NEW IPHONE, SAME OLD ‘ I-PINE’…BUT WHY? DUKE JEYARAJ

iphone 11 pro max

Whenever there is a talked about new phone being launched, this thought comes to me. That the best things thing the world has to offer cannot satisfy us fully ever. Now we have the IPhone 11, the IPhone 11 Pro, IPhone 11 Pro Max and IPhone whatnot. But soon we will get quickly get bored and wait for the next IPhone to arrive next September. We may have the latest IPhone in our hands the day it is launched but it is the same old story of  “I-Pine” – we get quickly bored with it and start pining for the next updated version. I enjoy using the IPhone – don’t get me wrong. Someone gifted me one the other day. I am grateful for the same. But the larger point is best expressed by Jesus himself: “A man’s life does not lie in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). It lies in relating with Jesus him who came to life – life to the full (John 10:10).

Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org.

September 11 Still Speaks – Duke Jeyaraj

 

sept 11New York. Big City. The City of Sky Scrappers. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Centres it’s pride and joy. Over 100 storeys high. 414 metres tall.  September 11, 2001,  said the calendar. Two aircraft ram into these strapping structures. The buildings sway like a boat in a rough sea. They come down crumbling.   For thousands it was all over. In a flash it all happens.

Rewind two thousand years. The town – Jerusalem. In the country of  Israel. Another tower crashes. 18 people get killed as a result. The tower had a name – the tower of Siloam. Some escape by the skin of their teeth. Narrowly. There was no newspapers then. No Times of India. No Hindustan Times . By word of mouth the news reaches this man. Who? Jesus. He told the crowd around him something which made their ears tingle: “Those 18 in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse sinners than all other Jerusalemites? No not at all. Unless you repent, you too will die!” (Luke 13: 3-5, MSG). The NASB renders the same set of verses thus: but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish (Luke 13:5). “Perish” is the Bible word for punishment in hell (Rev. 21:7-8). But God does not want anyone to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

Have you repented? Have you repented from sin? If not do so now! Come to Jesus who died for you on the Cross!

DON’T MISTAKE WOLVES FOR LABRADORS! – DUKE JEYARAJ ON FALSE TEACHERS

wolf-meets-dog-5

While we appreciate our true-to-the-Word-of-God teachers, we must also be wary of “false teachers”. This is what the Bible says about “False Teachers”: “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be FALSE TEACHER among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction” (2 Peter 2:1, ESV). The ‘man of God’ you listen to Sunday after Sunday – if he teaches hyper-grace, immortality on earth and such salvation-affecting false teaching is a ‘false teacher’.

This verse says, false teachers are first of all ‘secretive’. That means they want to show that they are part of the main-stream Christianity while they are cultic. They vehemently deny that they are cultic (but they are secretly are indeed cultic, because ‘popular opinion’ and not the Bible is their final court of appeal; they don’t mind saying ‘The Bible is not the Word of God’). False Teachers are called ‘wolves’ elsewhere in the Bible (Matt. 7:15). Wolves (False Teachers) have a deceptive appearance. We can mistake them to be Labradors and pamper them (attend their church and support their ministry)!!! Beware! Don’t get fooled!!!!

This verse also says that false teachers bring in ‘destructive heresies’. The meaning? Unless they repent)(2 Peter 3:9), these false teachers are heading towards hell and taking people who follow them blindly also to hell.

In 2 Peter 2:4, just three verses below, Apostle Peter promises ‘hell’ for unrepentant false teachers.In the same chapter (2 Peter 2) – ‘They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!’ (verse 14, ESV).

This brings to the fore two more characters of false teachers: they work up a theology that excuses sin, that excuses the ‘eyes full of adultery’ ‘after all – the grace of God is ALWAYS there’ (to put it in their words) (notice the word ‘entice’). Yes, they use the Grace of God as a license for immoral living as Jude explains (in verse 4).

Not only that. These false teachers twist the Word of God motivated by ‘greed’ (a love for money) as 2 Peter 2:14 says. They preach a God of love but won’t tell you about the wrath of God which the same Bible talks about, lest you get offended and won’t sent them an offering or stay in their church.

They will tell you about a hell, but give you hope that even from hell you can come to heaven, so that your ears are tickled and you feel good.

They tell you that Jesus will never return back to earth, till a generation believes in Immortality on earth (that is not likely to happen, so Jesus won’t ever come back, or come back anytime soon, and so you can live in sin in-effect, according to them).

Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, calls them ‘accused children’ (he knew they were already hell-headed, but he would not simply watch as believers follow them, so he wrote these words primarily not to warn these false teachers but the believers who follow them without second thought)!

Caption:

Wolves (False Teachers) have a deceptive appearance. We can mistake them to be Labradors and pamper them (attend their church and support them)!!! Beware!!!

 

WHEN THE LOVING-TO-BE-YOUNG JESUS MET YOUNG PEOPLE Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj

young peopleJesus loved being “young”, like most of us do – the time of our lives when our prettiness/handsomeness is at an Himalayan high and our energy-levels at an Everest high. Why did I say that Jesus loved being young? Here’s why – follow the line of my argument carefully: Jesus had the power to choose when he could die (John 10:18); He chose to die when he was in the prime of his youth; He was about 30 when he started his ministry – Luke records (Luke 3:23);  John, the Gospel writer, talks about three Passovers which Jesus took part in (John 2:13; 6:4 and 11:55);  Since the Passover was an annual festival for the Jews (Lev. 23:1-8; I Sam. 1:3, 21), we know Jesus’ ministry on the earth lasted for three years, before he was crucified and buried;  He rose again as a young man, three days later. And he ascended to heaven as a young man of 33;  He sits at the right hand of the Father as a young man;  In all these years, his glorious body has not aged – I believe – because the Bible says “the same” young Jesus whom the disciples ascend into heaven will return back to this earth (Acts 1:11).

 

Young people, Jesus can understand you because he is God who is all knowing. Not just that. He can stand you(th) because he is young even right now!

 

Jesus also loves meeting young people. In his earthly ministry, Jesus met several youth and ministered to them. However, the Gospel writers were moved by the Holy Spirit to give details of Jesus’ interaction with three different youth (only these three persons whom I will refer to are explicitly called ‘youth’).  Let us take a long look at those biblical incidents when Jesus met youth and draw lessons for the youth of today.

 

  1. WHEN JESUS MET A COLD YOUNG MAN

 

Jasprit Bumrah, the Indian Fast Bowler, has a nick-name. He is nicknamed “Bootlace Bomber”, because of his ability of bowl yorkers accurately and high speed. Jesus can be given a nick-name. Jesus can be called “the Funeral Spoiler”! He is seen disrupting three funerals at various stages of increasing difficulty – one which took place in a home, the other when the body was being carried from the home to the graveyard and still yet another when the body was buried in the graveyard! He disrupts the funeral of the young man who was being carried to the graveyard. He was the only son of his widowed mother (Luke 7:12). And he was being carried to the grave! This is what happened according to Dr. Luke: He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” (Luke 7:14). That young man rose again from the dead and Jesus gave him back to his mother (Luke 7:15).

 

Have you touched dead bodies? I have. I recently touched the dead body of my maternal uncle who passed after battling Parkinson’s Disease for 25 years. Dead bodies are cold. I want to draw an analogy here. Are you cold, spiritually speaking? Are you cold in your love towards the One whose love for you is warm? There was a time when you used to pray for long hours without looking at the clock. There was a time when you would witness without any second thoughts. There was a time when you fled from temptation and enjoyed the fleeing because you knew sin’s pleasures were, at best, fleeting. But not any longer. Now, prayer times have become a drag for you. You do not witness for Jesus at all. And you run towards temptation feeling super-excited. You need to repent. You need to come back to Jesus. You must come back to the “first love” you had for Jesus (Rev. 2:4). Your love for Jesus needs to be warm.

 

  1. WHEN JESUS MET A HALF-COMMITTED YOUNG MAN

Matthew records the conversation of a “young man” (Matt. 19:20,22) of “great wealth” (Matt. 19:22) had with Jesus. He had the right question – “What must I do to get eternal life?” (Matt. 19:16). He wasn’t talking about earthly things but things of eternal value. So, in that sense, he asked the right question. Having read the full Bible we know that we do not have “do” anything to get eternal life. All we need to do to be saved is to believe in the Lord Jesus who died and rose again for us with a truly repentant heart (Acts 2:37-38; 16:30-31 – two passages where we read the question of unbelievers, “What shall we do now?”). The rich young man not only asked the right question, he exhibited the right posture. Mark records that this young man “knelt” down before Jesus when he asked that question (Mark 10:17 ESV). This tells me that he respected Jesus and wanted to express that respect by the posture of kneeling.  But the rich young man who asked the right question with the right posture responded wrongly to Jesus. Jesus, who knew everything as God (John 2:25), knew about his greed and love for money problem. So, Jesus touched that aspect of his life in response to his question. But he did not do that in an angry tone. He did it lovingly. Mark records that Jesus looked at this young man and “loved him” as he gave his response to his question (Mark 10:21). Jesus loves young people. But he does not desire that young people stay in their sins – be it pride or porn-watching or peer-pressure yielding or prayerlessness. So he lovingly calls youth to repent – especially of their “pet” sins. If you are given to the secret habit of shooting and sending nude selfies via WhatsApp Jesus would say this to you, looking at you in a loving way: “Yet one thing you lack. Surrender your WhatsApp life to me!” (Read Mark 10:21 to understand what Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler). Here is the message we need to get: Jesus loves us just the way we are, but he won’t leave us that way. He would woo us with his love, wow us with his love. He love when truly experienced will transform our life. But if we keep rejecting his love, a time will surely come when the Holy Sprit may stop talking to us and we will land in eternal hell (Rev. 21:7-8; Gen. 6:3; Romans 1:18-24).

 

So do not be half-committed, when it comes to your commitment with Jesus! The rich young man walked away “sad” when he took a U-turn from Jesus and walked away because he was unwilling to repent of his love of money in a practical way by selling all his possessions, giving what he got to the poor, and following Jesus (join Jesus’ ministry team) [Mark 10:21]. He level of commitment to Jesus was not 100%. He kept some parts of his life for himself, for sin, for Satan. This young man wanted to serve Jesus and Money. And that led to sadness. Double-mindedness leads to delight-loss – this was James’ message (Whoever wavers in his mind is troubled in all his ways – James 1:8, Aramaic Bible in Plain English). Don’t lock a corner of your life secretly to porn by watching nudity via streaming platforms like Netflix. Don’t make room in your heart for a little pride in the name having good self-esteem. Give up “all” sin and surrender your “full” life to Jesus (note Jesus’ stress on the word “all” in his response to the young man who was rich in Mark 10:21). Then, the lasting joy which the young rich man missed will be yours (Mark 10:22; Matt. 19:22). When you surrender your life to Jesus without holding anything back – I repeat without holding anything back – you are sure to experience the joy which the world cannot give, money can’t buy (the rich young ruler should have known this) and Satan cannot take away. I can testify to that!

 

 

  1. WHEN JESUS MET A COWARDLY YOUNG MAN

 

There was a young man who followed Jesus enroute to the Cross. But when the Roman Arrest party closed-in on Jesus he had to choose between suffering with Jesus or scooting from Jesus. He chose the later option, for lack of courage. You can read about him in Mark 14:51 – ‘A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he [v]pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked’ (NASB). When this young man had to choose being naked in public and being nerveless in public, he chose the former. He was a coward. He was curious about Jesus (that why he followed Jesus). But he could not make up him mind to be courageous for Jesus. He was exactly the opposite of John Chou, the young American who went to North Sentinel Islands to proclaim Jesus, pretty well knowing that his life was at risk at the hands of the untamed, javelin-wielding, tribal people who lived there in 2018. He sure lost his life. But great will be reward on the other side of eternity. Do you know in the list of people who will go to hell even “cowards” are mentioned? (Rev. 21:7-8). The book of Revelation was written as an encouragement for people who were being persecuted. The message of that book is simple: “Endure”. Revelation 13:10b read this way: ‘Here is a call for the perseverance and faith of the saints.’ Revelation 14:12’s message is also the same: ‘This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus.’ When Revelation 21:7-8 places even the ‘cowardly’ in the list of people who will go to hell, we understand this way: those who repeated, stubbornly, deny Jesus through their words and actions for the fear of a repercussion (repercussions like ‘my friends will make fun of me, if I refuse to drink along with them’, ‘if I say no to sex when this girl is offering it offering to me, she will think I am not even a man!’, ‘if I question my pastor about this false teaching he is preaching, he will not have me on stage as a worship leader in this church’, etc) are in the real danger of going to eternal hell.

 

So, in your campus life, show people that you have a backbone. In your corporate office, let people know that out of that popularity contest. Live for Jesus courageously!

Note: This article was published in the August 2019 issue of Aim Magazine published by Evangelical Fellowship of India.

(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is a trained Agricultural Engineer [B. Tech from SHIATS, Allahabad], who did not pursue a career in the line of his education but nevertheless enjoys growing cacti in the balcony of his flat, during his spare time. He could have been a cricket commentator but prefers to wrap Bible Truth around cricket magic moments and other interesting-to-Google Genners contemporary events. God’s call upon him made him utterly restless and he obeyed that call to by founding the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission to finally find serenity after having served as a pastor/missionary/editor. G4 Mission is not a church but an inter-denominational ministry to present-day people, a ministry which Duke works fulltime for, as an itinerant presenter/preacher since 2008 putting to use the formal theological training he received from a reputed Bible College in Bangalore [M. Div & Doctor of Ministry from CGLD-SABC]. Duke is called ‘dad’ by Dale (15) and Datasha (11) and ‘hubby’ by Evangelin and calls Hyderabad his adopted home. In case your curiosity is triggered by reading all this, you may checkout dukewords.com [if you are the reading plain text type], soundcloud.com/shoutaloud [if you are part of the audio-listening tribe] and youtube.com/visitduke [if you group yourself with the video-steaming generation]).

HOW GOVERNOR FELIX TRIED TO FIX HIS EMPTY LIFE WITH HONEY, MONEY & POPULARITY; HOW WE ARE ALSO LIKE HIM – Duke Jeyaraj

felixI try to read one chapter from the Book of Acts everyday as we are living in the days when the book of Acts can be relived. I try to read the chapter from that book which correlates with the day of the month. Today  being July 24 2019 I read Acts 24. Some thoughts kept flowing as I chewed that passage. Shall I share them?

Paul kept in custody meets Felix, the ruler. Felix has a vacuum which is tries to fill with three things:

1. Honey – his vacuum he filled with his newly-acquired honey named “Drusilla” (Acts 24:24). Druscilla was not a single girl from Brasilia! She was an already-married woman Felix stole and made his wife. You think if you have that girl, that boy in your life, life will be meaningful and happy. You are wrong. Life’s purpose cannot be found in the discovery of any human.

2. Money – While the ‘judgment’ messages of Paul (Acts 24:25) put him off, Felix was after a possible ‘payment’ which Paul could have given (a bribe). But Paul did not budge. After he won the US Open, Pat Rafter said, “When I did not have it – I wanted it. Now that I have it – I do not want it!” US Open offers the biggest prize money among the Grand Slams in Tennis.  Money cannot fill the vacuum in your heart.

3. Popularity – To ensure that would  continue to be a popular ruler in a Jews-dominated area he continuted to keep Paul, who was perceived as an enemy of the Jews as he was the preacher to the Gentiles, in lockup (Acts 24:26).  After he won another edition of the World Formula One Championships, the greatly popular Michael Shumi said, “I am empty. I am exhausted.” Popularity can never plug the vacuum in your heart. Popular Amitabh Bachan talked about the fear of not being recognized in one of his interviews.

But honey, money and popularity will not plug the vacuum in your heart. Only Jesus – the only sinless one – can! Sin causes the vacuum in the soul and only Jesus did not have that vacuum. And he went to the Cross to shed his blood. From his shed blood a door for forgiveness of sins is opened. When we repent from sin and trust in the living Jesus our sins will be forgiven and the vacuum in the heart will be gone!!!! Why are you still waiting to do that?

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org.)

MARTYRDOM-READY BELIEVERS IN A 5G-INTERNET-SPEED-FOLD-YOUR-PHONE-READY WORLD – Duke Jeyaraj

POLYCARPThis morning (22 July 2019) when I went to get the newspaper in a shop in Diamond Point, Secunderabad, I witnessed a march by school students in memory of the Kargil Martyrs. They walked shouting slogans of respect for the Kargil Martyrs.

The Bible is clear when it calls believers to die for Christ if there is a need to do so. None of us will enjoy dying. But none of us should be scarred of dying for Christ’s sake.

Jesus’ call for martyrdom comes from John 12:24 – Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:23 records that these were the words of Jesus.

Apostle Paul, the person who kept saying we must follow Christ as he followed Christ using various phrases atleast five different times in the New Testament as he was inspired by the Spirit to do so was willing to die for Christ. We read these his brave words in Acts 21:13 – Then Paul answered (a group of five prophets who prophesied that he should not go to Jerusalem and preach about Jesus because that would land him in great danger), “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”

The writer to the Hebrews in the Bible was complaining that there weren’t enough brave people in the church he wrote to who chose Martyrdom when he wrote, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (Heb. 12:4).

My favorite Christian Martyr is Polycarp. His martyrdom was the first prominent one after the completion of the New Testament. I recommend that you watch the 2015 Movie Polycarp – you, your family, your church. I watched it with my family and a small group I taught God’s Word to. I stopped at strategic points in his life to draw spiritual lessons during that movie.

Here is the gripping report of the martyrdom of Polycarp by Christianity Today website:

‘Polycarp had been a Christian since he was a child, but the Romans didn’t get around to killing him until he was in his eighties. Whatever the reason for the delay, it is still the first recorded martyrdom in post-New Testament church history. Such traits are especially evident in the account of his martyrdom, which was written within a year of his death. It is not clear exactly why he was suddenly, at age 86, subject to arrest, but when he heard Roman officials were intent on arresting him, he decided to wait for them at home. Panic-stricken friends pleaded with him to flee, so to calm them, he finally agreed to withdraw to a small estate outside of town. But while in prayer there, he received some sort of vision. Whatever he saw or heard, we don’t know. He simply reported to his friends that he now understood, “I must be burned alive.” Roman soldiers eventually discovered Polycarp’s whereabouts and came to his door. When his friends urged him to run, Polycarp replied, “God’s will be done,” and he let the soldiers in.’

‘He was escorted to the local proconsul, Statius Quadratus, who interrogated him in front of a crowd of curious onlookers. Polycarp seemed unfazed by the interrogation; he carried on a witty dialogue with Quadratus until Quadratus lost his temper and threatened Polycarp: he’d be thrown to wild beasts, he’d be burned at the stake, and so on. Polycarp just told Quadratus that while the proconsul’s fire lasts but a little while, the fires of judgment (“reserved for the ungodly,” he slyly added) cannot be quenched. Polycarp concluded, “But why do you delay? Come, do what you will.”’

‘Soldiers then grabbed him to nail him to a stake, but Polycarp stopped them: “Leave me as I am. For he who grants me to endure the fire will enable me also to remain on the pyre unmoved, without the security you desire from nails.” He prayed aloud, the fire was lit, and his flesh was consumed. The chronicler of this martyrdom said it was “not as burning flesh but as bread baking or as gold and silver refined in a furnace.”’

‘The account concluded by saying that Polycarp’s death was remembered by “everyone”—”he is even spoken of by the heathen in every place.”’

Should there be a rule in our land that we should not worship Christ or follow him or share his love, what would you do?

Would we respond like Peter and the apostles did in a similar situation: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) – would we boldly say that to those who persecute us?

“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching that the Christ is Jesus” – that’s what the persecuted apostles did (Acts 5:41-42). And would we make Acts 5:41-42 a reality in our lives in case there is persecution in our world?

One small way we as a ministry show that we are not afraid of persecution is by distributing tracts. We still choose a spot and give tracts in that spot once a month. My joy knows no bounds whenever a new team member would say: “This is the first time I giving a gospel tract!” I tell myself, “Even if I were to die and be with Jesus, this wave of fearless witnessing will continue till the return of Christ!”

Mobile companies are preparing the world to be 5G super-fast internet speed-ready world where your 5G enabled phones can be folded! They are preparing mobile handsets that will be 5G ready. Huawei Mate X –  a phone that can be folded – is one such phone. As believers, I write this article with a passion to see martyrdom-ready believers.

MATE X

(Duke Jeyaraj is a trained Agricultural Engineer [B. Tech from SHIATS, Allahabad], who did not pursue a career in the line of his education but nevertheless enjoys growing cacti in the balcony of his flat, during his spare time! He could have been a cricket commentator but prefers to wrap Bible Truth around cricket magic moments and other interesting-to-Google Genners contemporary events, instead. God’s call upon him made him utterly restless and he obeyed that call  by founding the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission to finally find serenity after having served formerly as a pastor with a large denomination/missionary with a large organisation/employee of HSBC Global Resourcing. G4 Mission is not a church but an inter-denominational ministry to present-day people, a ministry which Duke works fulltime for, as an itinerant presenter/preacher/author since 2008 putting to use the formal theological training he received from a reputed Bible College in Bangalore [M. Div & Doctor of Ministry from CGLD-SABC]. Duke is called ‘dad’ by Dale (15) and Datasha (11) and ‘hubby’ by Evangelin and calls Hyderabad his adopted home – a town from where Duke has travelled by invitation to over 15 Indian States and to a few countries to preach God’s Word. In case your curiosity is triggered by reading all this, you may checkout http://www.dukewords.com [if you are the reading plain text type], http://www.soundcloud.com/shoutaloud [if you are part of the audio-listening tribe] and http://www.youtube.com/visitduke [if you group yourself with the video-steaming generation]. G4 Mission is a listener/reader/viewer supported Indian ministry.)

 

THE SEE-SAW BATTLE LIKE WE HAVE NEVER SEEN – Duke Jeyaraj Bible Devo on the heart-stopping World Cup Final 2019 / England V New Zealand on 14 July 2019 in the Lords Cricket Ground London

ben stokes

Life is like a see-saw game. Perhaps there was no better see-saw game than the 2019 World Cup Final. England and New Zealand played the World’s greatest ever One Day International – an incredible sine-curve game. Vic Marks wrote this about this game: “This was the most astonishing, fortuitous, preposterous climax to any cricket match I’ve witnessed, let alone a World Cup final.” He was right.

For some time, England seemed to win. During some other times, New Zealand seemed to win. New Zealand created pressure. England got out of it. Repeat. Till your heart-beat almost stops.

When New Zealand won the toss and batted first, it looked like New Zealand had the upper hand. Nicholls and Williamson were going great with their team at 103 for 1 in the 23rd Over. That’s when one of seemingly innocuous delivery of Liam Plunkett caught the faintest of edges of Williamson’s bat. He was out caught behind. The captain who had scored the most runs in a World Cup edition was gone. If this duo had continued a score of 300 was a possibility. But they ended by at 241 – thanks to Jofra Archer’s superb death bowling. His last two overs went like this: 111000110111. Advantage England.

When England chased 242, New Zealand kept creating pressure. If-he-bats-till-twenty-overs-then-game-over Jason Roy got out. Out-of-sorts Joe Root got out. Not-the-usual-self Jonny Baristow got out. Maximum-sixes-in-a-single-ODI Eion Morgan got out. At 4 for 86 in the 24th Over, England were in serious trouble. Advantage New Zealand, now. That’s when Jos Buttler joined Ben Stokes. Their 100-plus stand threatened to take the game away from New Zealand. The blue-eyed Buttler was giving the Blackcaps the blues! But in the 45 over Lockie Ferguson struck. He had Buttler spoon a catch. New Zealand were back in the game. Advantage New Zealand. When England needed 22 off nine balls they were in a similar situation like India were in the semi-finals with Dhoni on strike. Like Dhoni did, Stokes hit the ball in the air. Let Akash Sarkar take over: “As the equation slipped to 22 off 9, Stokes slammed one Neesham delivery wide of long-on. Trent Boult settled under it and took a clean catch. There was more drama though as the pacer then took a step back and stepped on the rope to give England crucial six more. In hindsight, the game was lost there by the visitors.” Advantage England, now. In the final over with 9 runs needed off 4 balls, Martin Guptill’s throw from the deep deflected of Stokes’ bat (without Stokes deliberately doing the deflecting so much so the English fans named the event the “The Bat of God” after Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal versus England in a Football World Cup). The ball went to the boundary. Umpire Dharmasena signaled a 6. 2 runs plus 4 for overthrows. Advantage England there. With 3 needed of 2, Trent Boult and the nerveless Kiwis pushed the game to a SuperOver – thanks to some nerveless boundary riding. In the Super Over, with England making 15 runs – thanks to a boundary each by Buttler and Stokes – New Zealand had to score 16 runs to win the game having scored lesser boundaries than England. England’s SuperOver bowler Jofra Archer (called Prophet Jofra as he had tweeted 16 off 6 via Twitter way back in 2014) started with a wide and conceded an early six to Jimmy Neesham. It is now 7 off 4 for New Zealand. Not tough to do. Advantage New Zealand. Later it was 5 off 3. Neesham could not hit a six and make his country the World Cup winners in the next ball. He managed a two. It was 3 of 2, now. Neesham could not hit a four and make his country the World Cup winners in the next ball.  In the penultimate ball, Neesham takes a single and puts Guptill on strike for the last ball. Yes, Jofra Archer pulled things back after a poor start and brought it down to 2 off 1 ball. Martin Guptill instead of swinging for the hills, tried to work it around. Though the throw from Jason Roy was not accurate Jos Buttler collected the ball and whipped the bails without wasting time to catch the man who caught Dhoni out of his crease in the Semis, Guptill, outside his crease. The Cup was England’s. For the first time! The greatest ODI had come to an end.

Ups and downs – are not just part of the Greatest ODI – but also our lives. It was part of Apostle Paul’s life. He writes, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want” (Phil. 4:12). In the same chapter we read of a minister of the Gospel being killed and another minister of the Gospel rescued from certain death. I am talking about Acts 12. I am talking about James (dead) and Peter (rescued) here. Some women received back their dead in Hebrews 11. Some were sawed/cut with sharp metal into two in Hebrews 11. Glamour and Gloom were pinned together in one Bible chapter. Yes, highs and lows can be joined together, inter-twined together in one life, no matter how dedicated for the Lord that life is. Ask Job. Job 1 recorded the lows and Job 42 the highs.  There was a time when the lip-smacking grapes crowned the vines in Prophet Habakkuk’s garden. There was a time – just before the Babylonian invasion – that they were no grapes in his garden and the prophet felt gobsmacked (astonished) at what God allowed to happen to his children (Hab 3:17). But Habakkuk decided rejoice in God his Savior without batting an eyelid. That’s what ultimately matters.

There was a slip between the cup and the lip for Kane Williamson. So near, yet so far. One reason could have inexplicable duck and leave by Michael Santner when he faced the last ball of the New Zealand’s regular innings by Jofra Archer. This was the same guy who hit a last ball six for CSK in the 2019 IPL, mind you. Santner could have put bat on ball and picked up any run(s) that came by, who knows, the World Cup would be New Zealand’s! What a massive miss! John Bunyan wrote in the classic book, Pilgrim’s Progress, “Then I saw that there was a way to hell, even from the gates of heaven.” So we must have an A to Z commitment when it comes to Christian Commitment. A, for Abide (John 15:4 – Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me) to Z for Zeal (Rom.  12:11 – Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord). Unless we persevere – enabled by grace – we will perish. When we “keep ourselves in God’s love” (Jude 21) he will “keep us from falling and present us without fault in his glorious presence on that day” (Jude 24).

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader supported Indian ministry. Find out more at www.dukev.org. Duke’s articles are hosted at http://www.dukewords.com. Watch Duke at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).