‘With a 2-1 extra-time victory over England on Wednesday, the Croatians (population of Croatia is just 4.1 million – lesser population than Chennai or Hyderabad or Surat) will attempt to become the smallest nation since Uruguay in 1950 (Uruguay’s population then was just 2.2 million) to win the championship. France awaits Sunday at the very same venue, Luzhniki Stadium.’ – Washington Post. The fact that you are little should not make you brittle. The fact that you are small should not make you easy meat for the enemy to maul! The fact that you are tiny does not mean that the bigger-than-you enemy will have it easy! Thank you Croatia for showing us that. Reminds me of the Bible verse: “Fear not, LITTLE flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). As believers we may be a SMALL minority in a hostile-to-the-Gospel world. But we ‘fear not’ for when the Infinite God is with us, we are always a majority!!!(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).
HOW I MET AND MARRIED MY WIFE – Duke Jeyaraj
Often times, young people and even some pastors I get to speak to ask me how I met my wife. I would consider that very question a compliment. Well. Well. Well. I met my wife Evan for the first time (as far as my memory goes) at a camp meeting in Vellore called Ministry Efficiency Program for missionaries of Blessing Youth Mission, the year being 1987. I was 12 years old and she 10. Both of our parents were missionaries with Blessing Youth Mission (BYM). I distinctly remember how skinny and how stunning she looked even at that time! Another time I bumped into Evan even before I started thinking along the lines of being married to her was in the year 1993 at the BYM Missionary Kids Camp at Sitteri Hills in Tamil Nadu. Evan had just finished her grade 12 and was preparing for her Medical College Entrance Examinations, then. I was bathing near a hand-pump in Sitteri Hills along with a few boys when she climbed uphill from the Sitteri Bus stop, to arrive one day later than all of us. I cut short my bath and ran in! I did not have an Arnold Schwarznegger body to show her, you see!
BUTTERFLIES IN MY STOMACH ON SEEING A PAIR OF SANDALS….
After I finished my B. Tech. Agricultural Engineering from Allahabad Agricultural Institute in 1997, I briefly worked at Chennai. Evan, too was at Chennai then, working in the Madras Medical Mission – a famed heart hospital. We met at the English Students of Jesus (ESFJ) at the home of Mr. S. C. Vedasironmani, that almost kissed the Numkambakkam Railway Station. I recall how once I reached late to ESFJ meeting and saw a pair of footwear outside Mr. Vedasironmani’s home – a pair of footwear I recognized to be Evan’s! I told myself, “She is in there!” and had butterflies in my stomach! After one meeting I distributed the MISSIONARY KIDS magazine with my lead article, BEATING SEXUAL TEMPTATIONS, fresh from the press to those at ESFJ. Again, Evan, was there to receive it! Little did I know then that she would be the woman with whom I would have short accounts with in order to beat sexual temptation!
THE GUITAR STRUMMING GIRL
An important development then was that I got to know about Evan’s ministry involvement. She did not go ballistic about Blessing Youth Mission (BYM) as I did. But quietly she did ministry in her style: strumming the guitar in the prayer cell at Working Women’s Hostel, Vepery, Chennai, India – a hostel that housed some of most hip girls in Chennai; taking interested girls to the church she attended, the Apostolic Christian Assembly(ACA), India’s largest church when we take to count the number of people who sat for one service at that time (the late 1990s), for water baptism.
NOT A DUMBHEADED, HEAD-NODDER!
I also recall how Evan did not simply nod her head to whatever I said – a quality about her that I secretly admired. When I made a negative remark about a famous revival preacher who left BYM to start his own ministry she was not pleased and told me that she wasn’t, in no uncertain terms! The Prophetess in her probably told her then, that I too would do the same thing one fine day! And I did (in 2006)! When she told me that she had committed her life for the ministry during one of the special meetings in Santhosha Vidhyalaya, Dhonavur, the School she studied in for the best part of her life, since her parents were missionaries in Orissa, I took special note, for, I was looking for a life partner who had done that before meeting me! On one occasion, she recited Isaiah 6, while walking down the road with me! She had learnt by memory this passage and such passages as a kid! Here was a girl who had the Word in her heart and slowly and surely winning a place in my heart! Here was a girl who had the qualities I was looking forward to, in my life partner! [Even these days when Evan makes references to Bible passages while sharing God’s Word, she often recites the required Bible portion in entirety spontaneously, thanks to her astounding God-given memory. This has created ripples among the spell-bound audience].
From June 1998 I was at Southern Asia Bible College, Bangalore, studying for my M. Div. I started getting proposals for marriage from well-meaning family and ministry friends through my parents. It was at this time I rushed to the jungles opposite to the Bible College and started praying about my life partner very seriously. At the end of those seasons of supplication God wrote in my heart that Evan was His chosen girl for me! Before knowing that, I made sure she fulfilled some of the criterions I had for the girl I would marry: a believer, involved in the ministry, part of the Google generation – the generation I was trying to reach, but outside my caste, a caste so notorious in Tamil Nadu for marrying only within itself! The first time I met Evan after I knew I would marry her was at the Chennai Central Railway Station. When I let her know over a STD call from Bangalore that I would be arriving one fine morning, she came to the Station with her friend, Christy (she would not meet me alone even in a public place, you see!). She wore an Yellow salwar that dream day and my heart skipped a beat!
And to cut the long story short – we got married at Gudiyattam on the 9 July 2001 – in the presence of our beloved missionary parents along with 800 people. “Evan is the greatest thing that has happened to me, apart from the Lord Jesus,” I told the crowd. That was the first time she heard me speak in public, though I had been preaching for 10 years at that point in time! Yes, she did listen to me once on tape – a missionary challenge from Amos I gave to students in Santhosha Vidhayala. But she had never listened to speak live, till then.
After marriage we moved to New Delhi to work with the Assemblies of God there. I was the youth pastor cum Bible College Teacher. Soon we had modern youth coming up to us and opening their lives to us so that we could counsel them from the Bible. One reason why that happened was this: they saw Evan, a bubbly, extrovert next to their thoughtful, fiercely introvertish youth pastor. The first ever youth camp, Evan and I addressed together was at the Mark Buntain Memorial AG Church at Kolkota in October 2001 – just three months after we got married. I still remember how Evan’s moving solo, “He touched me!” touched the young people after my first message during that youth camp – a gospel message.
It was at New Delhi Evan started sharing the Gospel with Auto Drivers. She picked up Hindi just to be able to do this. Her testimony about how she did it was published in the Blessing magazine. Talking about magazines I must talk about how Evan edited almost everything I had written during the initial years of our marriage (before edit-volunteers took over that role) so that my writings would graduate from crass to crisp, elongate to elegance.
“SHE PREACHES BETTER THAN YOU!”
After we joined Blessing Youth Mission, the first town we preached in together was at Miraj, Maharashtra. It was a town with lot of youth who were HIV positive. Some youth from a church there had died of AIDS. Therefore, we were asked to speak on subjects that were relevant to that grim situation. Evan’s salvation message with a AIDS backdrop saw a lot of youth commit their lives to the Lord. One missionary aunty who was present remarked that she preached better than me in that meeting. I could not be prouder when I heard that, for I had spent several hours in training my wife who hadn’t been formally theologically-trained, in the art of preaching! Later during that trip, she stood before a packed hall full of youth of various churches in Kohlapur, Maharashtra, and taught them how to choose their life partner. The youth were all ears.
PREGNANT AND PREACHING!
I also recall how we preached in tandem in Lady Doak College, Madurai, Bishop Heber College, Tirchy (South India), Tell The World Youth Camp, Siligury (North East India) and New Life Fellowship All Karnataka Youth Camp, Bangalore. Each time Evan spoke the Lord opened the hearts of the young people to grasp truth He wanted them to hear from the Word. When she preached to the youth of Hyderabad Methodist Church at Karigari in May 2003 she was not only pregnant with the Word of God, she was pregnant with our first son, Dale Nathan! One young man blessed by the preaching of the Word in that camp would become a fulltime minister with Gideon’s International!
HER IMPACT ON GENPACT YOUTH
Her message “Sinking Ship Not Called Titanic” (on relationships) preached to 500 youth of the New Life Assembly of Church, Secunderabad, was video-recorded. That video was brought briskly in the meetings we addressed during the days we distributed CDs of our messages! Once I was stopped by a girl who then worked for Genpact in Hyderabad, in the early part of 2006. She stopped, just to tell me, “I still remember the message your wife preached on relationships in that youth camp. It was a big blessing!”
NAPPY CHANGING AND CHEERING FROM FAR!
She was invited again by the same church – the New Life AG Church, Secunderabad – to do a workshop on March 8 – World Women’s Day. That day, she made a compelling presentation titled, “Single and Despondent to Single and Confident” for the over 200 single girls. As I edit these lines on Women’s Day 2018, I must mention that only yesterday, a young woman who was part of this meeting told me over the phone about how much of a blessing that meeting was. On that day, my job was simple: nappy-changing and cheering-from-afar (it’s an all-women’s meet, that’s why).
POEMS FOR MY WIFE
From time to time I have written poem/short prose to express my love for this great girl called Evan God gave me. May I share one such poem I recently wrote:
Thank you, Evan, for sharing with me, your skin,
Thank you for pointing out in me, sin!
Thank you for paving the way for me to win,
Thank you for training me in matters like tomatoes, Face Creams and ‘Rin’!
And one time, I picked up my pen and wrote, “You are one Woman, I’ll gladly walk life’s road, even if that road is as long as Nile!”
It is not that we never fight or have disagreements. When we do, I tell Evan that I would be her roommate even in Heaven and so she better put up with me!
Now, there is a new woman in my life (post November 7, 2007). Shocked?! Don’t be – I am talking about my little daughter Datasha. When she smiles at me I float in thin air, mile high! When she calls me “Dad-dha” I am over the moon. I thank God for these two women in my life. I did not deserve them, yet God gave them to me! And I am so grateful to God.
On our 10th wedding anniversary (July 9, 2011), I recall with gratitude that Evan could have said ‘no’ when my marriage proposal came to her, but she still did not.
She could have said ‘no’ on the account of the SALARY I was earning. It was quite low considering the fact I was already in fulltime ministry. When I mentioned my salary to one of my friends at the time Evan married me this is what he said: “With the salary you are drawing you cannot even repair a pair of shoes in this city!”
She could have said, ‘no’ on the account of my ABILITY. My ability to do ‘romance-laced’ talk was almost nil. I would make 1-minute phone calls to her most of the time. I would say the matter and hang up during our courtship days. This was absolutely unimpressive when one is talking to the fairer sex that always want to hear extra words, loving words, caring words, etc.
She could have said, ‘no’ on the account of my FAMILY BACKGROUND. Both of us did not belong to the same caste and people of my caste were known to marry stubbornly within their caste and were hostile in general to those who did not belong to them when it came to marriage alliances (though there were exceptions).
Do not say ‘no’ to marriage proposals based on mere worldly, unbiblical reasons.
But she still said ‘yes’. And I am so glad and cannot thank God enough for Evan – the greatest thing to have happened to me apart from the Lord Jesus.
SECOND POST-SCRIPT: This article is for those who are working and in the age bracket to be married. But if you still studying, please concentrate on your studies and be friends with everyone in your class instead of spending all your time with a boyfriend or girlfriend; student days are not the best times for romantic love; there is time for everything! (Eccl 3). Falling in love during your student days could potentially drill two holes into your system, one, in your heart, and, another, in your purse!
ANNOUNCEMENT – Duke Jeyaraj has written a book titled, NO BEATING ABOUT THE BUSH STRAIGHT TALK ON SEX, LOVE, MARRIAGE, PORN AND MORE, published by Word of Christ publishers. This book has chapters that bring frank Bible teaching on how to wisely choose one’s life partner, postponement of marriage, marrying younger boy as a girl, finding God’s Will when it comes to life partner choice, apart from chapters on other hot topics. This book is available on http://www.Amazon.in. Search ‘Duke Jeyaraj Straight Talk’. Or get in touch with us via +91-8886040605 or via email@example.com and we will help you buy this book for Rs.125/- plus actual courier charges. It is also available in Word of Christ stores in India (www.wordofchrist.org).
Hear Duke speak about how he chose Evan as his wife in this youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqyo4stiy74
Center-back Samuel Umtiti, the French player of Cameroonian origin, was the butt of jokes when he inexplicably decided to handle a cross into his penalty box in France’s group game versus Australia. Australia scored off the penalty awarded following Umtiti’s handball. The score which was 1-0 in France’s favour became 1-1 and they eventually won 2-1. Paul Pogba’s 81st-minute goal saved France the blushes in that game. In the World Cup Semi-final versus beautiful, brave, blame-free Belgium, the same Umtiti scored the only goal off a well-directed early second-half header to launch feisty, fast-paced, fiery France into the World Cup 2018 Final. What a graduation from a stupid hand-ball to an intelligent ‘head-ball’ for Umtiti! You may have goofed-up. You may have blundered. You may have done stupid things. But you don’t have to continue in that stupidity. You don’t have continue in that folly. Like the lost son Jesus spoke about, you can ‘come back to your senses’ (Luke 15:17) and make the ‘wise choice’ of returning to your waiting, loving Heavenly Father, because it can be too late for you to come back to Him, at any second.(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org)
“Doomed to fail” ran the headline on the front page of the Moscow Times the day before Russia’s opening game against Saudi Arabia. “Our weakest national team in history,” said Alexander Bubnov, a former USSR defender. – The Guardian. Russia stunned the nay-sayers from their own land when they reached the World Cup Quarter Finals and gave Croatia a run for their money. They did their nation proud. Nay-sayers. The critics. The negative people. Well, these guys will be all around us, all through our lives. But we must keep moving forward. With resolve. Like Jesus did. ‘As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem’ – Luke 9:51.
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org or http://www.facebook.com/dukebook or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Uruguayan Goalie, Fernando Muslera, tried to stop a full-blooded goal-line directed drive from Frenchman Antoine Griezmann in the 2018 World Cup Quarterfinal, but he did not get behind the ball enough or do what it takes to stop it from bouncing off to the back of the net. The score line read 2-0 after this galling goof-up. Uruguay, knew even at that point that they were minutes from World Cup elimination (the image of the little kid who supported Uruguay crying after this goal on SonyLiv Goal Highlights was heart-breaking). We too are like that Uruguayan goalie when it comes to the way we deal with sin. We try to punch away sin. But we do not do it with “all our might”. And the sinful-cycle of confession-back-to-sin-confession-again continues. That dirty-habit doesn’t dry up totally. The writer to the Hebrews was concerned about a group of believers who did not resist sin 100%. They were happy with 75% efforts when it came to resisting sin. But he called them to “resist sin to the point of even shedding your own blood” (Heb. 12:4) in his letter. Resist sin, 100%, enabled by the Spirit. Resist sin, without holding back anything, powered by the Holy Ghost.
(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org.)
‘On Saturday, at a time most families would have been busy with dinner, one family in Delhi was preparing for a bizarre mass hanging, gathering wires and ordering what turned out to be their last meal. There was “no outside role” in the deaths of 11 members of the Chundawat family, establishes security footage exclusively accessed by NDTV, and notes in 11 diaries written over 11 years. There’s evidence that the family didn’t expect to die, that they had believed they would “emerge stronger” after the ritualistic hanging.’ (NDTV). Heart-breaking to read. Particularly heart-breaking because I know a Savior who was willing to “hang” – hang on a Cross voluntarily so that the door of Salvation, serenity in my inner self, sin-cleansing can be opened for me, a sinner who was living a life of living hell and going to a literal hell. His name? Jesus Christ – the only God in flesh (John 1:14; Col. 2:9, The Bible)! He said, “I am THE way” when it came to going to Heaven (John 14:6, The Bible). Salvation is found in no one else says the Bible categorically (Acts 4:12, The Bible). Jesus loved me and gave himself for me, the Bible declares (Galatians 2:20). He loves you – no matter who you may be or what you may have done. He loves everyone. Come to him in repentance (Luke 13:1-5). Come to him in faith (John 1:12). Come now (2 Cor. 6:1-2). Instead of ‘hanging’ – hanging out with Jesus makes life very sweet amidst of all the usual life storms of suffering for “he is a friend who sticks closer than a brother!” (Prov. 18:24, The Bible).
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
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