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Duke Jeyaraj Life Story G4 Mission History

Folded Hands of Thanks for the Fifteen Home Journey!

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

On thanksgiving day 2021, I want to thank God for the fifteen different houses I have been privileged to stay in during two decades of my married life (2021).

The house we stayed in Saket, New Delhi, in 2001 – we just had one room in a house of three bedrooms. From there Evan and I organized tracts outreach to one of Delhi’s earliest malls, the Ansal Plaza. I wrote the first version of the Bubbly tract sitting in that room using Evan’s desktop. Young people we pastored would home and once we took them to Nirula’s. The fruit market outside our home had the best fruits from all over India.

From there we moved to another house in Lado Sarai behind the Central Bank of India in Delhi. It was a village which had a lot of kids who benefited from the Compassion International project which Evan managed then. As we waded through that village, the kids would come running behind Evan crying out ‘ma’am, ma’am’! We got our first set of furniture there – from a sale with furniture used by international diplomats who had left India. We still use a tall stool which I got for Rs.800/- in that sale!

We moved to our third house in New Delhi – it was not even one year since we had gotten married! This first-floor house was so close to the electric lines above, that I could have reached out and touched them, if I wanted to! It was a house where I realized my call was not to be a pastor in the long run, but to be an evangelist or a travelling Bible Teacher! So, I say bye to my pastor role, from here.

By 2002 July we were in house no. 4 . We stayed in one-room in Kannamoola, Trivandrum. Our things were shipped from Delhi by Agarwal Packers in ‘Hunter Douglas’ boxes. We were now missionaries with a leading missionary organization.

The next house was searched out for us by Uncle Sarasam who lives in Trivandrum. A first floor house in the Museum Bains Compound with the approach road that gave an impression we were climbing a hill. We could hear the roar of the lions from the nearby Zoo. We went to the nearby park and gave out xeroxed versions of the Bubbly tract. We drove in Uncle Arthur’s Vespa to nearby Shengamugham Beach. And had lots of coffee in the Indian Coffee House which almost kissed the breath-taking beach there. I wrote a lot in this house including articles that became lead articles of the famous Blessing magazine. Our son Dale was born when we were here.

House number 6 we lived in for rent was in Jabalpur. I lost my cool when the owner’s dog was about to bite our little son, Dale. That meant we had to shift our home again. It was back to packing yet again!

House number 7 overlooked a church in Jabalpur. It was a first-floor house with a nice terrace. Evan and I with little Dale in tow were in cross-roads then. We knew we could not be travelling missionaries with an organization. We had to be on our own to execute what was God’s unique call for us – to grab the google Generation from going to Gehenna (the word Jesus used for Hell)!

House number 8 we lived in was in the city of Hyderabad. There was no water in this house! When Dale’s backside had to be washed, there wasn’t a drop of water in the rest room! This situation pushed us move to House number 9. This house in Ashok Colony, Kapra region of Hyderabad became the first office of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. We stayed in this first-floor house exactly for 11 months. The first issue of The Days of Your Youth magazine was published from here. Our board member, Franklin, visited us here. We met our long-standing friend, Bro. Christopher here!

House number 9 Evan and I stayed in was near the A. S. Rao Nagar Railway reservation center in Hyderabad. Datasha was born here! The Daniels drove down to meet us here for the first time. I was invited to lead Bible Studies in their centrally located home. I started off with the Bible book summary of the book of Amos. Seven years later we would complete doing short Bible Studies summarizing every book of the Bible. We had an open air on-terrace meeting in this house on Datasha’s first birthday. We shared the story of her miracle birth to neighbors who came. This was just days after I quit my HSBC job not able to cope with both a secular job which I had picked up to support the new ministry I started and the fulltime ministry with our new organization. A dear annan (elder brother) walked into this house and left us an offering the size of which left us stunned. A secular college classmate of mine sent some offering – the highest monthly support we received then – and said he could do that every month! God prepared us for faith-living in this house!

We invited neighbors and told them about the miracle story of Datasha’s birth wrapped with the Gospel in our AS Rao Nagar home in Hyderabad on 12 Nov 2008.

As Dale would often doze off when he returned home in the School bus – the ride took him 45 minutes – we thought it was a good idea to move near his school, St. Andrews, 8 kms away towards the center of the city. We got a house near the Subhash Nagar’s Kallu compound (Arrack shop). A techie was in our home and Evan spend hours counselling her and praying with her.  The rains lashed continuously that year – it was the 2009, the year Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Dr. YS Rajashekar Reddy died in a helicopter crash. And as the waters threatened to enter the living room of this house – the tenth house we lived in post our marriage – we knew we had to move, even though we had lived there only for two months. So we moved. We moved to a house closer to the main road – the Military Dairy Farm Road in Hyderabad. This house was just behind the Indian Oil Petrol bunk. This house was put for sale, but the owner was kind to allow us to stay there till it got sold. We ended up staying there from 2009 till 2015 – the longest stretch we have stayed in any home so far. Both Dale and Datasha received Jesus as their Savior in our family prayers as Evan and I led them into sinner’s prayer following the explanation of what salvation meant. I graduated with a Doctor of Ministry degree from here in 2014.

In this house – house number 11 – God blessed us. He gave us a confidence to pay rent that touched five figures for the first time. And we did that before the 6th of the month. We never missed this deadline and all our house-owner’s loved this about us. This house was a triplex house – three floors. It had four bed-rooms. God filled this house with Google Genners. As I led Bible studies, people would even sit on the steps leading up to the second floor and hungrily lap up the Word of God served without compromise. We would pray for healing. Couples without children received babies. The Fountain of Tears Against Mountain Of Fears event started off here as our neighbor, Sister Sandhya, encouraged us to start it. The month-end midnight prayer where a small group of corporates entered the new month in God’s presence was begun here. Evan and I travelled to Singapore for ministry from here. The already-paid-for i10 car came to our parking lot in 2011 and the gifted-to-us Yellow Vespa came in 20212. Joel Jaideep would faithfully come and teach me to drive the Car. Sister Arlene Stubbs, our local church’s Senior pastor visited us when we were in this house and our kids recited Bible verses to her!

Preaching God’s Word to small groups in House Number 11!

Finally this house (number 11) got sold and we had to move to house number 12. This house was just across the road in Ved Vihar – a colony of five hundred flats run by Army Professionals. Our owner Vishal was an absolute gem. He would forget to increase our rent and pay promptly for all the repairs we would do in the flat. He had stocked his house with wardrobes and interiors like we never had in any house we had lived until that point. The Bible Studies continued. The Fasting prayers continued. My travels to India and beyond continued. The tracts outreaches to different locations of Hyderabad continued. We would give Bibles and tracts to those who were willing to receive them. Sunny Karumanchi our video volunteer who works in the Corporate world became associated with our ministry here. We would shoot short videos on hot topics right here and elsewhere. God blessed our home with items from the famous Swedish store that opened an outlet in our city – Ikea.

Medicos come to Ved Vihar base to receive the Bubbly tracts to be used in their outreaches.
Fountain prayer in Ved Vihar home

Arul Johnson and his dad attend the Fountain Prayer in Ved Vihar home!

Evan leads in the online Fountain prayer in Ved Vihar

And then the pandemic of 2020 hit. We continued the work of God online from there. When we thought we would live here for a long, long time and do God’s Work, God ensured we moved from there. We moved to house number 13 in Gundlapochampally Village in the outskirts of Hyderabad. Our grandmother, Miss Edith Mary, the person God used to conduct our wedding lived with us there in a home which was like a Spanish villa. One of our neighbors from the next street saw the WhatsApp status on Evan’s phone and asked her, “Do you pray for people?” Evan replied in the affirmative. Then she said, “Can you please come and pray for my daughter?” We were overjoyed!  

Our dear grandmother whom God used to conduct our wedding at our home in Gundlapochampally in Hyderabad’s outskirts!

Our grandmother returned to her village for a visit and the Lord decided to take her to be with him. The date was May 16, 2021. This event would be a trigger for us to make a big decision. We decided to move out of Hyderabad where we served Jesus among the Google Generation for over 16 long years. We decided to move our base to Chennai in what was a largely online world where one stayed hardly mattered as long as there was good internet. What was more we got to see our parents – both retired missionaries – who stayed in nearby Vellore more often.

House number 14 where we stayed was in Velachery, Chennai. We have memories of going to the terrace and praying under the massive tree that covered that house! We gave the Bubbly and Dhoni Gospel tracts to small groups of people who walked into the Pheonix Mall in Velachery. We drove to Vellore and visited our parents when we got the opportunity. We sold off our AP-registered i10 and Vespa from here. It was an emotional moment. As this house also got sold, we had to move again.

And I write these lines Evan and I have moved to house number 15 in the span twenty years of marriage. We feel blessed to stay close to a compact, cool flat close to the School that Datasha goes to. We are blessed to stay here. Dale leaves home to join St. Stephen’s New Delhi from here.

We thank you Lord. We thank you for the nice owners you sent along the way! We thank you for the kind neighbors you surrounded us with!  

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Goodnews For Google Gen

Giving the Gospel to those with Suicidal Tendencies and Those With Gaming Addiction

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

On September 10, the World Suicide Prevention Day is observed. We live in a world where we meet a lot of people who show suicidal tendencies. And we also meet a lot of people who are into gaming addiction. What I present below is one way we can bring the good news to those who show suicidal tendencies or those who are gaming addicted:

Blue Whale. We are not talking about the big fish in the sea. The “Blue Whale,” referred to in this piece, is an online game that ultimately dares its players to act out a death-wish – their own! This smartphone game pushes the users of this game to carve an outline of a Blue Whale on their skin and eventually drives them into suicide. That’s one reason this game got the name “whale” – a fish with suicidal tendencies that is known at times to deliberately swim towards beaches only to die. If a player refuses to obey the “dare” for a dangerous task, threats such as, “We will have your parents killed…” rapidly follows. Yes people – including children and teens –  World-over are either talking about the Blue Whale challenge or playing it.

The Blue Whale is ultimately indicative of a “true tale” – certain truths about Life – life about living with capital L. Only a person deeply disillusioned with life would take the lead from games such as this and eventually decide to end it. But the Bible, God’s Word in human words, presents Satan as the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. It is quite possible that Satan uses online games such as the Blue Whale, get unsuspecting folks to fall-in-line with his plan of destruction. In the Bible, we read of a demon-influenced man ‘cutting himself with stones’ – attempting suicide (Mark 5:5). Satan does not just sow inside of us thoughts of suicide. The Bible teaches that His primary goal is to lead us towards fleeting-pleasure offering sin – something that separates us from God and robs us of all lasting joy. “Joy” leaving our lives, when “Sin” enters is not just a fact found in the Bible (Lamentations 5:15; Psalm 51:12) but an relatable experience in our day-to-day lives.

“Joy” leaving our lives, when “Sin” enters is not just a fact found in the Bible (Lamentations 5:15; Psalm 51:12) but an relatable experience in our day-to-day lives.

No, we do not read of anyone in the Bible narrative playing the Blue Whale game. But we do read of some folk who ended up committing suicide. The circumstances in which they committed suicide gives us key-perspectives about why people think of taking their own life. Abimelech (See Judges 9:54 in the Bible) did not want to be killed by a woman, and so he asked a young man to kill him instead. We see here PRIDE (the first ever sin of the universe, according to the Bible) cannot give us purpose and meaning in life. But, tragically can be instrumental in the finishing of our life. King Saul feared torture by enemy forces as a prisoner of war and he decided to fall onto his sword while on a battle field to finish his life (See I Samuel 31:4 in the Bible). In his case, PANIC (the result of sin according to the Bible), robbed him of his desire to live and he chose to put a full-stop to his own life. Ahithophel, a professional Counsellor to the king, upon discovering that his advice was not followed, decided to hang till he died. He chose to hang, instead of a life of having to hang his head in shame. However awesome a PROFESSION is, it cannot bring that person’s meaning, purpose, lasting joy in life. The fifth person as per the records of the Bible, who committed suicide was Judas. The hole in his heart became bigger after receiving a PAY for leading an arresting party to the place the only God-in-flesh Jesus often met with his disciples. We have talked about a number of Ps in the above paragraph in connection with suicide. However there is another P who enables us to overcome suicidal tendencies. That is the Prince of Peace.

When he knew for sure the prisoners entrusted by the Government under his care – including the preachers of Jesus, namely, Paul and Silas – has escaped the prison he was incharge of, following a massive earthquake, this jailor we read about in the Bible, drew his sword and was about to end his life (Acts 16:25-27). That’s when Paul shouted, ‘Do not harm yourself’ and introduced Jesus, the Prince of Peace to this Jailor who immediately abandoned his suicide plans (Acts 16:28-31). When Jesus really comes into your life every thought of suicide will fly away! And life will become meaningful! Instead of choosing the suicide rope, choose hope that is only available in Christ Jesus!

This leads me to a well-known statement that Jesus made that is found recorded in the Bible: “I have come to give Life – Life to the full”(in John 10:10). This implies, apart from the “alone and apart from everyone” Jesus (Jesus said he was the ONLY WAY in John 14:6 of the Bible) no one can find that paramount peace, that supreme serenity, that maximum meaning, that Himalayan happiness.  Apostle Paul, a Jesus-follower, wrote about the “purpose in each step” (I Corinthians 9:26, NLT, The Bible) that Jesus gave him, when he followed Jesus through the smooth and stormy phases of his life.

One of Jesus’ names in the Bible is this: “Author of Life” (Acts 3:15). He is also the maker of life – this the Bible teaches (John 1:3). Human Life was made “for” Jesus Christ, the Bible notes (Colossians 1:16-17).  When we wade though “the book of life’s journey” with a living “for” Jesus, life will become meaningful  and purposeful!

The same Jesus who said, “I have come to give you life,” also mentioned that he came to die as a ransom for the sins of the World. This, the Bible records (Mark 10:45). That was how he could offer us a meaningful life – through his cruel death on the Cross. When Jesus shed his precious, sinless blood for us, he opened the door for each one of us to escape from living an “empty” life on this earth, the Bible declares (I Peter 1:18).

Jesus rose from the Dead. Jesus promised to return again to judge the World. Those who firmly and finally reject Jesus, the name of the only person who qualifies to save humankind by the virtue of his absolute sinlessness, will live a life of “living” hell here and now and go to a “literal” hell. This the Bible, a book which has never gone wrong when it comes to predictions, predicts.

What should we do now? Turn from sin (Luke 13:1-5, The Bible). Come to Christ in faith (Matthew 11:28 & John 1:12, The Bible). Come now (2 Corinthians 6:2, The Bible). 

(This article was published in Aim Magazine, Sept 2021 issue. Aim is published by Evangelical Fellowship of India, the umbrella organization for all major churches and Christian organisations in India. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Watch Duke’s messages at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).

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Deep Disciples of Jesus Shaping Article

You, a Christian? Really?!

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

Do you call yourself ‘Christian’? Do you brand yourself as a Christian?

What does that word mean? To answer that question we must turn to the Bible – the book which used that word first. In the Bible, the word ‘Christian’ is used three times. When we study those three instances we get to see three characteristics that cannot be separated from any true ‘Christian’ – a biblical Christian.

Converted

Let’s race to passage number one: Paul stands before King Agrippa as a prisoner. His crime – preaching Jesus. Paul gives Agrippa a blow by blow account of his conversion experience: the ride on the road to Damascus… his passion to persecute followers of Jesus… the blinding light from heaven… the voice that said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting!”…. his U-turn… his repentance…etc etc.

After having shared his terrific testimony Paul did not stop. He did not shut up.  He went on. He got a touch personal with King Agrippa. He posed a personal question to him: “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe!” You see, Paul was not just trying to save himself from further imprisonment by sharing his testimony – he wanted to save King Agrippa from going to hell too! After this abrupt and daring invasion of his private space by Paul, King Agrippa said, “In a short time, would you persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28).  There you bump into the word we are trying to understand the meaning of – the word ‘Christian’. Ask King Agrippa what he meant when he used the word ‘Christian’. This would be his answer: “To be a Christian for me is to be someone like Paul – to be someone with a CONVERSION experience!”

You cannot be called a Christian without a convertion experience!

Yup, the word Conversion and ‘Christian’ go together. A Biblical Christian cannot be a Christian without the conversion experience. Absolutely. Do you call yourself a ‘Christian’ without an experience of conversion?! If so – forgive me for being blunt – you simply are not a Christian. You are just pretending to be one! You don’t have to hire a horse and ride on the road to Damascus to make this experience your own. Right now, I invite you to kneel down by your bedside with a repentant heart and ask Jesus to forgive you and come into your heart and life. If you have done that, you too are converted! You too are a Christian!

Committed

Let’s talk about yet another time the Bible used the word ‘Christian’: The setting now is the city of Antioch. A new preacher is sent to this church from the church in Jerusalem – the headquarters. His name? Barnabas. What was his message? “Remain faithful to the Lord!” In other words, he was trying to help believers graduate from merely being a believer into a disciple. One believer he searched out and discipled was Paul. For one full year, Barnabas preached messages that typified what his name meant: encourager. He preached messages that encouraged wobbly believers to become solid disciples. Who could be called Jesus’ disciples? Those who remain faithful to Him – no matter what the cost is or how challenging the condition is. Such COMMITTED folks were nicknamed Christians by the folks in Antioch (Acts 11:26)! 

Are you the sort that will desert Jesus at the slightest provocation – such as in times of a tantalizing temptation or perturbing persecution? Then you can’t be called a Christian according to the Bible. Christians, according to the Bible, are those who stay committed to Christ, even when the going gets tough!

Celebrating

Christian or a celebrating Christian?!

This aspect of being a Christian was so important that another Bible writer also talks about it. Yes, Peter also brought together these two words: commitment and Christian. He did by writing his first letter thus: “Let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name!” (I Pet 4:15, 16).  If you have carefully read those two verses you will grasp that Peter’s understanding of the word, ‘Christian’, goes one step further than that of Luke – the author of the book of Acts, the source of our first two references for word, ‘Christian’, in the Bible. Here is how: a Christian is someone who CELEBRATES God even while suffering because he stays stubbornly COMMITTED to Christ! Yes – a Biblical Christian is someone who glorifies God even when the going gets rough and tough! Are you that sort of Christian? Are you a complaining Christian or a celebrating Christian?!

It can be said, when the going gets tough, the true Christian will get going!

Stop. Think. Introspect. Look inwards. Are you a Christian merely by name? I pray that after you have read this piece, your understanding of the word ‘Christian’ is never the same! Would you surrender your life to Christ so that He will change you into a Biblical Christian? Would you do that, right now?!

(This article was published in the Aim Magazine – October 2021 edition. Aim is published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Watch Duke’s messages at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).

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Uncategorized

Peer Pressure Sent Packing!

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

In a month when the world celebrates Friendship Day, it may be a good idea to think about handling peer pressure.

Peer pressure. Each day it jabs at you as you rub shoulders with your pals at High School. Time and again it nudges you as you walk hands on shoulder with your buddies at College. Repeatedly it bumps into you as you jostle with the people at your work-spot. There are friends in your world who pressure you, prod you to do things that you pretty well know won’t please the Lord. “A sip of Rum won’t rub away your saintliness,” your associate remarks in an attempt to make you somehow join him in drinking. “What’s your opinion about him? Come on speak up!” your mates coax you to join their round table conference where nothing but backbiting and gossip are going on. “You really haven’t lived if you haven’t yet made a visit to this salacious site,” your Internet-insane chum says cajoling you to copy his porn-site visiting habit. One of the reasons why urban 13-17-year-olds have sex is because their “friends have it” (according to a survey published in Outlook magazine). Well, don’t tell me that you haven’t faced peer pressure in your life and existence. You certainly have. And absolutely will. Hey listen – Jesus actually predicted that each of his followers would encounter peer pressure! He did not preach, “If the world hates you…” Instead He preached, “When the world hates you…” (John 15:18).  Did not our Lord say, “Everyone will hate you because of your allegiance to me. But those who endure to the end will be saved” (Math 10:22)? Can we not say that on the basis of this verse handling peer pressure (among other sorts of pressures) is a matter that is so important it concerns our eternal salvation?

A DIRECT COMMAND

Did you know that there is a direct command in the Bible that we must not bow to peer pressure? The Bible does not mince words when it says, “Do not join a crowd that intends to do evil. When you are in the witness stand, do not be swayed by the opinion of the majority” (Ex. 23:2). Caleb took those words from the Law of Moses pretty seriously it seems. Otherwise, these daring words would not have flowed from his mouth when he stood in the witness-stand with the entire nation of Israel watching him, following his crew’s return from scouting the land of Canaan: “Let’s go at once to take the land. We can certainly conquer it!” This was in direct contradiction to the report given by the rest of the members of the spy crew. They all were unanimous in saying, “We can’t go up against them! They are stronger than we are! The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that is what we looked like to them!” (Num. 13:30-33). But Caleb refused to bow to the sheer peer pressure that would have been mounting on him to alter his report so that it too would sound negative like his colleagues’! And mind you Caleb was forty years old when this event happened – an extremely youthful age when you take into consideration that people lived for many hundreds of years in those times (Num. 14:6). Oh, for more Calebs in this crooked and depraved generation of young people! Calebs who will take God’s command that we must not follow the crowd in doing wrong, come what may!

What do we do when our buddies burden us to do things that our Master won’t have us do? Clueless? Got no answers? Well in God’s Word we certainly have some clues and answers to this perennial problem of youth. Want to hear them?

  1. MAKE!

Making Jesus as our best pal ever is the best defence against the lures of Peer Pressure! Wondering how? Take a good look at Peter and you get to know. See Peter closely and this lesson will sink into your system. There were times when Peter and Jesus were close and cozy. Peter knew that it was a foregone conclusion that Jesus was going to be forced to carry the cross and he would finally be crucified on it. So in his heart he too decided that he would “deny himself and take up his cross” and follow His Master just as His Master taught them to (Mk. 8:34). That was why – I suppose – he flatly said, “Lord, I am ready to go to prison with you, and even to die with you!” when Jesus predicted that one of the twelve disciples would betray him (Luke 22:33). He felt that close and committed to Jesus. But then as we pretty well know Peter ended up denying Jesus. Three times out. What went wrong? Simple. Mathew records that when Peter was following Jesus he was following him from “far behind” after his arrest (Matt. 26:58). Mathew – I believe meant more than a geographical distance. He meant there was a spiritual distance between Jesus and Peter. He was drifting away from a warm and wonderful relationship with his Master. Just 11 verses and a short while later, Peter ended up denying Jesus (Matt. 26:69-75). This was the message that crystallized in my heart as I kept reading Matthew 26:58-75: “If you follow Jesus from a distance you would soon end up doing things that would displease him.” If only Peter had maintained his closeness with his Master he would have withstood the pressure put on him as he sat in the courtyard with those who were not clearly in sympathy with Jesus. From the way they eyed him suspiciously Peter knew he would be in trouble if he admitted that he was indeed Jesus’ most outspoken disciple. Peter was hanging out with a crowd hostile to Jesus without being close to Jesus. A potentially deadly combination that ultimately bust Peter’s spiritual fuse and rocked his commitment to Christ. The result was predictable: he ended up swearing that he did not know the Man who in his very first recorded sentence to Peter in Mathew’s Gospel told Peter to make him known (“Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people!” – Mathew 4:19).

Have you made Jesus your best friend as yet? Well if there is anyone who can be called “a Friend who sticks closer than a brother,” it’s got to be Jesus (Prov. 18:24). Only sin will increase the distance between Him and you (Isa. 59:2). And if you ask Him to forgive your sins and stick close to him, the pressure from your pals to do things that displease Him will dwindle away, I bet. How do we get close to Jesus?  By spending lots of time with him. By lapping up His Word hungrily. By taking the deliberate time-off from our busy worlds and standing still in his presence to have heart-to-heart talks with Him. If we inculcate this habit of constantly enjoying a close walk with our Maker, there will come a point in our life when we automatically say what the Psalmist said, “One day spent in your house, this beautiful place of worship beats thousands spent on Greek island beaches. I’d rather scrub floors in the house of my God than be honored as a guest in the palace of sin!” (Psa. 84:10, MSG). Yes, it is living in his presence day in and day out that defuses the pressure on us to dwell in the “tents of the wicked” (Psa 84:10, KJV).

In summary, if you fall in love with Jesus chances are that you will not fall in line with the lousy ways of your filthy friends!

  • BREAK!

In order to escape the deadly effects peer pressure can have on our lives there are some friendships (actually fellowships) we must break. That is right – destroy outrightly! But I can almost hear you arguing, “But even Jesus was called as a ‘friend of sinners!’ – wasn’t he? ” Of course, he was! But his closest pals were never the cheating tax-collectors and the captivating prostitutes but Peter, James and John – three men who left their all to follow Him and later would not hesitate to die for Him! Jesus tried to lift the sinners to His level in the times He spent with them – He never stooped to their level. His goal of mixing with them freely was to evangelize them and not let his morals be eroded by them! Also, we must note that He reserved his thick friendship only for His disciples. In fact, he met them “often” in an olive grove – something He did not do with his “sinner” friends (John 18:2). Following the model of Jesus we can have a circumspect friendship with our unbeliever pals without having close fellowship (while reserving that with friends who closely walk with the Lord)! He by His personal example and model teaches us to say “No” to friends who call us for “ungodliness” thereby helping us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age (Titus 2:11,12).

Ask Rehoboam why he brushed aside the sensible advice to ease the great pressure his father Solomon put on the people of Israel. He would talk about another kind of pressure – peer pressure. His youthful buddies boosted his ego and tutored him to reply to a delegation that had come to meet him in this harsh manner: “My little finger is thicker than my father’s waist – if you think he was hard on you, just wait and see what I’ll be like! Yes, my father was harsh on you, but I’ll be even harsher! My father used whips on you, but I’ll use scorpions!” (I Kings 12:1-14). This peer-pressure-inspired rude reply eventually led the split of Israel into two Kingdoms – we can say that.

Oh, how many times foul friends have lured many a Christ-following youth to sin? Countless times. What is the solution? It is to willfully sever yourself from friends who seduce you forget your devotion to Christ. That is what Paul has taught us to do. Paul warned that the Corinthian believers must steer clear of some folk who argued that one could just feast and get drunk – enjoy life to the full – the reason being that “tomorrow we die” (and there was no resurrection from the dead and judgement before God to panic about – I Cor. 15:32). He plainly wrote, “Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for ‘bad company corrupts good character.’ Come back to your senses and stop sinning. For to your shame I say that some of you don’t even know God” (I Cor. 15:33-34). One version of the Bible renders that passage this way: “Don’t let yourself be poisoned by this anti-resurrection loose talk.”  What Paul was teaching the Corinthians was in line with a present-day proverb that goes,  “If you sleep with dogs you will get fleas!” Jesus would agree with Paul’s suggestion that we should cut ourselves from corrupting chums for he said, “Even if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out…” (Matt. 5:29). What was Jesus getting at? It is probably this: “Your friend may be as dear to you as your eye. But cut your relationship with him if he causes you to sin against me!” (The imagery of “eyes” being compared to people is very much in the Bibles – See Dt. 32:10, Psa. 17:8 and Zech. 2:8). Your buddies may seem to you as the apple of your eyes. But it what they say is against what God says, you must steer clear of them because we are told to “guard” the Lord’s teachings which are to be the  “apple of our eyes” (Prov. 7:2).

In short, one sure way of sending peer pressure packing is to pack off our persistently perverted pals!

3. CONTEMPLATE!

 

When young people give in to peer pressure, they feel good for the moment. In fact, Jesus himself said, “If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own…” (John 15:19). But even some of the worldliest people will tell you that the warmth the world showers on you will be at best temporary. For example, famous American actress Marilyn Monroe once said, in an interview given at the fag end of her life: “Fame doesn’t fulfil you. It warms you a bit, BUT THAT WARMTH IS TEMPORARY!”

The story of the younger son – the prodigal son – which Jesus narrated is very familiar to us all. This son too was probably incited by his friends to somehow parcel away his portion of his Pop’s property. Armed with a lot of cash he threw parties (for who else,  but his comrades). But when he was low on cash, and it is quite possible his so-called friends left him. One day he was feeding his pals. Pretty soon he was feeding on what was given to the pigs! Sad story, indeed! Had he had contemplated on some of the proverbs of Solomon, which he must have surely had access to as a Jewish youngster, he would not have wrecked his life. He must have read these stirring words in Proverbs that directly warned him of fair-weather friends. He had no time to chew and act upon these well known Proverbs: “My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them!…Don’t go along with them, my child!…The poor are despised even by their neighbors, while the rich have many ‘friends’ (meaning so-called friends who are not really friends)…Wealth makes many ‘friends’; poverty drives them away…” (Prov. 1:10-15; 14:20; 19:4). In short he missed the repeated message of Proverbs: the very same friends who egg you on to commit a sin may not hesitate to throw an egg on your face when you suffer as a result of your sin!

Quite often we bump into characters in the Bible who were let down by their close friends. You cannot miss how hurt David was when you read this: “As for this friend of mine, he betrayed me; he broke his promises. His words are as smooth as cream, but his heart is war. His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers!” (Psa. 55:20-21). Job (6:15-23) and Jeremiah (20:10) had similar experiences.

Go over these sob stories of those ditched by their bosom buddies at the time when they desperately needed them. Once you have done that – contemplated that – chances are that you will not be pressured by these very same people to let down “the Friend closer than a brother” – Jesus! Agree? 

Apart from his family (seven of them) no one took seriously Noah’s preaching that there would be a flood seriously. I am sure there were quite a few to make jokes about this judgment-preacher  (II Pet 2:5). Some probably told Noah, “Look at those short pants! Hey Noah, expecting a flood?” Sure these sort of jokes must have put pressure on Noah to quit. But he did not quit. He kept doing what God wanted him to do. Faithfully.

Nehemiah was busy rebuilding the broken walls of Jerusalem. It was then that he heard this acidic remark from Tobiah: “That stone wall would collapse if even a fox walked on top of it!” (Neh 4:3). Would Nehemiah yield to this pressure that was put on him to quit doing what God called him to do? By no means. The wall rebuilding project was completed (Neh 6:15).

Like Noah and Nehemiah did, it is my prayer that you would withstand peer pressure to complete what God has called you to do and consequently enjoy the divine pleasure in your life.

Well, peer pressure can be handled perfectly well only if you will draft into your life these  simple, Scriptural and pragmatic steps. You can count on it!

(This article by Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj was published in the August 2021 edition of Aim Magazine published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India; Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Or WhatsApp +91-8886040605).

Categories
Stories from my life

30 Years Of Preaching, Having Started at 16!

Duke Jeyaraj


On August 9, 2021, the Lord helped to complete 30 years of preaching. I am grateful today. I am grateful to God and to many people.


My maternal grandmother, Suganthi Jesudosson, told me this when I used to visit her home in Rajapalayam in South Tamil Nadu as a little boy (about 10): “Duke, I want to see you preaching!”


Shameen Prashantham, my class-mate in Ida Scudder was the one who was first asked to preach from the Stage in the Captains’ led  School assembly on 9 August 1991. I would not have become the Lincoln House captain but for the surprise choice my English teacher, Emma Koshy ma’am made. Shameen got a first glimpse of me speaking to a small group when Jean Jebagnanam ma’am asked me to share in a fellowship held in a classroom during lunch. Shameen prepared me for 9 August 1991 as he gave me valuable feedback in a practice session before I got to speak to the 500 people on that day. One of the students fainted, too shocked by that raw, straight-from-the-Bible, passionate message on Who Will Go To Hell. Another class-mate would write in my school autograph book that he was “Zapped” when he heard me preach! A Jimmy Swaggart video tape message ‘Hell is no Joke’, was the inspiration for that message (No Youtube those days). My uncle Gnanasekaran was the first to get me a Jimmy Swaggart sermon tape. My parents did not even know that I would be preaching in the School assembly that day. They heard it from others that I had preached. My thinking went like this: “I will just preach this one time. I am sure I am going to be a failure in preaching. So, why bother my parents with this information?” But God had other ideas. His ways are higher. His thoughts are higher.


My voice is not striking like Amitabh Bachchan’s. It is a tad squeaky and sometimes unclear.  But God, in his mercy, and in sovereign wisdom, still uses me as a preacher. I kiss His feet. I thank Him for enabling-grace. This is His doing and we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it!


Dr. Mrs. Lilian Stanley’s mom, Mrs. Hepsi Padian, invited me to preach in Tanjore in a prayer meeting she organised in her home in the year 1992 (I was 17). It was the first time someone would pay for my travel and have me preach. Little did I know then, that I would have travelled to 20 different Indian States and 7 different Nations with the organisers paying for my travel and have me preach to various audiences – all in a span of 30 years!


In those years, Uncle Silas Maultkumar who worked in Christian Medical College and Hospital would take me to the Boys hostels of Christian Institutions in and around Vellore. And he would ask me to preach in English to those boys in rapidly-organised meetings. Our mode of transport was the town bus. And he would interpret into Tamil. He would tell me in jest: “We don’t need to do a skit, Duke. You preaching in English and me translating into Tamil itself looks like a skit!” 


I must mention more names here as I hit the rewind button on my three-decade preaching journey. Uncle R. Stanley – I remember him coaching me four distinct times with regard to my preaching. After I preached in Tanjore as a 17 year old he told me to look up the ministry of Billy Graham (“He is possibly the best human example we have now!”). And I started to do that. I read the Billy Graham book, World Aflame, in my third year of B. Tech Agri Engg in Allahabad. Inspired by the many examples that Billy Graham cited in that book I learnt to wrap Bible Truth around contemporary events of interest. Uncle R. Stanley also coached me to preach in Halo 1998 in Sitteri Hills. When I preached in Halo 1998, a young men youth camp, I spoke to 1000 youth for the first ever time. Uncle Stanley gave me feedback on the eight messages I prepared to preach to an audience of Sri Lankan Tamil Youth in Germany, the year being 1998 (I was 23). He once drove me to TEL Hills near Vellore and gave me more tips and prayed for me (before I left for Germany on 09 April 1998). One line from his prayer still remains green in my memory: “When there are so many other better orators than us, Lord, you still chose us to preach your Word. Thank you!” Once when I told him, “Uncle, I get nervous before I preach!” he responded this way: “That is actually good. You will trust God more! Never come to a point where you think you can preach without God’s help or His enabling presence!” 


Rev. S. A. Sundarraj, of the Vellore AG Church was my local church pastor then. He was a former DMK party Stage speaker. His Sunday Morning fiery, no-words-minced messages made me go, “I want to preach like my pastor, one day!” 


​Rev. Dr. Jacob Cherian taught me five courses in Southern Asia Bible College, Bangalore as I did my M. Div. from 1998-2001. He taught me to interpret the Bible and glean out fresh, hot-from-the-oven Bible Truth. He challenged me to preach from every book of the Bible and by God’s grace I have already done this (go to youtube and search ‘Duke Jeyaraj along with a Bible book name)!


Dr. David Balasingh was my preaching professor in Southern Asia Bible College. He gave me 70% which was the lowest marks I ever got ​in any exam when I was there (because I overshot time). But through that experience I learnt to manage time while preaching.


From Sir Ivan Satyavrata who was the President of Southern Asia Bible College when I was there I learnt to give altar calls after my messages. I would give altar calls not just for salvation messages and mission challenges but even for messages on Bible Meditation, Temptation, and whatnot. It has been my joy to see many respond all over. Two girls who responded to my ‘no sex before marriage’ altar call in 2001 when I preached in their school talked about how these altar call responses they chose to make helped them to overcome sexual tempation when they connected with me, years later! These scenes ensured that I did not have to take an early retirement from preaching.


​I must thank all the partners of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission here. They were kind enough to keep sending sacrificial financial support wrapped with copious prayer support. ​And that is one reason why I am able to be a full-time preacher and writer. I thank God for each one of you – an overwhelming majority of whom, if not all, are Indians! Some of the young people who heard me preach in their schools (in 2000-2001), still support me financially long after! Some of the IT Professionals who heard me make a gospel presentation in their corporate campus (in 2008), a month after I quit my HSBC Global Resourcing job, still support me long after! God bless each one of you!


Sunny Karumanchi, Vikas Yadav, Ashish Paul, Naveen Vamsi, Prof Sheeba, Lijo – these are names of our ministry’s video editing volunteers. Florussel Satya was one of the first video volunteers. She came armed with her video recorder as I preached to students from the African continent in a small church in 2006. Uncle E. L. Ephraim edited my message in Blesso 2005 – an unforgettable missionary challenge for youth, one of my best ever messages, and that is on Youtube. If you have never seen me, or have met me, yet have seen my sermons, you must thank these precious people! They are the ones who take time out to create short/long message clips which get uploaded onto YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.


Above all, I want to thank God for my family. When I prepare a message, that area of the house becomes invariably messy. The newspapers are left open. Sometimes I work with three laptop/computer screens open, researching furiously. I am lost in thought during lunch or dinner because I am thinking of the message I need to soon deliver. Some of my best coined-words sermon outlines have come when I am eating with my family. That is not the way to be. But they still put up with me and giving all possible support. I don’t yes for a preaching invitation, without Evan’s approval. Dale has video recorded many of sermons. Datasha is most fierce critic among the Google Generation. God bless Evan, Dale and Datasha.

On the anniversary of my 30th anniversary of Preaching, I was preaching. I preached in a local church – a total of three sermons. I gave an altar call to a group of 70 youth in Kottivakkam AG Church in Chennai’s ECR. I preached to them from a story in the Bible that involved a Javelin-murder. I preached to them from the life of Prince Absalom even as they were still going gaga over Neeraj Chopra who won the Javelin Gold medal for India in the Tokyo Olympics. Nearly all of them rededicated their lives to Jesus. They raised their hands, stood up, knelt down, prayed and recommitted. It was a holy moment. I will keep preaching this as long as I breath in my nostrils, or till the return of Jesus, whichever comes early.

(Go to http://www.youtube.com/visitduke if you wish to hear Duke Jeyaraj’s messages. WhatsApp us at 91-8886040605 if you want to be included for meeting where Duke Jeyaraj will be speaker).

Categories
Bible on Contemporary Issues End Times and the Bible

Take the Vaccine and You Take the Mark of the Beast?

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj answers

You take the vaccine and you take the mark of the beast, the anti-christ? Is this true? Duke Jeyaraj examines this question in this article.

Three Scriptures connect receiving the mark of the Beast which the book of Revelation talks about with receiving something you receive on your forehead and hands (Rev. 14:9; Rev. 13:11,16,17; Rev. 20:4). Since, the corona vaccine done is sent into one’s hands, the speculation has been rife that receiving the vaccine shot equals to receiving the mark of the beast/the antichrist. These well-meaning folks passionately argue this way: ‘If C equals 3, being the third letter in the English alphabet, O equals to 15, R equals to 18, O equals to 15, N equals to 14, and A equals to 1, the total comes to 66. And there are 6 letters in the English word, Corona. So, there you have it – Corona has something to do with 666, the mark of the Antichrist!’ Does this interpretation of Revelation hold water? Let’s see. 

The SETTING to the Book of Revelation 

There is a background, a setting, a context to every New Testament letter. For example, we know that Apostle Paul wrote to the believers at the church in Corinth to instruct them on how to handle a believer who was sleeping with own mother (I Cor. 5). This was one of the different reasons. In the same way, Apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation to seven specific church believers in Asia Minor who faced the specific problem being sucked into and swept away from what was called the ‘imperial cult’. The Book of Revelation mentions that John wrote to an actual bunch of Asian churches, very clearly (see Rev. 1:4,11). So, as we see the book of Corinthians in its context, we must see the book of Revelation in its context.  

If someone says, ‘Sunny’, we immediately ask, ‘Sunny Gavaskar, the cricketer or Sunny the weather, or Sunny Leone, the porn star or Nissan Sunny, the car?’, don’t we? In the same way, we must look at everything mentioned in the Bible keeping in mind the context. Or else, the meaning of that text will get assassinated!  

When the book of Revelation was being written the believers were faced with the temptation of joining what was called the Roman Imperial Cult. The Caesars of those days wanted the people to worship them or face trouble for not doing so. Bible Scholars of repute assert the book of Revelation was written during the rule of one these two emperors – Nero and Domitian. One killed his own mother and the Christians. The other praised a palace steward, showered with him with courtesies before killing him, the next day. Because of this kind of erratic, eccentric, emotional behavior, these emperors were popularly called ‘beasts’ (of course in whispers).  

So, when Apostle John wrote about the beast and his mark, the early church believers instantly knew who he was talking about. They knew he was talking about the ‘beast’ who was also the Caesar of the land, the emperor of the land, the same way, a cricket fan instantly knows Rahul Dravid is being talked about when someone mentions ‘The Wall’ or an action movie addict knows Jean-Claude Van Damme is being spoken of when someone quips, ‘Muscles from Brussels’! 

So, when the book of Revelation talks about the mark of the beast being received in the hand, it cannot be talking about the Corona Vaccine, I believe! When you keep the context of the book in mind, you simply cannot come to that conclusion! 

The SYMBOLISM of the Beast’s Number 

Both the Hebrew people and Greek people assigned numeric to their language’s alphabets. If one spelt “Nero Caesar” in Hebrew letters (like assigning A equals to 1… Z equals 26 in English alphabets), the total came to 666 (you just have to Google this and you will know).  

So, the number 666 mentioned in the book of Revelation was speaking about Nero Caesar using a code language which was familiar to the original readers of the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation was clearly understood by its original readers as Romans and Corinthians was by its original readers! The writer of Revelation did not want the church believers he wrote to, to get into trouble for possessing a letter with direct references to an evil emperor like Nero Caesar who was out to capture them and throw them to the lions. So, he used code language like ‘666’, ‘the beast’, etc. to refer to the evil rulers of their time who persecuted them for their faith in Christ and their rejection of him as their Lord! 

The SHOPPING-SELLING ban which Revelation talks about 

Revelation 13:17 which reads this way has intrigued a lot of people: ‘so that could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name’ (NIV). What was this shopping-selling ban on those who refuse the beast’s mark all about? The Caesars of those days had their images conformed to the images of the popular deities in the coins people used for daily business transactions, day-to-day shopping and selling in the markets. In the public square, a gigantic image of the Caesar was placed so that people would worship him as god. The very helpful NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible observes this: In AD 89/90, maybe five or six years before the book of Revelation arrived in the churches of Asia, Ephesus issued a coin that conformed Domitian to the image of the chief deity Zeus. Domitian also dedicated an imperial statue of nearly 25 feet (eight meters) high in the imperial temple in Ephesus. Individuals faced social pressure to participate in public cults, but unless they were accused of disloyalty, no one would hunt down nonparticipants to ensure their participation’ (page 2247). If you did not worship Caesar you would not be easily granted access to the market he controlled symbolized by the coins that bore his god-like image. You would be accused of sedition. You would be accused of hating your land. So, the book of Revelation was calling the believers to ‘endure’ and not participate in the emperor cult. Revelation 2:10 called for endurance directly: ‘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’ (NKJV). And passages like Revelation 14:9-10 (burning sulfur for recipients of beast’s mark) called for the very same thing indirectly: using the ‘mark of the beast’/666 imagery! So, the writer of the book of Revelation was not talking about receiving a literal mark on the forehead or hands, but warning his congregation against possible Caesar-worship – thanks to social pressure! ‘Be ready to lose your business, or a prominent spot for your shop in the Caesar-controlled market because you will rub Caesar the wrong way by not worshipping him. But if you do, and do so stubbornly, you will lose a lot more. You will land up in ever-burning hell!’ – that was the message of the writer of the book of Revelation. There is nothing in the book of Revelation that is not clearly taught in the first 65 books of the Bible – this I believe. In the letter to the Hebrews, the writer challenges the readers to even accept prison terms and property confiscation by the State, joyfully, for refusing to compromise their faith amidst of a similar-to-the-Book-of-Revelation situation of political persecution because of their faith in Jesus who alone was the Lord (Heb. 10:34). 

The SEALING of the Saved, which the book of Revelation Speaks About 

The book of Revelation talks about 144,000 from the 12 tribes of Israel who were ‘sealed on the forehead’ by the living God (Rev. 7:2-8). Just like the beast imagery, the 666 imagery, the numbers in the book of Revelation, I believe, have a symbolic meaning. What Revelation 5:9  (‘persons from every tribe and language and people and nation’ will be saved by the blood of Jesus) teaches directly, Revelation 7:2-8 teaches using indirectly, using symbols! 12 x 12 x 1000 (a large number) is one way we can write 144,000. So, the message of Revelation 7:2-8 is this: “people from Old Testament (symbolized by the first 12) and people from the New Testament (symbolized by second 12) will be saved in large numbers (symbolized by the 1000) in the final day by the blood of Jesus! They will be saved if they have a mark of the blood of Jesus! Since Revelation 5:9 and Revelation 7:2-8 seems to be talking about the same thing (how the blood of Jesus ‘seals’ believers from various background across the globe, across various time periods), the sealing of Revelation 7:2-8 can be seen as symbolic. So, the sealing of the mark of the beast mentioned elsewhere in Revelation (Rev. 13:11,16,17; 14:9; 20:4) can also be logically seen as symbolic. Through symbols these passages teach this: “If you allow the evil anti-Biblical, anti-Jesus policies of your political ruler or even your work-place boss to impact your head, you are receiving the mark of the beast on your head. If you allow the evil anti-Biblical policies of your political ruler or work-place boss to impact your actions, you are receiving the mark of the beast on your hands!” 

Elsewhere in Ezekiel 9, the word ‘mark on the foreheads’ seems to have been used symbolically as well. A man clothed in linen was assigned by the Lord to go throughout the city of Jerusalem putting a mark on those in the city of Jerusalem who mourn and grieve over the detestable things done there (Ezek. 9:3-4). Such people so marked were spared from the judgement of God, apparently (see Ezek. 9:10-11). So, the message is simple: those who turn from the popular-among-people sinful ways of the city they live in – be it porn-watching, be it pride, be it foul-language use, etc., enabled by the Grace of God, cleansed by the Blood of Jesus – they are ‘marked on the foreheads’ (spiritually speaking) and they will be saved from the soon-coming wrath of God and hell-punishment! 

So, when there are clear indications that the ‘mark’ in Revelation 7 and Ezekiel 9 are symbolic the mark of the beast can also be a symbolic thing. The message woven around this symbolism is what rest of the Bible has underlined all through: “Even if costs your life, do not compromise your faith in Christ, despite mounting political pressure or unbearable peer pressure!” (Hebrew 12:4; Acts 20:24; Acts 21:13). The mark of the beast has nothing to do with an injection, I believe! It has got everything to do rejection of the spirit of compromise with sin promoted by celebs and politically powerful, prevalent in our time and age (my opinion)! 

So, in CONCLUSION, I would like to say this: if you are standing in a vaccination queue and the nurse says, “You will agree to worship the Prime Minister/President/Chancellor/Chief Minister/the Mayor when you receive this vaccine and if you don’t agree these terms and conditions, then we can’t vaccinate you!’ then you DON’T have to get vaccinated. But to the best of my knowledge, that is not what is being done now anywhere in the world! So, we all get vaccinated against the corona pandemic! Let not a bizarre way of interpreting Revelation, violating self-evident sound Bible interpretation principles, prevent us from taking the corona vaccination! 

(This article written by Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj was published by Aim Magazine of Evangelical Fellowship of India in its July 2021 edition. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is an Indian ministry to presentday people which is reader-viewer supported. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Watch Duke’s messages at http://www.Youtube.com/VisitDuke. The video version of the same message is found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Yq3C7udfoU&ab_channel=DukeJeyaraj)

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

God the Father: The Biblical View Vs The Emotional View

Duke Jeyaraj

In a month when we celebrate Father’s Day (it falls on June 20th, this year), it will be appropriate to study the character of God as a Father so that we fathers can copy him. The Old Testament repeatedly presents God as the Father (though some wrongly believe God is a consuming fire in the Old Testament but a loving Father in the New Testament, influenced by hyper-grace false teaching which largely appeals to people who do not take time to read the Bible fully and comprehensively). You will be surprised to know that even the Old Testament clearly teaches that God is a Loving Father. However, he is not the Loving Father, the hyper grace cult false teachers paint him to be via their popular-on-Youtube worship songs and their doing-violence-to-the-full-counsel-of-God sermons.  

THE PLAN

It was God’s eternal plan to be a father to us. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews makes this known. He writes, ‘For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering’ (Hebrews 2:10 ESV). God had an Eternal Son. He enjoyed the fellowship with him he had very much. He wanted more sons and daughters – sons and daughters who would be fully human albeit. The addition of these children will bring joy to God the Father. The joy will be for the kids as well as they fellowshipped with their heavenly dad! To bring more children to glory the Eternal son suffered on the Cross – that is the message of Hebrews 2:10.

THE PAIN

One of the earliest mentions in the Bible which introduces God as a Father to us is in Exodus 4. The Lord instructed Moses to say these words to Pharoah: “Let My son go so that he may worship me, but you refused to let him go. Now I will kill your firstborn son!” (Exodus 4:21,23 HCSB). When we were slaves of sin, God sought to make us, sinners, sons! So, he sent Jesus to die for us to endure pain on the Cross. When we repent of our sins and come to him in faith, we become sons and daughters of God (John 1:12).

THE PAIRING

The next Old Testament reference to God as a Father is found in the Song of Moses. In that classic Holy Spirit inspired song, Moses presents Israel as God’s son. He sang, “They have corrupted themselves; They are not His children, Because of their blemish. A perverse and crooked generation. Do you thus deal with the Lord; O foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has he not made you and established you?” (Deut. 32:5-6 NKJV). One key thing I learnt from this passage is this: The Father God imagery is not only imagery for God in the Bible. In the same song of Moses, God is compared to “the Rock” (see Deut. 32:4, 15, 30) and the Eagle (see Deut. 32:11). Those who teach that God is only a loving Father and nothing else are clearly wrong. In Hebrews 12, God is presented both as a COMPASSIONATE FATHER (vs. 5-6) and a CONSUMING FIRE (vs. 12)! So, we must always pair the imagery of a loving father present in the Bible with other imageries for God in the Bible. The Bible says, “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes” (Eccl. 7:18, NIV).

Prophet Isaiah, the prophet with the best vocabulary amongst all Bible writers, connects the transcendence of God with the picture of God as the Father in Isaiah 63:15-16. Though ‘God looks down from heaven’ (a phrase that talks about his transcendence), as Isaiah put it in Isaiah 63:15, he is also ‘our Father’ (as Isaiah expressed it in Isaiah 63:16)! The Christian Faith is unique because it is the only faith where the dwelling-in-Heaven God is the same person who like our doting-us-on-Earth Dad! The Bible remarkably pairs these two unlike qualities in one and the same person – our eternal God!

THE PRIVILEGE WHICH COMES WITH…

Prophet Jeremiah, the Bible Prophet who wrote the most-worded Bible Book in the Bible, also introduces God as the Father. He writes, “For I am a Father to Israel. And Ephraim is My first-born” (Jeremiah 31:9b, NASB). To have God as our Father is a privilege. But that privilege comes with a responsibility. What responsibility? To be fruitful! The word, “ephraim” means to “doubly-fruitful” in Hebrew. “Since I am your Father, you must be doubly-fruitful, Israel” – that was Prophet Jeremiah’s inspired message. Since God is our Father, we must be holy! How did I make this connection? In John 17:11 in the high priestly prayer, Jesus called his father, as the Holy Father! So as children of the holy father, we too must be holy in our day to day lives! Apostle James also attaches responsibilities to those who call God as Father. He wrote, “With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God” (James 3:9, NASB). Those who enjoy the love of the Father (privilege) should love people around them and speak kindly to them (responsibility). James made another connection between privilege of knowing God as the loving father and a connected responsibility of taking care of the poor and the needy. He does so here: ‘Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world’ (James 1:27). Apostle Peter also attaches responsibilities with those who call God as a Father. If we call God as Father, we must be ready to be sanctified and obey the Lord Jesus, Apostle Peter teaches (I Peter 1:2). He further writes, ‘And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile’ (I Peter 1:17). While can celebrate the privilege of calling God as our Father, we must not forget the responsibility we have in showing him a holy reverence and healthy fear!

THE PERIL

Prophet Hosea perhaps paints the most moving picture of God as a Father in the entire Bible. Here is his unmatched, emotion-stirring depiction: ‘Eternal One: When Israel was a child, I loved him; and out of Egypt I called My son. But the more I called to Israel, the more they walked away from Me. They kept on sacrificing to other divine mastersand burning incense to idols! But I was the one who taught Ephraim to walk, holding him up by his arms, but his people didn’t know I was the One who took care of them. I led them along with leather cords; with ropes of love I showed them the way. As I dealt with them, I lifted the yoke from their neck; I bent down to give them their food’ (Hosea 11:1-4, The Voice). Here we see how the people of Israel walked away from God their father who reminds them of his great love for them almost fighting back his tears. Does this love continue forever without ever stopping? The hyper grace cult false teachers who present God as the father compare him with earthly fathers. They ask, “Do you stop becoming your earthly father’s son, if you rebel against him? You don’t. In the same way the Heavenly Father will never stop loving you even if you walk away from him, stubbornly, for the rest of your life – you are in no danger of being punished by him. You still remain His Son!” Really? The very next verse post the greatest Bible passage on God’s fatherly love we see God sending a punishment for the people of Israel who spurned his fatherly love: “They will not return to the land of Egypt; But Assyria – he will be their king. Because they refused to return to me” (Hosea 11:5, NASB). Prophet Hosea foretold the end of the northern Kingdom of Israel, also known as Ephraim, here. As he foretold the Assyrians overtook them in 722 B.C. So, there is a real peril if you keep spurning the love of the Father God and keep indulging your flesh. Romans 11:22 warns that if we spurn God’s kindness (expressed by His Fatherly nature), we are in the real danger of being “cut off”.

In fact, Prophet Hosea who painted God as a loving father in Hosea 11 portrays him as an upset and furious Bear-Lion-Wild Beast in Hosea 13. He writes, “I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs; I will tear open their breast, and there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild beast would rip them open. He destroys you, O Israel, for you are against me, against your helper” (Hos. 13:8-9 ESV). So, what is full message of Hosea? It is this: God loves you as a father. But if you are stubborn in rebelling against Him and chasing after sin, he reserves the right to become as an angry bear-Lion-wild beast who can ultimately send you to hell.

Using memorable word-number picture, the author of Revelation, Apostle John teaches when one calls God as his father (Rev. 14:1) he needs to “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Rev. 14:4) that is, obey Jesus in all areas of his life! Read Revelation 21:7-8 very carefully and you will understand this: those for whom God is a Father will be the ones who “conquer” (Satan, Self and Sin); they will be the ones who have turned from hell-populating sins such as sexual immorality, murder, sorcery, idolatry, lying, etc.

THE PARENTING

Having understood comprehensively the Fatherly Nature of God as per the Word of God we fathers must parent like God for Apostle Paul call believers to become “imitators of God” (Eph. 5:1). That means just as God disciples his kids moved by great love so that his kids may “share his holiness” (Heb. 12:7-10) we fathers must discipline our kids. We must not hesitate to give them whacks when necessary! Those whacks would be a God-intended way of wooing them to grow in holiness!  We must discipline our kids when they live in sins such as sexual immorality (porn-watching, affairs, gadget-addiction, etc) and not look the other way like King David apparently did when Amnon raped Tamar. Prophet Eli finally spoke some words of restraint when his sons went astray in a brazen manner (but it came far too late as God had already planned to execute judgment on them – check out I Samuel 2:12-25). The Nelson Study Bible notes, “Eli had warned his sons of divine judgment (I Sam. 2:25), but he never really rebuked them for their sins (I Sam. 3:13). By neglecting his parental duty, he was in effect favouring his sons above God.” Fathers let us not parent like King David and Priest Eli, but like God!

Let us return to a biblical view of God the Father shunning our hyper-grace cult impacted view of God the Father!

(This article was published in Aim Magazine June 2021 edition. Aim is published by the Evangelical Fellowship of India. Duke, the author of this piece is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a viewer-supported, reader-supported Indian ministry. You may hear Duke preach at http://www.Youtube.com/VisitDuke. You may buy his book on sex, love, marriage, porn, phone addiction, etc. , via Amazon (the kindle edition) or Google Books (the e-book). For the print version of this book which is seen as a text book on taboo topics please whatsapp us at +91-8886040605 and we will send you the payment link.)

Categories
Bible Studies For Those In Various Professions

What the Bible Says To Nurses

Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

May 12 is observed as International Nurses Day. We are grateful to God for the selfless services nurses world-over put for the blessing of humanity. The International Council of Nurses records that atleast 1500 nurses from atleast 44 nations have died after contracting Covid-19 from the patients they treated (in a press release done in October 2020 which they readily say is an underestimation).

Sharath Ramesh Kuniyl writes these lines as he reviewed Virus, a Malayalam movie, for The Week magazine: ‘Aashiq Abu’s Virus is a fitting tribute to them and several other faceless, nameless persons who helped contain and fight the Nipah virus. A series of deaths in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in May 2018 threw the doctors and state administration into a tizzy as they struggled to identify the disease and the source. Even after it was identified, there was no vaccination or treatment protocol for it. Fear of the unknown spawned fake news, conspiracy theories and spread panic’ (June 7, 2019). Rima Kallingal played the character of Akhila ‘the Kerala nurse Lini Puthuserry, who succumbed to the rare Nipah infection during its outbreak after (heroically) caring for the first known casualty in the state’ (The Indian Express, Dec. 6, 2019).

What does the Bible, God’s Word in human words, say to nurses? Here is what I learnt when I meditated on the Bible passages that speak about nurses:

Continue to Make a Difference To One Life At A Time!

When Rebekah was sent by the elders in her family to go with Eliazer, the servant of Abraham, after she consented to marry Abraham’s son, Issac, “her nurse” was also sent along with her (Gen. 24:59). The Bible mentions this nurse by name when she died – Deborah (Gen. 35:8). She was not as famous as the other Deborah, the judge of Israel, who was a prophetess and poet. But she did make a difference to the life of Rebekah. Rebekah’s parents wanted her to travel with her as she went far from home to marry a man who was literally a stranger. They believed the nurse Deborah’s presence will be reassuring for their precious daughter. Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah, clearly made an positive impact in Rebekah’s life.

As a nurse, you may not find have the arc-lights on you. The arc-lights may be on the doctor, the surgeon, etc. But take heart. You can touch the world one person at a time, the way nurse Deborah served Rebekah till death. When you care for a patient, think of Rebekah. You are a “nurse” Deborah for that patient “Rebekah”! The God who recorded a nurse’s name in His Book, knows your name and cheers you as you about making a difference to this planet, by caring for one patient by one patient, patiently.

See Each Patient As God-Sent To Be Cared For By You!

Evil ruler Pharaoh issued a command that ‘every boy who is born to the Hebrews’ in his kingdom must be ‘thrown into the Nile’ (Exodus 1:22, Voice). But Moses’ mother refused to obey this command. Instead of throwing her baby into the Nile, she arranged that her baby be towed in that monstrous River on a miniature boat she herself would create. She placed her baby in ‘a basket made of reeds, sealed with tar and pitch’ and ‘wedged the basket among the reds along the edge of the Nile River’ (Exodus 2:3, Voice). I am sure she prayed that her precious son will be miraculously saved by God from menacing crocodiles that perhaps lived in that area. This floating basket that carried little Moses (that was the baby’s name!) caught the attention of daughter of Pharaoh who happened to be bathing the very spot this basket had miraculously meandered towards. Moses’ sister was secretly watching her baby brother floating in the Nile dangerously. When Pharoah’s daughter recognized her brother to be a Hebrew child, she emerged from the place she hid and said: “Would you like me to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the child for you?” (Exodus 2:7, Voice). To cut a long story short – the mother of Mother was paid by Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse her own son (Exodus 2:9). She faithfully fulfilled her role as a nurse and brought back Moses to Pharoah’s daughter, later on (Exodus 2:10).  Each time the nurse of Moses – who was also his biological mother – took at his angelic face, she knew that this ‘baby patient’ of hers was God-sent to land on her lap!

Dear nurse, do you grumble and growl because you were assigned to take care of that particular patient – a difficult-to-handle patient? Don’t! See that patient as God-sent into your Ward so that you would be able to take good care of him, thinking of the Bible story of Moses’ nurse in Exodus 2! This attitude will take you to the altitude that God has for you in your life and profession!

Be Proactive In Your Work As A Nurse

When God blessed Boaz and Ruth with a baby boy, Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, volunteered to be the child’s nurse (Ruth 4:13-16). The Scripture says, “Then Naomi took the child and laid him on her lap and became his nurse” (Ruth 4:16 ESV). Naomi spent so much time caring for that little boy – Obed who became grandfather of the great king David – that the women of the neighborhood started calling Naomi as the mother of the baby (though she was only the grandmother) (See Ruth 4:17)! Naomi did not say this (though she could have said this as a typical mother-in-law): “Why should I care for little Obed? Let his mom, Ruth, take care of him! What other job does she have in this world? Why should I give her loads of free time to keep romancing her new husband ignoring me totally – me who is taking caring of her bundle of joy – Obed?!”

When you work as a nurse in a hospital do not just be content doing the bare minimum. Look for fresh opportunities to serve patients and the hospital. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” – that is the what the Lord wants us to do no matter what profession we are in (Colossians 3:23 NLT). If you merely work for a salary then you will only want to do the bare minimum. But since you work for the Savior primarily, you must proactively do the maximum in your job as a nurse.

Do not be like the careless nurse which 2 Samuel 4:4 talks about: ‘Now Jonathan, Saul’s son, had a son who was disabled in both feet. He was five years old when the news of Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel, and his nurse picked him up and fled. But it happened that in her hurry to flee, he fell and could no longer walk. And his name was Mephibosheth’ (NASB). On 10 February 2019, the newspapers reported this shocking news: the medical team ‘left a pair of six-inch surgical scissors inside a patient’s stomach during a hernia operation, sparking outrage’. A Christ-following nurse would shun all carelessness and casualness which may been the cause such terrible things to happen! A believer nurse’s work cannot be categorized as mediocre work and lazy work. Her work will be of top-notch quality.

There is another way in which you can proactive as a nurse. You can deliberately and proactively choose to sacrificially serve in Mission Hospitals located in Gospel-starved parts of India – even North India – rather than serve elsewhere. When God said, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for Me?” he was not specifically speaking to Isaiah. It was a general call. However, Isaiah volunteered to go for God by saying “Here am I – send me!” Post that, God sent Isaiah to a needy area! Read that story all over again in Isaiah 6 and choose to be a volunteer missionary nurse to a difficult area! You can sacrificially choose to be a nurse in Tripoli (capital of Libya, part of North Africa, one of the world most unevangelized belts), rather than in churches-galore Texas, imitating Isaiah, discerning God’s missionary call!

Bring God’s Presence Into the Lives of Your Patients

Evil Queen Athaliah wanted to wipe out the last male survivor in the line of David (2 Kings 11:1). The great promise that God made to David through Prophet Nathan that a person from David’s physical line would sit on the throne of Israel was under visible threat (II Sam. 7:12-16). That’s when God used an ordinary nurse to change the situation of dire straits. Hear that not-to-familiar-to-most-of-us story straight from Scripture: ‘But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Jehoram and sister of Ahaziah, took Joash son of Ahaziah and stole him away from among the royal princes, who were about to be murdered. She put him and his nurse in a bedroom to hide him from Athaliah; so he was not killed. He remained hidden with his nurse at the temple of the Lord for six years while Athaliah ruled the land’ (II Kings 11:2-3). This unnamed nurse shielded the last remaining male survivor from David’s family in the temple of the Lord for six long years!

The patients you treat may never walk into the temple of the Lord – a local church. But you are to be a living-moving temple of the Lord for that patient (I Peter 2:5)! That patient you treat must feel the living God’s very presence in that hospital room! That is why how you react to situations and the kind of language you use in the hospital ward matters. Through your life and lips you must seek to magnify Christ in the hospital you work! Do not ruin the Christian witness in the hospital you work by the secret extra-marital affairs you may perhaps have in the almost-abandoned Christian Mission hospitals you serve in because you wrongly think no body is watching you!

May the Lord bless you as strive to be the nurse He wants you to be!

(This article by Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj was published by Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Aim magazine in its May 2021 edition. Duke, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. Gehenna is the word Jesus used for hell. Duke’s ministry is reader-supported. Find out more via WhatsApping the author at 91-8886040605 or emailing him at emailduke@gmail.com. You may follow him at http://www.instagram.com/dukejeyaraj or at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).

Categories
Bible on Contemporary Issues

Sexual Ethics: Porn Producers Vs Bible

Duke Jeyaraj

SEX ETHICS: THE BIBLE Vs PORN PRODUCERS / Duke Jeyaraj / From today’s Deccan Chronicle…. the world seems to say: ‘only porn involving minors, rape, etc. is ethically wrong. Otherwise porn is okay’. But the ethics of the Bible is different from the ethics of these porn producers. A woman’s nakedness belongs to the eyes of her husband alone and the man’s nakedness belongs to the eyes of his wife alone – that is the message of Leviticus 18 a chapter in which we repeatedly read this phrase, ‘you shall not uncover the nakedness of ….’ (v. 7,8,,9,10,11,12,13,14 – a total of 14 references like this in the ESV, NKJV, NASB). Joseph called sex between willing partners not married to each other – not just rape or minors sex – as “great wickedness” and “sin” (Gen. 39:9). Let our ethics be shaped by Scripture and not the ethics of porn producers.

(Dr. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this article is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-viewer supported India ministry. Duke is the author of Straight Talk, a book that brings brutally frank Bible Teaching on sex, love, marriage, porn, phone addiction and more. To buy this book, WhatsApp +91-8886040605).

Categories
Happy Marriages Building Articles

Emotional Affairs Are Affairs Too

Duke Jeyaraj

I found myself agreeing with this Deccan Chronicle article (April 20, 2021). Yes, non-sexual affair is cheating too. Oh for husbands who would understand the emotional needs of wives the way Elkanah understood that need of his wife Hannah! Hear his romance-laced conversation with his wife: “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do not eat? Am I not more to you than ten sons?” (1 Sam. 1:8 ESV). “Do not deprive each other” – the biblical command given to couples by God covers not only sexual union but also emotional union as no meaningful sexual union takes place without emotional union (I Cor. 7:5). Husbands,  there must be times, when we remove the laptop from our laps, and have our wives sit there and whisper sweet nothings to them! Wives, do not chase online, non-sexual affairs, via chat apps because that would displease God who underscored the mutual exclusivity of married partners in Song of Songs (Song of Solomon 2:16; 6:3 – ‘I am my beloved and my beloved is mine’ – or in other words, ‘the romantic conversations I need to be having only with my husband, I should not be serectly having with someone else’). May the Lord strengthen our marriages!

(Duke’s book, Straight Talk, has chapters which address these and allied issues. WhatsApp us at 91-8886040605 to buy it).