Designed For Your Need... Dear Brothers and Sisters, Blessed be the name of the Lord! It has always been the Passion of ‘Back to the Bible’ ministry to Lead People into a Dynamic Relationship with Jesus Christ. Using Radio, TV, Web and other media, we share the Gospel Message to the unreached and help Christians grow to Spiritual maturity through Bible Teaching and Scripture engagement. Here is a great opportunity to get involved in the Kingdom. Come and join this great movement of God as you become a Faith/Prayer Partner (see page 23). We Praise God for the remarkable response that we have been receiving as many people are enrolling for the Free Bible Correspondence (page 13). Now that it is also available in major Regional Languages of India, you can encourage your near and dear to make use of this effective Bible-teaching tool. On a regular basis a Missionary life story and articles for Young People and Kids will be included along with the other topics for the spiritual edification of God’s people. I am sure this issue will definitely be a feast to our readers; and a special attention is given to the young people. In one of the article “The Attitude of Commitment”, Dr. Woodrow Kroll talks about the lack of commitment in our society. He narrates about Onesiphorus a delightfully committed person from the New Testament. The faith of many educated young people has been upset by a claim made by Stephen Hawking, the world’s renewed Physicist of the present day. According to this theory matter and the universe create themselves out of nothing. On these terms, Hawking argues, there is no need for the idea of a Creator God! Apostle Peter exhorts us to be always ready to make a logical defense (apologia) of our faith when it is questioned in this way (1 Peter 3:16). Dr. P. T. George in his article titled “A Logical Inconsistency in Hawking’s Concept of “Everything”’ gives an incisive answer to Hawking by exposing illogicality in his idea that consciousness is also a form matter. Stuart M in his article “Celebrating Sexuality-A Biblical Perspective” deals with the most misunderstood word “Sex”, he points out that sex and sexuality are dynamic aspects of a human being and plays a vital role in our lives and experience. He concludes: “The Bible does not see sex as a taboo subject, nor does it ignore it, elevate it, or diminish it.” Continue to pray as God will give us a breakthrough in broadcasting God’s Word through Radio and TV. Once gain our heartfelt thanks to all the ardent subscribers of ‘Back to the Bible’, who are sincerely praying and supporting. God bless you.
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We were regular contributors to your ministry. But due to some adverse circumstances we could not keep in touch with you. Kindly regularize our faith partnership, and continue to send copies of your magazine as we are greatly blessed by the same. We appreciate the way you are reaching out to the needy. Thanks a lot for your relentless service to the perishing souls. May God Bless you all. K Thomas Ravi Kumar, Visakhapatnam, A. P.
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We are getting your magazine Confident Living regularly and we are much benefited spiritually by the reading of this informative magazine. I am a regular member of your ministry since its inception in 1964. You are in our prayers. Keep up the good work for the Lord. Mrs. C S Elisha, Bangalore. I just happened to see your magazine ‘Confident Living’ and it touched me very much while reading it and decided to be a subscriber. My son and daughter too are very fond of reading it. We are lovers of the Word of God that gives us strength, light and understand-
ing. I believe that this magazine will be a great help in understanding the Bible contents in a deeper sense. I am sure this magazine will be of great help to the younger generation. I have decided to keep it carefully for the young generation; there is no doubt that it will be a treasure for younger generation. Kindly send two copies regularly to the given addresses. C Panneer Selva Mudaliar, Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Thank you for your services. May God bless you and the ministry always; and may His abundant grace be on you and all who work for Him. I am a prayer and faith partner with this ministry since many years. I enjoy reading ‘Confident Living’ magazine which brings lots of inspiration. It’s a great source of encouragement to all my family members. May God continue to help to publish His Word to the restless world. We remember you all in our prayers. Please remember us too in your prayers. J M Albert Cyril, Bangalore. We thank and praise God for your ministry. Thank you for the calendar and ‘Confident Living’ magazine. We pray that the Lord will continue to bless your ministry for the benefit of many. J Albert, Jalahalli, Bangalore.
We appreciate the ministry of Back to the Bible. Continue to do the service of an evangelist. You are in our prayers. Kindly note the change in my address. Mark Boje, Lohit Dist, Arunachal Pradesh. We keep praying for your ministry and your well-being. Best Wishes. Dr. Mrs. & Mr. Amarnath J A, Katpadi, Tamil Nadu We are regularly receiving the ‘Confident Living’ magazine. It’s been a great blessing to us. Your ministry is always in our prayers. Please continue to pray for North East and eastern part of our country in your valued prayers. Lydia Sammaiah, Durgapur.
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Mind your Mind! by Dr. Daniel Sundararaj
Do you want to tell me “mind your business !” Right! D. L. Moody once told a young man about the love of the Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation. He retorted saying “mind your business.” The great evangelist told him with a smile, “this is my business.” So also is my reply.
“Where is this mind?” you may ask. Remember this is part of you, yourself. As there is the body, it is associated with the brain. The physical part of the brain, the complicated hardware within the head, has various functions to direct, the mind is the most essential control room in a person. Mind works powerfully on the body and the body also acts powerfully on the mind.
The word of God clearly brings out that a person is made up of body, soul and spirit (1 Thess. 5:22), the body being the fleshly tabernacle out side and the sprit the inner-most vital man, the “breath of God.” The soul comprises of mind, intellect, thinking aspects, will, decision making consciousness and sub consciousness arising from the brain. See what a pivotal role it has.
The five senses connected with the physical body, namely, sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch, emanating from the eye, the ear; the nose, the tongue and the skin, send their impulses like a “shot,” to the control hardware resulting in immediate response, reaction and action. The eyes see both good and bad, and also the ears: the messages are received immediately in the mind. What response is made or choosing that which is good depends upon the individual and is reflected in the body. An impure thought from seeing and hearing may lead the body to sinful acts. How important this is in the life of a Christian is brought out in the verse, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:1, 2). To be transformed is to be changed from the fleshly and sinful life to a spiritual life for which a decision is to be made in the mind. We are called to present our bodies with its external five senses and the inner mind and its will as ‘living sacrifice’ to our Lord God. Dr. Billy Graham during his campaign at Chennai (Madras) in 1956, had the gospel preached in the evening meetings. But in the morning he was speaking to Christians about victorious and holy living. He mentioned that very often the evil thought of pride was sown in his mind by the devil saying, “Billy you are really great. See the big wallposters everywhere announcing ‘the World’s Greatest Evangelist’; see also the huge crowds which come to see you. So don’t fool yourself thinking you’re just a preacher, etc.” Billy said he had to gight the devil and his evil thought, in the Name of Lord Jesus Christ and in His Precious and Powerful Blood. In submission he said, “Lord, I give my brain as a living sacrifice to you, please cleanse it with thy blood and
and the Holy Spirit and accept it as my humble offering.” “Like that, every morning and often I place every part of my body, part by part, at the feet of the Lord Jesus and get victory,” he added. Dear Friend, our Jesus will give victory to you also. Please mind your own mind, as the devil as a roaring lion wants to ‘kill and destroy’ every one through his mind itself. The Lord Jesus Himself gave a list of those things which proceed from within a person – evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications(sex outside of marriage), murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness (lust), an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness, all these come from within and defile the man” (Mk. 7:21-23) A lot of detestable things to be abhorred!
We ought to be mindful of these which arise from the mind and flesh. So “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind” and live a victorious and holy life, pleasing our saviour Lord Jesus. “In His presence there is fullness of joy and there are pleasures evermore” (Ps. 16:11).CL Courtesy: Harvest Times for Your Family, Mumbai
Commitment always starts with the subject, not the object. —by Dr. Woodrow Kroll
There is an amazing lack of commitment in our society today. The collapse of commitment is seen everywhere. Workers in the Western world show an appalling lack of productivity because they show an appalling lack of commitment toward the products they produce. Such lack of commitment is perhaps most graphically seen in marriages. In order to accommodate this declining commitment, prenuptial agreements have become popular in which both parties agree on divorce settlements before they tie the knot. Some have changed the marriage vows to read, “For as long as you both shall love” remember when it was “For as long as you both shall live”? And not long ago a
sign appeared in the window of the New York City jewelry store which read, “Wedding Rings for rent.” It was bound to happen. This lack of commitment easily spills over into the Christian world. Pastoral tenure at churches is becoming alarmingly short. Christian colleges once committed to pastoral and missionary training are now cranking out businessmen, teachers and scientists by the score, but hardly any preachers. What is commitment anyway? I define the term as the quality of tenaciously pursuing to the very end, with heart and soul, what we have pledged to pursue. There is a delightfully committed person tucked away in the pages of
the New Testament. He is a good example of one who tenaciously pursued to the very end, with heart and soul, what he pledged to pursue. His name is Onesiphorus. In his last epistle Paul refers to Onesiphorus twice. These are the only two places he is mentioned in the Bible. He commends this little known saint for being committed to him and in so doing points out the three qualities necessary in true commitment. They are consistency, initiative and determination. In 2 Timothy 1:16 the apostle says of Onesiphorus, “He oft refreshed me.” Two verses later Paul declares, “In how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.” That’s the consistency of commitment.
Commitment was not a once-in-a while thing with Onesiphorus; it was an all-the-time thing. Paul could count on him. We are not aware how often he refreshed the apostle or even what this means. But Paul wants us to know that Onesiphorus was consistent in his refreshment. The attitude of commitment, the ability to counted on, in frequently non-existent in many Christians today. Not so with Onesiphorus, and not so with Daniel Conn. For 40 years Daniel Conn was the grounds keeper on the campus at the Bible College I served as president. He is now with the Lord, but for those 40 years Mr. Conn was always there, repairing boilers, planting flowers, raking leaves, whatever it took. In the last summer of his life he planted 3,300 marigolds on the campus, plus other flowers. One night I was awakened at 3.00 a.m. in my campus home by the sound of running water. I bounded out of bed to see if a faucet was leaking in the kitchen or bathroom. None was. I could still hear water running. After an unsuccessful search all through the house, I heard a noise outside. Going to the window, I saw Mr. Conn watering the flowers, tulips as I remember I said to him, “What’s the matter? Can’t you sleep?” “Sure I can sleep,” he responded, “but this is the best time to water these flowers.” He was watering the flowers at 3.00 a.m. Initially I thought he was crazy, but that’s not crazy; that’s commitment.
What caused Daniel Conn to water flowers when others forgot? Consistency. You could count on him. He would always be there. He
would consistently do whatever it took to get the job done, regardless of the cost to him. Onesiphorus was like that. Another quality of commitment demonstrated by Onesiphorus is initiative. In 2 Timothy 1:17 Paul notes, “But, when he as Rome, he sought me out…” Paul did not call for Onesiphorus to come to him. Onesiphorus took the initiative to go to Paul, for Paul needed refreshing. Commitment always starts with the subject, not the object. If the object is worthy, if the cause is worthy, if the person is worthy, the object, cause or person will still be worthy whether or not we are committed to it. Commitment does not begin with the object. Commitment begins when we pledge ourselves to that worthy person or object. Was not Paul worthy of refreshment by others? Of course he was. Why, then, was Onesiphorus the only one who often refreshed him? Because of the initiative of commitment. Onesiphorus initiated the commitment when he pledged to himself that regardless of the cost he would refresh the apostle. A final quality of Onesiphorus’ commitment toward Paul is the determination of that commitment. Again notice 2 Timothy 1:17. “He sought me out, very diligently.” Onesiphorus had the grit and guts to stick it out. It would have been frightfully easy for Onesiphorus to return to Ephesus and report to the church there that although he had attempted to locate the apostle and refresh him; he was unsuccessful in doing so. After all, Rome was a big city. It would not be easy to find Paul. Not easy, that is, except for one thing—the
determination of commitment. Isaiah said, “The Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint; I know that I shall not be ashamed” (Is. 50:7). That’s determination! Of Jesus it was said, “Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2). That’s determination! Paul was counseled not to go to Jerusalem, and he replied, “What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 21: 13). That’s commitment! Commitment demands the determination to remain committed, regardless of the circumstances. Onesiphorus had such commitment. That’s why the next three little words in 2 Timothy 1:17 are so very important—“and found me.” Onesiphorus was determined to find Paul and refresh him. Nothing would stand in his way. He knew that the purpose of commitment is not to run the race but to win it. He wasn’t in Rome to give locating Paul the old college try. He wasn’t there to try at all. He was there to succeed in locating Paul. We need lifetime servants in the harvest fields at this very moment. But the kind of servants needed are not the kind who give it their best shot. The kind of servants needed are those who will tenaciously pursue to the very end, with heart and soul, what they have pledged to pursue.
In the secular world 33 percent of all overseas employees return to the USA within the first year. It’s tough out there, and perhaps this is why it has been calculated that up to half of all new missionaries do not last beyond their first term on the field! The typical length of service in the decade of the ‘80s is between two and ten years on the field. The missionary enterprise cannot afford to recruit potential missionaries who are not going to make it past the first term of service. The church of Jesus Christ needs men like Onesiphorus, not men like Demas (see 2 Timothy 4:10). Lifetime service means just that—lifetime service, a commitment to serve the Lord with consistence, with initiative, with determination never to quit.
—by Mark R. You’ve probably seen the television spot: a tired father, upset with his son for once again losing track of time while immersed in a video game, confronts the teenager in a crowded arcade. They exchange heated words, then the narrator breaks in and tells viewers about a free booklet they can obtain—How to Talk to Teenagers. Even if you have not seen this commercial, you can probably recall a similar real-life situation. “Space Invaders” may be new on the scene, but the socalled generation gap has been a family barrier for centuries. One of the most common problems during the process of growing up is the breakdown of communication between children and their parents. Both sides feel that they can no longer talk to one another. As with any case of misunderstanding, this situation has two perspectives. It isn’t up to the parents alone to promote good communication. You are also responsible to develop understanding and communication with your parents.
Paul said, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain” (1 Cor. 9:24). Paul appreciated helpers like Onesiphorus because he tenaciously pursued to the very end, with heart and soul, what he had pledged to pursue. Onesiphorus was interested in only one thing—success in completing the task he had pledged to complete. That’s the kind of attitude that makes a lifetime servant. After all, when we meet our Master in heaven, do we really think He will alter His promised blessing and say, “Well tried, thou good and faithful servant….” (Matt. 25:21)? The attitude of commitment. Don’t leave home without it! CL
Maybe you are having trouble talking with your parents openly. If you don’t see this as a problem, perhaps you at least feel there is room for improvement. At any rate, here are five suggestions aimed at helping you to develop good communications with your parents. Give these tips your personal attention, and chances are you will do better at communicating with your parents one-to-one.
If you are successful in this, the writer of Proverbs says you will be a source of great joy to your parents: “The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice” (Prov. 23:24, 25). One of the many facets of wisdom and righteousness is honoring your parents by maintaining good communications with them.
Cultivate Communication Several times in His teachings, the Lord Jesus used illustration of the sowing of seeds. (See Matt 13, for example.) in many ways, good communication can be compared to the growth of seeds. Unless given the proper attention, communication will not develop at all—or it will simply wither and die. To be effective, communication must be cultivated daily—not only now and then, or when you need something or feel like talking. “But wait,” you say, “I talk to my folks every day.” But do you really communicate? Do you share things that worry you, talk about world events, confide secrets, discuss your father’s or mother’s work? If so, keep it up. If not, decide how you an improve. Take the initiative. Bring up a subject in which you and your parents share an interest. Make a special effort to make the conversation really communicate. Keep working at it, and before you know it, you might discover a blossoming routine of good, solid conversation.
Realize that parent can be afraid. This may sound simple, but it’s really at the heart of many communication problems between teens and their parents. “What do parents have to fear?” you ask. Plenty. When they think of you, their days and nights can be haunted by frightening words like drugs, pregnancy, alcohol, automobile accidents. This doesn’t mean that they don’t trust you. It simply means they are human beings—loving people who hear or read everyday of frightening things happening to teenagers. They can also be afraid that you might think they aren’t smart enough, successful enough, or “with it.”
If you realize that your parents probably have fears about you, you can behave accordingly. For example, don’t be quick to challenge decisions you don’t like. Realize that concern for your well-being is behind the “no” you would rather not hear. Don’t be afraid to discuss controversial subjects with your folks. Try talking to them about matters that concern you. Let them know how you really feel. But at the same time, remain open to their point of view. Take time to talk . “If I just had time… “How many times have you said that? The main hindrance to good communication in many families is simply the hectic pace of modern life. Both parents work. Children are on the go to ball games or club meetings. If this is the case with your family, make a special effort to find a time for talking—even if it’s only a few minutes a day. Sit down with your folks in the evening (with the television off!) or talk to your mom while you do the dishes. Get up a little earlier so you can have an unhurried breakfast with Dad. The time and place aren’t important together. Taking time to talk can be one of the most simple, yet most effective, guarantees of good communication. Tell your parents how you feel about them. When was the last time you said, “I love you,” or “You’re the greatest,” to your mother or father? Too often, when we grow up, we fail to show the open affection we showed as young children. ….. If words of affection don’t come easy to you, try less emotional phrases, such as, “I know I can always count on you,” or simply “Thanks, I know you went out of your way for this.” A compliment or a simple hug or touch can work wonders. The important thing is to let your parents know—in what ever way you find comfortable that you
love and appreciate them. CL
–Dr. P. T. George, Hyderabad Abstract: Hawking claims that hopefully the “M-theory” he has created is a “theory of everything”. The present paper argues that M-theory is a theory of the objective world at best and that it fails to capture subjective entities such as reason and the reasoning consciousness. The most advanced physical science, we claim, cannot explain and predict reason and consciousness because they are both really presuppositions and foundations of physics as against its subject matter. To predict and explain presuppositions that have been taken for granted is to think in a circle. Hawking’s “theory of everything” is likely
to be inadequate and incomplete even as a theory of the objective world, because it does not and cannot capture interactions between consciousness and matter. It is presumptuous, therefore, to draw from it philosophical conclusions about God or about the nature of ultimate reality, as Hawking seeks to do. Hawking’s complete unified theory and its purported implications for philosophy/theology Stephen Hawking claims that the “M-theory” that he has created is hopefully a complete unified theory of everything that exists—everything from the universe to fundamental particles and forces (Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow, The Grand
Design, 2010, p. 181. Bantam Press: London). The theory is a model of a universe that creates itself; science purportedly predicts such self-creation out of nothing. Now that science can explain origins, there is no need for a creator of all things—God may exist, but not the Creator God of theologians and philosophers. “Philosophy is dead” (ibid. p. 5) and of course theology is unnecessary. Human beings are “mere collections of fundamental particles of nature” (ibid. p. 181). Therefore, in principle, though not in practice, M-theory, which is a theory of all matter, accounts for reason and consciousness, too. This ambitious agenda for physical science to
explain consciousness is the source of the logical error referred to in the title above, and we shall question it below.
Hawking’s crucial error. Great scientists have sometimes made elementary mistakes in their theoretical work. It is well-known how Einstein, in his anxiety to create a theory that would yield a static model of the universe, unconsciously divided zero by zero in a mathematical operation connected with his theory of relativity. No one noticed this schoolboy error until an ordinary teacher of physics in Russia pointed it out. (Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers, 1978. W.W. Norton: New York). Hawking in his turn fails to realize the true status of reason and consciousness as methodological presuppositions and implicit foundations of M-theory and of all physical science. Though not as obvious as Einstein’s mistake cited above, it is still an elementary error. And it is a costly error, because it gives Hawking an exaggerated notion of the scope of his theory and vitiates his thinking about its philosophical implications.
Presuppositions of physical science. Any scientific discipline typically presupposes more fundamental sciences and makes use of their categories and discoveries. Thus biology presupposes chemistry and physics, and makes use of their methods and results. Biology then postulates widely acceptable new categories specific to itself, such as life, death and reproduction, which are hypothetically assumed, but are nevertheless under investigation. In fact this is the way all science works—by starting from accepted presuppositions and widely acceptable new postulates. One can never
draw an inference without first assuming some premises.
Consider chemistry next: It presupposes physics and adds its own postulates such as elements and compounds. Physics in turn presupposes mathematics and then investigates its own postulates such as matter, energy, force and motion. Mathematics presupposes logic and adds its own basic postulates such as straight lines, points, and numbers, whose properties are under investigation. Logic is no exception to this pattern. It assumes basic postulates such as terms, propositions and syllogisms. What does it presuppose? We can only answer in common sense terms, because no other terms are available. Logic implicitly presupposes reason and therefore the reasoning human mind or consciousness. Considering that these presuppositional categories feed into logic, logic into mathematics and mathematics and logic into physics, reason and consciousness are the ultimate irreducible presuppositions of physics and, needless to say, of all other physical sciences. As for reason, it is not derived from anything, but implicitly regarded by the sciences as self-evident. Failing to consciously realize this, Hawking, in his anxiety to create a theory of everything, seeks to bring reason also under the purview of his theory. In doing so he runs into an epistemological problem, which he himself mentions. His answer to the problem, as we shall see below, betrays his unconscious realization that reason is a self-evident presupposition of all his scientific operations.
Natural determinism Versus Reason. The epistemological problem is as follows. A theory of everything
will in principle determine and predict reason and its products, too. Hawking’s new theory is one such product of reason and so the theory will paradoxically predict itself, that is, in principle. (Not that in practice we are anywhere near achieving this feat). So then natural law determines and predicts both human reasoning and also Hawking’s unified theory of everything, as it (natural law) predicts wind and waterfall. If so how can we be sure that the new theory would at the same time be true, except by the luckiest of flukes? (A Brief History of Time, 1988, ch. 1, p. 13. Toronto: Bantam) Hawking admits that this is a tough problem. His modest answer is based on the theory of evolution. He argues that our reasoning abilities, which have evolved by natural selection, have in the past helped the race by giving it a survival advantage. So we may (reasonably!) hope that they will be valid in our search for a unified theory and not lead us to wrong conclusions. This answer is a double fault. First it begs the question at issue and then it is the wrong question after all that it answers. The question at issue is the validity of reason—Hawking begs it in two ways. In appealing to the theory of evolution Hawking has already assumed the validity of reason, on which the theory of evolution claims to be founded. Moreover, he has created a 3-step chain of reasoning to defend reason. In both ways, he has assumed what is to be proved. Hawking’s reasoned defense of reason betrays the fact that deep in his mind he takes reason for granted. And the defense illustrates how reason can never be defended by any argument without circularly assuming reason in the first instance. There is only one alternative, which is to consciously do what Hawking unconsciously does, namely to take the validity of reason as being self-evident and pre-sup-
positional. That is what science really does. If any reasoned theory makes nonsense of reason, it is the theory that is in trouble, not reason. The above objection to total natural determinism was, to the best of our knowledge, originally made by J.B.S. Haldane and, after him, by C.S. Lewis (C.S. Lewis, Miracles, 1947, chapter 2. Collins: Glasgow). For Lewis the objection was not a call to reinvent reason as Hawking attempts to do, but the reductio ad absurdum of the less certain natural determinism of everything, which makes nonsense of reason. Missing the real purport of Lewis’ criticism is Hawking’s second error. He has answered the wrong question. The implicit pre-suppositional character of reason and consciousness throws doubt on the superlative claims that Hawking makes for his theory. This we shall spell out below. In the meantime, we offer more evidence—if further evidence is needed—to confirm that consciousness is a presupposition of science.
Consciousness presupposed also as the observer. Let us first lay down two axiomatic principles. Please bear with us even if you feel that we are laboring obvious points. We do so because it would be helpful. The axioms are as follows. An action implies and presupposes an agent or doer of the action. In other words, a verb in a sentence or proposition implies a subject of the verb.
The physical sciences investigate the observable or objective world. In fact we call the physical world ‘objective’ because it is the object of observation, as distinguished from a hypothetical observer of the world (Concise Oxford Dictionary, article on objective (adj.), definition 1).
The action of observing the world is a reality, which exists as part of the methodology of creating science. By our first axiom this act of observation presupposes a doer of the action, that is, an observer. Who or what is this observer? Science can give no answer; so we are justified in resorting to a common sense answer again. The observer is the human mind or consciousness. Since it is not the object of observation but the agent, it is a subjective entity. We conclude that both as the reasoner, and as the observer of the world, consciousness is presupposed by science. The point is clear; so we need not add or labour the point that consciousness is presupposed not only as the observer and the one who is reasoning, but also as the experimenter, data interpreter and theorizer. Consciousness is presupposed also as the agent that reasons fallaciously sometimes, and fudges observational data. Natural law could not commit a fallacy or fudge data, for which the human mind is responsible and sometimes morally responsible!
Science cannot capture subjective realities. Now we come to the crucial point. Consciousness cannot be part of the field or subject matter of physical science, since the subject matter is what a science seeks to objectively observe, interpret and predict, as against what is presupposed as its foundation. To predict what is presupposed (the observing consciousness) would be tautologous; and conversely, to presuppose what science wants to discover and predict would be question begging. Hawking is guilty of both fallacies in including reason in the scope of his new theory and then defending reason by reasoning in favour of it. This means that the subjective observer remains “external”, as it were,
to the observed or objective part of reality. The knower (consciousness) is separate from the known (matter); otherwise there could be no knowledge (science). That the knower, the known and knowledge are somehow the same substance is unargued philosophy rather than tested or testable science.
Where is consciousness? Die-hard materialists may ask the question, “Where is consciousness, apart from the brain?” The writer cannot answer that question. And he is not sure that the question is logical, since it presumes that consciousness, to be a real entity, must exist in some niche of space. Space is a dimension of the objective or physical world—we may have to revise our objectivist paradigm of reality radically in order to be able to capture subjective consciousness. There is no objective, observational, proof for consciousness at all, since it is the observer presupposed by all acts of observation. The materialistic objection cited presumes that nothing beside spacial or material entities exist. That is really the question at issue! If the writer is faulted for not being able to say what consciousness is in itself, let us remember that no one has ever said what matter or “superstring” is in itself.
Can Hawking’s unified theory capture all the properties of the objective world? Is Hawking’s theory a complete theory of the objective world, let alone subjective entities? We venture to answer “No.” This is because subjective consciousness and the objective world (matter-energy) form one interactive, interlocking, system that cannot be compartmentalized. They can be distinguished but not divided. As long as one part
of this system (subjective consciousness) and its interactions with the other part (objective matter) remain inadequately understood, the other part of the system (matter) remains inadequately understood, too. And the system as a whole remains inadequately understood. Let us spell out this point briefly at the risk of some tedium. As we noted above, consciousness observes matter in the first instance—this is one kind of interaction. Secondly it actively intervenes in the course of nature by means of actions. We are assuming that at least some human actions such as rash driving are morally responsible and legally cognizable actions for which everybody would hold the offender concerned responsible. Mother Theresa washing and feeding a fetid, worm-infested beggar with love is a morally beautiful action, for which we praise her. Receptive and active interactions between matter and consciousness are taking place constantly, everywhere.
above, it is presumptuous to claim that the new theory in question is a theory of everything that exists or to draw philosophical conclusions based on it, relating to God or the nature of ultimate reality. References
Hawking, Stephen, A Brief History of Time, 1988. Banta Press: Toronto. Hawking, Stephen, and Mlodinow, Leonard, The Grand Design, 2010. Bantam Press: London. Jastrow, Robert, God and the Astronomers, 1978. W.W. Norton: New York. Lewis, C.S, Miracles, 1947. Collins: Glasgow. (Dr. P T George was formerly Professor at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad)
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The question is:
what are the properties and laws of matter-energy which make such interactions possible? Hawking’s purported “theory of everything” can offer no answer to this question—it cannot even ask the question since his materialist monism does not recognize the existence of consciousness except as a facet of matter. If Hawking’s unified theory hopefully turns out to be a successful integration of gravitation and quantum mechanics, it will be a giant step forward for science; but it will still not be a complete theory of everything that exists. The most comprehensive physics (say, Hawking’s physics) is also a specialism!
In view of all the limitations of physical science we have noted
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The Conflict of Theory and Fact
—by Dr. Johnson C. Philip
No established fact of science ever contradicts the Bible. There are many conflicts with theories, but it must not be forgotten that a theory represents something that has not yet been firmly established. Since it represents an unproven information, and since theories keep on changing with time, no theory can ever be used to attack the Bible. In the world of science a theory is never used to question other categories of information. Hence no honest critic could use a theory to attack the Bible, specially because Bible has always turned out to be the most reliable. Power One of the modern discoveries is that to uphold a vast structure like the Universe, an unbelievably large amount of energy (or power) is needed. It seems very probable that some invisible power has set it all in motion. The same thing is hinted in the Bible verses like Hebrews 1:2,3 which says, “Upholding all things by the word of His power”; and Colossians 1:17, “in Him all things hold together”, etc. This same theme, that this Universe is upheld by the power for God, is found in many other verses of the Bible.
Today we have a vast amount of information about the visible structure for the universe, and all of this information tells us that ultimately all of the visible structure of the universe depends upon invisibles. For example, the gravitational force gives rise to many physical and visible structures, but this force itself is invisible.
In fact all the basic forces and building blocks of the universe— energy, atom, subatomic particles, all basic forces—are invisible. There are some particles—like quarks, and possibly persons—which can never be isolated even for indirect observation! This means that at the foundational level all of this visible universe is made up of invisible building blocks. This must now be compared with Hebrews 11:3 which says, “things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” c in other words the basic building blocks of this universe are invisible! Precision There is another inference to be drawn from the verse cited above: If the ultimate building blocks are invisible, a stage might come when we will find it difficult to explore further into the physical world. We might never be able to know everything that we really would like to know about the physical world interestingly, present-day scientists are now beginning to come to similar conclusions!
Probability If someone had suggested a few generations ago that on account of being built by invisible entities, the universe will never yield all its secrets, that persons would have been laughed away by the rationalists. He would have been advised not to express his ignorance in public. But today this conclusion is the most reasonable and obvious one. In the last century the rationalists thought that man will be able to explain everything on the basis of rigid mechanical models, but today mathematical models have replaced them partly to take care of the uncertainty and probability elements. We need models which allow for all the limitations of observations, and also in which things take place by probability and chance, not by mechanical laws of the last century.
The scientist are unable to fully explain the laws of conservation and decay, the laws of health and hygiene, the rules about clean water for drinking, safe disposal of the waste, meat fit and unfit for eating, rain cycles, wind cycles, the spherical shape of the earth, the hanging With the advent of Werner Heisen- of the earth in space upon nothing, the uncountable number of stars in berg’s uncertainty principle, and from the development of Quantum the universe, the invisible nature of Mechanics, it has become clear to all the building blocks of the physical world, etc. These are only just a that we will never be able to study the physical world with all the preci- few examples selected at random. sion and accuracy that we want. Interestingly, if these conclusions were Bible has stood the test put to the scientists and rationalists of the last century, they would have of time. It is the myth of rejected it as a heretical nonsense. the twenty first century To them, universe was just a githat science has disant clock in which any component would be studied with as much ac- proved the Bible. CL curacy and certainty as we wished. They were under the impression that scientists will be able to explain everything in the physical universe accurately and completely in terms of the mechanical laws of science. Today no competent scientist would dare to suggest that.
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I think what all this reflects is the confusion of certain views of spirituality and morality with forms of denial, asceticism, rejection of our embodied life, and a romanticized or idealized view of what spirituality is and means. The Bible is not an otherworldly text. It does not invite us to some kind of platonic idealism or to some kind of modern Gnosticism, where our goal is to ascend into some pure world of spiritual bliss. It engages us in the hard realities of everyday life. Sex and sexuality are not subjects the Bible either avoids or feels delicate about. They are normal features of everyday life, existence, pleasure and procreation, which the loving Creator built into His ordered system, as practical (and good) aspect of life. In the early chapters of the Bible, we enter the Creation story and discover God’s commentary on the man He had created. In Genesis 1:18, we find out that “it was not good for the man to be alone” so we discern the human need for companionship. We also see that God makes a helper “suitable” for him; in other words, there is compatibility.
—By Stuart M
“May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth! For your love is better than wine.” Song of Solomon 1:2 (NASB) For young couples contemplating marriage, few older books offer such romantic and explicit imagery as the Song of Solomon. In some quarters, it seemed to be an embarrassment
that such a book could be in the Bible? What was then done about it? It was ignored or avoided, or in certain periods of Church history, allegorized. It was extracted from its real life context, sanitized of its true relevance and power because it seemed too earthy, too human. At other times it was spiritualized, so we could all then see the explicit poetry was a mediation of our relationship with Christ.
There are real distinctions (as we all know) between a man and a woman, and the differences (as one writer notes) make a difference. We can only imagine Adam’s response to the gift of his wife. We do have some more commentary in Genesis 2:24-25. The union of man and wife was a God given thing. Sex was God’s idea not the Devil’s. Sex and sexuality were woven into the creation story, and any notions of sexual abhorrence, prudery, moralism, or bodily rejection were NOT a result of God’s word or way, but came from later accretions and smuggled-in-views of the “spiritual” life. In the NIV text Genesis 2:23 reads. “The man and his wife were both
naked and felt no shame.” What a vital lesson. They had nothing to hide, no reason to be embarrassed, and every reason to rejoice, to celebrate, and to enjoy what God had given. Right at the beginning, we see several things about the kind of God we worship, and about the kind of life He gives to us.
In the book of numbers, as the children of Israel approach the Promised Land (Numbers 22-25). Balak the king wants to “curse” the Israelites and to stop them in their tracks. His efforts to secure a curse via the prophet Balaam fail, but then the seduction by Moabite women succeeds! The human vulnerability to sexual power is well attested in
•Sex and sexuality, are a central, normal feature of our human existence. •God is the author of these gifts and as with other things, sets them in a context and with boundaries. •The context is marriage and the boundaries are love and companionship, and from these flow many things.
As with every other aspect of the Creation and existence, sex and sexuality are deeply impacted by the Fall and sin. A great cosmic disorder and disruption occurred, so that what was originally given, created, and good after becomes the source of views and actions that see these self same things as “just there,” “for use,” or as means of “personal fulfillment” or exaggeration. We are not long into the Biblical narrative before we encounter events and scenarios where sex and sexuality are misused. In the story of Abram (Genesis 12-16) we see repeated problems due to sexual issues. Afraid for his life, his wife (clearly an attractive woman) becomes the object of another man’s desire (on two separate occasions), and he is willing for his own safety to violate the integrity of his marriage, putting his own wife in jeopardy. The aspect of sight, of how a man tends to respond visually to a woman is an important issue. It is not wrong to be attracted or to be stimulated by beauty or by sexual attractiveness; however it must be handled within the Godgiven parameters that preserve love, honor, truth, goodness and beauty. I’ll come back to this.
history. We see it here, we see it in the life of King David in his famous and tragic story with Bathsheba (Uriah’s wife), and in the life of Solomon and his tragic meltdown due to lack of control of his appetites. The story of David is a vital lesson to us all regarding sex and sexuality (2 Samuel 11-12). David is at the peak of his powers and his career. He has achieved many victories and has seen God’s deliverance in many ways. One day however, instead of leading his troops in battle, he is at home; as he was walking around
he was eager for sexual fulfillment. On the contrary, he was seduced by “mystery”, by “curiosity”, by the need to indulge desire without reference or attention to the implications or consequences. His sin, however, was exposed, and although he was forgiven, there were tragic and social consequences to his actions. The disruption brought into his family, the tragedy brought into the home of Uriah and Bathsheba, and the impact on the kingdom are only some of the outcomes (in this case) of unbridled lust. God had given sex and sexuality as gifts in His creation. The law given via Moses provided additional boundaries and instruction for the people of God in the practical management of their sexual lives; unrestrained indulgence or sexual obsession was never allowed, as it defied God’s will for His people. It disregarded our own nature, limits and boundaries, and it would take no thought regarding the real costs and consequences of such actions. The New Testament came into the backdrop of the Roman era. Rome was well known for its sexual attitudes and adventures. In both public and private, sex was employed and explored in every conceivable
•Paul tells the Church they should avoid sexual immorality. •They would need to learn to control their own bodies •There is a way to live and to honor God that is reflected in what we do and don’t do with our sexuality and our bodies (4:3-6). •Ignoring or rejecting God’s way, word, and wisdom is a serious (and dangerous) thing (4:8). one evening, he sees a beautiful woman (the wife of one of his mighty ones) and is drawn by his lust for her to have her. This is a sordid tale of betrayal, of dishonoring God, of adultery, and of great deceit. King David did not lack for wives or for sexual experience. He did not live a life of celibacy or denial so that
fashion, whether was part of cults, rituals, or the sheer hedonism of unrestrained passions. The Church was born in such a world and the gospel engaged with such realities. Addressing the New Creation people of God, the Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Thessalonica (today’s Greece). 1 Thessalonians 4:1-7).
So what can we conclude so far? The Bible does not see sex as a taboo subject, nor does it ignore it, elevate it, or diminish it. It deals with it as one aspect of life in the context of larger issues and concerns, yet as important and vital in its own way. Clearly the “modern” and now “post-modern” world is contexts that raise Issues that bring opportunities and threats,. and that offer a spectrum of choice and possibilities unknown in previous times and generations. The philosophical and underlying assumptions that drive so much of what we want in our lives and lifestyles are often concealed in language but revealed in practice. Underlying the experience of modernity and modernization is the notion of “autonomous and rational man or woman in control of their own destiny supported by technological and rational means.”
What does this mean?
Autonomous: there is no law, no authority, and no constraint outside of the almighty self.
Rational: could mean, “rationalizing,” in the sense that we can or should do whatever seem rational to ourselves. In control: this is the power of the individual in self definition and self regulation. Their own destiny: refers to whatever outcomes or consequences there are; it is my concern, no one else’s. Technological and rational means: covers both management
and tools which prevent pregnancy or which enhance pleasure or which can be used for any personally (and privately) determined end. This view propagated in a thousand movies. Implicit in advertising,
and repeated like a mantra many times a day, becomes the unspoken, but real guide or authority in many lives today. We see it expressed in the social trends and daily stories that inform our lives. A man (a pastor, a leader) walks out on a wife and family for some “new” love, which turns out to be one of many in a long string of affairs, betrayals, and indulgences. A young man or woman announces they are “coming out,” as they take up residence with a same-sex partner, whilst informing ridends and relatives, “It is love,” and after all, who are they to judge?
Young men and women, freed from the restraint of family, tradition, or church, are thrust into the world of college or the exploding marketplace, and find themselves overwhelmed. The values (in this new context) are clear: take what you want! The opportunities and willing partners are abundant. The restrains are increasingly gone or fragile, so there is little to hold them back. No Thought is given to unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, the specter of AIDS, broken hearts, damaged souls, or an offended Lord.
The Christian is not called to some kind of world-denying asceticism or pleasure-avoiding life. Sex and sexuality (like other things) must be placed in their context and setting, for life and pleasure to flourish. The central ethic of the Bible is love as supremely modeled by Christ, and the cross. It is agape love, a love that seeks to give rather than consume, a love that looks out not in, a love that is concerned for the well being of the other (not only the satisfaction of the self ), a love that values honor, integrity, boundaries, goodness, self-control and restraint.
If we stop and think for a moment, the implications and consequences of unrestrained and unrestricted self-indulgence are clear. Yes, there is pleasure, and yes, there are moments of happiness, yet at a great and tragic cost. The Bible offers an alternative and real wisdom. It is wisdom to walk by. Let me try to summarize this in broad terms:
We live in a time where sex and sexuality are being presented as the sum and substance of life. We are told that free sexual expression is essential to our true being and fulfillment (by many whose lives end up a total wreck). Like many successful deceptions, it contains partial truths that cover as much as they claim to reveal. The Bible does say we have a choice, and it does recognize we are free, yet the choices we make are full of vast consequences (Matthew 7:13-14). Don’t let Hollywood, Bollywood or some Media guru somewhere else tell you what you are and what to do. Take time, compare wisdom, and choose real life! Your Heavenly Father offers a better way! CL
• God exists, and He is the Creator; He is holy; He is the ruler of all. Sex and sexuality both came from Him and must find their right relation in terms of God and His will and way. • Sex and sexuality are dynamic aspect of human being, and as such play a vital role in our lives and
• The Bible recognizes marriage between a man and a woman as the legitimate context and setting for healthy and loving sexual fulfillment. • Careless living and unrestricted indulgence is warned against and proscribed in both the Old and New Testaments. • Living in God’s world means we must live in God’s way if we are to live the life intended for us. (see Psalm 119: 9-16).
We are happy to introduce this Creative Bible Learning method of studying your Bible book by book. Send the correct answers with your Name & address to receive a Special Gift from ‘Back to the Bible’.
NEHEMIAH: Creative Bible Learning: Study One book at a time: Instruction: Identify the Answers and Fill in the blanks:
18. “We will not neglect the house of our God” is mentioned in ........ chapter …..verse.
1. Gate that was rebuilt by the son’s of Hassenaah? 2. In the kings Palace, Nehemiah’s job was ……………………………………………... 3. There are …………………………..(number) different gates are mentioned in this book. 4. ……………………………………………….mocked and ridiculed by saying “what is this you are doing?” “Are you rebelling against the king” 5.
The rebuilding of the Wall was completed in ……………..days.
“Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace” is mentioned in ...........chapter ……. verse.
…………………………………………..were disturbed to hear that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites.
The meaning of ‘Nehemiah’ is ……………………………….’
9. “Because the gracious hand of my God was upon me, the king granted my requests” is mentioned in …….. chapter…….. verse. 10. Tobiah said, “Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble--burned as they are?” A) True B) False 11. Those who carried the materials did their work with one hand and held a ………………in the other.
15. After the wall was built, ……………………………………… were put in charge of Jerusalem.
16. …………………………..was mentioned as a man of integrity and feared God more than most men. 17. Ezra said, “Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting” A) True B) False
21. Nehemiah rebuked the men of Judah for marrying women from …………………………… 22 .………………………. (name) king of Israel sinned by marrying foreign women. 23. ……………………….is the name of Eliashib’s son, who was the son-in-law to Sanballat. 24. God found …………………… faithful and made a covenant to give to his descendents the land of Canaanites, Hittites etc.. 25. In chapter ……… verse ………. we find the words, “Our God will fight for us!”
26. What did Nehemiah do when he heard about the pathetic condition of Jewish people in Jerusalem? ……………………………………………………………… 27. “Nehemiah the man of God” is mentioned two times in the book of Nehemiah. A)True B) False A) True B) False
29. The ‘House of the Heroes’ is mentioned in …….. chapter …….. verse.
14. ………………………………………………were appointed immediately after the wall had been built.
20. ……………………did evil by providing Tobiah, a room in the courts of the house of God.
28. King’s Gate is found in this book.
12. The prophetess ……………………. (name) who tried to intimidate Nehemiah. 13. The Wall was completed on the twenty fifth day in the month of…………….
19. It is written that, “Our God, however turned the curse into a blessing”? A) True B) False
30. The name ‘Nehemiah’ also appears in the book of ……………
ESTHER- QUIZ-Answers – May- June 2012 1. Abihail (2:15 ), 2. 7 days (1:5), 3. Carshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena & Memucan (1:14), 4. A –True (1:22), 5. 1:1, & 8:9, 6. Zero times(does not appear), 7. Hadassah (2:7), 8. Bigthana & Teresh (2:21), 9. He would not kneel down or pay him honor (3:2), 10. B-False (7:9), 11. A-True (10:3), 12.Esther (4:16), 13. 4:14, 14. Purim (9:26, 28), 15. Memucan (1:16), 16. Benjamin (2:5), 17. Xerxes (1:1), 18. 3 days (4:16), 19. His wife Zeresh & all his friends (5:14), 20. Cousin (2:7), 21. Mordecai (4:13,14), 22. Haman (6:10), 23. His signet ring (8:2), 24. The women in the royal palace(1:9), 25. 12 (2:12), 26. Her nationality (2:10), 27. Tebeth, (10th Month) (2:16), 28. Star, 29. Royal garments of blue & white, a large crown of gold & a purple robe of fine linen (8:15), 30. Haman and his ten sons to be hanged on the gallows (9:25)
the stone into bread, when Jesus was hungry after a fasting of forty days. In Job’s case, his wife herself told him, it is a foolishness not to sin at that moment. When Joseph was tempted by Satan, there was no chance that anyone of the people who knew him (his father/ brothers/relatives) would come to know if he sinned. There was none greater in the house than him; none of the men was inside the house at that moment and moreover, the master’s wife herself had taken the initiative. Can the situation become more favourable to sin?
–by Soumya Elizabeth Bob, Doha
“Temptation comes in many shapes!” If you think I am quoting a great Christian leader here or that this is a verse from the Bible, well, you are completely wrong! I found this statement in one of the Baskin Robbins outlet! Yea, even the world thinks there is temptation all around us in many forms and shapes and we can fall into it any time, just as the Bible says. But the huge difference between what the world thinks and the Bible thinks about this matter is that while the world considers falling into temptation or indulging in it is something smart and something which gives you pleasure, the Bible clearly says that if you are falling into it, you are sinning against God and you are just ignoring His authority over you. It is true that falling into temptations can, in many cases, give a momentary pleasure to your flesh, but the ultimate outcome would be something you, as a Christian, will have to regret. So what exactly is temptation? Most of us think that it is a test brought into our life by God. Indeed,
at times, God tests us and temptations happen in our lives with the knowledge and permission of God. However, it is not God, who brings temptations in the lives of His children. James says,” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” (James 1:13). When we examine closely, in every temptation we can see a testing part as well as a tempting part. It is God who tests and Satan who tempts. God’s intention of this testing is to rejoice by seeing the genuineness of His child’s faith and love for Him; Satan’s intention is to make God’s child sin and go against the expectation of God. Another interesting thing about temptation is that Satan plans and executes temptations so well that at the moment of facing a temptation, we will feel that everything around us (except the Holy Spirit within us) is whispering to us “Hey, falling into this is the best course of action you can take at this moment”. In other words, Satan makes everything favourable for us to fall into the temptation and there will not be many things, which will keep us from falling into it. See the temptation he gave Lord Jesus Himself (Luke 4). He tempted Jesus to turn
This can be the way in which Satan approaches us too. You might be getting a bribe or a way to make illegal money when you are badly in need of money. You might be getting the offer of alcohol or drugs at a moment when you are mentally crushed. You might be getting an urge to put a fake experience on your resume at a point when you are totally exhausted trying to find a job as a fresher. You might be getting a very ‘good’ caring friend, who is an unbeliever (and most probably from the opposite sex), at a time when you feel quite lonely, being away from your family and friends. (And most often, this friend gets promoted till the spouse/life partner level and many a time, the wonderful justification we hear is “Through me, he/she will come to know Christ! “ I doubt, if even the Lord is aware of such a way of winning souls for Him!) How hard it will be to resist such a temptation or chance of a temptation being formed? You will never know till you endure it to the last point without giving in! And remember, there is nothing grey like falling into temptation a little or falling into it at last, it‘s purely black or white- either falling or not falling. Satan exploits the weakness of our flesh to form temptations. He can use any weakness of our flesh like our hunger (Luke 4), physical
weakness (Matt 26: 40), mental agony, fears in our heart (Matt 26:72), desires, lusts or love of the world (1 Timothy 6:9) to produce a temptation. James 1: 14-15 gives us a clear picture of how a temptation gets moulded. But does it mean that if we fall into temptation, the full blame is on Satan and the flesh? Not really! Right from the beginning of the Old Testament, we can see that God has always given us the ability to choose what we want – right or wrong. Getting a temptation is not a sin, but falling into it, definitely is. We can’t do much against getting a temptation (other than avoiding situations which can possibly give rise to temptations), but it’s us, who have to keep ourselves from falling into it! So how do we guard ourselves from falling into temptation? 1. Jesus, the Lord Himself who overcame all the temptations as a man, says “Watch and pray” (Matt: 26:40). 2. Peter, who fell into temptation many times, but later repented, got restored and did wondrous works for God, tells us “Be sober (self-controlled), Be vigilant” (2 Pet: 5: 8).
3. Paul, who was a chosen vessel before God and who suffered a lot for His names’ sake, exhorts us, “Put on the whole armour of God” (Word of God, Salvation, Faith, Preparation of Gospel, Righteousness, Truth) (Eph 6:14-17) For all of us who think we stand, let us take heed, lest we fall. And for all of us who think we’ve already fallen, now is the chance to repent and turn back to Him. God is always ready to give us a new beginning if we repent genuinely! CL
A Prayer Lord, please help me to make life a little easier for My parents—to treat them not only as people To be loved and respected but also understood and liked; Help me to realize that, in spite of my Expectations, they do not have all the answers; Help me to remember that parents can be afraid just like anyone else, and that often their fears for for what could happen to me are behind decisions I might not like; Help me to avoid trying to make them fit into Some kind of artificial mold of the perfect Parent—to accept them as they are; Help me to understand that parenthood is a Round-the-clock job at slave wages; help me not To take for granted the things they do for me; Help me to treat each day with my parents as one More blessing and to remember that a day Passed can never be relived; Above all, Lord, help me not only to love my Parents but to let them know that I really do care; help me to find ways to show my love everyday that we are together. Amen.
–by Prema Fenn One of the most powerful means of extending God’s Kingdom on earth is the Christian home. It is God’s strategy. At the same time it does not mean that those who remain single have missed something or they are incomplete. Getting married or remaining single should be in obedience to God’s will. Singleness – a gift from God
There is no special virtue in remaining single. Neither is a single person superior to a married person nor vice versa. It is a special vocation. The Scripture says that not
• • • • • •
everyone can accept singleness and that it is given by God, a gift (Mt.19:11). Otherwise one cannot accept it as a calling and find real fulfillment in this role. We need to pray and find out at a certain stage in life what God’s will is for our life – whether to marry or not. Many ask for prayer for their marriage taking it for granted that they would get married. Though marriage is normal for most of us, each of us needs to pray and discover God’s will in this area. Every relationship and friendship needs to be weighed and placed before God. One cannot choose to remain single because “What is available is not desirable and what is desirable is not available.”
Understanding God’s Character In finding out God’s will regarding our life or even in accepting singleness, and understanding of who God is, is very vital. The truth that our heavenly father who is God of all love and knowledge has a plan for our life should grip us. Will He plan anything that is not best for us? Ps. 84:11; Jer 29:11. We need to believe that God has a beautiful and perfect plan for each one of us consistent with his character and purposes. Every woman has the God-given desire to love somebody, to be loved by someone, to have a home of her own and to have children. If we deny that we do not have these desire, we will be abnormal women. Single men will also have to be
Accepting God’s love and plan for our lives. Not getting frustrated or disappointed because we are not married. Rejoicing when younger persons get married at home or among friends. Having cordial relationship with sisters-in-law (brother’s wives) Finding joy and fulfillment in what we do. Having a supportive family and friends and colleagues who understand and encourage us in our call.
sensitive to their natural human instincts.
ing in some creative work, sewing, cooking and gardening are some ways by which women can overcome sexual drives and loneliness in a healthy way.
Having believed in God’s character, we need to make a total surrender of the desire to be married, leaving it to God’s wisdom. It is not at all easy.
We need to remember and be grateful that God alone can meet the deepest needs of every man and woman, whether married or single.
Indications for a Single Life When we are open to God’s guidance and feel that God may call us to remain single, he gives certain indications to confirm the call.
(Prema Fenn continues to serve as a Bible Teacher after retiring from UESI as a staff. She lives in Chennai)
Handling Singleness It is not easy to remain single with many questions asked by relatives and friends – Why are you not married? People attribute some common reasons to singleness—physical/mental ailments or problems in relationships. Single people are also considered as second-class citizens or incomplete in general by the society. Men sometimes may even try to take advantage of single women. Once we accept this call as God’s will, he helps us to handle it. How do we do it? • Accept singleness with joy and no regrets. This comes gradually with a growing trust in God.
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• Recognize and accept we have our normal sexual drives. Instead of suppressing them, we need to sublimate them. Physical exercise, giving ourselves selflessly to others, letter writing, playing with children, listening to music, involvConfident Living
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• Once we accept singleness, we should not think that we have passed the stage of getting attracted to people of the opposite sex. We have a natural God given attraction towards the opposite sex. Women need to be careful not to attract men in the wrong way. Also we need to ask for God’s discernment in relating to men.
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Jesus’ Teaching ... 3
HE FULFILLED THE LAW by Donald Godfred, Secunderabad
During His ministry many of His good deeds angered the Pharisees and the Scribes, and made them enemies of Jesus. In the early days they admired Him, reckoned Him as Rabbi. Soon they realized that Jesus didn’t toe their line, and that they could not contain Him. They turned anti-Jesus and accused Him of demolishing the Law, branded Him a sinner as He mingled with sinners& tax collectors. Yes indeed in their eyes, Jesus was mentally unsound, was an agent of Beelzebub, didn’t obey the Law, and
broke Sabbath often. Many of His healing ministries were on Sabbath days which attracted their wrath. He freed people off evil spirits by Beelzebub, they claimed. Whatever Jesus did, they saw everything wrong in technical terms. But even before starting His ministry Jesus had declared that His mission was not to undo the Law, but to fulfil. He confirmed that the Law was infallible and undisputable that it will remain forever (Mtt5:17-18). The Great Contrast What a contrast! Before starting the ministry He declares one thing; but does just the opposite – just like the political class!! True, many healings were done on Sabbath days; He claimed Himself to be the Son of God; claimed to be older than Abraham, the Patriarch; claimed He was sinless; claimed that the Father and He are One. He also ruled that
the Jews would be cast out, where as sinners would enter the Kingdom, which was against their belief. In fact Jesus often broke the Law as existed then. Still He claimed that He only fulfilled the Law. How can any person, at the same time, break as well as keep the Law? Either He must have been bluffing, or the Law must have been defective& discrepant, and He was referring to a different Law. The Law That Was Twisted When God spoke the Ten Commandments to the Israelites, they begged that God speak to Moses only, and they would hear from Moses – Ex20:18-19. So the remaining commands were given to Moses, who wrote these in a book Ex24:7,Deu28:58. Together there are 613 commandments as interpreted by Judaism.
Let’s see how these are twisted and diluted: God’s name as revealed to Moses at Ex3:15 was YHWH(Yahweh), meaning ‘The Eternal One’. ‘This is My name forever,...to all generations.’ God had told Moses. The third commandment prohibits taking God’s name in vain. The over-zealous Jews discontinued using God’s revealed name altogether, instead invented the word ‘Adonai’ (meaning Master), which is translated as ‘LORD’ in the English versions. Thus the ‘Eternal Almighty God’ has been reduced to just ‘LORD’ or ‘Lord’ (Master). The almighty God reduced to only a Master! The Ten Commandments contain only great and broad principles. The Scribes of the 5th century BC made out rules and regulations for every possible situation of life out of these commands. The great principles of the Law were reduced to thousands upon thousands of petty rules / regulations. Further, to interpret, say, the 4th commandment, everything was classified as ‘work’. A man lifting his child, walking with false teeth or artificial limb was considered to break Sabbath. Writing two letters of the alphabet which can be read together was to work. To heal was to work on Sabbath. Healing on Sabbath was allowed only when the life was in danger, that too restricted to the extent not to allow the patient’s condition to worsen; no steps should be taken to get him better.
By Jesus’ time the divine Law was reduced to mere ‘ceremonialism’. It was practically impossible to keep these man-made rules. It was these senseless interpretations of the divine Law which Jesus condemned and broke. Up Holding, Obeying The Law In the Gospels we see many occasions where Jesus upheld and obeyed the Law as given by YHWH centuries back.
Mtt 3:15 Jesus wanted all righteousness to be fulfilled before starting the ministry. Mtt 4:3-10 He won over Satan by quoting God’s Word from the Law. Mtt 5:21-6:18 He lifted up the Mosaic Law to newer heights. Mtt 8:4, Mk 1:44, Lk 17:14 Healed leprosy patients were asked to follow the Law. Mtt 9:13, 12:7; 22:29 Pharisees& Scribes were rebuked to learn and understand the correct meaning of the Scripture because they were ignorant and hence went astray. Lk 6:26 Endorses the history of Israel. Mtt, Mk, Lk Quotes the prophets of the OT frequently. Mtt, Mk, Lk Endorses OT Scripture and the Law. Mk 10:6-8 Up-holds the creation story. Lk13:28 Endorses the Patriarchs. Lk 16:22, 20:27ff Endorses teaching about heaven/hell, resurrection. Lk 23:3 Agrees to the OT teaching of the literal kingdom for Jews, and His Kingship. Lk 24:25-27 He believed in the entire OT Scripture. Mtt 17:25-27,22:37-40,26:17-19; Lk5:14,22:15; Jn2:6,13;7:2ff Jesus obeys the Law. Jn 8:46, Mtt 22:29 Jesus never erred as He was perfect in the knowledge of Scripture and obeyed fully. Many more instances are recorded in the gospels. Disobeying/Demolishing The Law? His adversaries accused Him mainly of working on Sabbath and healing on Sabbath.
1. Working on Sabbath Mtt 12:1-8: His accusers viewed that by plucking the corn, rubbing in the palms, separating the grain& chaff the disciples were guilty of reaping, threshing& winnowing; and by the whole process they were guilty of preparing a meal which were all forbidden on the Sabbath. How foolish! Jesus justified the disciples, and explained that, being the Lord of the Sabbath, He was greater than and above the Law. The Pharisees/ Scribes didn’t know that He created Sabbath, and so had the sovereign authority to over-rule their rules and traditions. 2. Healing on Sabbath a)Mk3:3: According to them a life in danger only could be treated on Sabbath. But when Jesus countered they couldn’t answer. He drove home the fact that good deeds could be done on Sabbath rather than leaving a soul in wretchedness. b) Jn5:8 It was immaterial for the Jews whether a patient was lying in full view of public unable to move for 38 years or for his life time. They were never humane. They wanted people to keep their traditions. Jesus showed that they transgressed, lay aside, rejected and made the commandments of God void to keep their tradition(Mtt15:3,6; Mk7:8,9,13). Hence Jesus never broke the Law; but its false interpretation. Jesus Could Never Defy The Law Lastly there can be no doubt that He can never defy the Law because He is the very fulfillment of the Law. He was made under the Law(Gal 4:4 KJV). All prophesies of the OT about the Messiah’s first advent have precisely and perfectly been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Would He ever have, as a man, disobeyed or demolished the Law (given to His people by Himself centuries ago as YHWH)? Never. CL
—By Bob P Could be headed down the road of becoming a Christian casualty!
You may think you are living for the Lord, but there may be definite areas in your Christian life that you have not placed under the lordship of Christ. It’s fairly common these days to learn that a Christian has been added to the casuality list. You’ve heard the reports as I have: The prominent, professing–Christian leader who suddenly declares—after years of apparent success in marriage and ministry—he is seeking a divorce to marry another or to “find himself”; the vibrant, young professing Christian who announces that she is leaving her evangelical church to join an extremist cult; the businessman who is indicted for illegal business practices; the respected Christian who falls into immorality—injuring both a family and a Christian testimony.
These situations and others like them represent a growing concern for the Christian community: How can we deal with the problem of “Christian’s casualties?” Many Christians are crumbling today under unprecedented pressures. They are falling –some headlong, some by degrees—into Satan’s snares. If the enticements aren’t moral, they’re doctrinal; if not doctrinal, then financial or material. Our Adversary, the Devil, is still stalking the earth and finding many vulnerable “lambs” for the taking. But is it inevitable that, as in every battle, a certain percentage will fall? Are there no safeguards to protect believers from such an experience? To say there are no guarantees that any Christian won’t fall prey to the perils of this age doesn’t seem to reflect a faith in the God “Who is able to keep you from falling” (Jude 1:24)* But by the same token, a flat declaration that “true believers will
never wander from the truth” does not square with either the Scriptures or experience. Most of us confess a belief in a sovereign God Who is able to make His servants stand even in the face of the strongest opposition (see Rom. 14:4). We agree that no matter how heated the situation may become, God’s hand is always on the thermostat. And yet, we must admit that God does not accept total responsibility for our response to temptation. He provides a way of escape, but it’s up to us to take it (see I Cor. 10:13,14). He promises grace to help in time of need, but we must approach His throne to receive it (see Heb. 4:16). While we should never minimize the keeping power of God, we should not fail to recognize the part that is ours. The Lord is our Rock (see Ps. 31and 71:3), but it is we who cast the anchor that fastens us to the Rock. And what is the anchor that the Christian must cast? Is it the
salvation experience alone? Is it a consistent devotional life? A sound doctrinal statement? Membership in a Bible-believing church? Haven’t some fallen away even with all these safeguards and more? The anchor that is strong enough to keep the Christian from drifting away from his moorings is the anchor of commitment: Commitment to the lordship of Jesus Christ and all that is entailed in that relationship. Unfortunately, many Christians speak of being under the lordship of Christ as though it were some mystical relationship that defies practical definition. That kind of understanding makes a Christian’s submission to Christ difficult, if not impossible to measure. I do not refer to such an existential anchor that is really no anchor at all. What I mean by commitment to the lordship of Christ is something tangible and measureable. One of the prime evidences that a person is genuinely committed to the lordship of Jesus Christ is his obedience to the voice of Christ. Jesus said that those over whom He is truly Lord are not those who merely call Him “Lord,” but those who do what He says (see Matt. 7:21). He is the shepherd, and those who heed His voice are His true sheep (see John 10:14, 27). The Christian who is under Christ’s lordship will listen to the voice of the Chief Shepherd when He speaks.
Submission to the Authority of Scripture. Christ speaks to us through His Word, and we must take the Scriptures seriously. This means letting the Scriptures speak and obeying them. There are many Christians who claim to be under the authority of scripture but, in truth, owe a higher allegiance to their traditions, to their detailed doctrinal state-
ments or to their system of biblical interpretation. Their authority, then, is not the Scripture, but their understanding of the Scriptures. Such people are reluctant to change even when the Bible speaks convincingly to them in areas where their understanding is less than correct.
voice of Christ Himself. A member of God’s flock who is committed to obedience to the Chief Shepherd will listen for His voice in the voice of those to whom He has delegated His authority.
While we may have our doctrinal statements that affirm certain scriptural truths, we must be open to having our minds changed wherever God’s Word demands it of us. Such openness requires regular study of scripture and a readiness to actively obey the voice of God in its teachings. By knowing the truth of scripture and living under its authority, the Christian is able to evidence his submission to the lordship of Christ while he gains what he needs to meet every situation and “be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (II Tim. 3:17, NIV).
Another evidence of a person’s commitment to the lordship of Jesus Christ is an accompanying commitment to the fellowship of believers. There’s a popular misconception today that a person can be a good Christian apart from a relationship to a local church. While it’s true that membership in a church is not, in itself a guarantee of spiritual success, it is also true that a Christian’s growth rarely takes place in isolation.
Submission to Faithful Undershepherds. A believer who is under the authority of Christ will listen to His voice in those who “watch over your souls, as those who will give an account” (Heb. 13:17). It’s true that there are many church leaders who have abused the authority that has been delegated to them, but a truly obedient Christian will not let this hinder him from submitting to those faithful undershepherds who do not misuse their trust. We dare not reject the voice of Christ simply because it comes from the mouths of flesh-and-blood leaders. The person who insists that “if Christ Himself were here to give the command, I would obey” but who rejects the instructions of faithful church leaders is not unlike the Jews of Jesus’ day whose reaction to Jesus displayed their true attitude toward the Father. Failure to submit to responsible under shepherds’ admonitions is equivalent to rejection of
Commitment to Local Church
Every believer needs the other member of the Body as they need him to affect the kind of growth spoken of in Ephesians 4. Regular participation in corporate interaction and edification is a necessity if believers are to mature and remain strong in their spiritual lives. Mutual encouragement is needful in the face of the pressures of life. This will become more and more of a necessity “as you see the day drawing near” (Heb. 10:25). A great part of this facet of the Christian’s commitment revolves around his willingness to be responsible to and responsible for other members of the Body. The term “accountability” is a good one to describe this relationship. The Apostle Paul instructed the Ephesians to “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph. 5.21). Christians today need the safeguard of firsthand accountability as a means of keeping them on track. This requires, among other things, honesty, vulnerability and a willingness to confront and be confronted by the truth spoken in love (see Eph.
4:15). Too many Christians shun this kind of openness in favor of a “looking good” posture within a church congregation. Disciplining relationship—one-on-one or in small groups—are not easy to maintain, but they are effective and necessary in current Christian experience. An anchor of commitment is of utmost importance to the Christian who would survive the storms of today. And he will need it for security in the future since we can expect that pressures and temptations will only increase as we near the end of the age. “In later times some will fall away from the faith” (I Tim. 4:1). It will undoubtedly become increasingly more common to hear of Christians who depart from the faith because of doctrinal, moral or other entanglements. Every Christian will be under heavy satanic attack, with Christian leaders being a prime target. Much prayer must be made by believer on behalf of themselves and their leaders that their faith will not fail. But what if Christians do fall? What should be our response to such brothers and sisters? Should they be left to suffer the consequences of their failure? It has been said, “The Christian army is the only one that shoots its wounded.” Sadly, this has been true among many groups of believers.
Upon hearing of a fallen brother, the shock and embarrassment many Christians feel soon turns to shame and anger “How could he do such a thing!” To safeguard their own “Spiritual” position, too many Christians turn their back on their fallen comrade, acting as though they never knew him or cared for him as a brother. When he needs the Christian community most, he is deserted. The Scriptures are quite clear in their teaching about responding
to believers who have fallen. In his treatise against legalism, the Epistle to the Galatians, the Apostle Paul states the proper response. We are to seek the restoration of the fallen one (see Gal. 6:1). Truly spiritual Christian will act to gently bring such a person back to the place of spiritual health. James also encourages aggressive ministry to those who stray from the truth (see James 5:12, 20). We must never give up on those who fall as though there were no way back for them. How tragic for many fallen brothers and sisters that no “rescue attempt” is ever made! To be sure, such an effort is not without cost. It will certainly involve confrontation, a lost art among many believers. It may require church discipline (the last, not the first, step in the reconciliation process if Matthew 18:15-17 is followed). It will require much prayer and self-sacrifice. And should the fallen person repent and seek renewed fellowship, it will take a great deal
of Christian forgiveness to heal the wounds caused by sin. But the restoration of such a person is worth every effort. Christians need to be as concerned about “saving the saved” as “saving the lost” when it comes to dealing with believers who stray. We should never fail to apply the principles of the parables of “lost things” (see Luke 15) to “lost” believers. The same effort should be made to reach them as we make to reach unbelievers. Both are a concern to the Shepherd. Christian casualities are not inevitable. Those whose commitment anchor holds firm will be able to weather the storm. But if and when such casualities do occur, Christians must prove themselves to be a healing community, acting on Christ’s behalf to restore the fallen. May God help believers to be in such a community? CL *All Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible
Names of those who sent the Answers for the Quiz on ‘ESTHER’ and received Special Gifts: V.Roger-E.G.Dist(AP), Kanagavalli
Asirvatham-Madurai, Vijay Metla-Secunderabad, Mary S. Rani- Secunderabad, G.Christopher-Pavoorchatram(TN), Angelina Pakkianathen-Coimbatore, R.S.Peters-Bangalore, Rebecca Hector-Umariya-(MP), Hepsi Prabhakar-Kakinada, L.Praisy Jasmine-Tuticorin, Edna Samuel-Pune, Mrs.A.Jayaseelan-Chennai, Shantha Kumarai-Kovilpatti (TN), Susila Jayakumar-Vellore(TN), B.Jason-Chirala(AP), John-Eluru(AP), P.H. Priyadarshini-Kurnool, Patricia Besterwitch-Chhattisgarh.
to do the same thing. The priests blew their trumpets. Everyone else marched round the city in silence. The third day, Joshua asked the people to march round the city again. The priests blew their trumpets. The rest of the people marched quietly round the walls.
How would you feel if someone told you to do something, but what they asked you to do did not make sense? Suppose God asked you to do something and you did not understand why you had to do it? Well, that’s what happened to a man we read about in the Bible. Joshua stood outside the enemy city of Jericho. All around the city was a big, strong and very high wall. The enemy soldiers were all inside the walls. Some stood on top of the walls and laughed at Joshua. They thought that they were safe inside the city.
Joshua and the people of Israel wondered what to do. ‘How will we ever get inside the city?’ they asked. ‘Look at those high walls. We could never climb them. Look how thick the walls are. We could never knock them down. Look how strong the gates are. We’ll never capture the city of Jericho.’ Joshua trusted in God. He knew God had the answer to the problem. ‘God has given us this city and this land,’ he told the people. ‘He will help us get inside those walls if we obey Him.’ Joshua took a walk near the city to look at the strong walls. Suddenly, he saw a Man standing in front of him. ‘Are You a friend or an
enemy?’ Joshua asked Him. ‘I am the Captain of God’s army,’ replied the Soldier. ‘This is a special place.’ Joshua bowed down low. It was the Lord Himself who was talking to him. The Lord told Joshua what the people had to do to get into the city. Joshua listened very carefully. It was the strangest battle plan he had ever heard. The next day, Joshua told the people to make a long line. He put some soldiers at the front. Next, he put seven priests with trumpets. Behind them were some priests who carried a special box to show that God was with them. After that came some more soldiers and the rest of the people. ‘God has told us to march round the city today and then come back to our camp,’ said Joshua. ‘The priests will blow their trumpets but everyone else will remain silent.’ The soldiers began marching round the city. The priests blew their trumpets. The people marched behind without making a sound. They all marched round the city walls once and then went back to their camp. The people inside Jericho were puzzled. What a strange thing to do. The second day, Joshua told them
On the seventh day, the people got up early in the morning. Joshua explained that God wanted them to march round the city again, but this time they would not march round it once, but seven times. ‘When we have all marched round the walls seven times the priests will blast on their trumpets and you are all to shout as loudly as you can. God has promised to get us into the city.’ The long line of people set off to march round the city. Then, they marched round once, twice, three times, four times, five times, six times. The priests blew their trumpets but no-one else made a sound. They marched round a seventh time. The priests gave a loud blast on the trumpets. Everyone shouted as loudly as they could. It was a deafening sound. The people watched in amazement as the big, strong walls of Jericho came crashing down to the ground. Joshua led the people into the city. God had kept His promise. They had obeyed Him and He had given them victory. God is strong and mighty. He helped Joshua and He can help us, too, if we obey Him. — Scripture Press
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The Gospel of God Romans 2 (Exposition) The unrighteousness of the Jews (2:1-3:8) 1. God’s Righteous Judgment (2:1-16) 2. God Judges the Jews Who Break the Law (2: 17-29). Exposition
by Dr. Alexander Kurian Most interpreters argue that Paul focuses on the sin of the Jews in chapter 2. But some are inclined to think that the sin of the moralist or self-righteous, whether Jewish or gentile, is condemned in the first sixteen verses of chapter 2, with the Jews coming into prominence in verses 17-29.
All men are quick to judge others, Confident Living
but they are slow to realize that they fall short in their own lives. God is the supreme judge of all. In Romans 2:1-16 Paul lays down eight principles of God’s judgment (the verb “to judge” occurs eighteen times in Romans. Note the repetition of the words Judge, judgment in 2:1-16, nine times). 1.God’s Judgment will be According to Truth (2:2). God knows the details of everything and He is well aware of the
facts. He needs no jury to decide any case. Nothing is hidden from Him. “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). God’s judgment is regulated by the standard of moral truth. It is based on reality and truth not on imagination and circumstantial evidence. He judges with omniscient understanding and holiness. There are those who think that they can escape the inescapable. Paul addresses them in verse 3: “And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape
the judgment of God”? God’s blessings should have led the Jews repent of their sins (2:4). 2. God’s Judgment will be According to Righteousness (2:5). God’s judgments are righteous. God will judge men righteously basing His conclusions on facts. Judgment will be based on the light people have received and how they have followed it. Every person will receive justice from God and will be judged in righteousness. He shall judge the world with righteousness and the people with His truth. (Psalm 96:13) “The Lord is righteous in all His ways” (Psalm 145:17). The holiness of God relates to God’s separateness; Hi righteousness to His justice. There is no action which God takes that violates any code of morality or justice. True and righteous are Thy judgments” (Revelation 16:7). 3. God’s Judgment will be According to Works (2:6).
God will render to every man according to his deeds (v.6). Verses 7-10 further elaborate this principle. While works are never a ground for salvation, they are still important in the sight of God. There are fortytwo instances in the Bible where man is said to be judged according to their works. Paul refers to this principle again in 1 Corinthians 3:8 and 2 Corinthians 5:10. God’s judgment of believers as well as unbelievers will be based on works. Verse 7-10: The unrepentant and unregenerate mankind will one day face God’s furious anger for their persistent rebellion and unbelief. The blessings and results of salvation are manifested in a believer’s perseverance in doing good. “Glory, honor, and immortality” describe a believer’s transformed spiritual perspective. The unredeemed are characterized by selfish ambition,
disobedience, and unrighteousness. To such people God will render wrath (orge) signifies the strongest kind of wrath or anger and indignation (thumos) is agitated and vehement anger that rushes along relentlessly). Tribulation (thlipsis) has the root meaning of exerting extreme pressure. It is also translated as affliction, anguish, or persecution. It occurs five times in Romans (2:9; 5:3;8:35; 12:12). Distress (stenchoria) has the idea of extreme anguish, circumstances that lead to groaning. The unbelieving Jew will be the first to be condemned. Only after God has dealt with His chosen people He will deal with the Gentiles. 4. God Judges All Men Impartially (2:11). The truth about respect of persons or the impartiality of God is stated in the Bible only in connection with judgment. God has no favorites. God’s judgment is just, dealing with Jews and gentiles without any partiality. God sees not as man sees. Man judges largely by what he sees outwardly, but God looks upon the heart. God will take no account of outward distinction between men. Race, color, culture, and language do not dictate God’s policy of judgment. 5. God’s Judgment is Based on the Light Received (2:12-15). Each person is judged by the light possessed by each, whether the light of the Mosaic law (12-13), or the Moral Law of right and wrong, or conscience (14-15). There is always a correspondence between the judgment of God and the light received by men. God shall judge the Gentiles who do not know the Old Testament law by universal standards of
right and wrong. Though they do not have the Mosaic Law, they do have an inner law that informs their conscience. The Jews, who have the revelation of God through His Word, shall be judged by the law that they should have obeyed. The law does not save a person but only reveals sin as people fall short of the law’s requirements. In the judgment, the possession and the knowledge of the law will be a basis of condemnation. 6. God will Judge Men’s Secrets (2:16). God knows our hearts and motives. Only God knows every person’s motives for doing the things he does. Motive is a valid basis for Go’ds judgment. All the hidden things will be revealed. “For the Lord searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts” (1 Chronicles 28:9). 7. God’s Judgment will be According to the Gospel (2:16). The good news (Gospel) that Paul is preaching is the standard of Go’ds salvation and judgment. Judgment is part of the Gospel. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). The Gospel of Paul is clearly set forth in the first five chapters of Romans. A succinct summary of it is given in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. The Gospel is concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the salvation He provides for anyone believing in Him. This is the supreme truth of the Bible and the central message of Christianity. 8. God’s Judgment Will Take Place through Jesus Christ (2:16). The judgment of God will be carried out by the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul declared in Athens that God
“has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the death (Acts 17:31). Jesus claimed that the Father had entrusted all judgment to Him (John 5:22, 27). God’s judgment is real and inescapable. These are ultimate truths, and all without exception must face up to them. All who reject God and His truth will be judged. But the shining truth of the Gospel is that “God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him” (John 3:17). CL
1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Hebrews 12:1-4 Canaan, the Promised Land for the Israelites, is not a type of heaven as some have thought and as some hymns portray it. Rather it is a type of the Christian’s battle against sin and his victory over it as he seeks to live for the Lord. Canaan was a scene of conflict, not of complete peace and rest as heaven will be. The nations in Canaan become types of the principalities and powers we read about in Ephesians 6:12, where the Apostle Paul tells us, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” When Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan, he and they not only had to overcome the human leaders and their armies in the land of promise, but also the evil spiritual forces under the direction of satan who were the actual rulers of these heathen kings. I have drawn more spiritual lessons for myself and the Back to the Bible broadcast from Joshua’s experiences and the book of Joshua and its New Testament counterpart, Ephesians, than from any other person or portions in the Bible. We as believers are warned to put on the whole armor of God, according to the book of Ephesians, if we are going to enter victoriously into spiritual warfare against the powers of Satan. If we are to avoid a stalemate in our Christian lives, an experience similar to Israel’s 40 years in the desert, we will have to choose to become spiritually aggressive. “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
—by Theodore H Epp
—by Daniel Jeyaraj
Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg (1682-1719) was the first German Lutheran missionary to come to India. Before him several Europeans came to India either to serve in various East India Companies or in the armies of Indian princes or in several Roman Catholic missionary orders or simply as travelers. Their approach to Indians differed significantly from the of Bartholomaus. He was neither a trader nor a colonialist. He was neither a soldier nor a spy for an outside agency. He did not live with or write about Indian princes, their treasure and harems. He was a young German missionary who worked among Indians in the small Danish colony of Tranquebar (in Tamil: tarangambad, on the Coromandal Coast). From the time of his arrival in Tranquebar on July 9, 1706, he tried to ascertain traces of God’s residual image in South Indians and to use this insights in disseminating the details about Lord Jesus Christ as revealed in the Word of God.
Ziegenbalg’s theological unConfident Living
derstanding informed him that all people, right from Adam and Eve, sinned against God whom Jesus Christ has revealed in and through the written Word of God. As sinners, they were totally unable to live in absolute harmony with God, fellow human beings, themselves and with the nature. Nevertheless, they knew that they were given the possibility of responding to or rejecting God’s offer of love and truth, and God’s demands of grace and justice. Ziegenbalg believed that human beings do not realize the importance of salvation available to every person in and through Jesus Christ. He thirsted for authentic knowledge about South Indians, their languages, cultures, social norms, and faith practices. He lived among Indians and attempted to acquire firsthand knowledge about the residual image of God in them. Ziegenbalg’s genuine respect for and persistent interests in Indians as human beings loved by God enabled him to gain the trust and friendship of Indians in all walks of life. Most of his Indian friends and partners were practicing Saivites,
Vaishanavites and followers of village religions and Muslims. They disclosed to him the hidden aspects of their culture, the secrets of their religious attitudes, worldviews and practices. They uncovered to him the riches of Tamil literary heritage. They explained to him the reasons behind social customs and taboos. He received all these disclosures and evaluated his findings in the light of his Pietist upbringing, his pledge to preach nothing but the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and his devotion to holistic mission which he understood as a service to the soul” and simultaneously as “a service to the body.” Thus, Ziegenbalg was able to gain a glimpse of God’s residual image in the history and living heritage of the Tamil people. Ziegenbalg presented the Gospel of Jesus Christ as an alternative way of thinking, living and serving. He was fully aware of various competing religious, philosophical and ideological systems in and around Tranquebar. He also realized that he would not be able to easily replace existing systems, however corrupt and inhuman they might be, with another new system mainly because people’s way of thinking and interpreting events were conditioned by millennia-old habits. In this context, he encouraged Indians to seriously think about the claims of Jesus Christ as the “Way, Truth and Life,” and to incorporate their understandings, based on the New Testament, systematic theology church songs, Christian moral systems of thought and beliefs, Thus he equipped his listeners, readers, letter correspondents and dialogue partners to interpret their heritage afresh from
biblical values. He was not content with an outward change of religion but worked for the transformation of attitudes, loyalties, affections and identities of those with whom he came in contact. For this purpose, he studied Tamil literature, observed religious practices, analyzed the ethos of people. He did not hesitate to oppose all forces that perpetuated injustice and inhuman systems such as colonial exploitations of Indian resources or the practice of untouchability in Indian social stratification. He hoped that through his ministry an Indian Christian Church (e.g., the New Jerusalem Church in Tranquebar, built in 1718) would accommodate the laudable ethos of Indian society and the newness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and thus create an alternate community under the lordship of Jesus Christ. His schools for boys and girls (founded in 1707), his efforts to help the poor people to get out of misery (through interest free loans, medical help, investing in ideas and new possibilities, and the like), and his preaching tours were focused on establishing alternative models of communities. These communities would have dual identitiesâ€”both Indian as well as Christian. They would never be German Pietist Congregations or Tamil bhakti religious gatherings; rather they would combine elements from both traditions, and produce a new community that derives its inspiration from the teachings of the Bible and finds its concrete expression in its local Indian settings. Ziegenbalg was a scholar missionary who was willing to learn from the achievements of missionaries and Christians belonging to other
traditions. He used the Tamil-Christian words coined by Jesuits such as Henrique of Tuticorin, Reberto de Nobili of Maduari and others. He adopted some of their mission methods. He rejected their approach to caste system and inculturation. He listened to the stories of Tamil poets and became familiar with the content of the two major epics (namely Ramayana and Mahabharata), the eighteen great Puranas and numerous local sthalapuranas. He read Tamil ethical works such as Tirukkural and Ulaganeedi to find out ethical values of the Tamil people. His theological ideas about general revelation helped him to delve into Tamil literature and Tamil culture so that he could explain the special revelation of God in Jesus Christ to Tamil people. Besides the Tamil version of the New Testament, he also provided translated versions of catechisms by Martin Luther, Philip Jacob Spencer, and a systematic theology by Johann Anastasius Freylinghausen. He composed Tamil Christian songs and helped his converts to sing them according to special tunes used by school children to learn Tamil alphabets and mathematics. He entered into dialogue with people of all persuasions, and directed their attention to the unique claims of Jesus Christ as the foundation for life and service. Thus, he enabled the members of the emerging Indian Church to have adequate literature in their own mother tongue. They in turn appreciated his efforts because the God of the Bible did not only understand Hebrew, Greek, Latin or Sanskrit, but also Tamil their mother tongue! Zeigenbalg was a bridge builder
across cultures and nations. Like any other European of his day, he too came to India with an opinion that Indians were uncivilized people. But the Tamil people taught him a different lesson. They paid him with the same accusation that he leveled against them. As soon as he learnt their language, read and understood their literary writings, he revised his former opinion and considered the Tamil people as his friends and partners. He did not hesitate to record his transformation, and wrote several treatises on Tamil culture and society. He tried to help his European readers in Indian as well as in Europe to get rid of their prejudices about Indians, and to form a more realistic view, namely Indians and Europeans are human beings who need the Gospel of Jesus Christ for meaningful and service. Until 1845 fifty-four missionaries came from the Francke foundations in Halle, Germany Numerous Indians helped them and treated them as their guests. Without active support of these Indian Christians, foreign missionaries could have done little or nothing at all. Zeigenbalg realized his dependence on Indians, and wrote about their contributions. His writings serve as a treasure trove for our understanding of early eighteenth century south India and south Indian society. His successors, both Europeans and Indians, built and continue to build on his legacy of responsible and authentic crosscultural ministry and intercultural learning. May his legacy encourage us in our ministries. CL ( Source Apologia )
Abimelech to be afflicted with an illness which prevented him from coming near Sarah. Thus, miraculously and graciously, the mother of the chosen nation was kept from impurity, not because of the wisdom of Abraham, but because of the grace of God.
–by Dr. Woodrow Kroll Therefore Abimelech rose early in the morning, and called all his servants, and told all these things in their ears: and the men were sore afraid. Our folly and God’s grace; if you see one, can the other be far behind? Frequent are the occasions when God’s children foolishly mire themselves in difficulty only to have God graciously dig them out. Even the venerable Abraham found himself in this situation more than once.
After the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham departed from the groves of Mamre and journeyed south to the Negev. Here he dwelt between Kadesh and Shur, pitching his tent in Gerar. Upon arriving in the south country Abraham hatched a plan which he had tried unsuccessfully in Egypt some twenty years earlier. He instructed his wife, Sarah, to claim that she was his sister. Because of the disastrous consequences which it previously had brought on the pharaoh of Egypt, it is almost inconceivable that Abraham would try this scheme again. Apparently the stern rebuke Abraham received from Pharaoh had by this time faded from his memory.
Still, Abraham had only recently received God’s assurance that Sarah was destined to be the mother of the promised seed. By spreading the half truth that she was his sister and therefore eligible for marriage, Abraham placed Sarah’s virtue in serious jeopardy. This constituted a foolish lapse in Abraham’s usually stellar performance as the friend of God. The arrival of Abraham and Sarah brought a greeting from Abimelech, the warlike king of Gerar. Having heard that Sarah was unmarried, Abimelech immediately sent and brought her into his harem. This likely was done to ally himself with the rich nomad prince, Abraham. Sarah was by this time ninety years old and probably not the beautiful maid she used to be. Suddenly Abraham’s lie had come back to haunt him once again. The whole course of human history could have been different if it were not for God’s intervention. Genesis 20:3 begins, “But God,” words which usually indicate the turning point between man’s foolishness and God’s grace. Abraham had lied about his wife and she was now part of Abimelech’s harem. Her virtue would undoubtedly be violated. But God warned the Philistine king in a dream that Sarah was already a man’s wife. He also caused
In the dream God revealed to Abimelech that, although he had done no wrong, nevertheless he must restore Sarah to her husband. If the king refused, his death and that of all his kingdom would ensue. This was enough to convince Abimelech. The king “rose early in the morning, and called all his servants,” relaying the message to them (Genesis 20:8). Respecting the authority of the living God, Abimelech was anxious to heed the divine directives. The Philistine wasted no time in returning Sarah to her husband but not without a sharp rebuke to Abraham. Happy to have his wife back safe and sound, Abraham received the reprimand with a sigh of relief. In return he prayed to God and Abimelech was healed along with his wife and maidservants. The kingdom returned to normal. Once again God’s grace had prevailed over man’s folly. The results could have been drastically different, however, had not God’s providence overruled man’s foolishness. Yet, how much anguish could have been spared both Abraham and Abimelech, both Sarah and the Philistine’s wife, if there had not been that one lapse from righteousness. The knowledge that God’s grace is waiting in the wings is insufficient grounds for contemplating foolish action. As Abraham finally learned, every friend of God must carefully guard against even slight lapses into the folly of sin (Romans 6:1-4). HYMN Sinners Jesus will receive; Sound this word of grace to all Who the heavenly pathway leave, All who linger, all who fall. CL
—Pamela A H The Boy shuffled timidly forward, clutching the knotted cloth sack that held his lunch. The two men with him, each with a hand on his shoulders, urged him forward. “Master, We’ve found five loaves and two fishes, “ one of the men said to a third man. “But it isn’t nearly enough.”
The boy shivered a little, though the evening breeze was still warm. He could hardly force himself to look into the Master’s face. Jesus smiled at the nervous youth and held out His hand. “It is enough,” he answered gently. “Give them to me,”
Jesus fed five thousand men— plus uncounted women and children—with that tiny lunch. It was a boy’s lunch; it was not meant to feed a crowd. But Jesus was not put off by the smallness of the offering. He knew the potential it had. We carry on many different activities day by day. We’re happy if we do even a few of them well. Sometimes, as Christians, we think we have very little to offer Jesus. We find it hard to witness to our classmates and friends. Our sincere, intense prayers last only minutes before our attention drifts or our thoughts are interrupted. It’s not easy to be a consistent, dedicated Christian day after day. But Jesus doesn’t ask us to do anything we aren’t capable of. He
only asks us to be faithful now— this minute, this hour, this day—in the things He gives us to do. He is strong and powerful, and He knows we are not. He is willing to multiply the effects of our small efforts if only we will let Him. If we will say one kind word, He will see that it touches the right heart. If we will spend a few minutes in His Word each day, He will teach us about Himself. If we will pray one sentence to request help for a friend, He will hear and answer us.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to feed five thousand. All He asks is that we give Him our lunch. CL
across the yard without wheezing. I thought I had asthma, but how come I didn’t have it before?” is how one woman described it. Thyroid cancer can also cause breathing problems if a nodule or tumor begins to press on the trachea, or windpipe. Any breathing difficulties that persist are reason to visit the doctor. Swallowing Problems or Hoarseness . Most commonly associated with esophageal or throat cancer, difficulty swallowing is sometimes one of the first signs of lung cancer, too. A hoarse or low, husky voice or the feeling of something pressing on the throat can be an early indicator of thyroid cancer or a precancerous thyroid nodule, as can the feeling of having something stuck in your windpipe.
Chest pain doesn’t necessarily mean cancer, but it’s an early sign for some patients. Routine tests and checkups, like pap smears and colonoscopies, are important -- but don’t rely on tests alone to protect you from cancer. It’s just as important to listen to your body and notice anything that’s different, odd, or unexplainable. Although many of these symptoms could be caused by less serious
conditions, they’re worth getting checked out if they persist. You don’t want to join the ranks of cancer patients who realize too late that symptoms they’d noticed for a long time could have sounded the alarm earlier, when cancer was easier to cure. For Both Men and Women Wheezing or Shortness of Breath is one of the first signs lung cancer patients remember noticing when they look back is the inability to catch their breath. “I couldn’t even walk
Frequent Fevers or Infections These can be signs of leukemia, a cancer of the blood cells that starts in the bone marrow. Leukemia causes the marrow to produce abnormal white blood cells, which crowd out healthy white cells, sapping the body’s infection-fighting capabilities. Often, doctors diagnose leukemia only after the patient has been in a number of times complaining of fever, achiness, and flu-like symptoms over an extended period of time. Upset Stomach As simple as it sounds, a good old-fashioned bellyache is what tipped off a number of lucky folks, whose doctors ordered ultrasounds and discovered early that they had tumors on their livers. Stomach cramps or frequent upset stomachs may indicate colorectal cancer;
many cancer patients say their doctors thought they had ulcers. Weakness and Fatigue “I kept having to sit down at work, and one night I was too tired to drive home,” said one woman in describing the fatigue that led her to discover she had leukemia. Generalized fatigue and weakness is a symptom of so many different kinds of cancer that you’ll need to look at it in combination with other symptoms. But any time you feel exhausted without explanation and it doesn’t respond to getting more sleep, talk to your doctor. Unexplained Weight Loss If you notice the kilos coming off and you haven’t made changes to your diet or exercise regime, you need to ask why. Weight loss is an early sign of colon and other digestive cancers; it’s also a sign of cancer that’s spread to the liver, affecting your appetite and the ability of your body to rid itself of wastes.
Changes in Fingernails Unexplained changes to the fingernails can be a sign of several types of cancer. A brown or black streak or dot under the nail can indicate skin cancer, while newly discovered “clubbing” -- enlargement of the ends of the fingers, with nails that curve down over the tips – can be a sign of lung cancer. Pale or white nails can be an indication that your liver is not functioning properly, sometimes a sign of liver cancer. Chronic “Acid Stomach” or Feeling Full After a Small Meal The most common early sign of stomach cancer is pain in the upper or
middle abdomen that feels like gas or heartburn. It may be aggravated by eating, so that you feel full when you haven’t actually eaten much. What’s particularly confusing is that the pain can be relieved by antacids, falsely confirming your conclusion that it was caused by acid in the stomach, when it’s more than that. If you have frequent bouts of acid stomach, an unexplained abdominal ache, or a full feeling after meals even when you’re eating less than normal, call your doctor. Chronic Heartburn If you just ate half a pizza, heartburn is expected. But if you have frequent episodes of heartburn or a constant low-level feeling of pain in the chest after eating, call your doctor and ask about screening for esophageal cancer. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – a condition in which stomach acid rises into the esophagus, causing heartburn and an acidic taste in the throat – can trigger a condition called Barrett’s esophagus, which can be a precursor of esophageal cancer. Bowel Problems Constipation, diarrhea, and changes in stools can all be signs of cancer. As with many other cancer symptoms, the way to tell if this is cause for concern is if it goes on for more than a few days without a clear cause, such as flu or food poisoning. People diagnosed with colon cancer say they noticed more frequent stools, as well as a feeling that their bowels weren’t emptying completely. One of the early signs of pancreatic cancer is fatty stools, which can be recognized as frequent, large stools that are paler
than normal and smelly. This is a sign that your body’s not absorbing your food normally, and it should be brought to your doctor’s attention. —Melanie H. Source: WebMD
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