80 medical doctors and 21 nurses died while taking care of Corona infected patients in Italy having contracted the virus themselves. I learnt this when I watched news from this App on my Smart TV – HayStack (on 6 April 2020). I am sure some of these medical professionals were believers. I believe, on the final day, the Lord will reward and honor them, with gusto, in the same way, he honors ‘fulltime’ missionary martyrs like Jim Elliot, John Allen Chau and others. There is no secular work – sacred work divide in the Bible. The work God has given us – be it ‘secular’ or ‘sacred’ – we need to be faithful unto death in it. “WHATEVER your hand finds to do, do it with all your might….” (Eccl. 9:10, OLD TESTAMENT). “WHATEVER you do, work at it with your whole being, for the Lord and not for men” (Col. 3:23, NEW TESTAMENT).
Questions for Immortality on Earth Cult Pastors: If you preach from John 11:26 that people who believe in Jesus should not experience PHYSICAL death then you should also preach from John 8:12 that people who believe in JESUS will not be in PHYSICAL DARKNESS! That is, you should teach your congregation this: ‘do not switch off your lights when you sleep, because John 8:12 says those who walk with Jesus will never live in the dark!!’ But you don’t do that right?! You instinctively interpret the ‘light’ of John 8:12 to be ‘spiritual light’ right? You instinctively interpret the ‘thirst’ that Jesus talked about in John 4:14 as spiritual thirst, right? Then why this double standard only with John 11:26? Oh for consistency in Bible Interpretation! (Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Gen from Gehenna Mission. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org).
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)
Why did God flood Job with so many questions (77 by one count in Job 38-39) at the end of the book of Job (perhaps the first Bible book in terms of date)? I believe this was the reason. He wanted to tell Job, “When you could trust and serve me (Job 13:15) without knowing answers for so many questions, what is the big problem you have when it comes serving me when you do not know the answer for ONE MORE QUESTION: ‘Why am I suffering?’ “ Job who did not know the answer for the question of God to him, ‘Do you know when the MOUNTAIN goats give birth?’(Job 39:1) must walk with God with unshakable trust even when he grabbles with the question: ‘ Why this MOUNTAIN of problems for me?’ That was God’s point at the end of this book. We do not the exact reason for this destructive Carona pandemic. But just as God expected Job to do, we have a job to do: trust and serve Jesus in the one life we have till our death or His return whichever comes earlier!!!!
(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this piece is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a listener-supported Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Follow Duke’s videos at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).
Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj – 22 nd March, 2020 (A Video Message Shared Online Via Facebook and Youtube)
We thank you Lord for this day, March 22,2020 when we are home, worshipping you in accordance with your sovereign plan; also for the privilege and freedom to broadcast on social media (You Tube and Facebook).Thank you for the opportunity to teach and share your Living Word that touches and transforms the lives of people watching globally .
May hearts be warmed by the Holy Spirit’s leading, bringing illumination, revelation, and life transformation. Amen.
The recent Economist Magazine reports that governments are trying to get a grip on this deadly pandemic – COVID -19. On March 16, reliable medical research published by epidemiologists (Imperial College, London) predicted that the virus would affect 80% of British population within 3 to 4 months if not arrested by the government or population.2.2 million Americans and 500,000 people in U.K. would be affected. No one really knows what will happen in nations like India.
I want to use the acronym C-O-R-O-N-A to teach what the Bible, God’s own Word, has to say about plagues and pestilences.
C – CREATOR CAUSED PLAGUES
The Bible repeatedly attributes the origin of plagues and pestilences to God. If the Devil causes a plague (In Luke 13:16 Satan causes a disease which could have been a result of a viral attack on the human body – See also Mark 9:17; 9:25 and Acts 10:38) he needs to get God’s permission. God can permit the devil to operate. God’s sovereignty is a major doctrine of the Bible and no one can question him with a WHY (Dan. 4:35)?
The first reference to the plague is found in Genesis 12:17 when the Lord afflicted Pharaoh and his house in Egypt because of Abram’s wife Sarai. (Genesis 12:10 – 20)
The next reference is Exodus 8:2 where the Lord plagues Egypt with frogs because Pharaoh would not release the Israelites from their bondage. (Moses was their leader and he wrote the first 5 books of the Bible.)
In Exodus 9:3, it is the plague on livestock caused by the hand of God. In verse 14, we read that God sends all plagues on the Egyptian people to proclaim that “there is none like me(God) in all the earth.” In all, there were 10 plagues that affected the Egyptians.
Exodus 32:35 states that God sent a plague because Aaron made a golden calf which the people of God, Israelites, worshipped. They worshipped the CREATION rather than the CREATOR.
Numbers 11:33 tells us that even before the Israelites had consumed the flesh of the quail, God sent a plague because their perpetual complaints and ingratitude triggered God’s anger.
(One theory regarding the origin of Corona virus is that it came from a wet market which sold exotic meats, including the meat of winged bats, the likely original host of the Corona Virus, in Wuhan, China).
In Numbers 16:46, Moses tells Aaron to carry a censer, take fire from the altar and use incense as an atonement for the congregation since God’s wrath had caused a plague. The Bible is a library of 66 books and as we comb through it, we come to Numbers 25 where we read of the religious prostitution with Moabite women in the temple of Baal and Baal worship of the Israelites.
Balaam, in Numbers 31:16 counselled the Israelites to worship the idol Baal-Peor in-effect (by dancing with the women of Moab) using his seemingly prophetic powers and the consequence was a plague that killed 24,000.
Deuteronomy 28:59 records the farewell speech of Moses to Israelites before their entry to the Promised Land where he repeats the law and warns them of the fearful plagues that will affect their children and will last long and afflict them with sore sicknesses. In Deuteronomy 32:24 God warns the disobedient people that he will send hunger, heat, beasts, and poisonous serpents as agents of destruction. At the beginning of creation, the serpent is Satan’s slave and speaks to Eve. However, in Matthew 10:16, God says “be ye therefore as wise as serpents.”
Joshua 22:17 is a reminder of the plague on the congregation by sexual immorality. Joshua 24:5 states, “I plagued Egypt.” I Samuel 4:8 tells us how even the pagans realized God’s protection over the Israelites when it came to plagues.
Psalm 78:50 speaks of a pestilence that God delivered his people to. In Zechariah 14:12, the plague will affect those who war against Jerusalem; verse 18 of the same chapter speaks of the Lord smiting the heathen with a plague that do not observe the Feast of Tabernacles/Booths.
The Feast of Booths/Tabernacles is a Jewish Festival which is symbolic of the Israelite journey through the wilderness in temporary shelters. It is a call to repentance. It is also a symbol of our spiritual journey through this world as aliens, strangers, travellers, and as Peter says “sojourners “ (I Peter 2:11). The world offers prosperity, sinful pleasures, immortality on earth before Second Coming and we can choose to be worldly! But we should remember that we are passing through, to reach a city with no plagues. As Jim Reeves sang, “this world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.”
In the New Testament, Revelation 18:8 speaks of God’s judgement on establishments that are anti-God. Babylon is symbolic of this. The plagues will come in a single day – death, fire, famine. Revelation 22:18 warns with clarity that in response to people’s rebellion, God can choose to send plagues.
With the help of the above references, we understand that the plague is CREATOR CAUSED. Yes, Satan can be given permission by God to cause plagues/diseases. But even then, the buck for causing a plague, for reasons known to him, stops with God as he chose to give permission without which no plague could have occurred – including the Corona Virus Pandemic – in the first place!
We are using the outline C-O-R-O-N-A to understand what the Bible has to teach about plagues. C for Creator-Caused Plagues. O is the next letter under consideration!
O-OBLITERATED BY THE CROSS ON WHICH JESUS DIED? IS THAT TRUE ABOUT PLAGUES?
Obliterated means cancelled. Does the Bible teach that none of the believers will be attacked/affected by the virus? Is there such a theology in the Bible? This is the question. Exodus 12:13 speaks of the blood as an anti-dote for the plague. In Exodus 30:12, the Lord asks Moses to take census and number the Israelites when there is non-existence of plague among them. Revelation 18:4 refers to Babylon, which is symbolic of the system of evil and sin. We should say bye-bye to satan , come under the blood of Jesus, and join the spiritual church. Should we as believers never experience a plague? Plagues are not for God’s children says Numbers 8:19. Can Numbers 8:19 be applied to believers of today?
Psalm 91:10 is assuring – “There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. Revelation 18:4 says this: “be ye not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” So, the question is this: will a believer who lives a holy life be spared from the Corona Virus infection as Revelation 18:4 seems to suggest?
Accelerated, passionate, cultic preaching, originally from South Africa, also echoed in Sri Lanka, India, propagated immortality which said that if you believe on Jesus, you will not die. Is this teaching correct?
There are 4 things that the believer which the human race deals with: defilement, disease, death, and demonic attack.
DEFILEMENT: By His first coming, Jesus gave us power over defilement. Being away from defilement does not allow us to use angry/ abusive words. We gain complete victory over every kind sinful habit (I John 3:5-6).
The Bible reiterates 300 times that Jesus is coming again. II Corinthians 5:21 says that Jesus has already made us righteous. But I John1 :8 states we are not righteous. James 3:2 says that we (believers) stumble in many ways. It is a paradox. We are “already” holy, but “not yet” holy! This is what is called the ‘already but not yet’ theology – a theology that we must understand!
Grace is not a credit card to sin. We are not perfect and we do sin, but must come back to Jesus in genuine repentance and confession (Romans 2:4-5; I John 1:8-9). Only after the Second Coming (which takes place in Revelation 19:11) and in the New Heavens and Earth will there be complete absence of sin (Rev. 21:27).
So till the Second Coming we must put to death the acts of the flesh empowered by the Spirit (Romans 8:13). So, in a sense, we are already holy but not yet holy!
DISEASE: The ‘already but not yet’ theology is also seen in the area of diseases.
Even though God has worked out the solution on the Cross, the provision for our healing, some do not get healed for mysterious reasons. Isaiah 53:5 – With His stripes we are healed. I Peter 2:24 – By whose stripes ye were healed. Yes, after the first coming Jesus made provision for our healing at the Cross. However for some mysterious higher reason not all of us are healed here and now II Timothy 4:20 – Paul left his fellow labourer Trophimus at Miletus sick, even though he had healed sick and possessed people, with handkerchiefs/aprons.
Matthew 8 :16,17 records that Jesus healed all that were sick in a particular area fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 53:5. This is in line with Exodus 23:25 which says, “I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.”
Let us hit rewind button on the characters of Elijah and Elisha.Elijah had performed 8 miracles – shut up heavens, caused drought, multiplied oil and flour to the widow, raised her son, defeated prophets of Baal with fire, brought rain to end drought, destroyed 51 with fire, destroyed another group of 51 with fire, parted the waters at River Jordan and he was taken in a whirlwind to heaven. Miracle after miracle and healing after healing but one day, he was taken in a whirlwind to heaven.
Elisha had asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit and he performed 16 miracles – parted waters of Jordan, purified waters of Jericho, Caused a flood, made Israelites to foil the Moabiltes, gave a flow of oil to the widow, gave fertility to the woman of Shunem, raised her son from death, purified the poisonous stew, multiplied barley loaves, healed Naaman of leprosy, healed Gehazi his servant, floated the head of the iron axe, struck Arameans blind, prophesied end of Aramean siege, prophesied death of Benhadad and rise of Hazael and prophesied Israel would defeat King of Aram.
Yet, Elisha, the mighty miracle-worker died of sickness – II Kings 13:14. This is the story of many of our loved ones.
We know of the apologist Dr.Nabeel Quereshi who was working with RZIM Ministries died of an illness at the age of 33. God released healing in the Old and New Testaments but here and now there is sickness, suffering, and pain. Plagues and pestilences fall in that category of suffering. They keep us humble. We are not in-charge of the earth. The Sovereign God is in control.
Paul , the author of many New Testament books, had a thorn in his flesh – some kind of ailment causing pain. He pleaded three times with God. II Corinthians 12:9 says “My grace is sufficient for thee.” I Peter 2:24 reiterates that we are healed by His stripes. Infirmities humble us.
If I can do everything, then I will be God but I am human. I depend on God and others and this ushers in a beautiful, mutual dependence, and a spirit of team work. The area in which I am weak may be the strength of another person.
While I Peter 2:24 teaches that Jesus has ‘already’ made provision for our healing, passages such as Romans 8:23 (which says that we await redemption of our bodies) teach that we are ‘not yet’ healed. After the Second Coming of Jesus (recorded in Revelation 19), there will be a time when there will be no more pain – no more disease (Rev. 21:4).
We have talked about Defilement in terms of the already but not yet paradigm. We have talked about Disease in terms of the already but not yet paradigm. Now to the next topic – Death.
DEATH- There are 2 stages in the coming of Christ – the first coming. If Jesus had planned to finish all his work with regard to us (like defeating death) in the First Coming itself, he would not have told that us that he is coming again. But he told us that he is coming again! First coming helps us overcome the ‘fear of dying’ (Heb. 2:15). Second coming helps us to overcome death itself (Rev. 19, Second Coming becomes a reality; Rev. 21:4 no more death in New Heaven and Earth). The fear of death is released. The first coming of Christ deals with one dimension of death but the second coming deals with death in all dimensions. Only post his Second Coming we will receive a glorified, death-free, immortal body (I Cor. 15:23). The reward for giving up all and loving Jesus supremely is “Eternal” life (a deathless life) and this blessing is only available in the “life to come” (Luke 18:30) – not before that! We have “already” overcome fear of death (Heb 2:15) and but “not yet” experienced a total win over death as death is the last enemy which Christ will defeat “at his coming” (I Cor. 15:23,26).
Some cult false teachers quote John 11:25,26 to teach immortality on earth. When Jesus said that those who believe in me will not die, we must check the context to understand the meaning of the word ‘death’. If we say ‘Sunny’ – it could mean the weather, or it could mean the Indian Cricket Opener (Sunil Gavaskar), it could mean the Nissan Car model, or it could me a porn star! The context will determine what “Sunny” means! In the same way the context of the word ‘death’ as Jesus used in John 11:25-26 indicates that he was talking about spiritual death. In Luke 9:20 Jesus says, “Let the dead bury the dead!” He was referring to the spiritually dead people who will refuse to follow Jesus because they await the actual physical death of their parents! In Luke 15:24, 25, Jesus referred to the alive-physically post repentance but once upon a time, dead-spiritually prodigal son. So, John 11:25-26 cannot be talking about immortality on earth (if you look at the context of these passages and map those the rest of the Bible, you cannot believe in immortality on earth here and now). It is talking about overcoming spiritual death and ultimately escaping second death which is hell punishment (Rev. 21:8). Romans 8:1 – There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. There is no danger of second death when you believe and abide in Christ Jesus!
We are talking about the ‘already’ but ‘not yet’ theology of the Bible with regard to Defilement, Disease, Death and finally, Demons!
DEMONS: Matthew 12 :28 – Devils are cast out by the spirit of God. When this happened in Jesus’ ministry the Kingdom of God has been established and Satan has been defeated. When Jesus died on the Cross the Devil was “already” defeated and shamed on the Cross. Read Col 2:13,14,15. Jesus defeated the devil on the Cross. But the final defeat of the Devil is still in the ‘not yet’ category. It is pending. The devil is still active deceiving people and nations (I Peter 5:8). “Already but not yet theology” tells us that the work of God is inaugurated in His First Coming but completed in the Second Coming. Matthew 25:1 – Kingdom of heaven is likened to 10 virgins with their lamps. Matthew 25:31-34 speaks about the separation of people and nations just as a shepherd divides the sheep and goats (judges both believers and non-believers) as a King on the throne. God will complete the establishment of the kingdom of God after the Second Coming. So, His kingdom is still coming, in one sense. Luke 23:42,43 is a reference to the dying thief who says “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom” and Jesus responds “You will be with me in Paradise today.” The Dying thief rightly say the ‘already but not yet’ theology in Jesus’ teachings and made the right request.
Satan is still active and can cause us harm if we are not alert and will only be sent to hell after the Second Coming of Jesus [Rev. 19:11 (Second Coming), 20(hell for the miracle-working False Prophet and AntiChrist and Rev. 20:10 – hell for the Devil)]. Note that we must not get carried away false teachers who say, “Look at my miracles!” because the ultimate False Prophet, one who is part of the False Trinity will also work miracles!
There is a group working with missionary zeal on social media that circulates teaching that we have victory over disease (so you can’t have diseases), death (so you can’t die now), and demons (and Satan poses no danger to you now). In the light of the above paragraphs, what they teach is hellish false teaching. I wonder why this group does not say, “Jesus died for our sins on the Cross, so we must not sin anymore!” But they say, “Jesus died for us on the Cross and we must not die anymore!” Their shallow, double-standards-embracing arguments tells the larger story of how they love “Balaam’s wages” and so will only preach a message that will “tickle” people’s ear! [Of course, the right teaching is this: Jesus died for our sins on the Cross and we can have power over sin (I John 3:5-6), though only Jesus is sinlessly perfect (I John 1:8)!]
Balance Psalm 91:10 (no plague shall come near thy dwelling) with Hosea 13:14 where the prophet, alive before the first coming of Jesus, foretells the future time after Second Coming where-in a Psalm 91:10 protection will be a reality! In the absolute sense, Psalm 91:10 (no plague shall come near thy dwelling), will be true only in the New Heaven and Earth (Rev. 21:4) post the Second Coming of Jesus (Rev. 19:11) and not before that.
We are using the outline C-O-R-O-N-A to learn what the Bible teaches about Plagues.
C-reator-Caused plagues; O-bliterated by the Cross plagues here and now (absolutely not!); now for the third letter in this acronym, R….
R – REDEMPTION FROM THE PLAGUES
What can be humanly done to stop a plague (knowing ultimately it is God’s prerogative to do so)?
Sacrificial entry into God’s presence:
In II Samuel 24, we read about David’s pride and arrogance when he wanted to count the troops instead of counting on God. God sends a pestilence and 70,000 men died. A sacrifice had to be made in a particular piece of land for the plague sent by God to stop. That piece of land was available for free for King David. But he wanted to pay for it. “I will not offer to the Lord, burnt offerings that cost me nothing!” – he said (2 Sam. 24:24). Then finally the altar was built. The sacrifice was offered. The Lord answered the prayer and then the plague stopped.
We have to increase our prayer time and kneel instead of watching different screens all day and night (I am talking about the phone, pad and the TV). Spend time with family around His word, in prayer. We can fast and pray and say “NO” to the things we love with a sacrificial David-like spirit; we can give sacrificially and support missionary organizations. Then, God may chose to stop the plague!
Numbers 16:21 onwards speaks of the grumbling against Moses, the rumbling, and the humbling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. The earth swallowed them up and their houses. A fire consumed 250 men that offered incense.14,700 died from the plague. Moses begged for mercy. Aaron offers incense as an atonement which is symbolic of the prayers and intercessions of saints. Revelation 5:8 speaks of golden vials full of odours which are the prayers of saints.
[We have a monthly fasting and prayer time with intercession named “Fountain of tears against Mountain of fears” when we pray for nations (for Corona-hit Italy/Iran), our nation (India), the google generation (which goes porn-again!) and for the tensions of those who come (for a job, for a baby, for peace in marriage, etc)].
Separation from the world:
Revelation 18:4 warns us not to partake in sins and be subject to plagues. When we live a life of holiness and separation, then God may choose to stop the plague!
Others use foul language, we too use foul language. Others watch soft porn via Netflix, we too do the same! This CAN’T be! For the plague to end, we must choose holiness and separation from the Bible. Then God may choose to end the plague!
Proclamation of the standards of God’s Holiness:
We should preach the truth about God’s holy standards from His Word taking the cue from Phinehas. In Numbers 25, we read of Phinehas and how he removed evil and stopped the plague which killed 24,000. He killed people involved in sexual immorality. We should turn away from filthy thinking and adultery. God’s word is the sword which divides holy and sinful people. Psalm 106:29 speaks of the outbreak of the plague. “They provoked him to anger with their inventions.” Phinehas literally sent a spear into a couple that was into sinful Baal worship through sexual intimacy inside the privacy of a tent (Numbers 25:6-8). As New Testament believers we will not kill people physically that way. Instead, we will use the sharp sword of the Word of God (Heb. 4:12) and preach it to people so that their hearts are “cut” (Acts 2:37). My book, Straight Talk, brings such frank Bible teaching on sex, love, marriage, petting outside marriage, homosexuality, porn, etc. We are now working on edition 3 as I write with vols 1 and 2 sold out.
We are using the acronym C-O-R-O-N-A to outline the message of the Bible on the topic of plagues. And the next letter to consider is O…..
O – ORDERLY QUARANTINE HAS TO BE MAINTAINED DURING THE PLAGUE:
The laws of quarantine set by the local government have to be followed. Leviticus 13:36 speaks of social distancing and isolation. As long as they have the disease, they have to separate themselves from others and stay outside the camp. We must obey in order to stop the spread of the disease. Read Leviticus 5. Cleanliness can be marred by having an issue, leprosy or touching the dead – Numbers 5:2
Leviticus 15:6,17,18,32; Deuteronomy 23:10,11; II Kings 7:3; 15:5. Read these Scriptures that vote for orderly quarantine during times of plague or contagious disease long before medical science was as advanced as it is during our time!
In II Samuel 24, we read about David’s pride and self-sufficiency. God sends a pestilence and 70,000 men died. In II Kings 15:5, the king becomes a leper until his death and lives in a separate house. II Chronicles 26:21, Uzziah the king was a leper till his death and lived in a separate house. Read Leviticus 22:14.
Romans 13:1 teaches that we must obey the Government when it comes laws passed by it that does not contradict the written Word of God. The 21-day quarantine period and consequent ‘stay-at-home’ order by the Government needs to be obeyed for the larger good of the people.
We are using the acronym C-O-R-O-N-A to outline the message of the Bible on the topic of plagues. And the next letter to consider is O…..
N – NEARNESS TO THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS:
“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven” – Luke 21:11
Many signs of Jesus’ second coming are seen. From 1981, 35 million lives were lost due to the HIV pandemic; 1.4 billion were infected globally by the Swine Flu in 2009. 11,325 died and 28,600 cases reported in the West African Ebola in 2014; in 2015 the Zeke virus caused by mosquitoes affected South and Central America and in 2020 we have the Corona Virus globally. Many lives have been lost in China, Italy, U.S.A., Iran. In Deut 23:10,11, we read about an unclean man who has to cleanse himself.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness. God can help us to be clean! Clean husbands will please wives and vice-versa!
The Lord’s coming will be like a thief at night (I Thessalonians 5:2) and we must be ready for it any-second.
We are using the acronym C-O-R-O-N-A to outline the message of the Bible on the topic of plagues. And the next letter to consider is O…..
A – ALIVE DURING THE TIME OF PLAGUE AND SO WE MUST….
Amos 4:10, Luke 13:1-5 instruct us to repent or perish; repent from pride and prayerlessness. Pilate had mingled the blood of some Galileans with sacrifices.18 people died because the tower of Siloam fell. These people did not die because they were worse sinners than the others. We are all living with the virus of sin and this plague situation is a call to REPENTANCE. Hebrews 11:25 warns us of the passing pleasures of sin. May be prayerlessness and porn watching? If we are alive today, then we should eagerly expect and wait the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior who died for us. Without repentance, we will perish. We need to repent.
Jesus tells us about the ten lepers in Luke 17:12. They were healed. Jesus comes close to us and heals us though we are affected by the virus.
The question He asks is if we will allow His touch. He came in search for us. He wants to come close, touch, and perform a miracle in our lives. Those affected by leprosy had to stay outside the city and could not touch anyone. Corona is causing social distancing but sin is a greater virus than this. We live in a living hell and go to a literal hell because of sin. Intercede for the lost and affected. Cleanliness is next to Godliness. God can help us to be clean and ready for His coming and not left behind. He will lead you and give you a purpose.
Prayer of repentance.
Dear Lord Jesus, I am sorry for my sins. I have a virus deadlier than CORONA, the virus of sin. Wash me with your blood that you shed on the cross. Cleanse me right now from this. Thank you for dying for me. Thank you for rising again. Thank you for being willing to be my friend, a friend closer than my brother.From this day onwards, I want to relate to you, love you, and follow you.
Thank you for cleansing me, washing me. Thank you that I am born again. In your name I pray.
Amen. We ask for God’s healing by His nail-pierced hand and experience miracles, testimonies, and healing and pray for closed doors to open. Let us continue to lead balanced lives and pray for the hurting world. When times return to normalcy, we should not forget God. God consciousness should remain. Let us plunder hell and populate heaven. God does more than we ask for or imagine and we have to follow Him and hold on to His Word.
(The Author of this piece is Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj. He is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. Find out more at www.dukev.org or at www.dukewords.com. This particular article was transcribed from a message that Duke Jeyaraj preached via Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f25tnCjBJ3s) or Facebook on 22 March 2020 by Mrs. Malini Prabakar).
As my wifey dear, Evan Duke, completes four and half decades of existence on God’s green earth, here is a summary of her lovely life and terrific times:
1) HOSTEL-DWELLER EVAN (0-10, 1976-85)
Since her parents, Mr. P. Selvam and Mrs. Esther Selvam, were missionaries to interior areas of Tamil Nadu first (Sitteri Hills) and Odisha later (including the area in which the Dr. Staines served), Evan lived in hostel even before she turned five. She was a protective elder sister to her two younger brothers – Solbrekken and Revivan.
When Missionary Mon Singh gave an altar call in Santhosha Vidhyalaya, Dohnavur, Tirunelveli District, Evan raised her hand to commit for fulltime ministry. She memorized the entire book of Philippians and recited it in Sunabeda Public School in Odisha – a school in which she became School Captain down the line.
3) HEART-BEAT OF DUKE, EVAN (1996-2001)
At the age of 25, she became the heart-beat of Duke Jeyaraj, a young engineer turned itinerant evangelist and settled to live with a guy whose salary was Rs.3000 a month!
4) HERO OF DALE, EVAN & HYDERABAD HEADING EVAN (2002 – 2005) She became the proud mom of Dale Nathan in 2003. Till date, he remains mummy’s biggest fan! A few hours ago Dale dished out an acronym-choreographed appreciation of his ‘shero’! She clearly heard God’s voice to Duke and herself asking them to move to Hyderabad after stints as Blessing Youth Mission Missionaries in Trivandrum and Jabalpur. And She encouraged her hubby dear to obey this voice and landed in Hyderabad on October 30, 2005 with little Dale in tow.
She prodded her hubby to take up the invitation of Center of Global Leadership Development – Southern Asia Bible College to join a Doctor of Ministry program and helped him focus on that. She stayed back home and managed the home even as Duke got his doctoral degree in 2014. She did nappy-changing happily for little Datasha (born in 2007) even as Duke preached in North West Bengal (Darjeeling) to South Tamil Nadu (Madurai), from West India (Mumbai) to East India (Vizag)! She co-founded the Grabbing the Google Generation (G4 Mission base) from Gehenna Mission with her husband, actively influencing him to say ‘no’ to other ministry job opportunities with other reputed churches and organisations. She encouraged Duke to quit his job with HSBC in 2008 and since then both she and Duke work fulltime with G4 Mission.
6) HEALING-CHANNEL EVAN (2016-2020)
She was the brain behind the Fountain of Tears Against Mountain of Fears Fasting prayer – an intercession event which was held every month at the G4 Mission base. As she led in prayer for the needs of the people who came to this meeting, God graciously moved and did miracles and healings. Cancer gone. Babies born. Marriages became joyous. Life Partners were found.
No – Evan is not perfect. But she is the perfect life-partner and ministry-companion for me!
A biblical response to hyper-supernaturalism by Dr. Duke Jeyaraj
There is an increasing craze to attend meetings where forensic prophecy and “miracle money” is the order of the day in the meeting. For those of you who do not know, forensic prophecy involves supposed “Holy Spirit” bizarre revelations about details unknown to the preacher like phone numbers, date of birth, month of birth, bank account details, bank balance details, etc., of those in the audience/or those known to the audience. When these are mentioned by the so-called “prophet”, the audience is stunned and they tell themselves, “How come this prophet knows all this! He is certainly guided by God! He is really a man of God and I must follow his teachings and support his ministry with my time, talents and treasures!” There are popular preachers who are into forensic prophecy from India, from Sri Lanka and the United Kingdom and many other countries of the World. The focus of meetings these preachers organize and minister in, are forensic prophecies. They can be called hyper-supernatural preachers (preachers who excessively focus on the supernatural and go beyond what the Bible teaches when it comes to the operation of miracles/healings/etc).
A popular worship leader who encourages a lot of so-called healing pastors/evangelists by touring along-side them said this in a rebuttal video clip which I saw as telecasted by a TV News Channel: “First raise 10 people from the dead and then come and lecture me from the Bible what true worship is!” (he says this to this critics). From the tone of this argument we can conclude he is hyper-supernatural. For him, the Bible does not seem to be final court of appeal. The final court of appeal for him, is miracles. If miracles happen, he feels, then that ministry is genuine. This is the typical assertion of the person who is swayed by the hyper-supernatural false teaching. We will refute this teaching later on in this article.
In response to the question, “Why are you busy chasing forensic prophetic miracles and miracle money miracles?” the usual response given by such proponents is this: “Jesus said we who believe in him will do greater works than him as John 14:12 says. So, we do this!”
Such a response does not hold water. It is not adequate. It is not convincing. Let me explain:
Can this miracle-money/forensic-prophecy group say, “Jesus claimed to be the only way of Salvation. He also said that we his followers would do greater works than him. So, we Jesus’ miracle-working followers, are even more a greater way of Salvation than even Jesus himself!”? They cannot say that. Why? The Bible remains the final court of appeal for all matters of belief and behaviour. We cannot have a Bible interpretation for any Bible verse that violates the Bible itself.
First of all, we must seek to find out what the word “works” (NKJV/NASB) Jesus referred to in John 14:12 mean. Do they mean “signs and wonders” as this Forensic Prophecy/Miracle Money group confidently says it means?
BELOW THE PASSAGE
First, we must read BELOW that verse. We must read the next two verses – that is John 14:13 & 14 – to understand the meaning of the word that Jesus used means. They go this way: “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14 NASB). The “greater works” – works greater than Jesus’ works, that is – that believers will do must bring God’s glory (see John 14:13) and must be worthy enough to be asked for in Jesus’ name (see John 14:14). For example, No one should be saying, “Jesus never slept with any woman. But He said, “I will do greater works than him!” So I am going to sleep with many women!” Why? That request does not bring glory to the father’s name or can be asked in Jesus’ name (because it goes against the teachings of Jesus and what is clearly written elsewhere in the Bible!)
We are trying to find out the meaning of the phrase, “works” when Jesus said, “you who believe in me will do greater works than me” in John 14:12. Scroll further down and we read this, the words of Jesus: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). So the greater works we believers do, should be in line with the commands of Jesus or the Word of God which is the final court of appeal for all matters of belief and behaviour.
Let us scroll down even further to get to the root of the meaning of “greater works” which Jesus spoke about in John 14:12. From John 14:16 onwards Jesus starts to introduce the Holy Spirit. So this is what he is saying: “To do the greater works, you need the fullness of the Holy Spirit whom I will soon send!”
In the book of Acts the Holy Spirit came down. The disciples of Jesus and ordinary believers were filled with the Holy Spirit. They went about doing the “greater works” that Jesus spoke about in John 14:12. Of course they did many miracles enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit. But at the same time, we must not fail to notice that miracles they sought did not always happen. For example, apostle James was imprisoned and killed (Acts 12:2) while Peter was imprisoned and miraculously escaped (Acts 12:7 following). While it was God’s will to have Peter miraculously released it was not his will that James should be released. We must conclude that James, like David, served the purposes of God in his generation and then died (we read this in the same book – the book of Acts in 13:36!). The hyper-supernatural preachers believe “you can force God to answer your prayers every-time”, the way you want him to and this belief is plain unscriptural! [What I have put with-in inverted commas is the subtitle of one of the books of a popular hyper-supernatural black preacher].
Here is another account of “greater things” that the disciples did in the book of Acts: “They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So, they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:40-42). Yes, they were flogged by the enemies of the Gospel, the Jewish leaders. As they were bleeding, they were bubbling. Bubbling with joy that they were counted “worthy” to suffer for the name of Jesus! But despite the “battering” (the flogging) they kept at their “broadcasting” (of the name of Jesus)! Wow! So, I conclude that suffering for the name of Jesus is part and parcel of the “greater works” that Jesus spoke about in John 14:12!
Respected Bible Scholars interpret John 14:12 where Jesus mentions about those who believe in him doing greater works than him this way: “Jesus had accomplished the greatest works possible, including raising the dead. How could He say believers would do greater works? The answer is seen in the extent of what the apostles did. Jesus’ work on the earth was confined to Palestine; the apostles would preach everywhere and see the conversion of thousands. Peter’s message at Pentecost brought more followers to Jesus than did Jesus’ entire ministry. The disciples were able to do this work because Christ would go to the Father and send the Holy Spirit to empower them” (The Nelson Study Bible, 1997 Edition, page 1793). “These works are ‘greater’ not because they are more amazing miracles but because they will be greater in their worldwide scope…” (The ESV Study Bible, 2008 edition, page 2053). “Jesus was alluding here to ministerial labour in the power of the Holy Spirit (by believers), which would be “greater” than Jesus’ in its geographical and numeric extension!” (The Spirit of Reformation Study Bible, 2003 edition, page 1732). So, while it is clear the “greater works” that Jesus referred to was in terms of an unprecedented Jerusalem-Samaria-Ends-of-the-World Acts 1:8 evangelism explosion unseen in the days of Jesus (who never left the boundaries of Israel as an adult), these modern day false teachers who are into forensic prophecy and miracle-money twist those words to sway a generation that does not know the Bible adequately.
ABOVE THE PASSAGE
To understand the correct meaning of what Jesus meant when he said that those who believe in him would do greater works than him (in John 14:12), we must read ABOVE as well. This is what we read in the verse above John 14:12, which is John 14:11 – “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.” Here Jesus claimed to be God and said that he offered his miracles as one of the proofs – though not the most important proof – that he indeed was God. The Jewish audience that Jesus spoke to, instantly understood that Jesus was making himself “equal” to God the Father (whom he called ‘the Father’ here). A few verses above, in John 14:6 Jesus claimed to be the only way to God – the only way to the Father! So, in the verses above John 14:12, Jesus basically gave the Gospel and an apologia for it, a defence for it. So, from the context above John 14:12 we can say this: those who believe in Jesus will do his work of presenting the unique Gospel and an apologia for the same, in far wider scale (to more people in more locations). By doing that they would do “greater” works than Jesus himself!
Also please note that there is a big difference between the miracles that Jesus did to prove his divinity than the miracles believers can do here and now. Jesus never faced any healing failure because he perfectly knew God the Father’s mind about any miracle request. For example, he knew that God’s time for John the Baptist was over, that’s why he never went to raise John the Baptist from the dead even when he heard that he was unfairly murdered. But that is not the case with us. We can pray for miracles. These miracles will happen subject to the will of God. By his exemplary prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus taught us, his followers, to sign out of every prayer – including prayers for miracles – using this phrase, ‘not my will but your will be done’.
God heard my prayer when I prayed for my daughter who was dead in her mom’s womb (in 2007). He raised her up. Now she is a normal child, 11 years on. But God did not hear my prayer that my US Visa should be stamped when I faced the Visa Officer in 2010. There are so many occasions when I have prayed for a miracle and that miracle did not happen. If my fellow ministers of the Gospel speak honestly, they would say that this is their story as well.
ALL THE BIBLE IN THE LIGHT OF THIS PASSAGE
We must not only see above and below any Bible passage to understand its right meaning – we must also see what the entire Bible says about what that passage seems to teach. Before we conclude what that Bible passage teaches, we must consider what the all of the Bible says about the topic/issues which that particular passage throws light upon. For example, we cannot dogmatically conclude that the length of the millennium is 1000 literal years based on just one passage found in Revelation 20. We must check what the whole Bible teaches about the length of the Kingdom of Jesus/the Son of David.
What about miracle money multiplication? I watched a social media video of a popular miracle money preacher from Kerala. He was preaching in Chennai in a meeting where a popular worship leader joined him on stage to interpret his Malayalam message into Tamil. The man who was called “Papa”/”Prophet” by the popular worship leader – claiming revelation from the Holy Spirit when he was praying – talked about a credit of 68 lakhs into the Andhra Bank account of someone in the audience before a specified date (a few month down the line). The audience was stunned. And he prophesied that the man in the audience this prophecy was targeted at (whom we shall call “Dorai” for convenience), carried an Andhra Bank Visa Debit Card in predominantly blue colour. Promptly, Mr. Dorai fished out an Andhra Bank Visa Debit Card with the specifications as mentioned by the “papa Prophet”. The audience burst into raptures. The interpreter-worship leader threw his mike in the air and caught it again, exuding the excitement of a cricket fielder who had taken a World Cup winning catch! Some time back, in a Chennai church meeting the visiting “prophet” preacher accurately “revealed” (what the Holy Spirit supposedly revealed to him) the phone number of a person related to the man he pulled up from the audience much to excitement of the hosting pastor. Meetings of this type, where these kinds of “forensic prophecies” are the main attraction are organized in different locations and hosted by different churches. Was Jesus envisioning meetings like these when he said by in John 14:12 that those who believe in him would do greater miracles than him?
Absolutely not. We have no record of such a focus in miracle-doing in the book of Acts. In the book of Acts, the apostles prayed for the sick. They looked to God when they were in a crisis (like when they were about to drown). They looked to God when they were imprisoned. And God responded as per his will (as we saw above). The miracles did not always happen. And when they did not, they did not frown. But they felt “fantastic” – their joy-level did not drop – and kept at doing what God had called them to do.
WHAT THE APOSTLE DID WHEN THEY NEEDED MONEY…
When there was need for money, they did not pray for the multiplication of the money they had. They sold properties they had and brought the proceeds to the apostles (Acts 4:37). They picked up jobs that paid them like tent-making (Acts 18:1-3). They encouraged believers to give to the Lord instead of just receiving from Him (Acts 20:35). Not once, did they pray for the money they had to multiply! We must copy the apostles who followed Jesus because of Paul’s repeated call to follow Christ as he and other apostles followed Christ (I Cor. 11:1; 4:16; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; I Thess. 1:6; 2 Thess. 3:9). So, we must follow the apostles way of doing greater things than Jesus and that does not include miracles like miracle money multiplication or forensic prophecy.
FORENSIC PREDICTIONS HAPPEN EVEN IN SECULAR TV SHOWS…
In fact, forensic predictions routinely happen in secular, non-Christian TV shows like America’s Got Talent (Just Google Colin Cloud). Magicians who are not Christ followers do them with regularity. That is not something to be surprised about. Don’t we see Pharaoh’s magicians do miracles in the book of Exodus (7:11,22; 8:7)? Did not even the Lord Jesus himself predict that “False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect!” (Mark 13:22)? Does not Jesus himself warn about those who would prophecy, drive out demons, and even do many miracles in his name who won’t enter his Kingdom – make it to heaven but would rather go to hell – in the Gospels (Matt. 7:21-23)? Don’t we see a demon-possessed young girl doing the same in the book of Acts before the apostles sent the demon packing from her (Acts 16:16-18)? Doesn’t Apostle Paul predict that the Anti-Christ (called “the Lawless one”) will do “signs and wonders” that “serve the lie” and “deceive those who are perishing” in the last days (2 Thess. 2:9-10)? In the book of Revelation, don’t we read of “demonic spirits which work miracles” (Rev.16:14 NLT)? Don’t we see the Ultimate False Prophet part of the False Trinity who shows up in Revelation doing miraculous signs to delude those who receive the mark of the Beast (the Antichrist), only to land in eternal hell (Rev. 19:20)?
Doing miracles is not a proof that God approves what you do, for even Satan and his team can do the same (as seen above). Doing miracles will not even guarantee someone a place in heaven (as seen above). So do not believe and go after this group of so-called ministers of God who do these kinds of miracles. Stay rooted in the Word of God! Such ministers of the Gospel who flout the written Word of God and obvious biblical pattern are dangerous because they can really take you to hell with them! So, be wary of them!
Also have you not wondered why there is a registration fee for these meetings where there is supposed abundance of “miracle money” miracles? Why don’t the organizers pray over their own bank accounts/ministry bank accounts so that there would be a dramatic money-multiplication which would be enough to meet the expenses of these meetings? You see, when believers are ready to be fooled, there would be no dearth of preachers who will be ready to fool them! This is the repeated, sad story when one goes through Church History.
[Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Write to Duke via +91-8886040605 (WhatsApp)]
A Short Bible Devotion from the Nevada Democratic Party’s Presidential Primary Debate on 19 Feb 2020 by Duke Jeyaraj
The Nevada Democratic Party’s Presidential primary debate was called the greatest debate in human history (by John Podhoretz of New York Post, February 19, 2020). Senator Elizabeth Warren was at her scathing best. “I’d like to talk about who we’re running against — a billionaire who calls women fat broads and horse-faced lesbians,” Warren said. “No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg.” “Bloomy should feel gloomy after the Dem debate roasting” – someone observed and it was all the work of Elizabeth Warren’s silver tongue! While she was convincingly vicious in her attack of the stunned Mayor Bloomberg, she also offered unexpected support to the other woman on the debate stage, Senator Amy Klobuchar (who is also her opponent as Bloomberg is), who said that she’d made an error by not recalling correctly the name of the president of Mexico in an interview. Elizabeth Warren defended her Democratic primary opponent Sen. Amy Klobuchar saying, “It happens to everybody on this stage…” while Amy was ripped apart by Pete Buttigieg(The Hill’s report). This action of Elizabeth Warren sent this message to her hearers: “I am objective when it comes to criticism/defence of my political opponents! I do not hesitate to hit out against my opponents. I do not shillyshally when I have to praise them as well!”
Apostle Paul was objective as a communicator of the Gospel in the hostile Athens much like Senator Elizabeth Warren was in the Nevada Democratic Party Presidential Primary Debate. He did roast the city’s lack of faith in after-life by talking about a certain judgement day that was soon to come. But Paul was also objective and fair when he chose to agree with one of the famous poets and son of Athens when he spoke thus: “One of your own poets say we are God’s offspring”. Read Acts 17 and gather this for yourselves. When we share the Gospel with friends from other faith, we need not shy away from asserting certain-to-bring-controversy issues like the never-to-be-sacrificed uniqueness of Jesus, the certainty and eternity of hell, etc. But at the same time, we need to seek to appreciate/assert things we can agree with in the world/works (it could be a secular movie, a secular song, etc) of those we are trying to give the Gospel too. Apostle Paul did that in Athens in Acts 17. And we too can follow suit.
Duke Jeyaraj Ministered in National Level youth programs of Assemblies of God, CSI, a national level meet of a believers fellowship functioning inside a top IT company, etc.
We had different varieties of prayer for the nations, the nation, the Google Generation and your tension (if u showed up) at our base during this decade!!! Fountain of Tears Against Mountain of Fears Fasting Prayer! Month-end Midnight Prayer!
When we Counselled people during this decade we told them what they needed to hear not what they wanted to hear!
Through the decade we published The Days of Your Youth Magazine. This mag wrapped Bible truth around contemporary events in an unique way and blessed readers world over. As the decade closed we had published 39 issues of this mag.
In the decade gone by when invited to minister in the Sunday Morning services of churches of different denominations (Methodist to Mennonite Bretheren; CSI to Assembly of God) we have sought to make ‘regular’ services ‘revival’ services by preaching anointed freshly baked unforgettable messages!!!
Over the decade that has gone by God has enabled us to publish several articles of practical value in Nationally recognised Christian Mags such as Light of Life and Aim
Wrote three books to bless the Google Generation with Straight Talk being the most widely read!
We have done tract distribution every month in different places in Hyderabad thro this decade at a time when this ministry went ‘out of fashion’!
Ministered in Bangladesh, Singapore, Bhutan and UAE in the decade that went by
Over the decade that has gone by we have submitted our IT returns each year with Govt of India following a non-relatives included Board Meeting approval. Our financial support has come from Indians/people of Indian origin.
During the last decade we were at the forefront of the public fight against taking-people-to-hell and maturity-robbing false teachings like hyper-grace / hyper-Israel / hyper-supernaturalism via social media posts/mag articles/Sound Doctrine Bible Studies.
What a World Cup it was – the 2002 edition at Korea-Japan! Young people across the world stayed glued to their TV sets to watch a ball kicked around for close to a month. It was ‘pulse-racing, heart-soaring and eyes-widening’ action! “Ronald has scored,” you yelled to your brother who had just gone to the bathroom. “Oliver Kahn has made a stupendous stop,” you scream to your sister who was making an omelette for you! Well, the Cup fever rent the air, just about everywhere.
The super kick. That stunning save. That dazzling dibble. That twisting run. You remember them well. Those images from the Cup were simply unforgettable. They were for me too. I chewed on some of them. And guess what happened? Some Bible truths bounced back into my system in an instant! Interested? Here they are:
The lesson of BROTHER- HOOD
If Ronaldo did not get past you, Rivaldo will. If Rivaldo did not get past you, Ronaldinho will. If Ronaldinho did not get past you, then Roberto Carlos will. The ‘R’ foursome of Brazil – the ones I have just named – hunted together, match after match for Brazil. Take this: The ‘R’ regiment piled up a staggering 16 goals for Brazil during the campaign.
Kleberson’s pass was coming to Rivaldo who looks al to take it. But in the last second, his foot rolls over the ball – instead of striking the ball. That was deliberately done. A dummy. The German defenders encircling him are fooled. The unmarked Ronaldo takes the ball and makes no mistake. Goal number two for Brazil in the Cup Final. What an astounding display of teamwork! “The secret is enthusiasm, friendship, union…” the Brazilian coach Lutz Felipe Scolari said.
Ammonites and their hired friends – the Arameans – gear up to attack Israel. The Ammonite troops wait at the gate of Jerusalem, while the Arman’s wait at the open fields of Jerusalem ( to finish off any who would cut and run into the open fields ). Cool military strategy eh? Nope. Not when you have a commander like Joab leading Israel’s ranks. Using his quick wit, he divides the soldiers of Israel into two teams: the best of them under him and the rest under his brother Abishai. They get ready to tackle the combine of the Ammonites and the Arameans. Joab would take care of the Arameans hunks whilst Abishai’s task was to cut to size The Ammonite army. Before they are off to battle, Joab mouths these golden words: “ If the Arameans are too strong for me, then come over and help me. And if the Ammonites are too strong for you, I will help you. Be courageous! Let US fight bravely to save our people and the cities of OUR God.” (1 Chron. 19:12-13 NLT). That was the kind of spirit that permeated through the ‘R’ regiment of Brazil in the Cup of 200: when one was crowded with defenders, he would pass the ball to one of his partners who were relatively free. Like it happened in the final. The result? Brazil did not lose a match in the entire tournament!
Want to make a mark for the Lord Jesus in your college? In your school? Rope in the help of another pal with the similar spirit. Do it together. Then you will fire. Slipping in your spiritual walk. Maybe you are doing it all alone. You are like that proverbial lonely chick that the Eagle swooped up with effortless ease. Growing increasingly clumsy in your Cross-Walk? Club together with a chum who checks on you. For “two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble.” (Ecco 4:9,10 NLT). Ask Joab and Abishai, they will tell you. Checkup with Ronaldo and the rest of the R gang of Brazil.
The lesson of BENDING DOWN TO BLESS OTHERS!
It was still 0-0 in the semi-final between Germany and South Korea, after 71 minutes of electrifying soccer. Lee Chun-Soo was about to break away from the German defence and have a clear run on the goal. Michael Ballack – the German midfielder who had a yellow card on him already – had a choice in that split – second. Placed before him what two options. One was to professionally foul Lee freezing him from having a dead-easy course to the German goal thereby earning yet another yellow card. The other alternative for Ballack was to hope someone else from his team would do the job (If you did not know, two yellow cards on the same player would bar that player from playing the following match – in Ballack’s case the next match was the World Cup final). He chose the first option and won an automatic ban for the Final. Very sacrificially. He relinquished his right to play for his country in the Cup Final voluntarily when the situation so demanded. He decided to watch from the touchline, the action that could have made up the greatest day in his footballing carrier. What was more – just four minutes later- Ballack ensured that the Germans got to the final in the first place, by two back-to-back shots, one each from each foot of his, the last of which found the Korean net beating their goalie, Lee Woonjae. Michael Ballack, whose middle name could have been SACRIFICE, single-handedly carried his nation from the quarter-final ( he scored the lone goal of that match ) right through to the final, though he knew he would not be there to play it. Here was a man who put his nation before his own promotion. Hats off to Ballack! In this me – first world of ours, Ballack’s act of sacrifice, stands out, like a towering coconut palm!
How I wish the Ballack spirit would rub on to us. Jesus knowing perfectly well that He was God and Human Flesh bent down to wash his disciples’ feet- a job reserved for slaves. Paul – what a man he was, my my! – had that kinda spirit in him. Paul could have lived in the homes of the Corinthian believers and shared their meals. That was certainly his privilege. But he did not use that advantage. He voluntarily chose to work and pay for his own expenses, so that the Corinthian church knew that his gospel was different from the empty philosophy preached by some travelling preachers those days who demanded the very same rights, he refused! (1 Cor 9:4,12). Paul was “willing to be forever cursed- cut off from CHRIST! – if that would save them” ( the stiff neck people of Israel ) ( Romans 9:3). Our parents are sacrificially labouring for the Lord in challenging places. They aren’t payed by Bill Gates, by the way! We must be like Ballack and Paul, on our own forgo some of our “rights” and “privileges” for the sake of the Kingdom of God. We may decide to skip that costly excursion. We may opt to for the cheaper Reynolds Jetter instead of the high – priced Parker pen. We may opt for A stitch trouser or shot instead of going for a branded one always. These gestures of sacrifice can make a world of difference, buddy! Missionary Hudson Taylor rightly understood that God is looking for people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for his name’s sake when a eloquently remarked, “ God is looking for wicks to burn. The oil and fire free!” Want to be a wick for God? Want to pray like Evan Roberts, “Lord, bend us and bless the world”?
The lesson of BOUNCING BACK
You are chosen to kick a penalty that can take your nation to its first ever World Cup semifinals. There are about 14 million eyes belonging to your nation cheering you up as you get ready to take it. The shot is taken. And you miss! What a tragedy! How heartbroken would you be! Ask South Korea’s Ahn Jung-Hawn. The same thing happened to him in Korea’s quarter-final match against Italy. Korea had Portugal for breakfast, Spain for lunch, and here was a chance to have in Italy for dinner and complete a “European Menu” but Ahn had bungled it up with a missed penalty. After 117 minutes of play when the score line was deadlocked at 1-1, it was Ahn again on whom 1 billion eyes zeroed in. He leapt in front of the legendary Italian defender, Maldivian and headed a cross into the Italian net. It was the golden goal! It was scored by a man who messed up a penalty kick earlier on! Yes, indeed Korea had Italy for dinner that magical night to become the first ever Asian nation to be in the World Cup Semifinals!
Ahn could have sunk himself and sorrow after the penalty miss. But shrugged off the mistake and soldiered on to become a hero. What a lesson! Mistakes – we have made them. Lapses – we have lots of them in our lives. After such a downfall should we throw ourselves in the well of despair to settle for permanent defeat? No way! “For though a righteous man fall seven times he rises again” (Prov 24:16 NIV). Feel like ending your relationship with the Lord after yielding to a temptation that was so stubbornly nagging? Don’t! Mend your relationship with Him – don’t end it! David could have ditched God after all that happened in his life. Yet he didn’t. With a broken heart he boomeranged again to become the man after God’s own heart (Psa 51:17/Acts 13:22). What counts is how high you bounce after you have hit rock bottom. Let’s therefore make our own, Paul’s words: “ I am focusing on all my energies on this one thing: forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (Phil 3:13-14 NLT). Like MLTR we should say, “I’m gonna try in the future not to live in the past.” ( More Than A Friend ).
The lesson of BLISSFUL JOY
There is one World Cup 2002 image that simply won’t go away from my memory: the way Senegal celebrated each time they slotted in a goal! Delirious joy oozed out of each of their nerve endings! A collection of cameras could not have adequately captured the delight that was on Senegal’s star striker Henri Camera’s face after he scored that golden goal to snuff out Sweden’s hopes in the round of 16. I wish that Senegal would make it to the semifinals so that there would have been a rep from each of the continents that played in the Cup— America (Brazil), Asia (South Korea), Europe (Germany) and Africa (Senegal) – in the last fourth stage. But that was not to be!
Following Christ? And yet sporting a droopy – 9 o’clock face? You can’t be doing both. Both don’t go together according to the Bible. Reason? We’ve got a God who “provides us with everything for enjoyment” (1Tim 6: 17 NIV). Jesus is exiting – believe me! Jesus was so spine tingling that John the baptist even when he was in his mothers womb did a joyous jig when Jesus ( who was at that time in the womb of Mary ) came near him ( Lk 1:41 )! Whew! If you will exhibit the blissful joy which Jesus alone can give, even when the chips are down, even when the ride is bumpy, even when the sky is grey, you will be a can’t-be-ignored ad for Jesus.
The lesson that we must BATTLE RIGHT TILL THE END
Oliver Kahn defended the German goal as if his entire life depended on it. In six full matches in the tournament the ball went past him into the net just once. The strapping German jumped to punch away corner kicks that wickedly bent towards his goal area as if he was reaching for the moon. He fearlessly flung himself on the ball to snatch it away from the most skilful strikers. Match after match, for Kahn , it was important to see the word ‘nil’ against the opponent team‘s name. You could not score a goal cheaply against the Germans when Oliver manned the crossbar! Though the brilliant Brazilians put past two goals against this Goliath of a goalie, he still won the player of the tournament award garnering maximum votes from the reporters world over (even beating Ronaldo who scored eight goals).
How wonderful it would be if we guarded Salvation the way Oliver Kahn guarded the German goal! Is it not a trillion times more precious? More valuable? Ask Peter, he would tell you. Our salvation is very ‘precious’ because it cost God the life of his only son (1 Pet 1:19). We aren’t exactly shielding our salvation if we are habitually and deliberately flirting with Sin, which second thought. Instead we are blowing it (read the omnious words found in Hebrews 10:26, 27). Yup, we need to be “even more careful to put into action God’s saving work in (our) lives” (Phil 2:12 NLT). Let’s do it come what may for Jesus stated without swallowing his words, only “those who endure to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:22 NLT)
It was the 67th minute in the Cup Final. Rivaldo drives the ball straight into the German goalie. Kahn spills it – for “his eternal displeasure” as one writer put it. Ronaldo pounces on the ball to score for Brazil. After the final whistle Kahn threw his gloves and leaned on the right post. He was unconsolable. He knew when he dropped that Rivaldo drive it was as good as dropping the World Cup! “I made my only mistake out of seven games and it was brutally punished,” he later said fighting back the tears.
What happened to Oliver Kahn in the game should not happen to us and our Christine walk. In a narrow – road journey with Jesus it is possible to goof – up after going steady for many years. Yes it is. Demas was the member of Paul’s ministry team (Phm 24). He was perhaps going great guns for the Lord. But fell in love with the world and fell out of love with Jesus (2 Tim 4:10). It can happen to anyone. Boy, just any of us. That’s why Paul pens, “ I don’t know about you, but I am running hard for the finish line. I am giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself” ( 1 Cor 9:27 The Message).
The lesson that we must BURSTING TO GO WHEN JESUS COMES AGAIN
England’s goalie, David Seaman had a bad habit: he tended to move off his line at free kicks. “He might do that in the quarter-final match against us,” Cafu told Ronaldinho – the rising star of Brazil football. Ronaldinho was all ears. When he was about to take a free kick, five minutes into the second half of the match billed as “the final before the final” he too noticed just that. With bewitching accuracy he chipped a long – range free – kick over David Seaman. “Seaman stumbled backwards to try and reach the crossbar to put Brazil ahead for good,” wrote the AFP journalists about the heart – stopping moment in the 2002 Cup. “That blunder will live with him forever,” said The Daily Express.
Just as Ronaldinho’s eye – popping spot kick caught Seaman unprepared, Jesus’ Second Return to this planet could catch us in the same fashion – without notice! You bet, he’s not going to call us up, fix an appointment and then show up. He’s going to come, suddenly. Unexpectedly. Will we be ready? Or will be caught snoozing, like the five foolish virgins were? We must be ‘alert’ for we do not know when Jesus will come again (Mark 13:33). He could turn up on that particular day when we plan to backslide and enjoy sin “just for sometime!” Yes, it’s possible! Paul was unlike Seaman – vigilant: he was a hopelessly in love with Jesus and hoping like crazy for his coming. Even at the fag end of his life. Even when he was in a prison (2 Tim 4:8)! If we have an attitude like Paul, we are
‘Blessed’. Reason? Check out Revelation 16:15 where Jesus said, “I will come unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep the robes ready so they will not need to walk naked and ashamed.”
There you have them – the Magic moments that have stayed engraved on my mind from the World Cup at Korea – Japan 2002. The Cup is over. Brazil took it home for a record fifth time. Let’s take these messages home!
(This article was published in MISSIONARY KIDS, a mag which Duke Jeyaraj edited for Blessing Youth Mission in the year 2002; During her Christmas New Year break Duke’s 12 year old daughter, Datasha, typed this entire article so that it could be made available online to a larger audience).