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(Rev. Dr. Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this piece is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, the G4 Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Write to us at +91-8886040605 or via email@example.com, to know more)
On September 10, the World Suicide Prevention Day is observed. We live in a world where we meet a lot of people who show suicidal tendencies. And we also meet a lot of people who are into gaming addiction. What I present below is one way we can bring the good news to those who show suicidal tendencies or those who are gaming addicted:
Blue Whale. We are not talking about the big fish in the sea. The “Blue Whale,” referred to in this piece, is an online game that ultimately dares its players to act out a death-wish – their own! This smartphone game pushes the users of this game to carve an outline of a Blue Whale on their skin and eventually drives them into suicide. That’s one reason this game got the name “whale” – a fish with suicidal tendencies that is known at times to deliberately swim towards beaches only to die. If a player refuses to obey the “dare” for a dangerous task, threats such as, “We will have your parents killed…” rapidly follows. Yes people – including children and teens – World-over are either talking about the Blue Whale challenge or playing it.
The Blue Whale is ultimately indicative of a “true tale” – certain truths about Life – life about living with capital L. Only a person deeply disillusioned with life would take the lead from games such as this and eventually decide to end it. But the Bible, God’s Word in human words, presents Satan as the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy. It is quite possible that Satan uses online games such as the Blue Whale, get unsuspecting folks to fall-in-line with his plan of destruction. In the Bible, we read of a demon-influenced man ‘cutting himself with stones’ – attempting suicide (Mark 5:5). Satan does not just sow inside of us thoughts of suicide. The Bible teaches that His primary goal is to lead us towards fleeting-pleasure offering sin – something that separates us from God and robs us of all lasting joy. “Joy” leaving our lives, when “Sin” enters is not just a fact found in the Bible (Lamentations 5:15; Psalm 51:12) but an relatable experience in our day-to-day lives.
No, we do not read of anyone in the Bible narrative playing the Blue Whale game. But we do read of some folk who ended up committing suicide. The circumstances in which they committed suicide gives us key-perspectives about why people think of taking their own life. Abimelech (See Judges 9:54 in the Bible) did not want to be killed by a woman, and so he asked a young man to kill him instead. We see here PRIDE (the first ever sin of the universe, according to the Bible) cannot give us purpose and meaning in life. But, tragically can be instrumental in the finishing of our life. King Saul feared torture by enemy forces as a prisoner of war and he decided to fall onto his sword while on a battle field to finish his life (See I Samuel 31:4 in the Bible). In his case, PANIC (the result of sin according to the Bible), robbed him of his desire to live and he chose to put a full-stop to his own life. Ahithophel, a professional Counsellor to the king, upon discovering that his advice was not followed, decided to hang till he died. He chose to hang, instead of a life of having to hang his head in shame. However awesome a PROFESSION is, it cannot bring that person’s meaning, purpose, lasting joy in life. The fifth person as per the records of the Bible, who committed suicide was Judas. The hole in his heart became bigger after receiving a PAY for leading an arresting party to the place the only God-in-flesh Jesus often met with his disciples. We have talked about a number of Ps in the above paragraph in connection with suicide. However there is another P who enables us to overcome suicidal tendencies. That is the Prince of Peace.
When he knew for sure the prisoners entrusted by the Government under his care – including the preachers of Jesus, namely, Paul and Silas – has escaped the prison he was incharge of, following a massive earthquake, this jailor we read about in the Bible, drew his sword and was about to end his life (Acts 16:25-27). That’s when Paul shouted, ‘Do not harm yourself’ and introduced Jesus, the Prince of Peace to this Jailor who immediately abandoned his suicide plans (Acts 16:28-31). When Jesus really comes into your life every thought of suicide will fly away! And life will become meaningful! Instead of choosing the suicide rope, choose hope that is only available in Christ Jesus!
This leads me to a well-known statement that Jesus made that is found recorded in the Bible: “I have come to give Life – Life to the full”(in John 10:10). This implies, apart from the “alone and apart from everyone” Jesus (Jesus said he was the ONLY WAY in John 14:6 of the Bible) no one can find that paramount peace, that supreme serenity, that maximum meaning, that Himalayan happiness. Apostle Paul, a Jesus-follower, wrote about the “purpose in each step” (I Corinthians 9:26, NLT, The Bible) that Jesus gave him, when he followed Jesus through the smooth and stormy phases of his life.
One of Jesus’ names in the Bible is this: “Author of Life” (Acts 3:15). He is also the maker of life – this the Bible teaches (John 1:3). Human Life was made “for” Jesus Christ, the Bible notes (Colossians 1:16-17). When we wade though “the book of life’s journey” with a living “for” Jesus, life will become meaningful and purposeful!
The same Jesus who said, “I have come to give you life,” also mentioned that he came to die as a ransom for the sins of the World. This, the Bible records (Mark 10:45). That was how he could offer us a meaningful life – through his cruel death on the Cross. When Jesus shed his precious, sinless blood for us, he opened the door for each one of us to escape from living an “empty” life on this earth, the Bible declares (I Peter 1:18).
Jesus rose from the Dead. Jesus promised to return again to judge the World. Those who firmly and finally reject Jesus, the name of the only person who qualifies to save humankind by the virtue of his absolute sinlessness, will live a life of “living” hell here and now and go to a “literal” hell. This the Bible, a book which has never gone wrong when it comes to predictions, predicts.
What should we do now? Turn from sin (Luke 13:1-5, The Bible). Come to Christ in faith (Matthew 11:28 & John 1:12, The Bible). Come now (2 Corinthians 6:2, The Bible).
(This article was published in Aim Magazine, Sept 2021 issue. Aim is published by Evangelical Fellowship of India, the umbrella organization for all major churches and Christian organisations in India. 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. Watch Duke’s messages at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).
A virus crept our neighborhood, causing untold dread. The Savior of the World, slept soundly as the only baby without original sin, in a manger in the neighborhood of Bethlehem, two thousand years ago, driving out fear and bringing in cheer and serenity [The assuring words ‘fear not’ is repeated four times (to, Zechariah, to Mary, to Joseph and the Shepherds) in the Christmas narratives of the Bible – if you care to carefully notice].
The China virus has greatly affected our world’s economy. The Bethlehem babe’s birth can greatly affect your destiny. In what way? Let’s see:
Jesus brings us PEACE that is not circumstances-dependent. That’s why Jesus was given this title in a Christmas-themed prophecy – the title of ‘Prince of Peace’. He is the big boss over peace, in other words. Our peace often goes for a toss when our life’s circumstances aren’t favorable. But when you start to know Christ the big boss of peace (the prince of peace), you will have peace no matter how crazy the situations in your life gets. Yes, we can have serenity even when there is a storm, if Jesus is our life-boat!
Jesus brings us JOY that is contagious. He began that wow work, even before he landed on the earth as a babe! Jesus was is in mom’s tummy; John the Baptist was in his mom’s tummy; And as both these tummies come close, that’s when John who was still in his mother’s tummy jumped for joy! You see, when you choose to stay in Jesus’ presence a joy unspeakable, full of glory, will be yours! The happiness that we got when we watched Hardik Pandya smack Daniel Sams into the Sydney Cricket Ground stands in the fourth ball off the final over to seal the 2020 T20 Series versus Australia may ebb away. But not the joy that Jesus offers!
Jesus can bring us MIRACLES and HEALING according to His Will which works all things always for our good. The phrase, “For Nothing is impossible with God!” comes straight out of the Christmas Story in the Bible – you perhaps know that! Jesus gave miraculously gave back, the life-breath to my daughter who had ‘no heart beat’ when she was in my wife’s womb, according to medical reports! She was dedicated as a baby in this church in 2008!
Jesus offers SALVATION which in turn gives our lives real meaning and purpose. When the Christmas Story Senior Simeon picked up the baby Jesus, he mouthed this: “My eyes have seen the salvation of the Lord!” We need salvation, because each one of us are sinners who are enduring a living hell and are headed for a literal hell. And sin, whether you like it or not, ultimately creates a vacuum in our hearts, and eventually making our lives meaningless and purposeless. Jesus, the eternal God, took on a human body of flesh and bone while remaining God, during the first Christmas. He kept himself from any sin, the only one to do so in this planet. When Jesus died on the Cross, he became, the perfect, salvation-bringing sacrifice for sin.. Max Lucado put it well: “Jesus went from Heaven’s Crown, to Bethlehem’s Cradle, to Jerusalem’s Cross”. The Resurrected and Soon-Returning Jesus calls us to repent from sin and put our trust in Him, ‘lest we perish’ (Luke 13:1-5). When we do that, we experience salvation and an ‘inexpressible and glorious joy’ (1 Peter 1:8). As we know Jesus, our life becomes meaningful and purposeful, as knowing Him and making Him known is what we were created for, originally! Mark Batterson explained this well: ‘The Almighty God became Immanuel, “God with us,” so we can spend eternity with him.’
Deigo Maradona scored, what is being called ‘the Goal of the Century’, versus England in the World Cup 1986 Quarter Finals, dancing around English defenders, all by himself, having started his dream run from his team’s half. His Argentine teammate, Jorge Valdano, running alongside Maradona as a reinforcement was reduced to a mere spectator. Starting from ‘his half’ – heaven – Jesus took on human flesh only to die on the Cross (located at our half), walking up Golgotha Hill. Jesus completed the goal of the Trinity from eternity: the offering of salvation to every person who would come to him (who was slain on the Cross before the World’s foundation) in faith, with an attitude of repentance (Rev. 13:8). As Valdano and other Argentine team-mates hugged Maradona in celebration having done practically nothing to contribute to the scoring of the goal of the century, we too, having contributed nothing for our salvation through our self-efforts or menstrual-cloth like unworthy righteousness (Isa 64:6), gratefully love and celebrate Jesus, who finished the goal of the Godhead from eternity concerning the offer of salvation to humans by dying on the Cross (Eph 2:8-10; Gal. 2:20).
‘And he shall be their peace’ – so says a Christmas Prophecy passage about Jesus (Micah 5:5). While others attempted to point out different paths to peace, but Jesus himself is our peace! While others attempted to show the way to salvation, Jesus himself is our salvation! While others attempted to point to a way, Jesus himself is THE way! Jesus invites us to come to Him, the person, not to a philosophy! There is a big difference between Jesus and others! Jesus is unique!
Jesus calls us for a DECISION. Christmas Story Senior Simeon told Jesus’ mother Mary this: ‘Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many…’ We have a choice now. To rise with Jesus. To rise to a life of peace, joy and deliverance from sin. Or, if we reject Jesus, the Only Way, we further fall into despondency, purposelessness and ultimately will land in hell. What will you choose today? Like the Wise Men of the Christmas Narrative did, let us surrender ourselves to Jesus, without any procrastination. Then our life route will change, like it changed for those wise men!
(This article was written as a tract for New Life Assembly of God Church, Kompally, by Duke Jeyaraj. The church used the edited version of this tract to give out to new comers who visited its campus on 19-20 Dec 2020 during their Christmas Drive Through Program. If you need to know more about Jesus, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or via WhatsApp at 91-8886040605. Duke, the author of this article, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org and at http://www.youtube.com/visitduke).
Duke Jeyaraj’s poem on the climax of the India-Australia World Cup Quarter Final in Ahmedabad, 24 March 2011 in which Suresh Raina was a hero along with Yuvraj Singh
When Captain Dhoni was out, India’s semi-final entering hopes was staring down the mat,
India still needed 74 runs to get off 75 balls, when the steel-nerved Suresh Raina walked out to bat,
Chewing their nails, at the edge of their seats, the Indian spectators, with unbearable tension sat,
‘Would Raina prove to be a better choice than the left-out-from-the-XI Pathan?’ – this was the topic of every cricket chat,
As Yuvraj and Raina batted sensibly rotating the strike, hitting the odd boundary, the asking rate never got unmanagably fat,
When Raina hoisted the bleeding Bret Lee for an over-the-head six, from Yuvraj, he got a big hug and an approving pat,
As Yuvraj cover-drove Lee and sank on his knees to celebrate, every Indian joined him, from a Jain to a Jat,
At that point in time, first innings centurion Ricky Ponting, the two-time World Cup winning Aussie captain, wished he could hide in a hole like a rat!
Speaking to a commentator after the game, Raina, released from his bag, the proverbial ‘cat’,
“It was because of God’s grace,” he could do what he did, he said, in humility, adjusting his India hat,
Did you know that God’s grace was supremely shown, when upon sinless Jesus’ face, evil men spat?
He shed his blood to wash away your sin when he hung on that Cross – my friend have you ever heard that? When you repent from sin, and join Jesus, you’ll discover your life become full of meaning and never becomes flat!
(This poem of Duke Jeyaraj was published in Duke Jeyaraj’s 2012 book, The Goodnews for the Google Generation. This book is currently out of print. Duke is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. This is a reader-supported Indian ministry to presentday people. Find out more at http://www.dukev.org. Watch Duke’s message videos at http://www.Youtube.com/VisitDuke).
Duke Jeyaraj writes about Dhoni’s dismissal in the India-New Zealand World Cup Semifinal when India needed 25 off 10 and brings out a spiritual lesson from it!
“Banged in short and wide outside off, Dhoni leaps off his feet, goes airborne and scythes a six over backward point. Bam. The hands are still fast. Can the great finisher do it once again?” That was the commentary typed by the ESPN Cricinfo team for ball number 49.1 bowled by Lockie Ferguson in the World Cup Semifinal 2019 on 10 July 2019 at Manchester, England. When M. S. Dhoni sent the first ball of the 49th Over over the off-side field for a six, the kite of Indian hopes soared. Some of us got goosebumps! We got off our sofas and did fist pumps! The next ball was a dot ball. The third ball, as Dhoni tried to steal a couple by awkwardly directing a rising ball to the legside, he was caught inches short by a Martin Guptill’s direct hit! As the replays – the most heart-stopping replays in modern live Cricket broadcast history – confirmed India’s worst fears that Dhoni was run-out, tears were running down from the die-hard cricket fan’s cheeks. Rohit Sharma, who had carried India to the semifinal stage with five fabulous centuries in the group state, was also on the verge of tears. Dhoni waked back after scoring 50 off 72 balls (his second straight fifty in the World Cup Semifinal stage).
What if, Dhoni had not got run out at that stage? India would have needed 23 runs off 9 balls. The Dhoni we have known would have hit a six off one of next two balls. With 1 ball to go, in that over, the equation then would have been this: 17 off 7. Dhoni, predictably, would have taken a single, to retain strike for the last over. That would have meant, that India would have needed 16 runs off the last over of the World Cup Semifinals 2019 to make it to the Finals with the World’s best finisher on strike! In Chennai Super Kings must-win game versus Kings XI Punjab, Dhoni was batting in the final over of the match in IPL of 2010 with the equation being exactly the same: 16 off 6! And Dhoni finished that match with two balls to spare! The over bowled by Irfan Pathan went this way: 4, 2, 6, 6. He could have possibly done the same, in the World Cup Semifinals 2019, too! Who knows? What a finish, it would have been!
Are you ‘inches short’ of your salvation? Are you ‘inches short’ of the Kingdom of God? There was a religion scholar was inches short of the Kingdom of God – Jesus pointed out in the Gospels (Mark 12:34). He heard the narration of what was the greatest commandment from the mouth of Jesus himself! And Jesus said that he was not far from the Kingdom of God! He was inches close to the Kingdom, but not in the Kingdom! Why? Even following the greatest command will not give you salvation or give you entry into the Kingdom of God! Placing your trust in Jesus with a repentant heart will give you salvation, – this is what the Bible teaches (Luke 13:1-5; Acts 16:31). And having been saved, out of gratitude we follow the moral laws of God, the summary of which is to love God and love people as New Testament believers!
Are you religious? Your religious faith cannot save you! Religion can point to the fact that we need need salvation! But Religion itself cannot save us! Apostle Paul pointed this out in his speech in Athens (Acts 17:22, The Bible). He also pointed that people of all religions need to repent and come to Jesus, if they want to escape hell punishment on the final day of judgment in the same speech he gave in Athens, inspired by the Holy Spirit (Acts 17:30-31, The Bible). You are near salvation, when you are religious! Religious is an expression of your desperateness for God and Salvation! But religion itself cannot save you! You need a relationship with Jesus (John 17:3; Gen. 4:1)! Then you can have eternal life! Then you can enter God’s Kingdom! Then you can be saved! So come to Jesus, now!
Oscar winning actor, Robin Williams, a comedian par excellence, died in 2014 after what was an apparent case of suicide. Suicide. Why do folks who ‘have it all’ like him commit suicide? The answer is simple: without a living, daily relationship with Jesus life will never be full and fulfilling – the Bible teaches (Read John 10:10). Jesus can take away the blankness in our bosoms as he is the only one ever who never sinned and thereby the only one who never had an empty feeling in his heart for sin causes an empty feeling. Ahitophel was a counselor to King David, the greatest king of Israel – a role perhaps equivalent to being AVP of a corporate company. Yet he committed suicide. Saul was the first king of Israel, a role like that being the CEO of a company or the President of a nation. Yet he committed suicide. Coming to Robin Williams, he may have thought laughter could give him lasting joy and may be that was why he acted as a comedian in some of his movies (think of Mrs. Doubtfire). But serenity was not his after smiles faded. Yes, calm was not his after the crackles of cheers died down. If the hero of the rib-tickling movie, Doubtfire, had indeed committed suicide it makes us doubt this statement: “Life’s ultimate purpose can be got through the route of laughter!” Life’s meaning is not ultimately found in achievements, we know that well deep down. Real, lasting peace does not come in the positions we possess. Life’s ultimate purpose cannot be discovered through the laughter, merry-making route (See Ecclesiastes 2:2 in the Bible). Life’s meaning is discovered when, after realizing all under the sun like wine, women, wealth, work, ‘wows’, etc., does NOT give purpose, we seek an on-going relationship with the One who is above the sun – even the God who made us (This is the message of the book of Ecclesiastes one of the 66 books of the Bible, see especially Ecclesiastes 2:25). Life’s meaning comes when we repent from sin and put our faith in God-in-flesh Christ Jesus who died for us on the Cross. Real peace is ours when we recognize that the punishment that brings us peace came upon Jesus when he hung on that Cross and when we come to him after taking a U-turn in this Sin Highway we are on (Read Isaiah 53:5, The Bible). Would you do that now?
(Duke Jeyaraj, an Engineer turned Doctor of Ministry graduate, is the founder of Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission, a ministry to presentday people funded by Indians who read his writings and hear his messages. Find out more about Duke and this inter-denominational ministry by liking www.facebook.com/dukebook. Watch Duke’s message videos at http://www.Youtube.com/VisitDuke).
New York. Big City. The City of Sky Scrappers. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Centres it’s pride and joy. Over 100 storeys high. 414 metres tall. September 11, 2001, said the calendar. Two aircraft ram into these strapping structures. The buildings sway like a boat in a rough sea. They come down crumbling. For thousands it was all over. In a flash it all happens.
Rewind two thousand years. The town – Jerusalem. In the country of Israel. Another tower crashes. 18 people get killed as a result. The tower had a name – the tower of Siloam. Some escape by the skin of their teeth. Narrowly. There was no newspapers then. No Times of India. No Hindustan Times . By word of mouth the news reaches this man. Who? Jesus. He told the crowd around him something which made their ears tingle: “Those 18 in Jerusalem the other day, the ones crushed and killed when the Tower of Siloam collapsed and fell on them, do you think they were worse sinners than all other Jerusalemites? No not at all. Unless you repent, you too will die!” (Luke 13: 3-5, MSG). The NASB renders the same set of verses thus: but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish (Luke 13:5). “Perish” is the Bible word for punishment in hell (Rev. 21:7-8). But God does not want anyone to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Have you repented? Have you repented from sin? If not do so now! Come to Jesus who died for you on the Cross!