WHEN SUPER-SMART KIWIS CRASH-LANDED INDIAN FLIGHT ‘DREAM-LINER WORLD CUP 2019’ / a Duke Jeyaraj Bible Devo

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New Zealand (called Kiwis in the Cricketing World) crash-landed Indian flight, “Dream-Liner World Cup 2019” on 9-10 July 2019 ODI at Manchester, England.  Here are some life lessons/Bible lessons from that stunning defeat that India faced.

The first reason for India’s defeat was the shrewdness of Kiwi Captain Kane Williamson. When he arrived at the pitch following the cheap dismissal of Martin Guptill, he conducted a pitch assessment. He knew it was more of a 250 pitch than a 300 plus pitch. So he adjusted accordingly and instructed his team to play that way. That was why Ross Taylor was running twos instead of trying to hit sixes in the last few overs of the New Zealand innings. Jesus commanded us to be “shrewd as snakes” (Matt 10:16). We must be willing to start with points of interest of those we are sharing the Gospel with before we moving on to points of possible conflict (like the uniqueness of Jesus/day of judgment/eternal hell), as wise and shrewd Apostle Paul illustrated in his Gospel presentation in Athens (Acts 17).

Dropping Mohammed Shami, the man who kept picking up wickets whenever he got to play, including a hat-trick, was a huge blunder. He could have played instead of Y. Chahal. What’s wrong in going in with four fast bowlers and a spinner – your best five bowlers as per form – for a knockout game? There is no rule that for a balanced attack you need to have two spinners along with three spinners. Chahal leaked crucial runs (He gave 18 runs in a pathetic over). Kohli needed to be daringly different when it came to team selection. He could have even tried Mayank Agrawal  (who has not played a ODI for India, but is a solid player with the right technique) as the opener for the semis. Rahul could have batted at Number 4. Dinesh Karthick could have been dropped. It takes guts to hand a debut to a player in a World Cup SemiFinal, but that brave, hat-ke (different) decision would have given India the match. Spiritual Lesson: Be different. Joseph was not like his brothers. One brother slept with Father’s wife. Another with his daughter in law. But Joseph was different. He did not follow the crowd in doing wrong (Exodus 23:2). He became Prime Minister of Egypt. He became a picture of Jesus.

Rohit Sharma, India’s stand-out batsmen of the Cup, got an unplayable ball and got out for 1. But sitting in the balcony, he signaled to Jadeja during the dying moments of India’s chase. “You have strength. You can do it!” – he conveyed using goosebumps giving gestures. That was team spirit at its very best. Rohit should be given the responsibility of leading India in the 2023 World Cup/2020 T20 World Cup. Kohli cannot win you a Limited Overs tournament, unless something changes dramatically. Checkout his record for RCB, Bangalore. He became captain of RCB in 2013. He has not won an IPL Trophy till 2019. Check his record in the Champions Trophy 2017  and the 2019 World Cup. He lost both. Coming back to Rohit (He had the tears in his eyes when Dhoni got out. When was the last time you cried? Have you wept for the lost? Jeremiah wept for the people before he whipped them with words of scorching warning). You may have failed, but you can still motivate your team-mates, like Rohit did in the semifinal. Paul was a Team Player. The New Testament scholars talk about 60 people who were part of Paul’s team during his ministry. Are you part of a ministry team? Do you encourage your team members?kohli out

Virat Kohli’s poor run in knock-out ICC World-Stage ODI games continues – 9 (vs Pak in 2011 Cup Semis); 1 (vs Aus in 2015 Cup Semis); 5 (vs Pak in Champions Trophy Final 2017); 1 (vs NZ in World Cup Semis 2019). When the stakes get higher, the super-star should be at his very best. When the important moment comes, you must be incredible! The Kohli tactic of playing the Semis as another game failed. When Rohit got out, Kohli should have defended as if his life depended on it like Dinesh Karthik later would at the start of his innings. Once he was set, he should have gone for his shots. Kohli should have ‘surrendered to the needs of the team situation’ instead of playing his natural game. The purpose for which He came to the World Cup – to win it – was defeated when he played his natural game (He did the same in the 2015 World Cup Semis too, when he top edged a pull/hook, a needless aggressive shot at that time). When the important moment of his life came – the time to die for the sake of the sins of the world – Jesus prayed. He stayed in touch with His Father. He yielded to the will of his father. While all others failed – his disciples ran helter-skelter – he did not. He fulfilled the purpose for which he came by focusing on what he came to do through the discipline of prayer!

Young Rishabh Pant got out, having got worked up for no reason. After four dot balls, he goes for an irresponsible shot only to be caught. He and Pandya were going well. Instead of ensuring the match went to his pocket, he sends a rocket because of four continuous dot balls, he was forced to play. Lesson: Don’t fret. Don’t panic. Stay calm. Cast your burdens onto Jesus. Then the peace that passes all understanding will be yours. The 21-year old Pant missed the opportunity of a lifetime to take India to a win in this semi-final. Do not spend the strength of your youth on sinful living but make your one life count for Jesus. It was a privilege for me to start a ministry at the age of 31 and quit my job with an international bank at the age of 34 to do fulltime ministry with the organisation I started. I have no regrets.pandya out

Hardik Pandya who lectured Pant with his eyes when Pant got out, got out in similar fashion – sending a rocket into the heavens which fell into safe hands of the New Zealand Captain, Kane Williamson. Practice what you preach. Don’t be like the Pharisees. Be like Jesus. He spoke about prayer’s importance in Gethsemane to his inner three and prayed right after.

Dhoni should have showed more intent (same old story). He does not have to wait till the 49th over first ball to hit a six. He consumed 20 dot balls in his partnership with Jadeja (who played one of best ever innings by a No. 8 batsmen in a World Cup knockout game hitting four 4s and four 6s). Don’t be a spectator when your partner is spectacular. That was Dhoni’s sin. Don’t be spectator to your pastor’s ministry in the local church. The Bible teaches the priesthood of all believers (I Peter 2:9). You are a priest unto God as a New Testament believer.  Get involved in God’s Work! Give a tract! Pray for the sick! Lead a Bible Study! Care for the needy and sign out by sharing the Goodnews! Be a church volunteer! Do something for Jesus in the one life you have moved by his love!

Dhoni took six singles in the few balls before Jadeja holed out because of the compulsions of a climbing run-rate. Why did Dhoni not try to hit a six or a boundary, even before? Was he afraid of getting out? Why did he have to wait for Jadeja to all the hitting? Sambit Bal wrote, “From 71 for 5 and then 92 for 6, India would have sunk rapidly without Dhoni’s steadying hand, and yet, despite the 59-ball 77 from Jadeja, the run rate had mounted to over 15 when Jadeja was dismissed. To that 116-partnership, Dhoni had contributed 32 off 45 balls with 20 dots. Without him, the chase would have been dead long before but the question that will linger is: did he also make it nearly unachievable?” I agree with him. It was Dhoni’s tortoise-approach/no-big-shots approach that forced Hardik Pandya to go for the big one, only to be caught. Who knows what would have happened if Pandya – who hit a 90 plus off 30 plus in the IPL 2019  – had batted till the end? Don’t procrastinate. Don’t postpone matters. It leads to defeat. It leads to peril. Don’t procrastinate your salvation decision. Here’s why: You can die anytime (think of Absalom/Ahab) and after death there is no chance of salvation (Heb. 9:27). Jesus will come like thief in the night. After Jesus comes again, there is no chance of salvation. He is Savior today and judge tomorrow. The Holy Spirit may stop speaking to stubborn you (Gen. 6:3). After that, you can’t get saved. So come now. Serve Jesus now. When you get old even lavatory journey is troublesome (Eccl. 12). What missionary journey will you do? Now is the time to let it rip for Jesus.6 FIELDERS

When Dhoni got out in the 49th over, there were six fielders outside the 30 yard circle. The Rule Book says only five are allowed between Overs 41 through 50. The Umpires missed it. A big blunder. Ideally, a no-ball should have been signaled when the moment the ball was delivered. That would have given Dhoni enough time to hit the ball high in the air – as high as possible – and run for a two comfortably or try for another six without the fear of getting out (which he had through the tournament, the major reason for his go-slow approach). But Dhoni returned for a risky second run and Guptill’s throw hit the stumps. Human errors keep happening on this side of eternity. These result in cases of injustice. All justice matters will be sorted out on the final day of judgment when Jesus will be the judge. We need to wait till that day. Will there be justice, ever, you ask? Yes, there will be justice on the final day of judgment.

Martin Guptill failed with the bat, but his bulls-eye throw in the 49th over to run out Dhoni got New Zealand to the Cup final – we can say that. You may have sinned against the Lord. You may committed an unprintable sin. Repent of it. Come to Jesus. Ask for the cleansing of His blood. And with the help of the Spirit live a holy life (Rom. 8:13). By having an accountability friend you can consistently beat temptation (think of David-Nathan). You don’t have to keep goofing up. You can be a victorious Christian!11jadeja1

Jadeja got a bit carried away with his celebrations post his fifty. He gestured to Commentator Sanjay Manjrekar in a way asking what happened to his views that he was only a bits and pieces player who did not deserve to be in the Indian Team XI. If he had focused on the unfinished task, the task of taking India to a win that would have been great. The unfinished task of evangelism remains before the church. Let us quit fighting over silly matters (I am not talking about fighting salvation-affecting false doctrine here). Let those involved in the ministry not get into ego clashes. Let’s get on with the unfinished task of World Evangelism (North India remains the World’s most populated un-evangelized stretch).

 

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. This is a listener-supported Indian ministry. Duke has written a Bible Devo on each of India’s games in the 2019 World Cup in England which you can read at http://www.dukewords.com. Find out more about Duke’s ministry at www.dukev.org).

THE ROHIT HAND SIGNAL FROM THE BALCONY; THE JESUS HAND STRETCH FROM CALVARY! India-New Zealand World Cup 2019 Semifinals – a poem by Duke Jeyaraj with a message at the end)

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rohit hand gesture

A quick assessment of the pitch the incoming Kane Williamson made, as soon as Guptill got out

Plans for a 250 plus score rather than a 300 plus score,  began to immediately sprout,

The Kiwis ran furious 2s instead of going for big shots to reach 239 to set up a tantalizing bout,

Rohit, Kohli, KL and DK  went and the Indian were starting at a definite, by-New Zealand, semis rout,

Before Youngguns Pant and Pandya a way out from the Certain Defeat cave they fiercely cut,

Impatient Pant after four dot balls skied a shot only to be caught – why did play that shot, but?

After Pandya perished Jadeja’s  lusty, valiant blows ended India’s boundary drought!

But Dhoni’s go-slow now, acceleration later approach made the required run-rate stout!

44 off 26 to win with two set batsmen in at one point – India were very much in the game then, no doubt!

Instead of going for 6s, Dhoni ran 6 singles in the next few balls & in-the-Dhoni-created-pressure, Jadeja holed out

As Dhoni hit a goosebumps giving six over backward-point in ball 49.1 – India’s World Cup dream did not yet logout!

Guptill ran-out Dhoni at a time when 6 fielders were outside the circle – a clear case of rule flout!

India’s collective heart-beat stopped as teary eyed Dhoni walked back towards his team’s hut!

“We are the team that crash-landed Flight No. ODI World Cup No.3 For India’ – that is now New Zealand’s deserving strut!

When Rohit Sharma, flexed muscles to signal the ‘Be Strong – You Can Take India To A Win’ to Jadeja & my heart did jut!

But did you know that Jesus stretched his arms and died, he signaled, ‘You have hope for the Salvation Door even for the worst ever sinner is not shut!’

Turn from sin and put your faith in the only God-in-flesh Jesus and you will find peace-amidst-the-storm in your gut!

 

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. Check out www.purposespot.blogspot.com for similar write-ups. Read more of Duke’s writings at www.dukewords.com and watch his videos at www.youtube.com/visitduke).

“GRACE” WHICH GRATEFUL ROHIT SHARMA EXPERIENCED IN THE INDIA-BANGLADESH WORLD CUP 2019 GAME & HOW CUNNING HYPER-GRACE CULT TEACHERS CONFUSE BELIEVERS – Duke Jeyaraj

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In the India-Bangladesh ODI World Cup 2019 game on 2 July 2019 at Birmingham, Rohit Sharma, who was hailed by the great Virat Kohli as the greatest ever One Day player currently, got a life. When Rohit Sharma was batting on 9 runs when offered a “dolly of a catch”. The Bangladeshi fielder who got under it was Tamin Iqbal. But despite using both his hands, he dropped it. If I was on air giving commentary for that game I would have used one of my favorite commentary lines at that point which is this: “Even my mother-in-law could have caught that one!” Jokes apart, Rohit continued to thrive after that reprieve. He scored his fourth ton of the 2019 World Cup. His partnership of 180 with K.L. Rahul (another Rohit in the making, in my opinion, with the same classiness) had laid for India a solid foundation to score even a possible 400 when they batted first. It was not the first time that Rohit made India’s opponents pay for “giving him grace” by dropping the catches he offered them. One Twitter user put out this tweet immediately: “Dropped on 1 vs SA: Scored 122. Dropped on 2 vs AUS: Scored 57. Dropped on 4 vs ENG: Scored 104.” Yes, Rohit Sharma when shown grace responds with gratitude – the gratitude of accumulating runs for his team.

As believers we are saved by grace of our Lord Jesus who died for us on the Cross. But do we respond with gratitude for the grace that shown to us by exhibiting good works? Apostle Paul wrote some classic stuff in the book of Ephesians talking about this very thing. He wrote that God was “rich in mercy” towards us (Eph. 2:4). So, that is why we too ought to be “full of mercy” in our dealings with others as the proverbs in the New Testament, the book of James tells us (James 3:17). Over to Apostle Paul who makes this crystal clear: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
There is an unwarranted tirade going against “good works”/ “works of the law” – thanks to the efforts of the cunning preachers of the cultic hyper-grace movement. They know the Bible is clear when it calls believers who are saved by grace to do good works moved by gratitude (as it is evident from the passage above and several other passages such as Leviticus 11:45/Hosea 3/Zechariah 3:3-7/Titus 2:11-12/Titus 3:4-8/2 Timothy 1:9/Romans 6:4/I Thessalonians 2:13/4:3-5. In Chapter 5 of my book, Straight Talk On Sex, Love, Marriage, Porn and More, I explain this in greater detail). Despite knowing this, the hyper-grace cult teachers make a brazen attempt to confuse believers into believing that a believer should not be concerned about “works” because we are “saved by grace”. But a careful study of the New Testament reveals that “good works” of holiness and ministry and “works of the law” are vastly different. While both cannot save us, the Bible is clear we must do “good works” (moved by gratitude for the grace shown us) while only shunning the “works of the law”. What is this “works of the law”? The writer to the Hebrews explains they are the animal sacrifices, ceremonial laws of the Old Testament which we no longer need to break our heads with as Christ has offered the perfect sacrifice (Heb. 8:13 and I would recommend a full reading of the book). Even in the book of Hebrews we are told of the need to do the “good works” (of holiness). We read in the same book this: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous” (Heb. 13:4). This is just another way of repeated one of the 10 commandments which went this way: “Do not commit adultery.” So, the moral, non-ceremonial laws of the Old Testament are still binding on us, believers. We do not follow them to earn our salvation, but because we are saved, out of gratitude, we obey them! If we do not obey them, then as my Calvinist friends tell me, their Armenian friend this: “We must doubt if those who do not do the good works of holiness are really saved in the first place after reading passages such as I John 2:3-5!”

(Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission, a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at www.dukev.org. Read Duke’s writings at www.dukewords.com.)

 

LIKE DHONI-KEDAR HELL-BENT ON SHOWING NO INTENT WHEN IT COMES TO…. / A Duke Jeyaraj Bible Devo on the England-India World Cup ODI 2019 Game on 30 June 2019

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When Hardik Pandya got out in the 44th over, India had a little over 5 overs to get 70-odd to beat England and become the second team to reach the semifinals. When Kedar joined Dhoni India needed to get 71 off 31 balls, to be precise. As England’s Chris Woakes bowled the final over, India needed 44 to win. “But in the previous 25 deliveries, Dhoni and Kedar had played out five dots, 18 singles (can you believe it – 18 singles!!!!) and just two fours!” – so reported EspnCricinfo. Some spectators upon beholding this sham – this shame – walked out booing the “boring brothers in crime” – Dhoni and Kedar.

 

I remember watching the final over of the 2016 T20 World Cup Finals in Kolkota. The match was between England and West Indies in the Eden Gardens. When West Indies needed 19 runs in the final over, Carlos Brathwaite, “swung for the hills” as the commentators said. That is, he swung his bat so hard, that even mishits would go for a six or had the power to go over a hill! He did the same in the 2019 World Cup in his breath-taking and nearly-match-winning 100 versus New Zealand – easily the best batting performance we have seen in the 2019 World Cup thus far.

 

Did we see such a ‘ants-in-the-pants’ feeling of getting on with it, a “I-will-hit-whatever-delivery-they-bowl-at-me” intent, a “India-will-lose-if-I-don’t-get-boundary-after-boundary-in-this-over” restlessness from Kedar and Dhoni? Nope. I wonder why. Dhoni and Kedar would never dare to bat this wasteful way when they play for Chennai Super Kings – would they? Why? Their team owner won’t spare them. Here, Kohli-Rohit cover-up such baffling batting buffoonery in press-conferences and do a great disservice to Indian Cricket.  And mind you, India lost this game by only 31 runs. If the Kedar-Dhoni duo had tried to hit five sixes in the 18 balls they took inconsequential singles in Overs 45 through 50, India would have won the game, I would say!

 

I remember, when Dhoni was the captain of the side, he was a different man. He would pull-up Sehwag, Gambhir and Tendulkar and say that this trio  could not  be in the XI together because of their on-field slowness and had a hard time hiding them. When he could pull up seniors in the squad, why doesn’t he pull himself for his repeated slow batting (remember the Afghanistan game)? I recall the Scripture that goes this way: “You therefore who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? You who that one should not adultery, do you commit adultery? ….For the Name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you!”  (Rom. 2:21-24). Let us practice what we preach. Jesus issued a quote about prayer in Gethsemane (Watch and pray, otherwise temptation will overpower you) and slumped right after onto his knees and prayed (Luke 22:40-41). He practiced what he preached and we too must!

 

The lack of intent of Dhoni-Kedar is contrasted by the intent that Apostle Paul showed when it came to his Daily Holy Living and Rigorous Gospel Proclamation. Paul used sports imagery to convey this very thing. He wrote, “So I don’t run aimlessly. I don’t let my eyes drift off the finish line. When I box, I don’t throw punches in the air! I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after all this, after I have brought the gospel to other, I will still be qualified to win the prize!” (I Cor. 9:26-27, The Voice).

 

Loss of intent when it comes to spiritual battles is to concede defeat to temptations even before temptations comes to you. Some husbands may not have any intention whatsoever to beat the bed temptation (be it porn-watching or actual sex outside of marriage) or the bottle temptation when your wife goes on an office tour. They trip in that temptation every time without offering a semblance of a fight after knowing that there is a ‘war inside your soul’ – 2 Peter 2:11). Repent! Some wives will indulge in romance-laced conversations with office colleagues and delete the relevant chat history every weekend with no intention of winning over that temptation. Repent! The Scripture is clear: “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness” (2 Tim. 2:19).

 

 

Will God forgive the sin you are planning to commit without showing any intent of staying away from it? Absolutely. But guess what? When you commit such sins, you change in the process of sinning! Yes, you are transformed during the course of that premeditated transgression – transformed into a person like Judas who never came to Jesus to ask for forgiveness even though he knew he had blundered only to land in eternal hell. Your heart becomes hard. And you come to place of no return. And once that happens the Holy Spirit will not speak to you (Gen. 6:3, 2 Kings 24:4 – Did that happen to Manasseh, the most serially stubborn leader among God’s people?). Post that, it’s only a down-ward spiral into eternal Hell, I’m afraid.

 

I believe, Kohli should be bold and take some tough calls in India’s next game versus Bangladesh (on 2 July 2019). Dhoni and Kedar should be dropped for atleast one game as a disciplinary measure. And Dinesh Karthik and Ravi Jadeja should play instead of them. And before the Holy Spirit stops speaking to your stubborn heart for your continued “lack of intent” when it comes to beating temptations and winning over sin consistently, pull your socks up, enabled by God’s grace!

 

(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 www.dukev.org or via WhatsApp at -91-8886040605 or via Facebook at www.facebook.com/dukebook).