2 Kings 17 talks about the end of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This chapter gives us a clue as to what destroys a nation. On July 4, America celebrates its Independence Day. On August 15, India does the same. What causes a nation to lose its freedom?
- GRACE FORGOTTEN – 2 Kings 17:7 goes this way: ‘For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, WHO HAD BROUGHT THEM UP OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT….’ It was by grace, that the people of Israel came out of Egyptian bondage. Israel could have lived a life pleasing to God if they had understood this simple thing: Because God saved us by Grace when we were in bondage in Egypt, we have the responsibility of living holy enabled by Grace in the Promised Land. But they blew it. And their end was around the corner. Have you forgotten what God gave to your country/gave you? That’s a recipe for disaster.
- OMNISCIENCE OF GOD FORGOTTEN – 2 Kings 17:9 goes this way: Also the children of Israel SECRETLY did against the Lord their God things that were not right, and they rebuilt for themselves high places in all their cities…. When the people of Israel did anything in secret and thought to themselves, “no one knows what we just did”, they were fooling themselves because our God knows everything. What was a high place? (1) an image or pillar for the male fertility deity, usually some Baal (2) a wooden image or a green tree for the female consort of the Baal (V10). (Holman Study Bible, page 621). Baal religion involved having sex with the temple prostitutes who lived in tents around those temples. Baal supposedly would see this, and get sexually excited and finally the sexual climax fluid of Baal was called ‘rain’ (as gross as it gets). Israeli men might have sneaked into these ‘sex-offering tents thinking ‘no one saw me’ but God saw them! That secret sinful habit you are perhaps in, can weight you down, rob you of all joy!
- IDOL’S NATURE BEGOTTEN – 2 Kings 17:15 – they followed idols, became idolaters (NKJV). You become what you really worship! So be careful what you really worship! Are we worshiping gadgets, impersonal, inanimate objects? We can become incapable of relating with people like them!
- WORD OF GOD FORGOTTEN – 2 Kings 17:13-14 tells us stubborn disobedience to the written word of God led to their downfall. A nation or a person which/who crosses biblical boundaries can get into serious trouble down the line. God is the author of the Bible. His Word being our final court of appeal for all matters of belief and behavior is the best possible safety net while we live in a world created by Him!
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, Find out more at Www.dukev.org).
No Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Sweden. No super-star for Sweden. Yet, no problem. They played well to beat Switzerland in the Round of 16, 1-0 in the Russia World Cup 2018. Before the World Cup, Sweden played a role in ensuring that two top footballing ‘star’ nations – the Netherlands and the four-time champions, Italy – did not qualify for the World Cup in Russia. The church of Jesus Christ does not need super-stars, but servants who faithfully serve the Morning Star Jesus. When each believer is focused on being that kind of servant, the Kingdom of God will mightily advance.
WHEN INJUSTICE HAPPENS AROUND DO, DO YOU ALLOW IT TO AFFECT YOUR WORK?
Duke Jeyaraj’s Bible Devotion from the England-Columbia Round of 16 Game in Russia 2018
Columbia may have gotten two red-cards for its horrendous on-field behavior in the round of 16 match versus England in the Russia World Cup 2018. Here is how one of those two incidents went: ‘The incident occurred just moments after Englandhad won a free-kick on the edge of Colombia’s box. As Kieran Trippier lined up to take a free-kick, Henderson and Wilmar Barrios jostled in the wall. Barrios and Henderson were stood next to one another when the Colombian midfielder dug his head into the chest of the Liverpool midfielder. He then flicked his head back into the face of Henderson, with England’s players appealing to the referee Mark Geiger.’ – so said a newspaper report. Only a yellow card was given to the Colombian ‘head-butter’. Columbia continued to play the rest of the game with 11 players. ‘Three Lions skipper won a penalty after he was pulled down in the box by Carlos Sanchez’ (news reports). Even this offense must have had a red-card flash on Sanchez, but he escaped just with a yellow card. Not just that. ‘As Harry Kane, England Skipper, prepared to take the set piece, Johan Mojica decided to dig his boot into the penalty spot’ as an another report said. But Kane kept cool, and scored for England through that penalty kick. These injustices could have affected England when they went about the penalty shoot-out after the scoreline was 1-1 even after 120 minutes of play. Columbia was lucky to get the injury time goal which took the game to extra time. England could have asked the question: “Why are the cheats getting lucky?” They should have easily won over a 9-man Columbia in regulation time, had the red-cards been issued. What was worse they had never won a penalty-shoot-out in a major World tournament ever. But they did not allow ‘the prosperity of the wicked’ affect them and held their nerves in the penalty shootout and won it, in what was a team effort. In Psalm 73 that was the question which deeply bothered the Psalmist – the prosperity of the wicked. The Psalm’s ‘feet almost slipped’ (Psa. 73:2) thinking about this gnawing question, the way England almost lost the round of 16 game versus Columbia thinking about how Columbia got away so many of their on-field crimes without much punishment. The answer to that question about the wicked people’s prosperity lay in the sanctuary, otherwise the Lord’s presence, I learn from reading Psalm 73. One fine day, if the wicked still do not repent, they will be sent packing to hell where they will punished forever. Till then, they have a chance to take a U-turn and come to Jesus, the only Way! This is what I understand after having read Psalm 73:17 and the rest of the Bible! Are you letting the progress of the fraud in your office affect your own work? Are you letting the promotion of that phony guy disturb you so much that you are not doing what you are supposed to do? Learn from England – the elegant-under-pressure England that beat cheating Columbia in the round of 16 of the Russia World Cup 2018. Get inspiration from Psalm 73.
(Find out more about Duke’s ministry, the Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission by visiting www.dukev.org
‘Trailing 2-0 to Japan and heading out of the World Cup, the Red Devils mounted an extraordinary comeback, scoring three times in the final 21 minutes to set up a quarter-final against Brazil’ (BBC on the Belgium V Japan Round of 16 game). When the going got tough, the tough got going, for the Belgium team. Instead of melting like Belgium Dark Chocolate in the heat, they became steel-willed. They did not think as Japan led 2-0, “Another 21 minutes, we will be out of this World Cup….. ” Instead, they thought, “Another 21 minutes to fight-back and come back into this game!” Come-back, they certainly did. Only way back in 1970 has any team won a World Cup game after being down 0-2. What about us? Do we give up easily? Do we refuse to fight when the going gets tough? The Bible tells us, “…we never give up!” (2 Cor. 4:1). The reason? “God, in his mercy has given us this wonderful ministry” (2 Cor. 4:1). Because God does not give up on us, we also must not give up! God asks Ephraim, “How can I give you up?” (Hos. 11:8). God asks us, “How can I give you up!” Motivated by such love, we too must not give up in our fight against winning over the porn-temptation, winning over short-temper, winning over laziness, winning over fear when it comes to witnessing, winning over that irritating-cunning guy in the office by love and continuing to finish what God has called us to do!!!!! Yes, we can!!!! As Belgium showed versus Japan!!!!
Though Neymar ‘fired in the opening goal and helped Firmino slot the other’ in Brazil 2-0 win over Mexico in the Round of 16, he got into needless controversy of ‘play-acting’. His ‘exaggerated reaction – the player dramatically writhed on the turf after Miguel Layun approached him and had made a slight contact with his ankle – suggested a repeat of his play-acting that marred his play in the group phase’ (AFP). Was Neymar a compulsive play-actor? Football hypocrite? Play-acting. Hypocrisy.That’s something Jesus hated hard. He promised certain hell for the Pharisees who were champions at this in a tirade against them recorded in Matthew 23. “You snakes, you brood of vipers, how will you escape being condemned to hell!” – Jesus, the greatest hell-preacher ever preached. Ofcourse stubborn hypocrites will be finally ‘cured’ of their acting in hell – when they holler in agony, it will be because of real agony – not play-acting, as hell is indeed a place of continuous torment!
MEMORIES OF THOSE MULTIPLE MESSAGES I PREACHED IN MILLENNIUM GARDENS
Duke Jeyaraj shares his memories of the times he was privileged to stand in the pulpit of the NLAG Church Secunderabad which met in this venue for 28 long years and for the last time on 1 July 2018
MOVIE-HALL TURNED CHURCH – A SPECIAL PLACE TO BE PREACHING IN
On 1st July 2018, the wonderful local church I have been part of for over a decade, had its very last church service at the Millennium Gardens, Secunderabad. I have fond memories of this place. Following Pastor Younus’ invitation (based on Pas Chaitanya’s recommendation), as the Lord supremely willed it, I preached first in this movie-hall-turned-wedding-reception-place-turned church fecility in May 2002. I travelled from Delhi to Hyderabad to be able to do this. My first message was titled, “Solemn Facts About Salvation” (no video recording available). The event was the Youth Alive organised Summer for Jesus. My second message was on Why Jesus Can Be Our Greatest Friend (no video recording available). A young man in the audience came and met me after the message. He said that his idea of Jesus completely changed after this message. He is now a pastor in Singapore. The Third Message was on What Jesus Predicted About Our Personal And Planet’s Future (no video recording available of this message). The Final Message in that May 2002 trip to Millennium Gardens was from the book of Amos – What Shall I Do With This One Life of Mine? – A mission challenge (there are those in the fulltime ministry now who listened to that mission challenge in May 2002 about which someone said, ‘never heard such a passionate mission challenge ever’ making me fall flat at Jesus’ feet). I also did a session on Beating Sexual Temptation during this SFJ camp in the second overflow area of the Millennium Gardens. “I was there in this meeting. I decided as you challenged the audience that day to save sex for marriage as that was only ‘safe sex’ that ever was. God helped me to stick to that decision, despite challenges. Now, I am happily married!’ – this was one encouraging testimony I heard about that message for which I praise God and kiss Jesus’ feet.
IN MILLENNIUM GARDENS WITH MY WIFE THIS TIME!
In 2005, I was back in this pulpit to preach in a Youth Alive event, this time with my wife, Evan, who preached a message on Relationships that was long-remembered. I preached four messages including Finding Purpose in Life (which is herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOKdieuaFCE
)/Getting Hooked To The Book(listen to that message here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zYGJ6tv414)/Close Shave With Dave (which is here –https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKyXDj0F4o0)/Do You Have It In You? (no recording available). The church was kind to put Evan and I in the posh Secunderabad Club during these meetings (We did not live in Hyderabad, then).
THE FIRST PREACHING INVITATION FOR THE G4 MISSION FOUNDER WAS TO GO TO MILLENNIUM GARDENS!
In 2006, the Lord led Evan and I to start Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission – the G4 Mission – after we moved our based from Jabalpur to Hyderabad. I worked as a tent-making missionary, raising support for my own ministry, Paul-style. In Feb 2006, the first major invitation I received after I started my ministry was from Youth Alive. I spoke on True Romantic Love from the book of Song of Songs, message which is herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acOUDJuaOM4. Some of the youth in this service are now married with wonderful families enjoying ‘true romantic love’!!!
THE GOD WHO KISSES AND KILLS
In the year, 2007, while I worked in HSBC as a tent-making missionary, I preached in a Youth Alive camp in the same venue. The God Who Can Kiss and Kill was one unforgettable, signature Duke Jeyaraj message in that series. Here it is:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51jwr-oSRcA. But this message came only after another message in which I preached about the great love of God titled, 11 S Words That Tell You How Much Jesus Loves You As He Went To The Cross to Die For You – a message you can listen to here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBIg_i90yLk&t=45s. Lots of youth gave their lives to Jesus that day. Another message in the same meetings was a mission challenge from Isaiah 6 which can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_GGIhTmd90. There were folks in the crowd that day who are now doing the fulltime ministry!
PREACHING TO 5000 BELIEVERS IN MILLENNIUM GARDENS
In the year 2007, in the month of August, the Late Founding Pastor of this church, Rev. Earl Stubbs, asked me preach in the three Sunday Services of the NLAG Church that met here – the Millennium Gardens. I spoke on the topic of the perils of Procrastination and in what all areas the Bible teaches that we must not procrastinate, a message you will find herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jzjrumTIiM. People remind me of this message often as I move about in the ministry circuit. Once I was reminded of this message by someone as I went to a girls college to minister, long after I preached it. I got to preach in the Sunday Service in this location three more times, over the years (following Pas. Arlene Stubbs’ invitation). I preached from Malachi on Marks of a Backsliding Believer (it is here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQkYcxxYpW8). One young woman working in a corporate company who heard this message put a public comment about this message this way: ‘a message that went straight to my heart’. I preached a character study message on Uriah the Hittite (Be a Soldier for Jesus in His Kingdom – not just a seatwarmer in a church). I preached on “Let Us” passages from the book of Hebrews (titled “Let Us” Exhortation for Lasting Spiritual Graduations which is here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTsKY8fNdP8 as well. This message challenged some to join a extension Bible College program. God blessed each of these messages in an unique way to his hungry people – a crowd of about 5000.
Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton