experience of knowledge is like is too lofty a knowledge for man to have. To fully understand the knowledge of God one’s knowledge must be greater than God; this is obviously impossible. Therefore, we come to Him by faith and see only as much as He reveals to us and we have faith in God's revelation.

1. Omniscience doesn’t mean that God experiences knowledge of sin in the same way that the sinner does. The sinner possesses experiential knowledge of sin. But, God doesn’t have experiential knowledge of sin, since God is sinless. Therefore, we are told, “He knew no sin” (2Cor.5:21).
2. Omniscience is not limited only to what God has determined to do, His plan; on the contrary, God knows everything that is, was, and is going to happen (e.g. Dan.11; John 13:38).
3. Omniscience is not something that God acquired when He created the world. God knew everything before the foundation of the world. Note that we have used temporal terms to talk of God here, but we know that God is beyond these categories of talk (Eph.1:4).
4. Omniscience doesn’t mean that God’s actions in the world are determined; nor does it mean that man’s actions are determined. It simply only means that God knows all things without determining human choices. This, however, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t lead and guide people or abandon them to their hardened heart if they reject His guidance. Omniscience, thus, does not contradict human freewill and responsibility.
5. Omniscience of God is the source of prophecy.
6. God knows all things visible and invisible, all thoughts and actions, and nothing is hidden from His eyes, for all creation is bare before Him (Heb.4:13).


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Culture Doesn't Define Ethical Principles and Lifestyle

I do not think that it is right to turn to cultural anthropologies in order to either affirm or negate a doctrine. Human experience is not the criteria of biblical doctrine. For instance, there have been cultures where people lived nude, without any covering whatsoever, and felt no sense of shame--that doesn't falsify the Genesis account in which Adam and Eve felt ashamed that they were naked, after the Fall. There have been certain cultures where cannibalism was practiced and people ate their neighbors--that doesn't become an experiential argument for the ethical innocence of cannibalism. I think we must be careful not to bring in the experience of man in a culture to validate or invalidate a biblical doctrine.
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God-Christ-Man-Woman Relationship in 1 Corinthians 11

It is important for us to affirm some of the absolutes that Paul highlights about God-Christ-Man-Woman relationship:

1. The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God (1Cor.11:3). Certainly, this is not with reference to the Church; for, Christ is the head of the Church and in Christ there is neither male nor female (Gal.3:28). So, this is with reference to creation-order of authority.
2. Man is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man (in the Creation-order) (1Cor.11:7). However, in the absolute sense, both male and female are created as man in the image of God (Gen.1:27).
3. Man is not from woman, but woman from man (in the Creation-order) (1Cor.11:8).
4. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God. (1Cor. 11:11-12)
5. Man was not created for the woman, but woman for the man (in the Creation-order) (1Cor.11:9)
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Omnipresence

Omnipresence baffles reason. How can someone be at all places at the same time? To say that the doctrine of divine infinitude implies omnipresence is not enough, for God is not an infinite ocean that fills all space, analogically speaking; He is a person. Therefore, the doctrine is a pure tenet of faith. Human attempts to explain omnipresence may either pluralize God as immanent to all things (pantheism) or reduce all things to a mere manifestation of the One (monism). Polytheism has no place for omnipresence. Indubitably then, the doctrine that the personal God is omnipresent is a pure tenet of faith that baffles all explanation. But, we can delineate a few implications from the doctrine:

1. Omnipresence doesn’t mean occupation of all space. Material objects occupy space. But, God is Spirit. Divine infinity doesn’t mean that God’s infinite presence takes up all space for anything else; which is, obviously, not the case. God’s presence in the world, therefore, cannot be detected by physical instruments of any kind; for, God is Spirit.
2. Omnipresence doesn’t mean divine distribution over all space. If I say that a table is present in my room, it means that different parts of the table occupy different parts of the space in the room. However, God, as Spirit, is not composed of parts; so, omnipresence is not to be imagined in corporeal terms. Of course, Scripture does talk figuratively of God as enthroned in heaven with earth as His footstool; however, these only express the fact that God rules over the universe and that the earth is at His feet. It also expresses the supremacy of God over all sizes whatsoever. This doesn’t mean that God can be divided into parts. St. Augustine (354-430) observed it well:
Although in speaking of him we say that God is everywhere present, we must resist carnal ideas and withdraw our mind from our bodily senses, and not imagine that God is distributed through all things by a sort of extension of size, as earth or water or air or light are distributed. (Letter 187)

Nevertheless, he is not distributed through space by size so that half of him should be in half the world and half in the other half of it. He is wholly present in all of it in such wise as to be wholly in heaven alone and wholly in the earth alone and wholly in heaven and earth together; not confined in any place, but wholly in himself everywhere. (Letter 187)
3. Omnipresence doesn’t mean indwelling of every entity. Divine omnipresence doesn’t mean that God is present in all things as indwelling each entity, be it stone, atom, or an organism. Omnipresence is not indwelling presence. God is everywhere doesn’t mean God dwells everywhere. The Scripture makes it clear that God dwells in heaven and that God indwells those who receive Him by faith.
4. Omnipresence means that God is fully present every-where. Our presence is material and finite; but, divine presence is spiritual and infinite. For instance, take God’s presence in relation to an area. God’s presence is full over 1000 sq.km. in the same way that God’s presence is full over 1 sq.km. or 1 sq.m. or 1 sq.mm. His presence over 1000 sq.km. doesn’t mean that he is not fully present (or is only half-present) over 500 sq.km. Now, we know that, conceptually, this divisibility of space is infinite. One cannot conceive of a point where one cannot divide space anymore. Nevertheless, one can talk of divine omnipresence as full infinitely everywhere.
5. Omnipresence means that God can do different things at different places simultaneously at the same time. This again, evidently, is a statement of faith.
6. Omnipresence doesn’t mean that God cannot move in space. The Bible talks of God’s presence moving with His people.
And He said, "My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Then he said to Him, "If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. (Exo 33:14-15 NKJ)
7. God’s presence everywhere doesn’t make the universe divine. The view that all things are divine because God is in everything is pantheism, which is antithetical to the biblical view of God as the Creator of all things. God’s presence is not affected by what happens to things.
8. It is fallacious to apply the physical concept of space-time to God’s omnipresence. Thus, I do not think it is right to talk of God’s omnipresence as applicable to time in the sense in which some talk of God as already being there in the future before we get there. This would also falsely mean that things are already there, in fact we are already there, before we get there (Then, in what sense does one talk of getting there?). Theology fails when it tries to comply with rational categories or empirical concepts; some of which are themselves controversial. The source of faith is hearing and the source of hearing is the Word of God, nothing else.
9. God’s omnipresence is not the same as His presence in heaven. It is also not the same as His indwelling presence in a child of God. Thus, while we can talk of God as present in heaven and also present in hell (Psalm 139:8), hell is certainly the opposite of heaven, and to be in heaven is to be with God while to be in hell is to be separated from the presence of God (2Cor.5:8; 2Thess.1:9).
10. Christ is present everywhere. But, Christ is ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of God (Heb.1:3). Christ is with His disciples (Matt.28:20). Christ indwells the believer’s heart (Eph.3:17). Christ is coming back for His church. And, when He comes back, we shall be with Him forever (1Thess.4:16-17). This might appear foolish to people and they may make fun of it. However, given the fact that God is Spirit and He is infinite, accepting the truth of divine omnipresence and also His special indwelling presence as well as His return is reasonable to faith.
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Freedom from Corruption begins with the Individual

Newspapers and news channels are seething with the issue of corruption, injustice, and violence nowadays. While there is anger and outrage about why politics reeks with hatred and abomination of every kind, I am forced to consider the problem of the human situation once again. They say it right, “Fix the man, and you fix the world”. We know the story of a boy given a world map torn into several pieces and asked to fix it. He fixed it quite easily, because he said, he noticed the image of a man behind the map and knew that if he fixed the man, he could fix the world.

The Bible tells us the history of leaders who led their nation into prosperity and leaders who led their nation into violence and self-destruction. Hatred always divides. Falsehood always distorts. Violence always destroys.

But, I am not concerned as much of national politics as I am concerned about our own small circle of work and relationships. Some time ago, I visited a mainline congregation whose pastor was filled with sorrow about the kind of situation that his denomination was in. He said that he was unjustly demoted and transferred to a, comparatively, remote location because he had voiced opposition against blatant corruption promenading at the headquarters. He was filled with sadness about the state of the system he was in. The thought about his situation reminded me of a movement I came to know about from another dear friend who is with the Lord now. He and a group of scholars were in a movement aimed at purifying one of the biggest ecumenical church that began with the aim to unite all saints together, but has, purportedly, turned into an unholy mess. I pulled out the book they published and mourned over words that talk of violence, abuse of power, and financial irregularities. I remember a couple of theological students once visiting from another seminary grieve about vote peddling, bribery, and immoral practices during the time of elections in their own denomination (or abomination as some prefer to call). We continue hearing of false reporting, exploitative maneuvers, and a host of corrupt practices in organizations all over the world. Every now and then some scandal hits the headlines of newspapers relieving them of the tedious. This doesn’t excuse any group or any human system wherever of the evils they find in others. Those who point finger at others must look within to see whether they are not condemned of the very thing they accuse others of. Feeling righteous about oneself doesn’t make one righteous or give one the right to condemn others. Name calling and vilifying of humans helps less to solve problems. Bitterness breeds bitterness. Hatred breeds hatred. Revenge breeds revenge.

Of course, one leader can lead a nation either into the Promised Land or, mournfully, even into hell. Of course, again, unjust systems will produce injustice and not justice, leading to intensification of evil. Ideas matter. Policies matter. Yet, the Bible teaches us that before we can talk of purifying other things, we must purify our hearts and our hands first. The priests had to purify themselves before they could enter in to serve in the temple. The self-righteous are never divinely justified. But, those who confess their sins are forgiven.

But, we ask. Why did God wait so long before He exiled the people of Israel from their land, though they kept sinning and sinning against Him? The Lord expressed through Jeremiah: “As a fountain wells up with water, so she wells up with her wickedness. Violence and plundering are heard in her. Before Me continually are grief and wounds.” (Jer 6:7) Evidently, evil receives exponential growth in any system that favors it. In pre-exilic Israel, violence and wickedness had become systemic, leading to its imminent downfall. When evil becomes internalized, the result is evil. However, there was a ray of hope. Destruction could have been averted if there were even one man, as the Lord explained "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Therefore I have poured out My indignation on them; I have consumed them with the fire of My wrath; and I have recompensed their deeds on their own heads” (Eze 22:30-1). But, who is this man who can stand in the gap? That one man is every individual in a nation who loves God, knows the seriousness of divine government, turns from evil, acts justly, heals the brokenhearted, speaks the truth, and becomes a light to his fellowmen. That man is you and I. Freedom from corruption begins with the individual.

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Doubt Vs Trust

Doubt has single-handedly destroyed many families, friendships, and futures of people in the world. But, what is doubt?

Doubt is a thought. It is a hypothetical thought that uses expressive forms such as “May be”, “Perhaps”, “Suppose”, “Seems like”. Doubt casts a dark cloud of suspicion on the mind of a person against truth. Slowly things begin to look darker by the influence of this cloud. Everything begins to look different and supportive of the doubtful thought. Supportive evidences seem to flock around the suspicious idea in the same way that birds of the same feather flock together. The problem becomes vicious when one actually nurtures a deep grudge, fear, or anger. Then, thoughts turn villainous.

Doubt is the enemy of trust. Where doubt enters, trust quivers. But, where trust takes a willful stand, doubt can find no entry point. Therefore, the believer confesses again and again: ‘I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”’ (Psa 91:2)

Trust is a relationship of love. One has to love the truth in order to be able to trust in the truth. Trust is a commitment. It is faith in personal relation. How do we know blind faith from true faith? Jesus said, that one knows a tree by its fruits; a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit (Matt.7:17,18). God is the Good Tree who always bears good fruit. Therefore, the Psalmist sings aloud "Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" (Psa 34:8) When one trusts in God, there is light and no place for the darkness of doubt. When one trusts in the Lord with all one's heart, there is relationship and love. Doubt only destroys people. But, trust only builds and edifies always. Trust in the Lord is a powerful foundation that will endure forever. "Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever." (Psa 125:1)


Scriptures on Trusting the Lord

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (2Sa 22:31)

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, And put your trust in the LORD. (Psa 4:5)

O LORD my God, in You I put my trust; Save me from all those who persecute me; And deliver me, (Psa 7:1)

And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. (Psa 9:10)

In the LORD I put my trust; How can you say to my soul, "Flee as a bird to your mountain"? (Psa 11:1)

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psa 18:2)

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. (Psa 18:30)

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. (Psa 20:7)

In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness. (Psa 31:1)

But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." (Psa 31:14)

The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned. (Psa 34:22)

Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. (Psa 37:3)

Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. (Psa 37:5)

And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, And save them, Because they trust in Him. (Psa 37:40)

He has put a new song in my mouth; Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, And will trust in the LORD. (Psa 40:3)

Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, And does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies. (Psa 40:4)

The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and trust in Him. And all the upright in heart shall glory. (Psa 64:10)

In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. (Psa 71:1)

For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth. (Psa 71:5)

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 73:28)

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." (Psa 91:2)

O Israel, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. (Psa 115:9)

O house of Aaron, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. (Psa 115:10)

You who fear the LORD, trust in the LORD; He is their help and their shield. (Psa 115:11)

It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. (Psa 118:8)

It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes. (Psa 118:9)

Those who trust in the LORD Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever. (Psa 125:1)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; (Pro 3:5)

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; 'For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.'" (Isa 12:2)

Trust in the LORD forever, For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength. (Isa 26:4)

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the LORD! (Isa 31:1)

"Who among you fears the LORD? Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness And has no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD And rely upon his God. (Isa 50:10)

"For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me," says the LORD.'" (Jer 39:18)

The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. (Nah 1:7)

I will leave in your midst A meek and humble people, And they shall trust in the name of the LORD. (Zep 3:12)

But I trust in the Lord that.... (Php 2:24)

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The Authenticity of the New Testament

The third important source of knowledge in Indian epistemology is Sabda (Word or Verbal Testimony); the first two are pratyaksha (direct perception, experience) and anumana (inference, reasoning). The role of testimony as source of knowledge is crucial since it affirms the unity of knowledge and the fact that much of what we know has come to us by means of testimonies. Historical knowledge copiously relies on written testimony. Similarly, culinary science, medicine, architecture and a host of sciences conserve and convey knowledge to us. However, not everything conveyed as information is necessarily true. However, by affirming the first two sources of knowledge to be authentic, we also affirm that testimonies of direct perception cannot be considered as unreliable sources of information; for by rejecting the reliability of testimonies, one also rejects the reliability of one’s own experience and his testimony of it.

The authenticity of Christian experience is deeply tied with the testimony of, first, Christ and, then, the Apostles. The Biblical Canon (all the books in the Bible) was sealed with the testimony of the Apostles, the last of all being John. The following facts can be noted:

  1. The testimony of the Apostles, who were with Jesus and learnt from Him, was foundational to the New Testament church. What they said and what they endorsed was doctrine. (Acts 2:42; Acts 15; Eph.2:20).
  2. The OT was affirmed by Christ and the Apostles as the divine testimony of Christ by the Spirit (John 5:39; 2Pet.1:20,21)
  3. The NT was not just the testimony of a single person, received secretly, and closed to verification. On the contrary, the NT was the testimony of the 12 Apostles of Christ, open to cross-verification as well as independent verification. The things asserted happened openly. The testimony about the event on the Mount of Transfiguration was attested by three witnesses (Peter, John, James) as required by the OT Law.
  4. Apart from the 12, there is the independent testimony of Apostle Paul (his testimony not only including the vision on the road to Damascus, but also the vision of and, later, healing by Ananias).
  5. With regard to Paul’s writings, Apostle Peter attested of these as being Scriptures (2 Pet.3:15-16).
  6. The experience of the Apostles on the Mt. of Transfiguration which included the vision of Moses and Elijah and the voice from heaven was, among other experiences, crucial in establishing the irrefutability of the identity of Christ to the Apostles (2Pet.1:17-18).
  7. Over 500 people testified of seeing Jesus after His resurrection (1Cor.15:6), thus independently verifying the claims of the Apostles regarding the resurrection of Christ.
  8. Paul himself, a persecutor of Christians, had a direct vision of Christ and became a witness of Christ.
  9. The NT is an account of the testimony of the Apostles regarding Christ; therefore, it is a proof or testimony book. As to which of the books are authentic and which are not was decided by applying the criteria of the canon by the Church Fathers, which made sure that only books written or attested by the Apostles and read as Scriptures by the local churches, having been referred to as Scriptures by the Church Fathers, could be accepted as the sealed testimony of the Apostles, the Chief Witness being the Holy Spirit.
  10. The Five-fold Ministry of the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teachers, Pastors, are given “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph.4:12-13), which unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God is given to us in the written testimony of Christ sealed in the witness of the Bible.
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The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want (Psalm 23:1)

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. (Psalm 23:1)

This is a powerful declaration of David. There are many inferential connections in the assertion, like "The Lord is my Shepherd; He is an all-powerful Shepherd; He is an all-knowing Shepherd; He is all-present Shepherd; He never slumbers or sleeps; He is good and kind; He is a Caring Shepherd; He is a Rich Shepherd; He is a Loving Shepherd; therefore, I shall never lack anything."

When David calls God his shepherd, he recognizes God as his protector, provider, savior, and master.

There is nothing more damaging to the Christian life than the thought that "I am lacking something". The devil tried this with Eve and prevailed. He first tried to question if God forbade all the trees of the Garden. When she said, No, not every tree but only the tree of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, he questioned the motives of God as to why He had kept this one tree from them. Have you ever felt like why this or that one thing was kept from you? Instantly, Eve's eyes were turned away from all that God had given to the one thing He had not given to her. And, when she pondered on this, the desire for the forbidden fruit grew bigger and bigger and (as usually with human experience) her desire for all the things that God gave her dwarfed before the desire for the one forbidden thing. This single thing that she lacked (because the Shepherd didn't give her) grew into an abyss of wantedness in her. The result: sin, shame, and suffering.

Similarly so also with the Israelites in the wilderness. Their minds began to turn to what they didn't have (and, can there be a point where a person can say "I have everything"? Even the richest of men don't have all things), i.e. what God hadn't allotted to them. They lusted for meat (of a strange kind of course; or else, they certainly had flocks with them!). They lusted for the spices of Egypt. They began to find the manna that God gave them disgusting. They began to complain and murmur against the Shepherd of Israel. But, is it true that they were in want? Of course not. However, instead of declaring their joy in the Lord in psalms and praises, they were filled with grumblings and weepings. They found a reason to complain (Who cannot find?). The result: destruction in the wilderness. Unless the Shepherd leads us into the Promised Land, we can never enter it. But, how will you follow a Shepherd when you want Him to follow and fulfill all your longings all the time. But, David was not like that. He knew that what the Shepherd gave him was his contentment and satisfaction.

But, look at Joseph. When Potiphar's wife tried to seduce him into sleeping with him, he stood as a rock and replied: "My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" He didn't become unrighteous in saying, "Why should I lack this experience when it is readily available?" He ran from Potiphar's wife. He ran from the temptation. He ran from sin. And, he had to suffer for this by being unjustly thrown into prison. But, God blessed him. The result: favor, promotion, power, prosperity, and purposefulness. God used him to save Israel. God used him to save the world from famine and starvation. He became the Prime Minister of Egypt.
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The Significance of the Book of Job

One of the greatest significance of the book of Job is its answer to the question of suffering. Job tells us that
1. An individual's suffering is not necessarily the result of sin.
2. It is unjust and unrighteous to use someone's misery as a proof to condemn the sufferer of some probable sin.
3. To falsely condemn a fellow-human and use such opportunity as a false reason to glorify God will not please God at all.
4. Our first call towards the suffering is to help and assist them, not theologize or debate about their situation.
5. There is absolutely no reason to doubt the goodness of God, no matter how bad or unfair life appears to us. God's goodness is greater than all misfortune.
6. Suffering is not just a natural affair; the devil and his hosts are actively involved in suffering that results from the violence of wind, fire, murderous and rioting men, and physical diseases.
7. Nothing is out of the control of God.
8. The goodness of God cannot be limited to experiences just within the span of this short life; there is hope beyond the grave.

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God's Gifts To Man

Speed is given to the cheetah, but the race is given to man;
Wings are given to the falcon, but sublimity is given to man;
Strength is given to the lion, but dominion is given to man;
Labor is given to the ant, but planning and management to man;
Beauty is given to the butterfly, but art is given to man;
Night is given to the owl, but watchfulness is given to man;
The sting is given to the scorpion, but peace is given to man;
Corpulence is given to the whale, but magnanimity is given to man;
Yes, height is given to the mountains and breadth is given to space;
But, what compares to the hope, faith, and love that God has given to man!

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