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Two Who Walked Into Tough Situations: Dhoni & Guess Who?

Duke Jeyaraj

Life Lessons From Thrilling Moments From The Cricket World Cups

WHEN DHONI RAN TO MEET WITH JOGI!

World T20 Final 2007. India versus their arch-rivals Pakistan. In Johannesburg, South Africa. Pakistan needed 13 runs to win off 6 balls with just one wicket in hand in the inaugural T20 World Cup Final. A seesaw game it was. Tension in the air. Spectators at the edge of their seats. Mahendra Singh Dhoni in what was his first international tournament as captain entrusted seamer Joginder Sharma – a bowler he had seen defend totals as low as 2 runs in domestic cricket – to bowl the crucial last over with the dangerous-looking Misbah-ul-haq of Pakistan on strike (despite his star spinner Harbhajan having one over left in his bowling quota). Misbah had hit Harbhajan  for three huge sixes in over number 18. Joginder bowled an ultra-wide as the first ball. Captain Dhoni calmly collected the ball and ran all the way to the other side of the pitch to put an arm around Joginder, who had by then walked back to his bowling mark. After giving him a brief pep talk, Dhoni ran back to the usual wicket-keeper’s position. Dhoni told him this: “If we lose this game, I will take the responsibility. So, relax and give your best! You have done it in small grounds when no one was watching you. You can do it when the whole world is watching you!”  Misbah was beaten off Joginder’s next ball, “trying to carve the ball away over point,” as commentator-on-air Ravi Shastri put it. He thrashed over the bowler’s head the third ball, which was an innocuous fulltoss,  for a huge six to make the equation 6 off 4 balls for Pakistan. Yet, again, Dhoni took the long journey from the wicketkeeper’s customary spot all the way to the fastbowler’s starting point. Another short-session of nerves-calming! Going by the next ball Joginder bowled – a slower ball with the word ‘trap’ written all over it – this may have been Dhoni’s advice: “Don’t try to contain Misbah. Try to get him out!” Sambit Bal’s lines about the last ball of the World T20 Final 2007 is worth quoting: “Then, with only one wicket in hand and fine leg in the circle, Misbah went for that scoop which, not for the first time, ended in tears for the batsman. Sreesanth would have never taken a more important catch in his life. But for Misbah, who has been Pakistan’s surprise star of the tournament, it will take some forgetting.”

The God who made you and me, did something similar to what Dhoni did in that climatic final over. We had goofed up like Joginder. We had sinned and were in danger – the danger of going to eternal hell, the place which God made for the Devil and his angels. God could have chosen to just watch this happen. But he did not. Just as Dhoni ran from the wicket-keeper’s position to the start of the bowling mark of in the T20 World Cup Final last over, God too travelled. He left the comfort of heaven and came all the way to earth, just to save us. Yes, Jesus, God in flesh, came down to seek and save us, sinners, the Bible, God’s Word in human words declares (Luke 19:10).

WHEN DHONI PROMOTED HIMSELF IN THE WORLD CUP FINAL VS SRI LANKA!

It was late evening of April 2, 2011. India had to come up with the best ever chase done in a World Cup Final – overhaul Sri Lanka’s imposing 274 – to win the World Cup 2011, 28 years after the magic day when Kapil Dev and his boys won it in the year 1983. Virender Sehwag, first and  Sachin Tendulkar, later, got out rather cheaply. India’s score stood at 31, when Sachin, just one short of his 100th ton then, got out. When the well-set Virat Kohli after a fighting 83-run partnership with “iron-willed” Gautam Gambhir also got out, caught and bowled brilliantly by Tillakaratne Dilshan, India were in real danger.  In danger of losing the World Cup Finals. In danger of not becoming the first ever team to win the World Cup at home. That’s when Captain M. S. Dhoni stepped in. He volunteered to bat at Number 5.  He could have stayed back and sent into the tension-filled middle, the in-form Yuvraj Singh. But he marched out of the Indian dressing room to bat at Number 5 when India still needed 161 runs to win in the 22nd over (161 from 170 balls, to be precise). The required run rate was almost 6 an over and had to be maintained for 28-plus Overs – that was the huge challenge before Dhoni when he walked in! In his previous seven innings leading up the final, Dhoni had just scored a grand total of 150 runs! Yet, he backed himself. He volunteered to go up the batting order when India was in a crisis. He stuck his neck out saying, “I will do this for India!” He told coach Gary Kirsten that as Lankan ace spinner Muthiah Muralitharan was operating he wanted to go ahead of the inform Yuvraj Singh. As the movie, M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, opened, we got a breath-taking, eagle-eye view of the entire Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai with the camera slowly zooming into faces in the stadium abuzz with untold tension. Rohit Vats, writing a review for this movie, hits the rewind-button on those goose-bumps-giving moments no Indian cricket fan will ever forget this memorable way: ‘When India is reeling at 114 for 3 (in a chase of 274) against Sri Lanka in the cricket world cup final of 2011, a man decides to take charge of the situation. It helps that he is also the captain of the team. He silently walks past the crowd, enters the ground and creates history. The cricketer’s image of rotating the bat as if he is wielding the sword is etched in our memory’ (Hindustan Times, April 15, 2017).

For the first 10 overs of his stay in the middle in that treasured final match, Dhoni did not hit a single boundary. He ran like a rabbit between the wickets, converting the singles in twos. Apart from hitting 25 fours and a couple of sixes, Indian batsmen chased down 274 with 99 singles, 24 twos, and even a  three. To do this, hectic, hare-like running was required and Dhoni was most ready for that. He was sweating, he was blowing his running nose and he received treatment for his back “as the Mumbai heat took its toll.” Andrew Miller reported, “Dhoni at one stage looked so immobile that a precautionary retirement seemed the only logical response, but after some harsh work from the physio he resumed his stance and responded with another trademark filleting of the extra cover boundary, an area in which he scored six of his eight fours – three of which helped to blunt Murali’s attacking instincts.” Sidharth Monga observed, “Once Gambhir tired, Dhoni took over the responsibility of scoring. In the time that Gambhir moved from 87 to 97, Dhoni went from 29 to 60.” In utter desperation, Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara threw the ball to his strike bowler Lasith Malinga hoping that he would take two wickets off two balls  or do even better. But Dhoni hit him for two consecutive boundaries through mid-wicket to hasten India’s World Cup win before a roaring crowd in Wankhade Stadium! Dhoni was the calmest soul in Wankhade Stadium, Mumbai, when he hit the Cup-winning six for India with 10 balls to spare.  And India was home! The World Cup was India’s! Quite memorably!

HE CHOSE TO SWIM IN THE AMNIOTIC FLUIDS OF MARY…

You and I are in danger. The danger of living a life of hell (life without purpose, meaning and real joy, a life in which you are empty despite having everything) and going to a literal hell (a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth forever, a place which Jesus spoke about  8 times). That’s when Jesus stepped in.  Jesus could have stayed back in heaven and sent someone else to save you from going to hell. He did not. In eternity past, there was a meeting held in heaven. In that meeting Jesus stood up. “I will go Father! Just give me a body! I will get into it, become a human, go to the earth and die for the human race. I will march down the Calvary route and open a doorway to save the human race!” (my imagination based on Psalm 40 and Hebrews 10 from the Bible). He came down and became a man. He chose to swim in the amniotic fluids of Mary rather than swim in the praises of angels and cherubs in Heaven. God took on flesh and bone. Yes, He did it for you. Yes, He did if for me. For everyone – he did it. When he was stopped from the Cross-route, he was determined to keep going, the Scripture records (Luke 9:51). He called as ‘Devil’  the one who discouraged him from walking down the road to Golgotha. On the road to the Cross,  Jesus endured infinitely more discomfort more than Dhoni ever did in the World Cup Finals of 2011. 

The following 12 ‘s’ torment Jesus endured to win the only true salvation offer for you. Here they are:

First, SOLD. Judas sold priceless Jesus for  a price that was less than the price  of a man 20 to 60 years old, according to the Bible (Leviticus 27:3). We sell Jesus even today when our friends apply peer pressure on us, don’t we?

Second, SWEAT. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus sweated blood, the Bible records (Lk 22:44). This happens only when a person experiences highest tension. That punishment would have been apt for a pleasure-lover, like you and me. But Jesus took it upon himself.

Third, STRAPPED. Jesus was bound by ropes before High Priest, the Gospel narratives of the Bible tell us (John 18:12). The most-free man on this earth, Jesus, was now bound. Why? Jesus was dying to release a poisoned, bound generation – a generation bound to drugs, alcohol, porn-watching, gossip-mongering, Facebook!

Fourth, SPAT UPON. This happened twice to Jesus, according to the Scriptures (Matthew 26:67; 27:30).  Only an irresponsible husband was to be spat upon, the Old Testament, one portion of the Bible, tells us (Deuteronomy 25:9). We were irresponsible when it came to using what God had given us and the punishment went to Jesus.

Fifth,  SLAPPED. Jesus was slapped by the High Priest’s servant, the Scriptures note (Matthew 26:67). His sinless mouth was hit hard. The reason – he was dying for a human race that consistently uses its mouth to sin – by lying, by using abusive language, by having oral sex outside of the marriage bond.

Six, SCOURGED. When Jesus was whipped, his back became like a plowed field with strips of flesh hanging loose (See Matthew 27:26 in the Bible).  Only the back of fools was to be whipped, according to the Scriptures (Proverbs 19:29). We were foolish to race behind temporary worldly pleasures (see Hebrews 11:25 in the Bible) ignoring the eternal pleasures at the right hand of God, our Creator (see Psa. 16:11 in the Bible) and the punishment for that sin went to Jesus.

Seventh, STRIPPED. Jesus was stripped off the clothes he originally wore and was then clothed in a scarlet robe (Matthew 27:28). Scarlet robes were only worn by royalty those days. So, the Roman soldiers who made Jesus wear it were making fun of Jesus with words of mockery that could have sounded this way: “You claim to be a King, Jesus? Ha, Ha! You don’t look like a king! Now, wear this scarlet robe and you will look more like a king! Come on, let us fall prostrate before this King!” Jesus was dying for a generation that takes pleasure in making fun of the timid and giggles when they suffer in excruciating pain.

Eighth, SPLINTER-PRESSED. The thorns were pressed on the head of Jesus, a Gospel-writer of the Bible notes (Matthw 27:29). It was you and me who had a big proud head. Those thorns should have come upon us, but Jesus, in his great love, took it upon himself.

Ninth, SHAMED. Only kings of the enemies of the Jews were hung on a tree, publicly, the Bible records (Joshua 10:26). But that shameful punishment came to Jesus, the real King of Kings. Crucifixion on a wooden cross beam was worst punishment reserved for the foulest enemies of the state by the Roman Government. It was akin to being urinated upon in public those days (See, Philippians 2:8 in the Bible). You and I must be publicly humiliated for all our secret, unprintable sins. But Jesus took that punishment on our behalf.

Tenth, SPIKED. Nails were thrashed onto Jesus’ two hands and legs, the Bible tells us (Matthew 27:31). Those nails should have gone on our hands for we sinned against Jesus with our hands and legs. I am referring to sins such as cigar-smoking, masturbation while porn-watching, fondling the intimate parts of the person belonging to the opposite gender not our spouse, walking into a filthy movie show, etc. But Jesus took the punishment for all our sins on the Cross. He was our substitute, the Bible declares (Isaiah 53:4,5; Galatians 2:19,20). The nails could not hold Jesus to the Cross for which nail, however strong, could ever hold God onto a Cross for long? Love did. He could have ripped them off and come down when he was challenged to do that  and scoffed at for refusing to do it (see Mark 15:30 in the Bible). But Jesus stayed on because he loved you and me.

Eleventh, SEPARATED. God turned his face away from Jesus as all of our sins – past, present and future – were placed upon him for six hours, one Friday, about two thousand years ago. At that time, Jesus lost his close fellowship with his holy Heavenly Father who would not even look upon sin. This was a heart-breaking experience for Jesus and so he cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” as the Bible declares (Matthew 27:45-46). He became so utterly lonely so that he would be able to lift the loneliness in your life, the loneliness that comes even when you are rubbing shoulders with plenty of friends in a packed booze party.

Twelfth, SPEARED. This treatment was given to him, minutes after he was dead, the Bible tells us (John 19:34).  The final blood drops in his body came out then. Every drop says, ‘I love you!’ Only this blood can cleanse you from you from every sin, the Bible teaches (I John 1:7)! It is impossible for anything you do or the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin, the Bible makes clear (Hebrews 10:4).

WILL YOU PRESS THE NAILS ONTO HIS HANDS HARDER, OR…

How do you respond to this great love of Christ that was so supremely “demonstrated” while he hung on the Cross (to use a phrase from Romans 5:8 from the Bible)?  You could, in stone-hearted stubbornness, press the nails onto his hands a bit deeper, by continuing to live in sin. That’s one way to respond. You could press down the thorn crown on his head roughly and crudely, once more, in rebellion, by continuing to flirt with the Devil and the world. That’s one way to respond. You could stamp on his holy blood that was shed for you on the Cross by returning to sin like a pig that returns to her wallowing in the mud, as the Bible points out (Hebrews 10:29; 2 Peter 2:22). That’s one way to respond.

Or will you, repent like one of the dying thieves beside Jesus on the Cross like we read in the Bible (Luke 23:42,43)? And would you believe on him (him, who is alive today, him, who is coming back), like the Roman centurion  and those with him who screamed, “This is indeed the Son of God!” as per the Biblical record (Matthew 27:54)? The choice is yours.

WHEN DHONI SPRINTED LIKE USAIN BOLT IN A WORLD CUP GAME….

It was a group game in the World T20 2016 which India had to win to stay in the tournament in the Chinnaswamy stadium Bangalore. And when it came to the last ball, Bangladesh needed two runs to win.  Captain Cool Dhoni had clearly told young rookie Hardik Pandya, the bowler, how to bowl: “no bowling a Yorker, but bowl a well-aimed slightly short-pitched express delivery, wide of the off stump.” Pandya followed Dhoni’s orders to the centimeter. Bangladeshi batsman Shuvgata Hom attempted an offside slash, only to miss connecting with the ball. Dhoni, who had already removed one of his gloves (in anticipation the tail-ender  may miss connecting the ball), calmly collected it and was off his blocks like a 100 meters sprinter! Usain Bolt usually starts slow, but Dhoni had no such problems! He sprinted towards it and broke the wickets catching the non-striker Mustafizur, well short of the crease. The spectators who had their hearts in their mouth, celebrated India’s one run win over Bangladesh in that World T20 game. India’s semifinals hopes were kept afloat following this nerve-wracking one-run win! Shaun Pollock, Darren Ganga, Nick Knight and Russell Arnold, all former cricketers who were on commentary duty during this particular T20 World Cup, slipped into different roles to  create a mock replay of this episode – this last ball runout which resulted in an Indian win was that memorable!

Like Dhoni sprinted towards the stumps, shall we sprint towards God-in-Flesh Jesus to receive salvation for the Bible says, ‘Now is the “acceptable time”, and this very day is the “day of salvation”’(2 Cor. 6:2, Phillips). We tell ourselves, “There’s always time to come to Jesus! There’s always time to get saved!” How foolish such an idea is!

The Bible talks about times when it could be too late for us to come to Jesus and get saved. For instance, we cannot get saved after we have died. There is no chance for salvation after we die – this is the teaching of the Bible (Hebrews 9:27). And sudden death can come to us anytime – can it not? Think of what happened in 2014 to 25-year-old Aussie cricketer Phil Hughes who was struck by a 140 kmph bouncer which struck him at the back of his neck as he took evasive action. He lost consciousness, never to regain it again!

Also, we cannot get saved after we have hardened our hearts beyond a certain limit – a limit that God sets for us, which he alone knows if we have crossed or not. This message jumps out from passages such as Genesis 6 and Romans 1 and from the stories of Pharaoh and King Manasseh in the Bible. So, while the Holy Spirit of God convicts us of our sin, by gently speaking in our heart, we must repent and turn to Christ. If we keep silencing his soft voice, the Holy Spirit of God may never speak to us ever again and we may never be saved eventually!

At this juncture I recall another event from the semifinal of the ODI World Cup of 2015 between India and Australia. After Dhoni and Ajinkya Rahane (who had smashed 79 runs off 60 balls in India’s earlier game versus South Africa to lift India to a surprise, easy, win) stitched a ‘’fight-back” partnership with the goal of overhauling Australia’s king-size knock-out game first innings total of 328 this event which Carly Adno writes about happened: “Dhoni put on a 70-run partnership with Ajinkya Rahane, before the sharp ears of Steve Smith intervened. Smith was the only one who heard a nick off Rahane’s bat when a Mitchell Starc delivery caught the faintest of edges on its way to Brad Haddin.” A umpire review was taken by Australian Captian Michael Clarke following this and Rahane walked back to the pavilion. India’s last recognized batting pair’s partnership was broken and so where India’s hopes of beating Australia in that semifinal.

Just like Steve Smith’s alert ears caught the nick, amidst a noisy crowd in Sydney Cricket Crowd that day, would you listen to the soft, faint voice of the Holy Spirit of God in your soul, telling you to repent now, and put your faith in Christ for your salvation, as you read this piece? Don’t turn off that tender voice! Obey it!

We must not forget that it becomes too late to get saved after Jesus appears in mid-air to judge us, all of a sudden. When Jesus comes back the second time, he is not coming back to offer salvation – but to execute judgment, the Bible teaches (Revelation 1:7). During that final judgment time, there is no way anyone can get saved. The message you are currently reading will be preached to you then. No altar call to come forward and accept Christ would be given then.

Why should we still scratch around with sin even after knowing very well that Jesus came to save us from sin? Sin makes us sad. It does so after giving us an initial elation. Sin will ultimately take us to hell, the Bible declares (Revelation 21:8). Why not join Jesus – the Jesus who died for us, sinners, on the Cross and waits to embrace us with arms open wide? Why not do it this very second, lest it becomes too late.

By praying this prayer you can be saved and receive true joy and real peace which only Jesus can give:

Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. Please forgive my sins. You died for me on the Cross. Cleanse me with your blood. Come into my heart and life. From this day onwards, I will turn away from sin and live for you, who rose from the dead. I believe you are the only way to heaven and will return one day to judge all the earth, as the Bible proclaims. Thank you for saving me. Thank you for cleansing me. In your name I pray. So be it.

Once you have prayed this prayer, get busy with the following regularly because you love Jesus: 1. Studying the Bible (ESV Bible App can be downloaded onto your smart phone). 2. Talking to Jesus in prayer. 3. Joining a Bible-believing church/fellowship 4. Tell others about Jesus, through your life and lip.

 (This was written by Duke Jeyaraj, an avid cricket enthusiast who lives in Hyderabad, India, whose letters have been published in newspapers like The Hindu. Duke, at one point in time, won an elocution contest as a visiting student in the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India. If you have a question about what you just read or want to know more about Jesus, shoot a mail to Duke at duke@aol.in. You can read more such writings of Duke at www.PurposeSpot.blogspot.com. You can watch Duke share similar messages at http://www.YouTube.com/VisitDuke).

Categories
Anti-Dotes-For-Modern-False-Teachings-Like-Hyper-Grace Lent Devotion

BYE BESETTING SIN, THANKS TO THE BLOOD!

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

If it is not possible to overcome besetting sin in our lives as believers, the Bible will not even call us for it. But it does! Hear the writer of the letter to the Hebrews: “Therefore, seeing we also are compassed by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 KJ21).

There are those who are merely satisfied with the cleansing work of the Cross. Does the Cross cleanse us from sin? Of course! Apostle John wrote, “the blood of Jesus his son cleanses us from all Sin” (I John 1:7 ESV).

The Cross of Christ does more than just PURIFICATION. It gives us POWER over habitual sin. The Cross of Christ does more than just WASH away sin. It gives us the wherewithal to WALLOP sin! The Cross of Christ does more than just CLEAN sin. It enables us to CRUSH sin’s grasp over us!

The connection between the Cross of Christ and victory over besetting sin is so clearly established in Scripture that we will have to be stone-blind or be heavily influenced by cultic hyper-grace hell-populating teaching not to notice it.

Apostle Peter expressed it clearly. He wrote, “He(Christ) himself bore our sins on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (I Peter 2:24 ESV). Apostle Paul penned the same thing using different words and imagery: “Those who belong to Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24). And when he wrote in Galatians 6:14, “the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and to the world” he was saying this: “thanks to the deep work of the Cross in my life, the besetting sin of worldliness is now dead (crucify here means death) in me!”  Jesus died so that we might have victory over sin in our day to day lives.

Let me talk about various “P”s that help us understand how the blood of Christ gives us victory over daily, besetting sin.

PEACE & THE BLOOD OF CHRIST

Prophet Isaiah wrote, “the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5). When we choose to sin against the Lord as a believer, the first result is a loss of peace. The knowledge that we will lose our peace when we sin should strongly deter us from walk down the familiar path of sin. Yes, that journey to watch a web series full of erotic scenes is not worth it for it destroys our peace which was given to us because of the work of the Cross. Yes, that online affair outside the boundaries of marriage is not simply worth it because our serenity goes for a Six (to borrow a Cricket imagery)! Apostle Paul wrote, “we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Romans 5:1 NLT) on the Cross. “When I commit a wanton wickedness against my Lord, my peace will go for a huge Six. I don’t want that to happen. So, I will overcome the temptation before me by tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit!” That is what we should say. That is what we should do.

PRECIOUSNESS & THE BLOOD OF CHRIST

The Bible says, “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ” (I Peter 1:18-19). When we realize the preciousness of the blood of Christ, we will realize how atrocious it is when we keep returning to same old sin (that porn-watching, that drunkenness, that abusive language, etc.).

Hosea’s wife left him to go to the Red Light area for prostitution. But that did not put a red light (stop) on his love for her. He bought back his wife from the Red Light District operators  by paying 15 pieces of silver, five bushels of barley and a measure of wine (Hosea 3:2). These things were by no means cheap those days. They were very expensive. Exodus 21:32 and Zechariah 11:12 tells us that the price of slave in the Jewish slave market was 30 shekels of silver. Translate that into today’s world where to ‘buy’ a kidney also you need to shell out a bomb. Imagine the price of one full individual, then! Hosea paid this monstrous amount, part in silver (15 pieces), part in agricultural produce (five bushels of barley and a measure of wine). After redeeming her, Hosea told her not to return to the Red Light area as a prostitute (Hosea 3:3). She had to put a ‘red light’ (stop) on her life of sin having experienced a love from her husband which did not stop even though she went into the red light area! Having been bought with something far more precious that Prophet Hosea paid for his wife, which is the precious blood of Jesus, we must also take efforts to overcome sin. Since we were “bought” with a price – the utterly precious blood of Jesus – we must glorify God in our body, the Apostle Paul wrote (I Corinthians 6:20). We must stay away from sinful habits that destroy our souls and bodies – torrid habits such as masturbation coupled with porn-watching, alcohol/drug consumption, sexual activity outside marriage, etc.

THE PROFANING & THE BLOOD OF JESUS

The author of the book of Hebrews wrote these powerful lines: “How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned blood of the covenant by he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of Grace?” (Hebrews 10:29 RSV). And when do we profane the blood of Christ? The same author answers this question very directly: “when we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth” (Hebrews 10:26 NIV). So, when we are tempted to watch that profane web series that is showing in that popular streaming service (Netflix and the likes) we must tell ourselves this: “If I watch that, I would profane the precious blood of Jesus which I do not want to do. So, I will overcome that temptation empowered by the Spirit!”

Yes, it is possible to beat besetting sin through the blood of Jesus!

THE PERSECUTION & THE BLOOD OF JESUS

John observed in the Book of Revelation this: “And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not lives even unto death” (Rev. 12:11). Yes, end-time believers overcame “the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9) through the blood of the Lamb (the Lord Jesus Christ). The Devil tried to threaten these believers with severe persecution but because they were inspired by the blood of the Lamb they did not “love their lives so much that they were afraid of death” (EXB version of Rev. 12:11). Jesus was extremely bold as he marched toward the Cross. While his disciples ran helter-skelter when the Roman arrest party came, he very boldly marched towards them saying, “I am he (the one you have come to arrest)!” (John 18:4-6). His bold voice threw the arrest party on the floor. They were flabbergasted.  He was that bold! So, his blood gives us the courage in the face of persecution that can came to us for saying ‘no’ to sin. Therefore when we say ‘no’ to sin inspired by the blood of Jesus this complaint that the writer to the Hebrews made about his congregation will be no longer true about us: “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Hebrews 12:4 RSV). Instead of compromising with sin trying to escape the brickbats, inspired by the blood of the Lamb we will conquer sin despite the onslaught of severe persecution which may come from the Government, from your boss in the place of work.

Keep connecting the above-mentioned four “P”s – Peace, Preciousness, Profaning, Persecution – with the Cross of Christ! Habitual sin, which the Bible clearly warns us against (I John 3:6), will be a thing of the past!


This article was published in Evangelical Fellowship of India’s AIM magazine (April 2021 edition). Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. He has preached by invitation in over 20 Indian States and in five nations, in a ministry that has spread over three decades. His book, STRAIGHT TALK (on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn, Sexting, Phone Addiction, wise life partner choice, happy marriage, and More), is seen by some as a Reference Text Book on what the Bible has to say on these Taboo Topics, and is available on Amazon and Google Books. Alternatively, you can reach out to him via WhatsApp at 91-8886040605 or email to emailduke@gmail.com to buy a copy.

Categories
Sex Scandals Among Those In Ministry: Bible Response

SHOCKING EXCUSES FOR A SECRET SEXUAL AFFAIR OFFERED SUPPOSEDLY BY A PREACHER BIBLICALLY UNPACKED

Duke Jeyaraj

In what was the most widely read PDF read by believers world-over in recent times these terribly shocking lines appeared: ‘She reported that he made her pray with him to thank God for the “opportunity” they both received. She said he called her his “reward” for living a life of service to God, and he referenced the “godly men” in the Bible with more than one wife. She said he warned her not ever to speak out against him or she would be responsible for the “millions of souls” whose salvation would be lost if his reputation was damaged.’

Those were lines supposedly used by a world-famous evangelist, allegedly, to convince a woman into having a sexual relationship with him. Let’s unpack these lines in the light of the Bible using sound Bible interpretation principles.

NOT A GOD-GIVEN OPPORTUNITY

First of all, sexual activity outside marriage it is not a God-given opportunity. Only the false teacher we read about in the Book of Revelation could see sexual immorality as a God-given opportunity. These are the words of Christ – words of stern rebuke – about this woman preacher who was part of the church at Thyatira: ‘Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So, I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds’ (Rev. 2:20-23 NIV). Jesus does not consider sexual immorality as an opportunity to thank God for, as this fallen preacher allegedly made it to be in his private conversations with the woman, he had a secret sexual relationship with. Instead, Jesus reserved the sternest words of judgement on the woman who was leading God’s people into immorality by teaching a twisted theology.

NOT A GOD-SENT REWARD FOR DOING ONE’S MINISTRY DUTY

Second, sex outside of marriage, can never be a ‘reward for living a life of service to God’ (as this celebrated preacher allegedly made it to be). In fact, the Bible teaches, God need not even save us from sin, should he choose to do that. Hear the Lord God’s words as recorded by Prophet Zephaniah: “Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zeph. 2:3, NIV). Don’t miss the word ‘perhaps’ in the above quoted verse. That tells us even salvation of the soul cannot be demanded by anyone from the Lord God. If we are saved, it is because of God’s sovereign will and demonstrated grace. Read Joel 2:13 and 14.  Our ‘rending of hearts’ does not ‘qualify’ us to receive God’s forgiveness. God forgives us because he chooses to respond in grace and mercy. “Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing!” so says Joel 2:14 (NIV). The phrase “who knows” and “may turn” tells us that nothing we do – even the very noble act of ‘rending of our hearts’ – puts God under any sort of compulsion to do anything for us. God is never in debt to us, no matter what we do for Him, including good quality ministry (which this preacher most definitely did).  If we are in the ministry and do it reasonably well, we have nothing to boast. We boast on nothing, except the cross of Christ (Gal. 6:14). When this is the case, it is ridiculous to think sexual immorality can be a reward for living a life of service to God. On the contrary, the Bible teaches that the Lord will bring judgement upon those who pervert the grace of God into a license for immorality (Jude 3). The Bible proclaims a “woe” on such preachers (Jude 11). The Bible warns that the “blackest darkness” of hell is reserved for such ministers of the Gospel (Jude 13; Matt. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

NO GOD-GIVEN PERMISSION FOR POLYGAMY

Third, there is nothing in the Bible which can make us think that God would be okay with it, if we have more than one spouse (as this fallen evangelist supposedly argued to convince a woman to have a sexual relationship with him). This is not only a case of plain sexual immorality but also a clear-case of Scripture-twisting for personal convenience. Clear passages of the Old Testament are enough to teach us that God’s will for humankind is this: one man marries one woman and they both stay faithful to each other. We don’t even need to go to the New Testament to grasp this. Genesis 2:24 says, “a” man (one man) “leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife” (not wives). Psalm 128:3 says, “Your wife (not wives) will be like a fruitful wine.” Malachi 2:14 says, “The Lord is the witness between you and the wife (not wives) of your youth”. Malachi 2:15 says, “Do not be unfaithful to the wife (not wives) of your youth”. Let’s get back to sound Bible interpretation! Let’s get back to holy living!

NO CALL FOR SUPPRESSION OF NEWS ABOUT SECRET ADULTERY

This preacher apparently warned this woman with whom he had a secret sexual relationship this way: if ever she revealed to anyone that she has been having a secret sexual relationship with him, she would be responsible for the millions of souls whose salvation would be lost if his reputation is damaged. This supposed warning from this preacher is from the pit of hell! It is not Scriptural. The Bible teaches that we must not hide, but rather expose the deeds of darkness in Ephesians 5:11 where we read: ‘Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them’. I Timothy 5:17 calls for a double honour for church elders (preachers-teachers of the Word in our context) who do a good job. But if folks of the same tribe persisted in sin, they should be publicly “rebuked” (public rebuke is like double punishment) so that others who are thinking of living such a double life will “fear” a similar treatment. This can be gathered if we read just three verse below (in I Timothy 5:20)! Preachers can not only get to chose the privilege of double honour when they do well. They also must be ready to face the responsibility of receiving double punishment/discipline when it can be shown that they are guilty of living in persistent sin.

This lesson cannot be missed if we read the Bible in context. We read everything else in context, instinctively. For example, if we hear the name, “Shah Rukh Khan”, we now ask: “Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood actor? Or Shah Rukh Khan, the Tamil Nadu explosive batsmen who bagged for Rs.5.25 Crore fee by Punjab Kings for the IPL Season 2021? In the same way, we must read the Bible also in context lest we miss crucial truths.

So, none of the excuses this famous evangelist gave to carry out a secret sexual affair stands the test of sound Scriptural interpretation. Let us choose to shun a hypocritical life which will take us to hell (did not Jesus warn the hypocrites of his day, the Pharisees this way: ‘You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?’ – Matt. 23:33). Let us choose the narrow road of holiness (Math. 7:13-14).

THIS KIND OF MINISTRY CANNOT LEAD TO LETHARGY

In a much-read Christianity Today article published on the same matter on September 29, 2020, the same preacher used a similar excuse to get into a sexting-phone sex relationship with another woman (allegedly). Here are those lines slightly altered to maintain the anonymity of the preacher and the person he supposedly preyed upon: “He (the same preacher referred to, above) stated so many times to me that the cost of ministry has been very high, that none of his time is his own, he has no privacy, no personhood left,” this woman wrote in 2016. She added that famous preacher-apologist assured her that the Lord understood what he had sacrificed and implied their sexual exchanges were God’s way of rewarding him.

The above paragraph implies that for this preacher, doing ministry left a huge vacuum in his heart which he wanted to fill with a secret sexual relationship outside marriage. Ministry is not something we do! Ministry should be an overflow of our love for Jesus. Nothing more. Nothing less.  That is why when Jesus chose his disciples he mentioned “being with him” before he mentioned “preaching about him” (Mark 3:14). Let’s get back to falling in love with Jesus all over again! And when we do that – ministry will be a pleasure, and never a “pressure” for which we need find a sinful sexual release which will only make the vacuum in the heart even more voluminous.

(This article by Duke Jeyaraj appeared originally in the March 2021 edition of the Aim Magazine, the magazine published by Evangelical Fellowship of India. Duke Jeyaraj, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission Mission. Find out more about this reader-supported Indian ministry at http://www.dukev.org. Duke’s book, Straight Talk on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn, Sexting, Phone Addiction and More is available. Reach us at +91-8886040605 via WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal/Viber to buy this book. Or search for the same on Amazon)

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Remembering Rev. Dr. Sam Kamaleson

IN APPRECIATION OF THE MAN WHO WOULD EMAIL ME WITH THESE WORDS, ‘TO THE LITTLE LAD IN GOD’S BIG KINGDOM’…..

Duke Jeyaraj

As a young teen when I listened to this song – Thira-vunda Vasal Adaipadum Mun – sung by Uncle Sam Kamaleson in an unmistakably his, heart-warming baritone voice, I got goosebumps to say the least! Missionary-challenge blood was pumped into me! I wanted to do something to glorify Jesus in the one life I had, enabled by His grace! If I could speak to Uncle Sam Kamaleson I would say this: Thank you for touching the lives of young people like me in an indelible way, Uncle Kamaleson! Grateful for the many encouraging emails you wrote to me from your email ID – samkamales@aol.com – over the years! I did not think a big mission leader like you would write to me – even me! Thank you for addressing me by the name I called myself in my emails to you: ‘’the little boy in God’s big kingdom” (as if to say, ‘you should not forget that you rightly called yourself that, Duke! Don’t forget that ever! We are all little boys in God’s big kingdom!’). When I met you in the Navodhya Team camp in which I had the joy of preaching along-side you, I say the love in your eyes when you spoke about your late wife whom you so missed! This morning after I heard about the news of your homegoing, I heard one of the sermons you gave in The Andrews Kirk church. You spoke of how you were ‘dazzled’ by your wife when you met her in that church as a young man, decades ago. So candid, you were! I want to keep loving my wife with the same passion! Looking forward to meeting you on the shores of the other side of eternity and thanking you for being one of the key inspirations for me in my journey to become a preacher and ministry founder! Till then, I will live this life with eternity stamped in my eyeballs! – Duke Jeyaraj #SamKamaleson #SamKam #FMPB #worldvision #SamKamalesonTribute

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Duke Jeyaraj Tamil Articles

உயிர்த்த எலும்புகள்

டியூக் ஜெயராஜ்

வேதம் தீட்டும் எழுப்புதல் சித்திரங்களிலேயே மிகவும் பிரபலமானது எசேக்கியேலின் புத்தகத்தில் வரும் ‘ உலர்ந்த எலும்புகள் உயிர்பெற்ற’ காட்சிதான் ! அந்த உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளின் பள்ளத்தாக்கு குறித்த வேத பகுதியில் பார்த்தவுடனே புலப்படுகின்ற சில அடிப்படை எழுப்புதல் சத்தியங்களை இங்கு காண்போம் .

  1. எழுப்புதலின் அவசியம்

 எழுப்புதலின்றி நாம் எதுவும் செய்ய முடியாது . நமது ஆன்மீக வாழ்வில் ஓர் உண்மையான கண் திறப்பின்றி காலம் கடத்த முடியாது . நமது மத்தியில் எழுப்புதல் தேவை என்கிற உணர்வே இல்லாமல் அடிக்கடி நமது ஆன்மீகக் கண்கள் அஸ்தமித்துவிடுகின்றன . இந்தப் பகுதியில் , உலர்ந்த எலும்புகள் நிறைந்த பள்ளத்தாக்குக்கு எசேக்கியேலைத் , தமது ஆவியால் , தேவனே வழிநடத்திச் செல்வதைப் பார்க்கலாம் ( எசேக் 37 : 1 ) . தேவன் இதற்கான எத்தனம் எடுக்கவில்லையெனில் , எசேக்கியேல் அந்தப் பகுதிக்குச் செல்வதற்கான வாய்ப்புகளே இல்லாமற் போயிருக்கலாம் . வேறு வார்த் தைகளில் சொல்லப்போனால் , ” எழுப்புதல் தவிர்க்க முடியாதது” என தேவனே எசேக்கியேலிடம் சொன்னார் . ‘மிகுதியாய்க் கிடந்த எலும்புகள் ‘ என்கிற தொடர், பாபிலோனியச் சிறையிருப்பின் கீழிருந்த மொத்த யூத குலமும் ஆவியில் அனலின்றி வாழ்ந்தது என்பதைக் குறிக்கிறது ( வ 2 ) . இன்றைக்கும் , அதே நிலைதான். உணர்கிறார்களோ , இல்லையோ , ஒவ்வொரு கிறிஸ்த வனுக்கும் எழுப்புதல் தேவைதான் . உண்மையில்,  இழிவான , இரங்கத்தக்க , ஏழ்மையான , பார்வையற்ற,  ஆடையற்ற நிலையிலிருந்தாலும் , ‘ நான் செல்வந்தன் ; வளம் மிக்கவன் ; எனக்குக் குறை ஒன்றுமில்லை’ எனச் சொல்லிக்கொண்ட லவோதிக்கேயா திருச்சபையினரின் வருந்தத்தக்க நிலையில்தான் ( வெளி 3:17 ) நாம் இருக்கிறோம் . இந்நிலையில் தேவன் இப்படித்தான் சொல்ல விழைகிறார் : ” அனலுமின்றி,  குளிருமின்றி வெதுவெதுப்பான நிலையில் இருக்கிற படியால் , உன்னை என் வாயினின்று உமிழ்ந்து விடுவேன் ” ( வெளி 3:16 ) . ” விண்ணில் பிறந்து , ஆவியால் இயக்கப்படும் இந்த எழுப்புதல் இல்லாத வாழ்விலேயே நாம் திருப்தி அடைவதுதான் , எழுப்புதல் வராததற்கான காரணம் என எனது தீர்க்கமான முடிவாய்ச் சொல்வேன் ” என நெற்றியடியாக லியோனார்ட் ரேவன்ஹில் முழங்கினார் . ” சின்னச் சின்ன ஆசீர்வாதங்களே நமக்கு மகிழ்ச்சியளித்துவிடுகிறது . இன்னும் அதிகமாய் ஒரு பேருந்தை நமது ஞாயிறு வேத பாடசாலைக்காய் வேண்டுவதுதான் நமது பாரமுள்ள ஜெபம் , இந்த வருட ஈஸ்டர் , கிறிஸ்துமஸ் ஆராதனைகளுக்கு எவ் வளவு பெரிய கூட்டம் தெரியுமா என்று சொல்லிக் கொள்வதுதான் ‘பெரிய சபை ‘ யெனப் பெயர் வாங்கத்  துடிக்கும் சில சபையினரின் மிகப் பெரிய மகிழ்ச்சி,” என அவர் இக்கருத்தை விளக்குகிறார் . அமெரிக்காவின் பென்சகோலா ஊரிலுள்ள சபையின் போதகர் ஜான் கில்பாட்ரிக் ஒவ்வொரு மாலையிலும் தனது ஆலயத்திற்குச் சென்று , ” இன்னும் அதிகமாய் , ஆண்டவரே ! இன்னும் அதிகமாய்,…” என்று கதறிக்கொண்டி ருந்ததாக நான் வாசித்துள்ளேன் . ‘ பென்சகோலா எழுப்புதல் ‘ என பின்னர் பிரபலமடைந்த மாபெரும் எழுப்புதல் 1995 ஆம் ஆண்டு ‘ தந்தையர் தினத்தன்று ‘ வெடித்தது ; அன்றைய தினம் மட்டும் 1,22,000 பேர் இரட்சிக்கப்பட்டனர் . இந்தப் போதகர் , ‘எழுப்புதலின்றி வாழ்வில்லை’ எனத் துடிக்கும் சிலரில் ஒருவர் !

  • எழுப்புதலின் ஆதாரம்

இந்தப் பகுதியில் , தேவன் எசேக்கியேலை வினவுகிறார் : “மனுபுத்திரனே ! இந்த எலும்புகள் உயிரடையுமா ? ” அதற்கு எசேக்கியேல் , அர்த்தமுள்ள பதிலொன்றை அளிக்கிறார் . ” கர்த்தராகிய ஆண்டவரே ! தேவரீர் அதை அறிவீர் ” (37:3) . ” கர்த்தராகிய ” ஆண்டவர் மனம் வைத்து , அதற்கான வல்லமையை அளித்தால்தான் எழுப்புதல் வெடிக்கும் என்கிற மாபெரும் உண்மையை எசேக்கியேல் அங்கீகரிக்கிறார் . தேவன் தமது சுவாசத்தை ஊதினால்தான் , ஆதாமைப்போல , இந்த உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளும் உயிர டைய முடியும் ( வ 5 ) . இல்லையேல் , அவை குளிர்ந்து , உயிரற்று , உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளாகவே இருக்கும் . தேவனின்றி வாழ்வதென்பது கனவில் கூட நடவாத வொன்று . தேவனே எழுப்புதலின் ஒரே ஊற்றுக்கண் . அவரது தலையசைவின்றி , உண்மை எழுப்புதல் ஒருநாளும் விடியாது . மனித முயற்சிகள் மிஞ்சி மிஞ்சி சிறு ‘சலசலப்பையே’ உண்டுபண்ண இயலும் . அந்தச் ‘சலசலப்பை’  எழுப்புதலாய் மாற்றும் சக்தி தேவனின் கரங்களுக்கே உண்டு . எழுப்புதலுக்காக ஜெபிக்க வேண்டும் , ஜெபித்துக்கொண்டேயிருக்கவேண்டும் என்று சொல்வதற்கான காரணம் இதுதான் . நாம் ஜெபிக்கும் போதெல்லாம் தேவனிடம் சொல்லும் செய்தி : ” எங்களால் இது இயலாது ! ” என்பதுதான் . கர்த்தராகிய இயேசு சொன்னார் . ” என்னாலன்றி உங்களால் ஒன்றும் செய்ய முடியாது ‘ ( யோ 15 : 5 ) . பவுலும் இந்த உண்மையைப் புரிந்துகொண்டதால்தான் , ” “நான் நட்டேன் ; அப்பொல்லோ நீர்ப்பாய்ச்சினார் ; தேவனே விளையச் செய்தார் ” ( 1 கொரி 3 : 6,7 ) என்று சரியாக எழுதினார் .

சங்கீதம் 126 இன் எழுப்புதல் விதி இன்றும் மாறவில்லை . ” கண்ணீரோடு விதைப்பவர்கள் பெரு மகிழ்ச்சியோடு அறுவடை செய்வார்கள் ” ( 126-5 ) . நீர்ப்பாசனக் குழாய் பீய்ச்சும் தண்ணீர் போலவே ஜெபத்தில் வடியும் கண்ணீரும் எழுப்புதல் முளைவிடுவதற்கு ஏதுவாக தரிசு நிலங்களை மிருதுவாக்கும் . ஆனால் , ஐயகோ ! ‘ கண்ணீருக்குப்’ பதிலாய்க் ‘களிப்பையும்’ ‘பாரத்தை’ விட ‘பயணத்தை’யும் விரும்பும் தலைமுறையிலல்லலா நாம் வாழ்கிறோம்! இவர்கள் , ‘நெகிழ்ச்சியில் அழுவதைப்’ பார்க்கிலும் , ‘நிகழ்ச்சிகள் அமைப்பதில்’ மிக விருப்பமுடையவர்கள் . தேவனின் ‘பாதத்தைப் பிடித்துக் கதறுவதைவிட , மைக்கைப் பிடித்துப் பாடுவதையே’ விரும்புவர்; போராடுபவர்களாக அல்ல , போதகர்களாகவே இச்சிப்பர்; ‘பாடுகளைப்’ பார்க்கிலும் ‘பகட்டை’ விரும்புவர் . ‘ எதிர்ப்பாளராய்’ இல்லாமல் ‘எழுத்தாளராய்’ இருப்பதிலேயே திருப்தி கொள்வர் ( இவ்வளவு சுவாரஸ்யமாய் இடித்துரைப்பவர் லியோனார்ட் ரேவன்ஹில் ) . ‘ உம்மில் மகிழும்படி உமது மக்களை மறுபடியும் உயிர்ப்பிக்க மாட்டரோ ? ‘ என்ற சங்கிதக்காரனின் மன்றாட்டை ஒவ்வொரு நாளும் நேரம் ஒதுக்கிக் கண்ணீரோடு ஏறெடுத்தால் மட்டுமே,  இதயங்களை அசைக்கும் எழுப்புதல் வன்புயலாய் வானின்று இறங்கும் . இந்த உணர்ச்சிமிகு வேண்டுதலை நமக்கெனச் சொந்தப் படுத்திக்கொண்டால் , விண்ணுலக எழுப்புதல் மண்ணுலகைத் தாக்கும் !

  • எழுப்புதலின் ஊடகம்

 இந்தப் பகுதியில் பார்க்கிற இன்னொரு உண்மை: எசேக்கியேல் தேவ கட்டளைக்குக் கீழ்ப்படிந்து , அவரது வார்த்தையை எலும்புகளிடத்தில் பேசும்போதுதான் அவைகள் உயிரடைந்தன ( 37 4.7 ) . உண்மையில் , எசேக்கியேல் யேகோவாவின் வார்த்தைகளைப் பாபிலோனின் கேபார் நதி ண்டையிலே தெலாபீபிலே தங்கியிருந்த தேவ பிள்ளைகளுக்குப் போதிப்பதற் காகவே தன் வாழ்க்கையை அர்ப்பணித்தவர் ( 1.1 ; 3:15 ) . அவர் மீண்டும் மீண்டும் அறிவித்த ஒரே செய்தி: “ மனந்திரும்பி வாழ்வடையுங்கள் ! ” ( 18:32 ) . தேவனின் மாறாத வார்த்தை- குறிப்பாய் , மனந்திரும்புதலின் செய்தி- உண்மையாய்ப் பிரசங்கிக்கப்படும்போது , அதைக் கேட்கிறவர்களுக்கு நிச்சயமாய் எழுப்புதலைக் கொண்டுவரும் ! இதுதான் எழுப்புதலைக் காண ஒரே வழி ! யோசியா ராஜாவின் காலத்தில் இதுதான் நடந்தது . கண்டெடுக்கப்பட்ட உடன்படிக்கையின் புத்தகத்தை தன் மக்களுக்கு வாசித்துக் காண்பித்ததின் பலன்தான் , நியாயாதிபதிகளின் காலத்திலிருந்து அந் நாள் வரையிலும் எவரும் காணாத அளவில் , விமரிசையாய்க் கொண்டாடப்பட்ட பஸ்கா பண்டிகை ! ( 2 இரா 23.2.22 ) .

 1741 ஆம் ஆண்டு , ஜூலை மாதம் , 8 ஆம் தேதி , அமெரிக்காவிலுள்ள என்ஃபீல்ட் எனும் இடத்தில் உள்ள ஒரு சபையிலும் இதுதான் நடந்தது . அங்கு யோனத்தான் எட்வர்ட்ஸ் , “சினங்கொண்ட தேவனின் கரங்களில் பாவிகள்” எனும் தலைப்பில் பிரசங்கித்தார் . அவர் தனது செய்தியை , பிரபலமாகாத, ஆனால் , குலை நடுங்க வைக்கும் . “ஏற்ற காலத்தில் அவர்க்ளுடைய கால் தள்ளாடும் ( உபா 32.35 ) ” என்ற வேதவசனத்தில் ஆரம்பித்து , தமது தீய வழிகளிலேயே நிலைத்திருப்பார்களானால் , இஸ்ரவேலருக்கு நேரிடும் கொடுமையை இன்னதென்று விவரித்தார் . கர்த்தரின் பயங்கரம் அவரை நிறைக்க , எட்வர்ட்ஸ் பரிசுத்த கோபத்துடன் தேவ வார்த்தையைப் பிரசங்கித்தார் . 73 ஆம் சங்கீதத்தின் அடிப்படையில் , ‘ஒரே கணத்தில்’ அழிவுக்குள் தள்ளப்படும் அபாயத்தைப் பற்றிக் கூட்டத் தினரை எச்சரித்தார் ( வச 18.19 ) . நாகூமில் மறக்கப்பட்டிருந்த ஒரு வசனத்தை எடுத்து , தேவனைப் ‘ பட்சிக்கும் அக்கினி ‘ யாக மக்கள் முன் காட்டினார் . மனந்திரும்பி கிறிஸ்துவை நம்பாதோர் யாவரும் ஏற்கனவே ஆக்கினைத்தீர்ப்புக்குள்ளாக்கப்பட்டுள்ளனர் என யோவான் 3 : 18 இலிருந்து விளக்கினார் . ஆதி முதல் அந்தம் வரை முழுவதும் வேதத்தில் நங்கூரமிடப்பட்டிருந்த தன் செய்தியால் மக்களைக் கெட்டியாகப் பின்னிய அவர் தன் பிரசங்கத்தை சுட்டுப் பொசுக்கும் வேதவசனங்களிலேயே முடித்தார் . “உங்களில் அநேகர் மேல் இப்போதே தேவ கோபம் நிழலாடுகிறது . சோதோமிலிருந்து ஓடிப்போங்கள் . ‘ உன் ஜீவன் தப்ப ஓடிப் போ , பின்னிட்டுப் பாராதே; இந்தச் சமபூமியில் எங்கும் நில்லாதே; நீ அழியாதபடிக்கு மலைக்கு ஓடிப் போ ! ‘ ( ஆதி 19:17 ).” வீறுகொண்ட இந்த வேதப் பிரசங்கத்திற்குப் பலன் என்ன தெரியுமா ? எட்வர்ட்ஸின் சூறாவளிச் செய்தி முடிந்தவுடனே , மக்கள் மனம் நொறுங்கினர் . பாதாளத்தின் வாய் திறந்து அப்போதே விழுங்கப்பட்டுவிடுவோமோ என்ற பயத்தில் சிலர் ஆலயத்தின் தூண்களைக் கட்டிப் பிடித்துக்கொண்டனர் . புதிய இங்கிலாந்தில் எழுப்புதல் அக்கினியை விசிறிக் கிளறி விட்டது இத்தகைய வேதத்தின் நேரடிச் செய்தி !

  • எழுப்புதலுக்கான காரணம்

   உலர்ந்த எலும்புகள் உயிரடைவதில் ஏன் தேவன் ஆர்வம் காட்டுகிறார்?  மிக எளிதான பதில் : “அவை கள் அவரைக் கர்த்தரென்று அறியும்படியாக!” (37:6,13). எழுப்புதலின் நோக்கமே தேவனுடைய மக்கள் அவரை அறிகிற அறிவில் வளரவேண்டுமென்பதுதான் . தேவனின் ஏக்கத்தைப் பாருங்கள் : “மாடு தன் எஜமானனையும் , கழுதை தன் ஆண்டவனின் முன்னணை யையும் அறியும் , இஸ்ரவேலோ அறிவில்லாமலும் , என் ஜனம் உணர்வில்லாமலும் இருக்கிறது” ( ஏசா 1 : 3 ) என்கிறார் . தேவனை அறிந்துகொள்வதையும் , புரிந்து கொள்வதையும் மனதார மறுத்துவிட்டபடியால் , இஸ்ரவேலர் பாலும் தேனும் ஓடும் தேசத்தைத் துறந்து எழுபது ஆண்டுகள் பாபிலோனிய அடிமைத்தனத்திற்குள் அல்லற்படவேண்டியதாயிற்று . “என் ஜனங்கள் அறிவில்லாமையினால் சிறைப்பட்டுப்போகிறார்கள் ( ஏசா 5:13 )” என்று தேவன் சொல்வதாக ஏசாயா எழுதிவைத்தார் . ஆகவேதான் , இப்போது பாபிலோனிய அடிமைத்தனத்தில் உழன்றுகொண்டிருக்கும் எண்ணிறந்தோரில் ஒருவரான எசேக்கியேலிடம் உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளாய் வாழும் இஸ்ரவேலர் தம்மை அறிந்து கொள்ள வேண்டும் என வலியுறுத்துகிறார் . நம் இதயத் தினுள்ளும் எழுப்புதல் அக்கினி கொழுந்துவிட்டு எரிகிறது என்பதற்கான அடையாளம் , தேவனை இன்னும் அதிகமாய் அறியும் தருணங்களை உள்ளம் வாஞ்சித்துத் துடிக்கும் . நடைமுறையில் , தேவனை அறிவதற்கான ஒரு வழி , அவசரமின்றி அமர்ந்திருந்து அவரது வார்த்தைகளைக் கற்றுக்கொள்வதே . ஏன் இவ்வாறு சொல்கிறேன் ? ‘அ றிவு ‘ என்ற வார்த்தையும் , ‘தேவனுடைய வேதம் ‘ என்ற வார்த்தையும் , ஒரே பொருளின் இரு வெளிப்பாடுகளாய் வேதத்தில் பயன் படுத்தப்படுகின்றன . எடுத்துக்காட்டாக , ” நீ ‘அறிவை’ வெறுத்தாய் , ஆகையால் நீ என் ஆசாரியனாயிராதபடிக்கு நானும் உன்னை வெறுத்துவிடுவேன்; நீ உன் ‘தேவனுடைய வேதத்தை’ மறந்தாய் , ஆகையால் நானும் உன் பிள்ளைகளை மறந்துவிடுவேன் ” ( ஓசி 4.6 ) என்ற ஓசியா தீர்க்கனின் வார்த்தைகளைக் கவனியுங்கள் . தொடர்கதைகள்,  கிரிக்கெட் , அரசியல் நோக்குகள் இவைகளைப் பார்ப்பதற்கென தொலைக் காட்சிப் பெட்டியின் முன் அமர நமக்கு கிடைக்கிற நேரம் , வாழ்நாளெல்லாம் தொடரும் ‘தேவனை அறிகிற’ முயற்சிக்குக் கிடைக்காமல் போய்விடுவதுதான் சோகமான உண்மை.  நாம் எவ்வளவாய்ப் பின்வாங்கிப் போனோம் ? நமது முன்னுரிமைப் பட்டியல் எப்படியாய் தாறுமாறாகிப்போய்விட்டது ? நமக்கு எழுப்புதல் எப்படியும் தேவை !

 5. எழுப்புதலின் இலக்கு

இந்தத் தரிசனத்தின் இறுதியில் என்ன நடந்தது என எசேக்கியேல் இவ்வாறு விவரிக்கின்றார்: “எனக்குக் கற்பிக்கப்பட்டபடி நான் தீர்க்கதரிசனம் உரைத்தேன்; அப்பொழுது ஆவி அவர்களுக்குள் பிரவேசிக்க,  அவர்கள் உயிரடைந்து , காலூன்றி , மகா பெரிய சேனையாய் நின்றார்கள்” (37:10 ) . உயிர்ப்பிக்க பட்ட கூட்டத்தை ‘பார்வையாளர்கள்’ எனச் சொல்லாமல் ‘மகா பெரிய சேனை’ என்று சொல்வது ஒரு சுவாரஸ்யமான வெளிப்பாடு ! தனது தலைவனுக்காய் முன்சென்று எதிரியின் கோட்டையைப் பிடிக்கத் தீவிரிக்காத ‘சேனை’ என்னத்திற்கு?  எசேக்கியேல் 37 : 10இன் செய்தி தெளிவாய்த் தெரிகிறது: ‘மற்றவர்களை உயிர்ப்பிக்கவே நாம் உயிர்ப்பிக்கப்படுகிறோம்.’ எழுப்புதல் அகில உலகையும் தழுவி , சர்வ தேசத்திலும் சபைக்கு வராதோர் , சந்திக்கப்படாதோர் மற்றும் சமுதாயப் புறக்கணிப்புக்குள்ளானோர் ஒவ்வொ வரையும் தொடவேண்டும் . எழுப்புதல் மழை இஸ்ரவேலருக்கு மட்டுமல்ல; மேட்டின் ‘சுற்றுப்புறத்தாருக்கும்தான் !’ ( 34:26 ) . இந்த எழுப்புதல் அத்தியாயாம் ‘ நான் இஸ்ரவேலைப் பரிசுத்தம்பண்ணுகிற கர்த்தர் என்று ஜாதிகள் அறிந்துகொள்வார்கள்’ என்கிற மிஷனரி வாக்குத்தத்தத்தோடு முடிவுறுவதைக் கவனியுங்கள் ( 37:28) . எசேக்கியேல் தீர்க்கதரிசி மனதளவில் ஒரு மிஷனரிதான் . பாபிலோனியச் சிறையிருப்பிலிருப்போர்,  அவர்களது தேவன் பூகோள எல்லைக்குள்  பூட்டி வைக்கப்படக்கூடியவரல்ல என்பதை அறிந்து கொள்ளவேண்டும் என எசேக்கியேல் விரும்பினார். எருசலேமில் அவர்களோடிருந்த அதே தேவன்தான் பாபிலோனின் கேபார் நதியண்டையிலும் இருக்கிறவர் !

   எழுப்புதல் அக்கினி பரவியே தீரும் ! நரிகளின் வால்களை பந்தத்தால் சிம்சோன் பற்றவைத்தபோது , அவைகள் அங்குமிங்கும் ஓடி பெலிஸ்தியரின் திராட்சைத் தோட்டங்களை நெருப்பால் நாசமாக்கின ( நியா 15 : 4,5 ) . இவ்வாறே நம் இருதயங்களிலும் எழுப்புதல் நெருப்பு பற்றிப் பிடிக்குமானால் , நாம் வாளாவிருப்போமோ ? இக்கோளத்தின் கடைசி மனிதனைக் கண்டுபிடிக்குமளவும் ஓடோடி , ஒவ்வொருவரையும் தேவனின் பண்ணைக்குள் கொண்டுவர துடிக்காமல் இருப்போமா ? தாவீதர சன் தனக்கு மீட்பின் மகிழ்ச்சியை ‘மீண்டும் தரும்படி’ ஏன் வேண்டினான் ? வெறுமனே குதித்து , குதூகலித்துக் கும்மாளமிட்டுக் கொண்டிருக்கவா ? அல்ல … பாதகருக்குத் தேவனது வழிகளை அறிவிக்கவே இந்தப் ‘புதுப்பித்தலை’ வேண்டினான் ( சங் 51.12,13 ) . அப்போஸ்தலர் நடபடிகள் நூலை எழுப்புதலுக்கான கையேடு எனலாம் . இந்தப் புத்தகத்தில் , அப்போஸ்தலனாகிய யாக்கோபு , ஆமோஸின் புத்தகத்திலிருந்து ‘எவ்வாறு தேவன் அனுப்பும் எழுப்புதல் , தொலைந்தவர்களைத் தேடிப் பிடிக்கும்’ என விளக்குகிறார் . தேவன் , விழுந்துபோன தாவீதின் கூடாரத்தைத் ( பின்வாங்கிய சபையின் அடையாளம் ) திரும்பக் கட்டிப் புதுப்பிக்கும்போது , புறவினத்தார் உள்ளிட்ட பூச்சக்கரம் முழுதும் ” கர்த்தரைக் கண்டு கொள்வர் ” என எருசலேம் செயற்குழுக் கூடுகையில் தெளிவாக்கினார் ( ஆமோ 9 : 11,12 , அப் 15 : 16-18 ) . அப்போஸ்தலர் தாங்கள் ‘புத்துணர்வின் காலத்தை’ அனுபவித்ததாலேயே , பிறருக்கும் அதை அறிவிக்க முடிந்தது ! ( அப் 3:19 ) . ‘உயிர்ப்பிக்கப்பட்ட’ இவர்கள் கர்த்தரின் சமூகத்தில் ஆடிப்பாடியே காலம் கழித்து விட்டார்களா ? இல்லவே இல்லை . எருசலேம் ஆலயத்தின் வெளியிலும் , சமாரியாவிலும் , பூமியின் கடைசி யெல்லை வரையிலும் நற்செய்தி அறிவிக்கும்படி பரவினர் ( அப் 1 : 8 ) . இந்தப் பகுதியின் செய்தி தெளிவானது: ” நாம் புத்துயிர் அடைந்தவுடன் , நமது சொந்த இடத்திலும் , மாநிலத்தின் மற்ற இடங்களிலும் , பிற மாநிலங்களிலும் , இறுதியாக பூமியின் கடைமுனை மட்டும் நற்செய்தியறிவிக்க முன்செல்ல வேண்டும்”. தேவை நிறைந்த பிற மாநிலங்களில் உழைக்கும்படி பணி மாற்றம் பெற்றுச் செல்வதோ , வருமானம் நிறைந்த வேலையை உதறிவிட்டு மிஷனரி இயக்கமொன்றில் தியாகத்துடன் இணைவதோ , குழந்தைகளின் இரத்த நாளங்களில் மிஷனரிக் குருதியை ஏற்றுவதோ— ஏதோவொன்றை செய்யுங்கள் ! தேவன் கிருபையாய் உங்கள் இருதயங்களில் ஊற்றின எழுப்புதல் அக்கினியை எங்கும்  பரப்ப  இதுவே வழி !

எசேக்கியேலின் மற்ற தரிசனங்களுக்கான தேதி ( 1 : 2 ; 8 : 1 ; 40 : 1 ) தெரிவிக்கப்பட்டது போல மிகவும் அதிகமாய்ப் பேசப்படும் இந்த ‘உலர்ந்த எலும்புகள் உயிர் பெற்ற’ தரிசனத்துக்குத் தேதி தெரியாமல் போனது விசித்திரமான ஒன்று ! ஒருவேளை , தேவனின் ஞானத்தில் வேண்டுமென்றே இத்தரிசனம் தேதியின்றிப் போனதுக்குக் காரணம் , ” உன் காலத்தில் காணும் உலர்ந்த எலும்புகளும் உயிர்ப்பிக்கப்படும் ! ” என்று சொல்வதற்காகவோ … ? ஆம் , நான் அப்படித் தான் நினைக்கிறேன்!

(This article by Duke Jeyaraj was originally published in Blessing magazine years ago. Princy Erastus, our ministry’s volunteer, digitized it into Tamil. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a viewer supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).

Categories
G4 Mission History

A SPECIAL DUKE JEYARAJ-LED BIBLE STUDY DURING THE VALENTINE DAY MONTH OVER THE YEARS IN VARIOUS LOCATIONS INCLUDING THE MESSAGE, THE WHORE OR THE BRIDE?, THIS YEAR (2021)

Every year, we have been able to hold a Valentine Day Season Bible Study (or do one when someone invited us to) in the month of February since our ministry’s inception, more times than not as God enabled us to. Crucial Bible Truths on the intimate matters with regard to sex, love, marriage, porn, etc. were brought out frankly through these studies. In February 2006 when our ministry was launched, Duke spoke on True Romantic Love from the book of Song of Songs to a crowd of 500 in Youth Alive, New Life AG Church, Secunderabad. In Feb 2008, Duke brought Principles for Wise Life Partner Choice from Genesis 24, the chapter in which Abraham’s servant hunts for a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac (again a message for about 500 youth in Youth Alive). In February of a particular year, Duke was in Delhi at the invitation on Rev. Dr. Y. D. Jeyaseelan speaking about The Bible On Sex and Sexual Sin (the video of which is among those with many hits on our channel, http://www.youtube.com/visitduke). In February 2010 Duke gleaned sex, love, marriage lessons from the book of Ruth for a group of working professionals in a meeting held at his home-base. In February 2012 Duke preached a message titled, When Moses Gave Roses….(a message from the Zipporah-Moses story). In February 2013 Duke shared a message on Thinking Black and White About Sexual Ethics Living Among The Fifty Shades of Grey Generation (in a meeting held at our rented ministry base). During February of a particular year, Duke preached a practical summary of the book of Song of Songs using the very name of the book as an outline for the message. It was a house-full Bible Study, that time. Duke often jokes, “Just because so many people came for the book of Song of Songs Bible Summary Study, I cannot summarize Song of Songs each time we do Bible Study. I have to cover other books too!” (Of course, all the 66 Bible Books were summarized eventually, a process that took 7 years). In February 2014 Duke preached a message titled, Handling Romantic Rejection…

In February 2015 Duke preached a message titled What the Longest NT Passage on Sex Love Marriage Teaches The Google Generation. In February 2016 Duke preached a message titled…The Greatest Book on the Most Hottest Topic [When Jeremiah (the Bible’s longest book in terms of number of words) Used Sexual Images In His Book: Bible Lessons from those….]. The same year, we studied on the subject, Which J Are You In Love With?, in a Bible Study at Praveen-Girisha’s home in Kondapur (a study of Ahab’s marriage with Jezebel). In February 2017 Duke preached a message on What Husbands What…What Wives Want to Corporate couples in a meeting in Bangalore following Pastor Ashley’s warm invite. In February 2018 upon the invitation of Pas Peter Samuel, Duke preached a message titled, Falling in Love With The Trinity…

In Feb 2019 Duke and Evan combined to preach on Ingredients of an Incredible Marriage following Rev. John Samuel’s invitation to married couples in Hyderabad. In February 2020 upon the invitation of Rev. Moncy Thomas Duke preached from the life of the inseparable NT couple, Aquila and Priscilla to a group of working professionals…. All these messages are in this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2z1uBimInexnUtzBhJQlGGSMGz1X5eom In February 2021 (this month) on the 14th (which happened to be a Sunday), Duke preached a message title, The Whore Or The Bride? A Study from Revelation Bible Book, to a Zoom audience. You can listen to the audio of that message here:

Categories
Stories from my life

When I Kissed The Face of Death After A Ministry Trip….

Duke Jeyaraj narrates an incident that took place in August 2011

While returning after a fruitful time of ministry in Nadiad (where I preached to 150 youth in a Methodist Church over 100 years old) in Gujarat to the Ahmedabad airport, I kissed the face of death. 

To catch a 6:10 AM flight, I was travelling in a Maruti 800 in a National Highway seated in the second row right behind the driver. The driver was going at about 80 kms per hour. The time was about 4:45 AM. With my eyes closed, I was praying and praising God for the bunch of young people who came forward and gave their lives (after the first message titled, Five Solemn Facts About Salvation from the book of Galatians), their bodies to Christ (after the second message that called for sexual purity after an practical Bible exposition) in the meetings, the day before. Suddenly, the car ran over a dug-up patch in the poorly lit High Way and uncontrollably swerved to the right, wobbled violently, even as the driver desperately tried to control the vehicle in vain, only to rammed into the road divider. I guess the axle of the car had broken after the car hit the dug-up patch. For a moment, this is how my thoughts went: “Lord, I am coming home!” As a preacher who often talks and writes about sudden death, being in a situation where I could have died suddenly was an unforgettable experience – my first experience of this sort. I was ready to die. But the Lord’s time for me had not come. The front two wheels of the car I was in were up on the road divider and the car was slanted at 45 degrees. If the car had crossed the road divider and rolled over to the other side, a speeding vehicle from the other side of the High Way could have hit us. If the car had stopped on the same side of the road without going up the Road Divider, vehicles coming from behind could have hit us.  But God prevented both from happening so graciously. Nothing happened to me, miraculously. Even my knees did not hit the front seat’s back! God protection upon me was so complete! You have been praying for me and the Lord according to sovereign plan and will protected me! I am grateful! The young man, the secretary of the Methodist Youth Fellowship of that part of Gujarat, who sat next to the driver had injuries to his leg. Nothing major, thankfully. The driver and the young missionary who sat next to me in the back seat, did not have any injury too. Within minutes of this happening, another car slowed down. The two young men in the car, helped us get our car which was now stuck on the road divider. They helped us start our car again before leaving. I thanked them profusely and gave them a Gospel tract. But the car we were in, did not run too long after that. So, I had to catch an auto to go to the Ahmedabad airport. I was late for my direct flight to Hyderabad by a few minutes and consequently missed it. But the organisers were very kind to organise another ticket for me to fly back to Hyderabad via Mumbai safely the same day. God is good!

Note: You can listen to the three messages I preached during this trip here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYesLor8O1o (message 1)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhX2lpgOpOI (message 2)

message 3 is found below:

Categories
Deep Disciples of Jesus Shaping Article

INTERNET EVANGELISM: WHY AND HOW

Duke Jeyaraj

Over 50% of the world is now online, reported a reputed magazine, The Economist, in 2019 itself. Atleast 726 million people came online in the years 2017 through 2019 with ‘much of the rise coming from poorer places, notably Africa and India’ (the same report said). Mobile data usage per smartphone was the highest in India among all the countries of the World (according to a Ericsson report of 2019). From these numbers come a missionary call!

THE INTERNET MINSITRY CALL FROM GOD’S PAINFUL QUESTION

Why do I say that? Because I have read the last verse of book of Jonah which goes this way: “And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:11 NIV). Those are the words of the Father God. The huge numbers of poeple in the city of Nineveh who did not know left hand from right hand concerned God. Bible Scholars , explain the phrase ‘did not know left hand from right hand’ this way: the people of Nineveh were morally confused, so much so, that they called what was wrong as right, and what was right they called wrong. It was akin to people of a contemporary city applauding for crimes such as rapes and showing utter distain for acts of love such as dressing of a leper’s wounds by a nurse. The numbing numbers of people that were present in Nineveh with horrendous moral confusion made God concerned about them. The huge numbers of people online any given time of the day and a vast majority among them using data for porn consumption or fuelling illicit relationships outside marriage bonds using the convenience of certain dating apps should move us to being concerned as well. The God who was disappointed with Prophet Jonah who had turned a deaf year to the missionary call from the numbers of evil-embracing people, will he be also disappointed with us as well?

Why not we become imitators of our missionary-hearted God we read about in the book of Jonah? We not we get involved actively in Internet Evangelism and Online Disciple Building efforts?

THE INTERNET MINISTRY CALL FROM APOSTLE PAUL’S POINTED OBSERVATION

Apostle Paul talks about people in the city of Rome who “always (were) thinking up new ways to do evil” (Rom. 1:30, CEV). The internet has provided the convenience and the platform to do just. During the pandemic, online classes were the order of the day for students (they still are as I write these words in January 2021). And when it came to online exams, students were quite inventive when it came to cheating. While the older generation would hide chits that would provide hints as they wrote the exams in their socks and shirt sleeves, the Google Generation, creates WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal groups to unfairly seek help as an online exam is on. Why should the internet only fuel new ways of doing evil? Why can’t it fuel new ways of sharing the Gospel and winning the lost?

THE INTERNET MINISTRY CALL FROM THE LOCATION THAT JESUS CHOSE TO MEET THE SAMARITAN WOMAN

Jesus did not wait for the sinful Samaritan Woman to come to a synagogue. Instead, he went to a non-sinful place which she frequented – the city’s well. And there he met her. And he began conversing with her. He did not wait for her to start the conversation (Read John 4 and find all about it). Pretty soon, this marriage-hopping woman became a soul-winning woman! Jesus’ approach gives us a clue as to how we must evangelise: We must be in non-sinful places which the unsaved frequent! And the place which the unsaved frequent the most these days is definitely, the internet. So, we must be available on the internet to meet with them and share the Gospel!

Well, we have seen the “why” of internet evangelism so far. Now to the “how”. I believe that should be left to the individual believer’s choice. Some are good at video production. Some are good at responding quickly to chats. Some of good at voice calls. We need to examine what activity we enjoy doing while we are online and use that very channel to build God’s kingdom. You may not be able to carbon copy someone else way of doing internet evangelism. The key is to see your smartphone as a tool for evangelism – not a toy for self-gratification.

In our ministry, the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, we have a team of internet volunteers. Vikas Yadav cuts my long youtube messages and makes them short, adding titles at the start and at the end. He includes a back ground music as well. These shorter videos are viewed by more people. Lijo John receives audio messages from me via WhatsApp that bring Bible truth wrapped around contemporary events. He finds pictures from the internet that represent my words and strings together a video which inturn blesses many as it gets forwarded on WhatsApp. Sunny Karumanchi using his high tech camera that God has given him shoots ‘short videos on hot topics’ from the Bible with me behind his lens. Gipu James, Harsha, Ferry, John and Lamuel, help design posters for the events I preach God’s Word in. This list is not exhaustive.

What about you? Will you get involved in internet evangelism after reading this? You must!

(This article was published in the Aim Magazine – February 2021 edition; Aim is published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India. The author, Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org or by subscribing to http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).

Categories
Bible Study Deep Disciples of Jesus Shaping Article

New Year Priorities

Duke Jeyaraj’s practical study of the word ‘annual’ found in the Bible

An annual master health checkup is recommended by many. What the things that God’s Word says we must do year after year?

The word yearly or annually occurs quite a few times in the Bible. Some of these Bible references give us indications about things that the Lord wants us to do on a yearly basis. These would give us a clue as to what kind of New Year resolutions we should be taking. These Bible passages talk about the priorities we must have as believers year after year.

THE YEAR OF GOD-WORSHIP

This New Year we must resolve to worship God more. Judges 21:19 which tells us that there was an annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh, gives me the specific inspiration for this New Year resolution. It was in that festival that a dance was a noted feature (Judges 21:21). The people of Israel could not sit in one place when they thought of the good things the Lord had done for them. They, especially the women, had to get up and dance in the Lord’s presence! In this year, we must resolve to be people who worship God!

A devotional reading from Our Daily Bread reading made this fabulous suggestion which will help us practically execute this New Year resolution: During daily family prayer each family member could talk about the blessings God gave them on that day. This could be jotted down in a small sheet of paper. On a typical day, a family may have four or five points for praising God, if each family member spoke up. Each such point should make into a fresh chit of paper. These chits should be rolled and tossed in a ‘thanks giving bowl’. An empty fish tank bowl can be used. This should be done daily through the year. And when 31 December comes you can fish out these chits from the bowl and read them out in mega family thanksgiving prayer once again, praising God for the wonderful way, He graciously took care of us in that particular year! If Eric Yuan, the founder of Zoom was a believer, and if he wrote out these kinds of thanksgiving chits, this would been an entry on the April 30, 2020: ‘God enabled the company I founded, Zoom, to jump 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019, to 300 million’ (Time, December 21-28, 2020, p.72).

THE YEAR OF FAMILY-WOWING

The New Year should be a year in which you resolve to be a more responsible family person. The Lord has graciously added the New Year into our life so that we can take good care of our families. When I read this portion of Scripture, this New Year Resolution inspiration came to me: ‘Now Samuel was ministering before the LORD—a boy wearing a linen ephod.  Each year his mother would make him a little robe and bring it to him when she went with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice.  And Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the LORD give you children by this woman in place of the one she dedicated to the LORD.” Then they would go home’ (I Sam. 2:18-20). We know that Samuel’s mom, Hannah, was barren for many years. And God did a miracle and gave her a son. After Samuel, Hannah’s son, was weaned, he was left in the house of the Lord. He assisted the priest Eli in God’s house. Every year, Samuel’s mom made a little robe, travelled to where he was and gave it to him. Wow! This act of Hannah inspires each one of us who are part of a family to unselfishly do loving acts that will put a smile on the faces of other family members. As husbands, we must resolve this New Year to do something special for our wives! As wives, we need to resolve this New Year to do something special for our husbands! As children, we need to resolve this New Year to do something special for our parents! As siblings we need to resolve to do something special for your other siblings! Taking good care of our families must be part and parcel of our annual New Year resolution list! Why not place a carefully planned and cheerfully executed family holiday in the list of ‘to do’ things this year? We can learn from Virat Kohli in this regard. He decided to take paternity leave early in 2020 should the time of his wife Anushka’s delivery come even during an important Cricket tour!

THE YEAR OF SIN-BEATING

What are pointers in God’s Word when it comes to New Year resolutions? The New year should be a year of Satan-beating! The God-given New Year should be a year when we win over Satan!

I get the inspiration to form this resolution from the book of Esther. Here we read the following: “Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to all the Jews in all the provinces of King Xerxes, both near and far, to establish among them an annual celebration on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar as the days on which the Jews gained rest from their enemies and the month in which their sorrow turned to joy and their mourning into a holiday” (Esther 9:20-22).  There was an enemy of the Jews. His name was Haman. Haman tried to harm the Jews, because of his negative experience with one Jew – Mordecai. But the enemy of the Jews, Haman hung in the nearly 23-meter-high gallows he prepared for Mordecai (Esther 7:9). God turned the tables on the behalf of the Jews, the apples of his eyes (Duet. 32:10; Zech. 2:8). This event eventually led to the passing of this decree where “letters the king (of Persia) permitted the Jews in each and every city the right to assemble and defend themselves, to destroy, kill, and annihilate all the forces of any people or province hostile to them, including women and children, and to plunder their possessions” (Esther 8:11). “Each and every year” this celebration of God-orchestrated miracle victory over their enemies was done among the Jews (Esther 9:24-27).

Our primary enemy is Satan. We sometimes think a certain individual is our enemy. We do not think of Satan who is perhaps behind that individual, instigating that individual to act against us and discourage us (see Math. 16:23). Satan often uses human instruments to work against us. Our main agenda in the New Year that God has graciously added to our lives, should be to win over Satan. Satan’s main agenda is this: to make us sin! So, our New Year resolutions should involve a plan and program to have victory over sin! In the New Year we must, enabled by the Spirit of God, seek to win over the “sin that so easily entangles” – the sin that we often feel like repeating, be it porn-watching or outbursts of anger or whatever (Heb. 12:1). Our New Year may not be pain-free, but it can be porn-free! Our New year may not be agony-free, but it can be anger-free (I am talking about sinful anger here). So, in the New Year, we need to win over sin. This can be done when we have an ongoing cooperation with the Spirit of God who enables us to put to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13).

What should be our priorities in the New Year? The book of Leviticus gives us another clue. If a well-off foreigner who lived in Israel hired a slave from Israel, the people of Israel needed to pay money to the foreigner to have him released, even if the year of Jubilee when all slaves would be eligible for a free release was still far away. Why? God’s children cannot be slaves year after year. This I understand from my reading of Leviticus 25:47-53.

We must get involved in the work of releasing people from bondage to sin through our giving of our time, talents, treasures and truth. We must make this task a priority in the New Year that God has graciously added to our lives.

What I have talked about in this essay should be our priorities, year after year! Do a review at the end of the day/week/month/year as to how much time you have given to the activities that God’s Word is saying that we must make as our priority “year after year”.

(This article by Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj was originally published in the Aim Magazine published by Evangelical Fellowship of India in its January 2021 edition. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org.)

Categories
Christmas Devotions Goodnews Around Contemporary Events

CHRISTMAS JOY, DESPITE THE CORONA PLOY!

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

A virus crept our neighborhood, causing untold dread. The Savior of the World, slept soundly as the only baby without original sin, in a manger in the neighborhood of Bethlehem, two thousand years ago, driving out fear and bringing in cheer and serenity [The assuring words ‘fear not’ is repeated four times (to, Zechariah, to Mary, to Joseph and the Shepherds) in the Christmas narratives of the Bible – if you care to carefully notice].

The China virus has greatly affected our world’s economy. The Bethlehem babe’s birth can greatly affect your destiny. In what way? Let’s see:

Jesus brings us PEACE that is not circumstances-dependent. That’s why Jesus was given this title in a Christmas-themed prophecy – the title of ‘Prince of Peace’. He is the big boss over peace, in other words. Our peace often goes for a toss when our life’s circumstances aren’t favorable. But when you start to know Christ the big boss of peace (the prince of peace), you will have peace no matter how crazy the situations in your life gets. Yes, we can have serenity even when there is a storm, if Jesus is our life-boat!

Jesus brings us JOY that is contagious. He began that wow work, even before he landed on the earth as a babe! Jesus was is in mom’s tummy; John the Baptist was in his mom’s tummy; And as both these tummies come close, that’s when John who was still in his mother’s tummy jumped for joy! You see, when you choose to stay in Jesus’ presence a joy unspeakable, full of glory, will be yours! The happiness that we got when we watched Hardik Pandya smack Daniel Sams into the Sydney Cricket Ground stands in the fourth ball off the final over to seal the 2020 T20 Series versus Australia may ebb away. But not the joy that Jesus offers!

Jesus can bring us MIRACLES and HEALING according to His Will which works all things always for our good. The phrase, “For Nothing is impossible with God!” comes straight out of the Christmas Story in the Bible – you perhaps know that! Jesus gave miraculously gave back, the life-breath to my daughter who had ‘no heart beat’ when she was in my wife’s womb, according to medical reports! She was dedicated as a baby in this church in 2008!

Jesus offers SALVATION which in turn gives our lives real meaning and purpose. When the Christmas Story Senior Simeon picked up the baby Jesus, he mouthed this: “My eyes have seen the salvation of the Lord!” We need salvation, because each one of us are sinners who are enduring a living hell and are headed for a literal hell. And sin, whether you like it or not, ultimately creates a vacuum in our hearts, and eventually making our lives meaningless and purposeless.  Jesus, the eternal God, took on a human body of flesh and bone while remaining God, during the first Christmas. He kept himself from any sin, the only one to do so in this planet. When Jesus died on the Cross, he became, the perfect, salvation-bringing sacrifice for sin.. Max Lucado put it well: “Jesus went from Heaven’s Crown, to Bethlehem’s Cradle, to Jerusalem’s Cross”. The Resurrected and Soon-Returning Jesus calls us to repent from sin and put our trust in Him, ‘lest we perish’ (Luke 13:1-5). When we do that, we experience salvation and an ‘inexpressible and glorious joy’ (1 Peter 1:8). As we know Jesus, our life becomes meaningful and purposeful, as knowing Him and making Him known is what we were created for, originally! Mark Batterson explained this well:The Almighty God became Immanuel, “God with us,” so we can spend eternity with him.’

Deigo Maradona scored, what is being called ‘the Goal of the Century’, versus England in the World Cup 1986 Quarter Finals, dancing around English defenders, all by himself, having started his dream run from his team’s half. His Argentine teammate, Jorge Valdano, running alongside Maradona as a reinforcement was reduced to a mere spectator. Starting from ‘his half’ – heaven – Jesus took on human flesh only to die on the Cross (located at our half), walking up Golgotha Hill. Jesus completed the goal of the Trinity from eternity: the offering of salvation to every person who would come to him (who was slain on the Cross before the World’s foundation) in faith, with an attitude of repentance (Rev. 13:8). As Valdano and other Argentine team-mates hugged Maradona in celebration having done practically nothing to contribute to the scoring of the goal of the century, we too, having contributed nothing for our salvation through our self-efforts or menstrual-cloth like unworthy righteousness (Isa 64:6), gratefully love and celebrate Jesus, who finished the goal of the Godhead from eternity concerning the offer of salvation to humans by dying on the Cross (Eph 2:8-10; Gal. 2:20).

‘And he shall be their peace’ – so says a Christmas Prophecy passage about Jesus (Micah 5:5). While others attempted to point out different paths to peace, but Jesus himself is our peace! While others attempted to show the way to salvation, Jesus himself is our salvation! While others attempted to point to a way, Jesus himself is THE way! Jesus invites us to come to Him, the person, not to a philosophy! There is a big difference between Jesus and others! Jesus is unique!

Jesus calls us for a DECISION. Christmas Story Senior Simeon told Jesus’ mother Mary this: ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many…’ We have a choice now. To rise with Jesus. To rise to a life of peace, joy and deliverance from sin. Or, if we reject Jesus, the Only Way, we further fall into despondency, purposelessness and ultimately will land in hell. What will you choose today? Like the Wise Men of the Christmas Narrative did, let us surrender ourselves to Jesus, without any procrastination. Then our life route will change, like it changed for those wise men!

(This article was written as a tract for New Life Assembly of God Church, Kompally, by Duke Jeyaraj. The church used the edited version of this tract to give out to new comers who visited its campus on 19-20 Dec 2020 during their Christmas Drive Through Program. If you need to know more about Jesus, write to us at emailduke@gmail.com or via WhatsApp at 91-8886040605. Duke, the author of this article, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org and at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).