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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).

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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).

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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).

Categories
Bible Truth Around Contemporary Events Goodnews Around Contemporary Events

The Man Who Inspired My First Name

Duke Jeyaraj

When I was born in 1974, this man was in his fifties and was married to the queen of England. I am talking about the Duke of Edinburg, Prince Philip. My mom liked the name Duke and I was named ‘Duke’. The Duke of Edinburg is no more now. He passed away on 9 April 2021 just two months before his 100th birthday having lived with his wife for 70 plus years! She saw him first jumping over a Tennis Net as a 18 year old! She was only 13 then. We are talking about a Romance that lasted for 80 here and was ‘strong as death’ (Song of Songs 8)! The Duke has died. One day, this Duke will also die if the Lord’s coming delays. Death is everyone destiny (Hebrews 9). Only Jesus who died and rose again to live forever can deliver us from the fear of death and give us purpose in life (Hebrews 2, John 10). One of these two things will surely happen sooner than later: our death or Jesus’ coming (1 Thess 4). We must not be caught sleeping in stubborn sinful habits during at time – for that will have eternal consequences for us (Math 25). We must be busy winning souls till we die or till the Lord returns whichever occurs earlier. #PrincePhilip #DukeOfEdinburg #PrincePhilipFuneral

Categories
Movies & the Bible

Don’t Let A Movie Story Line, Break Your Resolve To Stay As A Virgin Till Marriage….

Duke Jeyaraj

Does one’s willingness to love and stay with a person for the rest of one’s life, no matter what, give you the license to have sex with that person BEFORE marriage? Absolutely not! The Song of Songs Bible couple unpacked God’s gift of sex only after their wedding night (SS 3:11 describes their marriage). Till then, the girl’s virginity was compared to a “locked garden”, “spring closed up tight” and “a sealed fountain” (SS 4:12). Following the wedding, the bride invites the groom to enjoy the garden of her body which was so far sealed (SS 4:15b). And the groom does just that (SS 5:1). The girl fiercely protected her virginity till wedlock, in other words. Let not modern movie story lines shake-up your very biblical resolve to stay as a virgin till your wedding night. #Uppena #KrithiShetty #PanjaVaisshnavTej #VijaySethupathy #DeviSriPrasad

The Author of this piece, Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader supported Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Write to him via WhatsApp 91-8886040605.

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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).