GRABBING THE GOOGLE GEN FROM GEHENNA MISSION / DUKE JEYARAJ h
Crisp Write-Ups That Wrap Bible Truth On Hot Topics / Cricket-Wrapped Bible Messages / Practical Bible Teaching On Victory-Over-Porn / Antidotes Against Modern False Teachings / Ministry News of G4 Mission
Once in five weeks the Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, G4 Mission, conducts a Kahoot Bible Quiz. This time the book we had the quiz on was the Bible book of Lamentations! At the end of over 100 minutes of quizzing, we figured out that this Bible book, like every other Bible book, is full of life-changing Bible truths worth celebrating!
People from various walks of life joined this quiz! The registration for this quiz came from places as far out and diverse as these: from Sonipat in North India to Salem in South India; from Bahrain to Bangalore; from Brussels to Bhubaneshwar; from Pollachi in South India to Pune in West India; from Kollam in Kerala to Khammam in Andhra Pradesh to Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu; from Amaravathi to Delhi; from Vellore to Vijayawada; from London to Local Chennai! The folks who registered are from various church denominations: Mennonite to Methodist; from Assemblies of God to Andrews Kirk Chennai to Ashraya Bangalore; from Bretheren to Baptist; from CSI to Calvary Point; from IPC to IPA; House of Prayer to Hebron to Heartshakers; from CSI to Carmel Community; those who have signed up for this kahoot quiz are different walks of life: from Medicos to those who work in MRF; from class Seven kids to Post Grad students; from home-makers to full-timers; from IT Pros to those retired; from those who work in the Govt sector to those who work in the private sector!
The Kahoot Quiz report pointed out that 49 players played this quiz at some point. The questions were answered by atleast 35 to 40 people.
As the quiz got going, Duke Jeyaraj asked questions that covered various aspects of one’s Christian life covering all the five chapters of Lamentations. Here are some actual questions asked:
The question with regard to the context of this book….
The question with regard to false prophets who minimize future judgment…. / We always have used this quiz to bat for Sound Doctrine in the Body of Christ, as the Lord has enabled us to.
A question about the true nature of sin….
A question to sift the very serious students of Scripture from serious students of Scripture!
A Question to prepare the audience for the Second Coming of Jesus and the Day of Judgment!
A question to motivate the audience to pray for the lost with tears!
There were questions that connected truth from the book of Lamentations with some contemporary events including the Delhi Fridge Murder, a footballer from Egypt (Mo Salah), Idi Amin Dada, the Ugandan Dictator, etc.
If your curiousity is triggered, here is the link to the full Zoom video of the quiz where you can read all the 21 questions asked:
The goal was to be a catalyst to encourage the Google Generation to Dive Deep Into the Word of God, fish out truth that would be applied to one’s own life and truths that would get shared with those who need to hear it in the world of God.
Here were the top five at critical stages of the quiz:
Gaby, first off the blocks!
Bindu, a former champion, wins the lead after question three!
Naveen, one of our video volunteers, is the leader after question 4!
Bro. Sunil George from Kolar who regularly participates along with daughter takes the lead after question 6! He kept this lead for some time!
Hanniel, just 13 and playing from Dubai, took the lead after question 10!
Pratiksha Barik, a multiple-time quiz winner and home-maker from Hyderabad, takes the lead after question 11!
Vivian, a Chennai family man, takes the lead after question 13! Duke and Evan first met Vivian in a Camp they preached in, in Singapore, years ago – in 2011! Meanwhile, Apphia, a Mumbai college student moves into the Top 5!
Kevin Suvarna, a Mumbai Engineering Student, just playing his Second Kahoot with us, takes the lead after question 14 to become the eighth different leader of this nerve-wracking quiz! Kevin, keeps his lead for some time!
After question 19, Jaaziel Charles, a postgrad student of Marine Biology, the defending champion (he won the previous Kahoot contest on 12 Oct 2022), takes the lead with just two questions to go in the Quiz! I was reminded of Virat Kohli’s twin sixes when India needed 28 runs off 8 balls in their Group game versus Pakistan in the T20 World Cup 2022 before 90,000 onlookers in Melbourne! Also note the rise of Anitha into the top 5!
Just two more questions remained in the quiz. Jaaziel maintained his lead and won the quiz!
Kevin and Vivian took the second and third place.
Anitha and Apphia took the fourth and firth prizes. It was a nail-biter of a quiz!
After the quiz was done, the winners spoke. Hanniel, who finished 6th overall, was the Child Prize winner. Lawrence, one of the participants noted that this time out the closing questions of the quiz were a tad toughter than in previous quiz editions! I responded this way: if tough questions will inspire the participants to dig deeper into the Word of God, it is an entirely worthly exercise!
The winners of this quiz (the top five plus the child category winner) will get all get prizes and e-certificates. Prizes include Premium Study Bibles, Super Giant Print Bibles, Stylish Bibles, Small Cute Bibles, etc. Here is one same e-certificate we issued for the winner of the last Kahoot:
Apart from this event which takes place on Zoom using the Kahoot website, we at G4 Mission have other regular events. Even these take place over Zoom. Once a month, on a chosen Saturday Morning (usually 2nd Saturday), from 10 am to 12 noon IST we have an event called Fountain of Tears Against Mountain of Fears Fasting Prayer. We pray for the nations, the nation, the Google Generation and finally your tension and mine (personal needs of those who join the Zoom). Duke finishes off with a brief Bible Meditation. Last month, he finished off with a message on Bible Lessons from each of the semifinalists of the T20 World Cup. Listen to that meesage here:
Apart from that we have another event, called Question Thirst Quenched Truthfully (QTQT) on a chosen Wednesday night from 9 PM to 10:15 PM each month. Duke answers live questions over Zoom in this event. People can join even anonymous and type questions via chat and receive, brief, to the point, answers. Or they can ask questions via audio. The last month’s QTQT recording is here:
Once in two months or on a select Sunday morning, Duke relays the Chosen Chapter Chew Covering Contemporary Issue Bible Study as well via Youtube. This month, the chapter chosen for expository study was 2 Timothy 2 and the contemporary issue studied was living in relationships. You can listen to that message here:
We have a tracts outreach using our Bubbly and Dhoni tract once-a-month as well. Details are provided via WhatsApp.
Every Sunday morning, at about 7 AM we have fresh Youtube release of a recently preached message of Duke Jeyaraj. This release is called: Sunday Seven AM Solid Scripture Study. We would glad if you choose to subscribe to our Youtube channel: http://www.YouTube.com/VisitDuke
If you desire to support this ministry financially over and above what you do for your local church and other ministries you support you are most welcome to do that. We want to let you know that we are not sponsored by any church or organisation. In fact, we are a not a church, but a small organisation that helps existing churches and other organisations in the ministry of the Word of God by invitation. We run via freewill offerings of individuals. WhatsApp Duke at 918886040605 if you are lead to support this ministry financially. Or you may use this secure RazorPay link to donate: https://rzp.io/l/G4Mission
We have three books by Duke Jeyaraj in print as of now: (1) Straight Talk on Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn, Phone Addiction and Much More (50 taboo topics covered) – Rs. 300/- including courier for in-India addresses (2) Goodnews for the Google Generation – Rs. 250/- including courier chargers for in-India addresses (3) Daniel in Dell – a chapter by chapter practical study on the boojk of Daniel with a focus on starting and sustaining small group fellowships – Re. 200/- price includes courier price for in-India locations; You may reach us via 918886040605 for more details or use the payment link above. God bless. Thank you. See you all soon in another Zoom event!
(Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission (G4 Mission). He and his wife, Evangelin work fulltime with G4 Mission. This ministry has a lot of volunteers who help in various tasks – video work, poster creation, etc. They are based in Chennai. They have two children – Dale, 19 and Datasha, 15.)
Thankfulness & Triumphing Over Satan Are Connected
Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj
That we be thankful is God’s Will for us. Apostle Paul wrote, ‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus’ (1 Thess. 5:18). He also warned that in the ‘last days’ the gang of the ‘ungrateful’ will grow big and we must not join that gang (2 Tim. 3:1-5). The writer to the Hebrews writes that must be thankful (Heb. 12:28). This thankful attitude will result in our worship of God with reverence and awe for our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:28-29).
The command to be thankful is repeated in various ways in the Old Testament. I counted that it is repeated a total of 47 times! In the book of Psalms alone we are told to give thanks to God, 37 times! In Chronicles 16 alone we are told to give thanks four times! When we cross over to the New Testament this command is repeated through various ways another 16 times at least! I am trying to think hard which other biblical command is given so much of emphasis!
When we give thanks we copy Jesus gave thanks to the Father regularly during his earthly ministry. I counted that he did that at least three times during his earthly ministry (Matt. 15:36; 26:27; Jn. 6:11,23). And to become more and more like Jesus is the ultimate goal of our life (2 Cor. 3:18).
It is easy to give thanks when everything is fine in our life. But Job in the Old Testament (Job 1:20-21) and Anna in the New Testament (Luke 2:36-38) gave thanks, praised God and worshipped Him even during difficult times such as the loss of a loved one.
The sin of not acknowledging God or thanking Him can put us in a place where we are in the danger of being judged by God! Romans 1 warns us about this! Romans 1:21 talks about the sin of not giving thanks to God with the consequence being mentioned in Romans 1:24 and Romans 1:28 – a consequence of the work of the Spirit being effectively withdrawn from the lives of thankless people eventually so that they would further slide into unprintable sin and finally into the place of unimaginable torment, hell!
We must specifically thank God for the people he has placed in our life – our spouses, our children, our pastors, our ministry team members, etc. Paul did that (Rom. 16:4; 1 Thess. 1:2).
In the above paragraphs I have combed through what the Bible mentions about thankfulness. But I am not done yet. The most important thing about thankfulness, I believe, comes in Revelation 12:11 though the word is not specifically mentioned. There, it is written that through the blood of the Lamb and by the Word of their testimony a group of people overcame the Devil. Through the blood of the Lamb we are forgiven of sin. So when Satan reminds us of our sin we defeat him and his plans for us by saying, ‘I am already forgiven – thanks to the Blood!’ But there is another way to overcome Satan this passage speaks about. This way is call the ‘Word of their testimony’! What is that? We can overcome Satan when we testify about God’s goodness upon our life. We can defeat Satan when we start to thank God daily, say for the blessings we receive from him. Mention the five or ten or fifteen or how many ever blessings God has graciously blessed you with to God and thank Him profusely! Not just that – acknowledge to the people around me the blessings he has given you! This way the Devil will be defeated!
I know this way of beating the Devil works! Every month, a small group of people from different parts of India and beyond join my wife and I on Zoom at 11:45 pm on the last day of the month. And we take time to praise God for the blessings he gave us that month before everyone. The Devil is put to shame that way. And we enter the new month with praise in our lips. While the new month is never problem-free we experience unusual victories over Satan! Yes we have to deal with Satan till the return of Christ or till our death! But this praise method of putting Satan on the back foot really works, I can tell you that!
The month-end midnight prayer we had on 31 October from 11:45 pm to 12:15 am (half-hour) over Zoom! People gave thanks to God for the blessings they received! That way, the Devil was defeated and put to shame!
On the other hand, grumbling or complaining is like inviting the Devil to keep working in our life even more! And what is more, grumbling angers God. He sent death before the Promise Land entry for people of Israel who were stubbornly into the sin of grumbling (Num. 14:26-30). Paul reminds New Testament believers of this incident so that it serves as a stern warning, even during the post-Cross era (1 Cor. 10:10).
(This article was published in Evangelical Fellowship of India’s magazine, Aim, in the November 2022 issue; Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This ministry is reader-supported. Duke lives in Chennai with his family).
Of late, after Russia invaded Ukraine, there has been a lot of focus on Bible Passages like Ezekiel 38 and 39. There is a talk that Gog and Magog mentioned in these chapters concerns Russia and Putin and so on and so forth. But I want issue a word of caution here. This word of warning comes straight from Scripture. Revelation 11:8 goes this way: “Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city – which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt – where also their Lord was crucified” (NIV). We know that the city where our Lord was crucified to be historically Jerusalem. But historic Jerusalem is symbolically called Sodom and Egypt in the book of Revelation. Why should this be so. The answer is obvious: Jerusalem committed the very same sins of Sodom (sexual immorality) and Egypt (Idol Worship).
So as the coming of the Lord nears, we must not get super-excited about names of places and their physical locations! You excitedly blurt out, “Gog and Magog – that is about Russia! This is about Putin!” Don’t be so quick! Just above we saw proof that when the Bible talks about literal Jerusalem it may not be literal Jerusalem! We need to open to the possibility that Gog and Magog can signify another place spiritually speaking and not Russia. I am not saying this because of a personal bias. But I am saying this from the method of interpretation laid out in Revelation 11:8. Similarly, the ‘Babylon’ mentioned in I Peter 5:13, could have been used instead of Rome as there is no record in any other Bible passage which mentions that Apostle Peter and his spiritual son Mark ever ministered in geographical Babylon. Peter was using Babylon as a codeword for Rome, where he ministered. The phrase ‘She who is in Babylon together with you, sends you her greetings’ can be taken to mean the church in Rome sends you greetings. Peter uses this phrase just to be on the safer side when persecution was being stepped up. Babylon was a cryptogram for Rome. That’s all. If a Roman officer who was against the church get go to read I Peter, he would have got fooled when he read I Peter 5:13’s reference in Babylon, but believers of that time would instinctively know that Peter was talking about the church in Rome, and not the church in Babylon there.
Let’s read another passage from the book of Revelation: Revelation 20:7-8. It goes this way: ‘When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth – Gog and Magog – and to gather them for battle.’ Here Satan-deceived nations from the four corners of the Earth are called Gog and Magog. So, there is a real possibility that Gog and Magog is not indicative of one place in the end-times. As the coming of the Lord nears, you would be biblically wise, if you don’t be focus on physical locations like Russia, Jerusalem, Israel, etc. Instead your spiritual senses alert and you will see that people from all four directions of the globe are being deceived by Satan as the end draws near.
Jesus had told his disciples in no uncertain terms that the time of his return could not be guessed as the Father only knows this (Matt. 24:36; Mk. 13:32). Knowing they could not get an answer if they asked him a question, ‘When will you return Lord?’, I believe, they asked him a smartly-worded question which was a lot similar. They asked Jesus this question concerning the last days, the end times: ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?’ I believe this question is not much different from the questions we spend all our time speculating about these days: “Is Gog and Magog about Russia? Is Putin the anti-Christ? Will not Jesus surely return before one generation of people pass away after the formation of national Israel?” I believe Jesus’ answer to these questions is the same as his answer to the question of his disciples concerning geographical Israel’s future recorded by Luke in Acts: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Did you notice that Jesus indirectly mentions Gog and Magog, here? When speaks about the ‘ends of the earth’, I believe, Gog and Magog are also included in the list of places we must share the Goodnews with, in the power of the Holy Spirit. Rather than do unfruitful speculation about lesser important details about eschatology(end-times), we must focus our attention on gospel proclamation – that is the clear message of Acts 1:6-8. Ofcourse, the most important things concerning eschatology are these: the physical return of Jesus, the day of judgement where Jesus would be the judge, the eternal conscious torment of the stubborn Christ-rejectors, the reality of eternal heaven.
If I get a chance to meet Putin, I will not ask him, ‘Are you the anti-Christ?’. Rather, I would look to share the Gospel with him! Rather than speculate on the role of nations in the endtimes, we must seek to spread the goodnews there! It is God’s job to harden their heart after having given them enough opportunities to repent like he did in Pharoah’s case. Once their heart is hardened they would go about fulfilling all what is written in the Bible about them in God’s calender. Till that happens, frankly, is none of our business. But it is our business to proclaim the Gospel to all in all nations – including Russia and Israel. God’s Word says so.
(A version of this article by Dr. Duke Jeyaraj appeared in the June 2022 edition of Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Aim magazine. Duke Jeyaraj, the author, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported, inter-denominational Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more by emailing Duke via firstname.lastname@example.org or whatsapping him at +91-8886040605).
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
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.)
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 Jehoramand 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 email@example.com. You may follow him at http://www.instagram.com/dukejeyaraj or at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).
Every year, we have been able to hold a Valentine Day Season Bible Study (or do one when someone invited us to) in the month of February since our ministry’s inception, more times than not as God enabled us to. Crucial Bible Truths on the intimate matters with regard to sex, love, marriage, porn, etc. were brought out frankly through these studies. In February 2006 when our ministry was launched, Duke spoke on True Romantic Love from the book of Song of Songs to a crowd of 500 in Youth Alive, New Life AG Church, Secunderabad. In Feb 2008, Duke brought Principles for Wise Life Partner Choice from Genesis 24, the chapter in which Abraham’s servant hunts for a wife for Abraham’s son, Isaac (again a message for about 500 youth in Youth Alive). In February of a particular year, Duke was in Delhi at the invitation on Rev. Dr. Y. D. Jeyaseelan speaking about The Bible On Sex and Sexual Sin (the video of which is among those with many hits on our channel, http://www.youtube.com/visitduke). In February 2010 Duke gleaned sex, love, marriage lessons from the book of Ruth for a group of working professionals in a meeting held at his home-base. In February 2012 Duke preached a message titled, When Moses Gave Roses….(a message from the Zipporah-Moses story). In February 2013 Duke shared a message on Thinking Black and White About Sexual Ethics Living Among The Fifty Shades of Grey Generation (in a meeting held at our rented ministry base). During February of a particular year, Duke preached a practical summary of the book of Song of Songs using the very name of the book as an outline for the message. It was a house-full Bible Study, that time. Duke often jokes, “Just because so many people came for the book of Song of Songs Bible Summary Study, I cannot summarize Song of Songs each time we do Bible Study. I have to cover other books too!” (Of course, all the 66 Bible Books were summarized eventually, a process that took 7 years). In February 2014 Duke preached a message titled, Handling Romantic Rejection…
In February 2015 Duke preached a message titled What the Longest NT Passage on Sex Love Marriage Teaches The Google Generation. In February 2016 Duke preached a message titled…The Greatest Book on the Most Hottest Topic [When Jeremiah (the Bible’s longest book in terms of number of words) Used Sexual Images In His Book: Bible Lessons from those….]. The same year, we studied on the subject, Which J Are You In Love With?, in a Bible Study at Praveen-Girisha’s home in Kondapur (a study of Ahab’s marriage with Jezebel). In February 2017 Duke preached a message on What Husbands What…What Wives Want to Corporate couples in a meeting in Bangalore following Pastor Ashley’s warm invite. In February 2018 upon the invitation of Pas Peter Samuel, Duke preached a message titled, Falling in Love With The Trinity…
In Feb 2019 Duke and Evan combined to preach on Ingredients of an Incredible Marriage following Rev. John Samuel’s invitation to married couples in Hyderabad. In February 2020 upon the invitation of Rev. Moncy Thomas Duke preached from the life of the inseparable NT couple, Aquila and Priscilla to a group of working professionals…. All these messages are in this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2z1uBimInexnUtzBhJQlGGSMGz1X5eom In February 2021 (this month) on the 14th (which happened to be a Sunday), Duke preached a message title, The Whore Or The Bride? A Study from Revelation Bible Book, to a Zoom audience. You can listen to the audio of that message here:
Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission (G4 Mission) is an independent ministry founded by Duke Jeyaraj to bless present-day people. It is supported by Indians who have been blessed by the writings and preaching-teaching ministry of Duke Jeyaraj.
We at G4 Mission, wish you a very happy New Year 2014. We praise God for the wonderful way he has led us in 2013.
It was a year of SPIRITUAL BLESSING: My wife and I had intense times of intercession through the year. During May and in November we had specially good week-long times of intercession. God taught us from His Word. We were part of the RZIM National Conference where we learn encouraging, edifying and enlightening truths from Dr. Ravi Zacharias and his speaking team during Sept 2013. While driving our car during 2013, we listened to Uncle R. Stanley’s message, Arrows of Discouragement, which was a blessing. We have been blessed by the preaching of our local pastor, Sis. Arlene Stubbs. Her series from the book of Hebrews enabled us to learn fresh lessons.
It was a year of MATERIAL BLESSINGS. In 2013, the Lord graciously added very useful things. We don’t do ministry to get things. But things are useful to do the ministry in a more efficient way. We were blessed with a Yellow Vespa Scooter in April 2013. We were blessed with a Benq GP 10 projector this year. As the icing in the God-given cake, we were blessed with a 20 20 Dell All-in-One Personal Computer this December. All the three gifts were given by Indians friends of our little work for the Lord. Three Indians made a single offering/donation/bank transfer for us to be able to buy these. “This is the Lord’s doing and its marvelous in our eyes!”
It was a year of FINANCIAL BLESSINGS. God moved the hearts of Indian folks of our ministry and as a result they made that online transfer, sent that money order, sent money through Western Union, etc, to us, this year. And as a result, every ministry is paid and all our needs were taken care of. We had offerings sent to us from those living Tinsukia to those in Tirunelveli! There were those who sent Rs.200 Rupees, those who sent Rs.2000 rupees and those who sent Rs.20,000 Rupees, this year! And for each of those sacrificial givers we praise God! Even those in full-time ministry were moved by the Spirit to send us an offering this year! Like we always do, we too have given more than a tithe of what we received to ministries we believe the Lord lead us to support, this year. It was a year of MINISTERIAL BLESSINGS. Because I am in the final phase of working of my Doctor of Ministry project, I did not take up too many preaching assignments this year. Every month of this year, we were able to have a Bible Study for a small group of Google Genners at our home. These message were audio and video recorded and made available in http://www.soundcloud.com/shoutaloud (audio) and in http://www.youtube.com/visitduke (video) for a larger audience. Duke summarized the message of the books of 2nd Peter, John, I John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and Revelation this year. Each time he used the name of the relevant Bible book as a summary for its message. Duke taught on Sexual Ethics, Fasting, Discipleship and Starting Small Group Fellowship, Intercession, etc, as well to small groups of Youtube Youth, this year. From June 2013, we have had the FOUNTAIN OF TEARS AGAINST MOUNTAIN OF FEARS fasting prayer every month to encourage the Facebook Folks to seek God’s face. It was a blessing to intercede for the lost, the leaders and nations before praying for personal needs amidst us. Duke and Evan ministered in a camp for corporates in Bangalore, this year. Duke encouraged the believers of a large AG church during their lent season fasting prayer with two messages, this year. Duke spoke in the Sunday Services in towns as diverse as Trichy, Kolkata, New Delhi and Chennai this year. One of his most-remembered messages was from the Bible character of Uriah. He used this character to call the church believers to become faithful soldiers for Jesus. Duke even addressed the married women of a leading church telling them ways from the Bible as to how to understand typical men better, this year. Both Duke and Evan were involved in direct counselling, internet counselling and phone counselling this year. Marriages broken-down, questions about porn-watching, masturbation, sex, relationsihips, life partner choice, etc were answered, biblically and frankly with compassion. Young people were constantly told what they should hear, not what they wanted to hear. Duke’s writing ministry continued this year. Through Facebook updates (http://www.facebook.com/googleduke), through blog posts (http://www.purposespot.blogspot.in), through continued to wrap Bible Truth around contemporary events Jesus style, even this year. We continued to publish our magazine that does that, The Days of Your Youth, this year as well. Not only that. We printed two of our Gospel tracts for the Google Generation this year. The Bubbly tract and the Dhoni tract were given in 10 different locations during 10 different months by G4 Mission volunteers (including Duke) this year. A fellowship in Singapore ordered 300 copies of the Bubbly tract this year. A medical college student fellowship ordered 1000 copies of the Bubbly tract this year. This year Duke made fully online his two books – Straight Talk & Good News for the Google Generation – in his scribd account – http://www.scribd.com/duke_jeyaraj. We continued to distribute our two books. Eight copies of our twin books were ordered by students of Angola origin in the month of December 2013. A young woman living in Jharkhand wrote to us saying, “I have already both your books. When are going to write your next book?” Plans are on the anvil for two more books of Duke. God is blessing our ministry. Our children pray everyday, “Oh God of Isreal, please bless me, expand our borders, let your hand be with me and keep me from evil!” God is answering this prayer.
In the ministry of Grabbing the Google Generation from going to Gehenna, Duke Jeyaraj +91-8886040605 (Whats App Number)
A teaching that is called “Hyper-Grace” is sadly lapped up by unsuspecting believers world over (including those in Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Singapore and literally world over). A google search on “Hyper-Grace” would throw up the prominent Hyper-Grace teachers in the world, presently. This is an unbiblical teaching that is, at best, a half-truth. But then, a half-truth is a full-lie (as someone said)! Hyper-Grace teachers are in the GRIP of “G-R-I-P”, I noticed. Let me explain:
G-GRACE GRAMMER GOOF-UP!
What I mean here is that, the Hyper-Grace Teachers tell us that a believer’s past, present and future sins stand automatically forgiven when he gets saved. This is simply not true, according to Scripture. A “brother” (that is, a believer) who had regular sexual relationship with his own mother was not considered “forgiven” or “righteous” but as a “evil person” by Apostle Paul (I Cor. 5:1,11,13). David Ravenhill wrote, “The fact is that the provision for my cleansing was completed at the cross but the process of my cleansing is conditional upon my repentance.” I agree.
Hyper-Grace teachers tell us that Repentance merely means changing one’s mind – it does not involve action. Some Hyper-Grace teachers unashamedly say, “I don’t preach on repentance (turning from sin), anymore!” Paul clearly taught in Acts 26:20 that the Gentiles should repent, turn to God, “performing deeds in keeping with repentance”. This was the description given in the book of Revelation about those condemned to eternal hell: “they did not repent” (Rev. 9:20, 21; 16: 9,11). All of us have a choice, Jesus preached: to repent or to perish in hell (Luke 13:1-5; Rev. 21:8). Some hyper-grace teachers are very quick to reject any so-called “pre-cross” statement of Jesus like the one I just quoted. But they do quote portions from the sayings of pre-cross Jesus which they think squares up well with their deceptive theology. For example I have heard them quote from Luke 9:53-55 (where Jesus rebukes his disciples, James and John, who wanted to call down fire from heaven to destroy Samaritans). They should make up their minds to accept ALL the words of Jesus or NONE of it. And they should not forget, “ALL” Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for “teaching” (2 Tim. 3:16).
I-INCESSANT IDENTITY INSANITY!
The way Hyper-Grace teachers will invariably begin their messages is this way: “Today, I will tell you who you are in Christ – your identity in Christ!!” While it is good to know our identity in Christ, we must not forget the “responsibility” of holy living that Christ calls us to (I Thess 4:3 which says, “It is God’s will, your sanctification, that you abstain from sexual immorality”). Hyper-Grace teachers, call those who preach on holiness/progressive sanctification, as ‘hypocritical legalists’/’mixed-grace preachers’. But the Scripture does teach progressive, day-to-day sanctification. One of the 16 fundamental doctrines of the Assemblies of God is (progressive) sanctification which is expressed by these words: “Sanctification is realized in the believer by recognizing his identification with Christ in His death and resurrection, and by the faith reckoning daily upon the fact of that union, and by offering every faculty continually to the dominion of the Holy Spirit.” We chose to live holy using our free-will, enabled by the Holy Spirit’s power(Gal. 5:16; Rom. 8:13). Therefore we have nothing to boast about, except that we have been enabled by His Grace.
P-PERMANENTLY PLEASED POP!
The teaching they systematically spread is this: “God, your loving father, doesn’t see you in your failures and short-comings; He sees you in Jesus’ perfection and loveliness, always.” If that were true, Jesus, when he saw the failures and short-comings of the Revelation churches would have said, “Rejoice! I do not see your sin!” But, instead, he said “Repent!” (because he did see their sin, post-cross!) He said that six times (Rev. 2:5,16, 21,22; 3:3,19). We must not exalt one image of God found in the Bible at the expense of other images, leading to a blunder that could land us in hell. In Hebrews 12, we read that God is both these “CFs” – a Compassionate Father (verse 5) and a Consuming Fire (vs. 29)! God is not just a Father who dotes over us, he is a Master whom we must obey, the Scripture tells us repeatedly (I Cor. 6:13; Col. 3:24; Jude 4; Gal. 6:17; I Thess 1:6-8). He is not just a loving dad but also a faithfulness-expecting and purity-expecting Bride Groom (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:27). We are saved by Grace, for good works and holy living (Eph. 2:8-10). Let us not forget that.
Let’s get busy with the work of rescuing those friends of ours in the g-r-i-p of the hyper-grace teaching before it is too late. Let us boldly go to places where false doctrines like hell-taking hyper-grace teaching is taught and “charge” people not to teach any doctrine that is contrary to Scripture (See I Tim. 1:3).
Only Matthew records that Jesus wanted BOTH the MOTHER DONKEY and it’s COLT (the Kid Donkey) (Mt 21:2). A person would be sitting on the back of that untrained colt for the first ever time, it looks like. Therefore, Jesus perhaps felt the presence of the parent would calm the colt’s nerves when a person (Jesus) sat on it. Do we cooperate with God’s plan for our kids the whole-hearted way this MOTHER DONKEY apparently did with Jesus’ plans for it’s kid donkey? Parents should encourage their born-again children to serve God. Parents do not ask generally kids, “Is it God’s Will?” when their kids say, “I want to go to the US to study and settle down there!” But when their kids say, “Mom/Dad, God has called me for full-time ministry to such and such a place in India itself!” most parents pour cold water on their enthusiasm by asking, “Are you sure, it is God’s will?” What a wicked double standard! How we show step-motherly treatment for the things of God! The Lord is watching this with deep sorrow and anguish. His anger may be triggered by our worldliness and money-mindedness. The message that comes to us from the Palm Sunday Matthew narrative is this: encourage the younger generation in your family to get involved in God’s Work, whole-heartedly!
(Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of G4 Mission. Find out more at www.dukev.org. This is a reader supported ministry. Reach him via WhatsApp at +91-8886040605)
Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj on the ‘CR’s from the Bible We Need To Recall When Life Plays Football With Us!
I was in Allahabad, North India, studying a college course (B. Tech., Agricultural Engineering) when I heard first about this beautiful actress from Nepal in Mumbai. Her name? Manisha Koirala. She won a tough battle against cancer recently. She said, “I think cancer helps to transform a person. It affected me so much that it enabled me to grow!” (I read this in Outlook mag). She is not a believer to the best of my knowledge. But I was amazed that she was able to see something positive in suffering. Though the Corona pandemic has caused many inconveniences to Corporates, churches, individuals, etc., can anything good come out of this? What are the blessings that come out of this pandemic?
Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer, popularly known as CR. Using the acronym CR, I have outlined my message which captures the biblical CRs we need to keep in when life plays football with us. These CRs will keep us playing the game of life with a positive attitude despite setback such as the Corona Pandemic. When life plays football with us – that is when we suffer – we will do well to remember these biblical CRs!
CHARACTER REFINEMENT (CR NO. 1 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
Job is one of the earliest books of the Bible and it has a lesson on suffering. Job experienced untold suffering – loss of his children, loss of his wealth, his wife encouraging him to curse God and die, acting as Satan’s agent (She repeated Satan’s words to God about Job that he would curse God when his worldly blessing are removed). Job 23:10 says “When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” God does not contradict himself. From the Old Testament to the New Testament God says the same thing in a progressive way. I Peter 5:10 says “after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.” The suffering which is only for a while confirms us, strengthen , and establish us. Our character gets refined in a mysterious way. It does not matter who caused it but blessings will come out of this pandemic.
COPYBOOK (BIBLE) REFLECTION (CR NO. 2 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
If a shotput hits your head during game time in school, you might lose your memory. You might say crazy things. But no shotput ball hit the author of Psalm 119. He was in-fact directed by the Holy Spirit when he wrote Psalm 119:71.
Psalm 119:71 says “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.”
Generally our tendency is to waste our time and be addicted to the screen. We like to go down the easy path and are like water that flows wherever there is a way. Usually we are always in a hurry but this lock down time has given us unhurried time to study the word of God.
Suffering should not just turn our attention to Scripture. But also make us obey Scripture. I say this because I have read Psalm 119:67 – “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your Word!”
CROWNING OF OUR ROCK (CR NO. 3 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
By the phrase, ‘Crowning of our Rock’ I mean the ‘the glory of God our Rock’. John 9:1,2 speaks of a blind man from birth. “What is the cause of his blindness?” asked the disciples of Jesus. Was it his sin or the sin of his parents? He was born blind in order to display glory to God; raise the glory of the Lord in a mysterious way, the Scripture says in John 9:1-2. How does a black buffalo eat green grass and produce white milk? I don’t understand. But I drink milk and give my kids milk to drink! How can the corona virus situation bring glory to God? I don’t understand. But I do not doubt the goodness of God even in this situation! We are living in times of inexplicable suffering and inconveniences/lock down. During, the times of suffering we must keep praising for our creator. The Lord’s name must be glorified even during the time of suffering because suffering brings glory to his name according to John 9:1-2.
CHRIST ‘REPROGRAPHICS’ [COPYING] (CR NO. 4 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
We become more like Jesus during suffering. When we suffer with a positive attitude we copy Christ. Apostle Paul writes, “that I may know the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). We become like Him in death. Suffering with a positive attitude helps us to imitate Jesus. We become more like Him. That is God’s ultimate purpose for us (Rom. 8:29). We look for different models to imitate. Teens tend to imitate famous movie stars. The only model completely worthy of imitating is Jesus. Job 5:7 says “man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.” If we are human, suffering is unavoidable according to the Old and New Testaments. Acts 14:22 says that we must go through many hardships in our day to day life till we enter heaven by our death or after the return of Jesus.
We get our salvation through the suffering of Jesus but He is also a model when it comes to suffering. We must copy the attitude of Jesus when we suffer. How did Jesus suffer?
Jesus saw suffering as something allowed by God enroute to the Cross. Jesus prayed this model prayer at Gethsemane: “Take this cup of suffering from me but yet not my will, but your will.”
We too must understand that times of suffering are allowed by God.
When Jesus suffered, He forgave those who made him suffer. That’s why he prayed while hanging on the Cross this: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do!”
In the Old Testament when someone cursed David, David felt God gave him permission to do that (2 Sam. 16:11). The Son of David, Jesus, also said in similar vein: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
There may be financial difficulty coming, terrible health issues, and untold trouble during this pandemic. There is a gripping Malayalam movie “Virus” about the Nipha virus outbreak which broke out in the Indian state of Kerala in 2018, but the Corono virus is more deadly and global. God has allowed it to happen (though we aren’t sure who is the cause for this)
And when we exhibit a Christ-like attitude during this time of suffering – saluting the Will of the Father, forgiving whoever may be involved – God will be pleased! And we will become Christ-like!
COSMOS REDEMPTION(CR No. 5 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
The most relatable example of how God can use our suffering as a channel of blessing for others (the cosmos) concerns the Old Testament hero, Joseph. Genesis 50:20 says “ye thought evil against me but God meant it unto good.” Those are Joseph’s words to his brothers who were super-mean to him when he met them after he became the Prime Minister of Egypt. Joseph undergoes sufferings on multiple occasions. I preached a message on the sufferings of Joseph when I was invited to preach in a Baptist Church earlier this year (2019). That message on the ‘arrows’ launched against Joseph is found on YouTube. But despite these arrows, Joseph’s bow remained steady. He believed God had a plan in allowing his brothers to be envious of him. The envy of Joseph’s brothers was caused by Satan, of course. But Joseph saw that as God-allowed for the greater blessing of his family, the nation of Israel. Read Genesis 45:5-8. Count the times Joseph says there, “God sent me….”. He says it three times! Joseph did not feel that his brother’s envy sent him to Egypt but he came to Epypt because of the God’s good purposes! Joseph was not bitter when he suffered (via his brothers, Mrs. Potiphar, Mr. Potiphar, the forgetful cupbearer, etc.) but he thought differently. Great people think differently. He saw God’s hand in allowing these folk to make him suffer so that a grander plan can be executed for the blessing of many people.
Government restrictions for travel keep us home. Our international travel may have cancelled. The World’s finances may be in disarray. But Believe that God allowed this virus to go beserk for a good purpose.
By saying this I am not justifying envy or any sinful thing. If the Corona virus was manufactured in a lab as a weapon for bio-terrorism, whoever responsible for that must be punished. God will judge that person either on this side of eternity or the other side of it (if the concerned does not repent). Was that act wrong? Absolutely.
Joseph was in a position to bless so many people even though he was the second youngest sibling in his family as he grew up. He became an Old Testament picture of Jesus Christ! What a blessing!
Graham Staines was an ordinary missionary in the interior parts of Orissa. He was burnt alive along with his 2 sons when he stayed in his jeep following a meeting in a village (January of 1999). But this has inspired many to take up medical mission, to respect humanity, and pursue truth. Jim Eliot, worked among the Aucas in Ecuador, South America and was killed in 1956 at the age of 29, amidst remote tribals. His life inspired many people to labour for Christ and go to other countries to share the love of Jesus. In mysterious ways all this resulted in cosmos redemption.
CONTRAST AND REVERSE-APPRECIATION (CR No. 7 TO RECALL WHEN LIFE PLAYS FOOTBALL WITH US)
Read I Peter 1:6,7 (we already read it earlier in this message). Twenty-one day lock down may seem long. When you compare our time of suffering here and now with eternity, is such a short time. When we understand the fleeting nature of our suffering here and now, then only we will be able to appreciate the reverse – the time of everlasting joy in heaven. For example, a tiny kidney stone can cause much excruciating pain, even though temporary. I have experienced hours of kidney stone pain twice in my life (a pain that is said to be close to the labor pains a woman experiences). When I go through a pain-free day, I praise God even more with delirious joy because I recall those two terrible bouts of pain. Eugene Peterson, an American Presbyterian Minister, says hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us (in his contemporary English translation of II Corinthians 4:17,18). We have light and momentary troubles (to use another version’s rendering of the same set of verses).
Sometimes we feel our suffering is so gigantic but when compared to the suffering that Jesus underwent, it is very light. God has a grand, glorious plan when he allows anything. God had foreknowledge of this pandemic and this is not a surprise for God. He already knew about it.
Read Acts 2:22,23; Acts 4:27,28. Different people became united. The religious leaders of the time and common people, Jews and gentiles schemed together, came against Jesus who is the only one who did not deserve any suffering (as he never sinned and yes, suffering first came into the world because of sin – check out John 5:14; ofcourse not all suffering is because of sin – John 9:1-2 teaches that). We may not understand the intricacies but something good will come out of this corona virus pandemic. The teaching that we will not have to suffer here and now on this earth because Jesus suffered for us on the Cross is a false teaching. We suffer because Adam chose to disobey and we also commit sin and disobey. Hebrews 13:12,13 is clear that even though Jesus suffered on the cross, we have to suffer as well – especially when we take a stand for Jesus in this pluralistic World and in this prosperity-false-doctrine embracing backslidden church.
This world is not our home. We are just passing through looking for a new heaven and earth.
Let me reproduce a story from my article that provides a practical summary of the book of Job titled “Why me?”
MARTIN AND GRACIA BURNHAM STORY VIA A NAT GEO TV PROGRAM
My wife and I tucked our kids to bed and settled to watch the National Geographic channel program called, “Locked up Abroad!” in September 2008. It featured the story of a missionary couple by the name of Martin and Gracia Burnham.
They were American Missionaries who served God in the country of Phiippines. They had met and married each other with a singular purpose of serving God together in the mission field he would send them to. God had blessed them with three children all of whom were born in the mission field.
On their eighteenth wedding anniversary, they had gone to a beachside island resort in the same country to romance each other afresh and to celebrate their wedding anniversary minus the children.
That’s when a terrorist group led by Abu Sayyaf linked with Osama bin Laden kidnapped them and took them away in a speedboat along with 18 others. In this group of 18, there was only one more American, apart from the Burnhams. This missionary couple was chained to two terrorists. They kept moving in the dense forests as the Philippine Army tried to track them down.
They starved for most part of their 377-day captivity. While they fainted physically, spiritually they did not. They kept believing God and kept serving him by sharing the gospel with their captors. When they did eat something, dysentery was the result. Though the food came out of their bodies like water, their faith during this time was rock solid. Their bodies were cut. Blood oozed out. But their faith in Jesus did not fizzle out. Their captors demanded $1 million for their release. $330,000 was given to them, yet they did not release them. 3 men in that group of 18 were beheaded. Even after these horrific incidents, this missionary couple in captivity did not want to kick their Christian Faith from their hearts and heads. The terrorists married four women in the group against their wishes and sexually violated them. Even this incident did not force this determined duo to divorce their faith from their life during the time of extreme trail. On June 7, 2002, during a cross-fire between the Phippine Army and the terrorists, a bullet pierced the chest of Martin the soldier of the Cross, and he died. Yet, the faith of his wife, Gracia, did not die. She continued to serve God with a steely resolve. Injured on her leg in the same cross-fire, she was finally free from her captors – nearly 400 days in horrific captivity.
Max Lucado writing about this incident memorably asks a series of questions you may have wanted to ask as well as you read this true story: “Why didn’t God block the bullets? Why did he let her get shot? And why God let him die?…She was a widow, and we are left to wonder why. Is this how God honors his chosen? How do we explain this tragedy? And as you’re thinking of theirs, how do you explain yours? The tension at home. The demands at work. The bills on your desk or the tumor on your body. You’re taken hostage, but aren’t you occasionally taken aback by God’s silence? He knows what you are facing. How do we explain this?”
Gracia Martin, the dead missionary’s widow, answers this “why” question in an interview she gave: “During the 10th week of my captivity, this Bible truth I had taught others all-along strongly came to me: life’s not all about me getting my way; it’s about Him getting His way. I decided that I was going to believe God was good, no matter what…. It seemed like God would answer every prayer but to get us out of there. I think we realized that He wanted us in there for a reason. Our prayers really changed at that point – we just wanted God to be teaching us.”
Today, Gracia Martin, is stronger in her faith after having gone through such a harrowing experience. She leads a ministry that uses aviation for mission work that involves getting the Gospel to those living in closed Islamic countries. The terrifying trails she underwent being a captive to a dreaded terrorist group for close to 400 days helped in mysterious ways to demonstrate the glory and power of God in her life!
This Corona Virus Pandemic and consequent lock down time will also be for our ultimate good! I am sure of that!
There was a time when Apostle Paul was chained to a roman soldier. He considered that as an opportunity to share the Gospel. The chains that bound Apostle Paul caused him inconvenience. But he say that as an occasion to advance the Gospel (Phil. 1:12). This is one obvious reason and purpose. In their discussion with God, Satan tried to tell God that Job loved Him because of all the gifts He gave Job. God said that Job loved Him because of genuine love and had no ulterior motives. The reason that Job had for loving God was love for God and nothing else. As a popular secular romantic song goes, “Love me for a reason. Let the reason be love!” We must love God for no other reason, but love! And if we do, this pandemic time will become a purposeful time for us!
Prayer: Thank you Lord for helping us understand from the Bible why there can be a mysterious blessing even via this Corona pandemic. Bless our time of lockdown and suffering so that we will continue to learn your word, raise Your praise, share your Gospel , and grow in character. In Jesus name. Amen.
[Transcribed by Mrs. Malini Prabakar voluntarily from a devotional that Duke Jeyaraj shared via video on 29 March 2020. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this piece, is the fouder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, a listener supported Indian Ministry. Find out more at www.dukev.org. You may choose to subscribe to www.youtube.com/visitduke and like www.facebook.com/dukebook. You can reach Duke via WhatsApp at +91-8886040605. If you send a message via this number we can send you the PDF of the magazine that Duke publishes called, The Days of Your Youth, with the article, ‘Why Me?’ (summary of the main lessons of Job put in outline j-o-b o-f u-z)]