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Reflections on Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this book, sent to him via the web: I was greatly blessed from listening to some of your messages that you posted on YouTube. I am a high school student from the United States and I found what you said was refreshingly straightforward and I could relate to almost everything you mentioned. I have yet to hear someone be so candid about such a topic as sexual immorality. – A high school student studying in Egg Harbour Township High School, Atlantic County, New Jersey, The United States. This mail is just to let you know that your writings are influencing and captivating many youth. – a young employee of Google – India. (Your writings are) crisp and to the point for a generation that's always on the run – a teacher from Republic of Slovenia. I happened to read through your article saved on the desktop of a system at a Cyber Cafe in Sainikpuri (a colony very close to Duke's home). I am thankful that there are few preachers who still present the Word without any dilution. It's very interesting to see that you have used the latest trends, current affairs, present lifestyles and gelled with the Word. Keep up the good work. – a business man unknown to Duke till that point from Secunderabad, India. You can keep crowd listening to you till the end because of the examples you give, which connects people to the actual life situations. Your messages and writings are useful to youth who quickly relate to topics of interest to them. – a young Engineer working with Infosys, Bangalore, India. I went to your blog and read the articles written by you. It touched my heart and soul. We need more and more leaders like you to lead and shepherd the youth of today. – the Principal of a leading Catholic college in Jabalpur, Central India. You have a knack of plucking God's messages from secular happenings around us, reminding us of the fact that God can speak to us in many ways and not just through Sunday sermons or daily Bible readings. – a Ph D. student at New Jersey, The United States. 1


I am grateful that your writings have had an impact of eternal value on me. – a student living in Eastwood, New South Wales, Australia. I thank God for your ministry, Duke and the impact it is having. – a youth ministry professor in Nyack, New York, USA. For some reason, I think when you preached in your church's youth convention even the cameras sat down and heard the Word! I say this because there is no picture of you preaching in the meetings for the record! I think our official photographer was totally absorbed in listening to the Word! – the youth pastor of a leading church in Kolkota, India. I am happy to note that you are trying to reach the youth group that others in general have left out. – one of the founders of a large missionary organization in India. I strongly feel that reading good Christian literature will help young people strengthen their relationship with Christ and also help answer so many unanswered questions in a supernatural way (it has for me!). When I read some excerpts from Duke's writings I was very impressed. Young people need such writings. Duke's writings are honest and very practical. They fill the gap that is created by various youth ministries that are good but impersonal. – a young Corporate Company employee in Hyderabad, India. My boyfriend and I were physically intimate with each other, though we went to church regularly. After I heard you preach on beating sexual temptation (one of the topics featured in this book) I realized that my behavior did not please God. So I asked God to forgive me and now I am a new person. – a young girl who was in one of the youth camps that Duke preached in.

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No beating-about-the-bush Straight Talk on Hushed-Up Matters: Contemporary-events-wrapped essays on what the Bible has to say about matters of sex, love, marriage, plus a lot more, for the Google Generation!

By Duke Jeyaraj

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Chapter Titles 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Red Light Theology Shah Rukh In DDLJ Wouldn't Do It Even In A Dream....... The Black Dog of Depression Prudent Partner Pick Swayambar: Rakhi Sawant Vs Eliazer, The Servant! Ms. Padukone Vs Mrs. Mahlon! How I Met And Married My Wife True Romantic Love How Far Is Too Far? Is Being Gay, Okay? When The Urge To Watch Porn Becomes Unbearable... Masturbation: Christ Vs The Coach Taming Sexual Temptation Like Joseph Pictures to Puncture Your Enthusiasm to Smoke and Drink Bible Ways To Beat Sexual Temptations Samson – The Bible's Answer To Shane Warne! Do You Balance Life and Work? Should We Say, “Let Living-in Live On?” Would God Wink At Divorce? Jesus Would Have Preached, “Remember Gately!”

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11 14 19 22 28 30 40 44 51 56 60 64 67 69 77 84 92 101 104 106


Copyright 2010 Duke Jeyaraj. All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any meanselectronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other – except for brief quotation in printed reviews, without prior permission of the publisher. Publisher’s Details: G4 Mission Publishers 34 Church Colony Vellore - 632006, India. Phone: +91-9441352433/+91-0416-2245017 www.g4mission.org E-mail: catchduke@gmail.com This book is for private circulation only. Scripture references are from the following sources: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language by Eugene H. Peterson (The Message), Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. The Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT), copyright 1996. Used by the permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illionois 60189. All rights reserved. The Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV), copyright 1973, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. The Living Bible (LB), copyright 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton IL 60189. All rights reserved. The Holy Bible, The New King James Version (NKJV). Copyright 1979,1980,1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The Holy Bible, Contemporary English Version (CEV). Copyright 1995 by American Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The Holy Bible. English Standard Version (ESV). Copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Printed in India By Bapuji Printers, Woods Road, Chennai 600002. 5


Dedication I dedicate this book to my wife, Evangelin (I call her ‘Evan’), the greatest thing to have happened to me apart from the Lord Jesus.

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FOREWORD BY Dr. SAM KAMALESON‌. There are four qualities that go to make the promise in any young aspiring Christian leader come true. First, the 'roots embedded and drawn from good family' (II Timothy 1:5). Second, 'the good friends given by God who have shaped, challenged and imparted the Truth' with clarity (II Timothy 1: 8,9). Third, is the 'Gift and gifts that God alone gives' (II Timothy 1: 6) and the responsibility of disciplined facilitation of these recognized God given gifts. Fourth, there is the ongoing development of these gifts from God by right care, personal discipline, accountability to God and the Body of Believers and continuing use of the gifts in Servant Leadership (II Timothy 1:6). J. B. Philips in his translation, terms it as 'stir up the inner fire'! Duke comes from 'good stock' - His family gave him a great start. Duke has acknowledged his debt to those who have 'invested in His life' - friends and other models of Christian discipleship. Duke understands intimately the dependence on the Holy Spirit to gift and energize effective Christian discipleship. Duke evidences the commitment to ongoing disciplines that help develop and use the gifts of God by being a 'servant to humanity at large and the Body of Jesus Christ in particular.' May the Lord who has called fulfill His purposes and calling in Duke! Duke, this is exactly what I pray and desire for you! You are a masterpiece in making! The Lord bless you always! - Dr. Samuel Kamaleson, (A World Renowned Preacher and the founder of Friends Missionary Prayer Band, one of the largest missionary organizations of the world).

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PREFACE

Dear Reader, As I traveled in India and a few other nations and preached in youth camps and meetings, the modern young people (the Google Generation, as I call them) who attended them, posed a lot of questions. It was my desire to write a book that would provide the answer for these questions without beating about the bush from the Bible. And this book is the result. Like Jesus did in Luke 13: 1-5, I wrap Bible Truth around contemporary events. The truths I have shared in this book, I learnt through my personal devotions and interaction with my parents, life partner and many mentors. Some of the articles that make up this book have appeared in various magazines. May God bless you as you read this book. Do send me your feedback about this book. In the ministry of grabbing the google generation from going to Gehenna (Hell). Duke Jeyaraj September 2010.

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ACKNOWLEGMENTS You wouldn't be reading this book but for these precious people: First, my Maker. He keeps telling me, “You've got to write, Duke – that is one of my callings upon your life!” And this book is written out of obedience to that call. Second, my Parents. They – Mr. A. Jeyaraj and Mrs. Vimala Jeyaraj – put me in the best school in town. And I communicate in English because I went to Ida Scudder School in Vellore, India. Third, my wife, Evan. Writing letters expressing my love for her, on a regular basis, was wonderful practice for this book! Her corrections, comments and coffee when I was about this book project have made this book look a lot better. She gave me company when I “end-noted” this book – even though that process seemed endless! Fourth, my son, Dale. He wanted to help me write this book though he was just one year old when I began this work! He would punch in the keys in my computer keyboard and blink at the screen with delight. That was his way of saying, “Dad, I am with you in your project!” Fifth, the leaders of Blessing Youth Mission. Dr. Mrs. Lilian Stanley trained me in the essentials of Christian Writing. Thank you, aunty! Mr. E. L. Mathan Singh and Mr. Victor P. S. Kumar read through most of the articles you will get to read in this book, while I was with Blessing Youth Mission, to check for major errors. Sincere appreciations, uncles! Sixth, my skilful team of Editors who sweated it out to make this book shinea) Mrs. Shirin Samuel-Sigamony, a Bangalorean who has in the editorial capacity of three respected newspapers /journals, b) Ms. Diana Suthanthira Singh, a student of Masters of Social Work in Chennai, c) Pastor Rincy Cherian, associate pastor of Life Fellowship, Trivandrum, 9


d) e) f) g) h) i) (j)

Mr. Toby Salins, Chief Sub-Editor, Indian Express, Trivandrum, Bro. Christopher Tharalla, a avid Bible-reader and Pastor in Hyderabad, Ms. Angelin Stephen, a M. Div Graduate of Southern Asia Bible College from Nagpur, Mr. Navamani Xavior, a senior officer with Indian Bank, Vellore Ms. Shruti Joy, a Mass Communication graduate who works for Joyce Meyer Ministries, Hyderabad, Stephen Jothiraj, a young employee of a Corporate Company in Bangalore. Adeline Anurupa Asirvatham, an Accenture-employed young woman in Hyderabad.

Each of these folk took timeout from their packed schedules to pick out mistakes, errors, blunders, Etc in my writings. I cannot thank them enough! I must note here that each of the editors did not read all the chapters you would find in this book. Seventh, the Google Generation, the Yahoo Youth, the Hotmail Herd. These modern youth listened with rapt attention to messages I preached based on the originally prepared outlines. These outlines eventually became skeletons for the articles featured in this book. Every time they shook their heads in approval, when I made a point while preaching to them, it was as if they were telling me, “Duke go ahead and write what you are preaching. It will be useful to youth who are not here in this meeting to listen to you!� I praise God for my friend Bobby Leonard and his family, who have taken the pain-staking initiative voluntarity to bring this book into the print format. Yes, the cover and the back page of this book has a creative and cool look and the credit should go to Eugene Pandian, my contemporary in Allahabad Agricultural Institute who deftly designed them. I gratefully acknowledge that Daniel Pravin, Steve Jothiraj and Anisha Ambrose lent their pictures for the cover while Florussel Satya Banerji has shot the picture of mine in the back page. I am clapping for all of you! I am doffing my cap for this entire crew! Duke Jeyaraj 10


Chapter One

RED LIGHT THEOLOGY

The one book you've got to read to understand true love! Love - how the word has its meaning changed. The latest movie swears true love is what it portrays. Hmmm. If you want to know the meaning of true love there is a book in the Bible you've got to read. I'm referring to the book of Hosea. No book in the world illustrates what true love is as this book. I attempt to summarize the message of this book in this essay. Hosea writes that Israel would call God as "husband" - not master (Hos 2:16,17). By the way, did you know that the word "Baal" can also mean "master" in Hebrew - the language Hosea was originally written in? God did not want his people to even utter the name of Baal - the most important 'god' in the scores of gods worshiped by the Canaanites, whose land God gave the people of Israel. God wanted to be Israel's husband. Any self-respecting woman would have only one husband. And God wanted Israel to have only Him as their God and nothing or no one else. But the people of Israel stubbornly went behind Baals. They believed it was Baal that gave them the rains for their crops (see Hos 2:12). In fact, they thought of rain as the semen of Baal! In order to get more rain, they had to make Baal all the more sexually excited. So in order to do that they had to sleep with the temple prostitutes found in abundance in Baal Temples (See Hos 4:11-14). They converted what was Bethel (meaning 'house of God') to Be-aven (meaning 'house of iniquity') (See Hos 4:15). Sex was the magnet that pulled the people of Israel towards Baal worship! Even today, much has not changed. Sex remains Satan's No. 1 weapon to sidetrack mankind from true God worship. The story of Hosea makes one go "veoh!" Gripped by God's dictates the Prophet marries a woman who is a prostitute (Hos 1:2-3). His marriage to her would be a picture of God's relationship with his people, Israel. Just as Gomer was untrue to her husband, the people of Israel were untrue to their God by worshiping other Gods. 11


Red Light Theology

Red Light Theology! Gomer continued to be a prostitute even after marrying Prophet Hosea. The people of Israel continued to worship idols even after knowing Yahweh as their Husband. Hear God's heart-rent lament about the horrific behavior of his people: Why, even wild donkeys stick to their own kind, but donkey-Ephraim goes out and pays to get lovers (Hos 8:9 EPV). (Ephraim, is the tribal name for Israel, north Israel to be precise.) In fact, Gomer, left Hosea and went to live in the Red Light area (See Hosea 3:1a). But that did not put a red light on his amazing love for her. He loved her, even though she loved adultery (Hos 3:1). God's love for undeserving adulterous Israel was even more amazing! He said to her, "Yes, I will marry you and neither leave you or let you go!" (Hos 2:19, EPV). Guess what, this is what that verse means - God's love for us goes far beyond time, even when we two-timed him! Hosea brought his wayward wife back for fifteen pieces of silver, five bushels of barley and a measure of wine (Hos 3:2). By now, she had become the sex-slave of some other man. Imagine how insulting it would have been for a husband to buy back his own wife from another man! Yet Hosea did it. No one was more madly in love with his woman than Hosea! Hosea's love for his worthless wife is an imperfect picture of Jesus' love for you. The punishment on the cross was only reserved for the worst of criminals. It was the most insulting of all punishments meted out by the Roman Government. But that was exactly the punishment that Jesus chose to take upon himself to free us from the roaring lion's (Satan's) claws (Phil 2:8). Hosea had to shell out 15 pieces of silver; Jesus, his precious blood! We became slaves to sin and Satan. Jesus brought us back by paying for us. He did not have to shell out merely fifteen pieces of silver like Hosea. He had to shed his precious blood to do that. The Bible says, "You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ" (I Pet 1:18-19). Hosea had to part with five bushels of barley to get back his girl. Jesus allowed himself to be wounded in five places so that he could get us back from the grip of Lucifer. I'm referring to wounds on his head (through the thorn crown), two more wounds on his hands (through the nails that pierced him), the wounds on his body by the whipping and wounds on his legs (through the nails that pinned him to the cross on them). Hosea had to offer a measure of wine to get his lady love released. Jesus refused to drink wine while he hung on the Cross - something that would have lessened his pain to a great extent so that he would be able to bear the full brunt of the punishment that brought us peace which was upon him! Hosea told his wife, after he had rescued her from the Red Light area, to stop playing the prostitute (Hos 3:3). That's what God wanted Israel his wife to do as well. In fact, he pleaded with her to "put away her whoring from her face and her adultery from between her breasts" (Hos 2:2, HCSB). That's what God wants of each one of us, rescued from the Devil's dungeon by his blood, to do: take a U-turn, 12


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

repent, change. Since we were "bought" with a price, we must glorify God in our body (I Cor 6:20). There is no place in a God-glorifying body for sexual immorality. Since we were "bought" with a price, we must not become "slaves of men" (I Cor 7:23). A Blood-bought believer would not bow to peer pressure and thereby become a slave of men! Wow, we have a wooing God! I can imagine how Hosea wooed his “other-men chasing� wife by speaking loving words to her. Merely paying for her release would not have got the job done. In the same way, God's intention was to lead his wife Israel to the wilderness and speak tenderly to her there (Hos 2:14). This is what God would do according to the Eugene Peterson trendy version: I'm taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I'll court her. I'll give her bouquet of roses....(Hos 2:14). Wow, we have a God who wants to woo us! Whom are we dating? Whom are we dating? Maidens? Men? What about our Maker? Have we dated him? When was the last time you thought of God and had a romantic roll in your eyes? Think of a phase in your life when the word, "Jesus", caused you to skip a heart-beat, because you were so much in love in with him! But now your relationship with the Lord has become rusty and regular, mundane and mechanical, boring and bland. What Jesus remarked about the Ephesus Church is true about us: "But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first" (Hos 2:4, ESV). Interestingly, it was to this church that Paul wrote, "love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love" (Eph 6:24, NLT). The slow death of an undying love for Christ - that's what happened in the case of the Ephesians. That's what is perhaps happening in our life. In fact, God's accusation in the book of Hosea is painfully accurate: "Your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight!" (Hos 6:4, NLT). Before it is too late, let us race to our wilderness to hear our Lord's wooing. Let us escape to lonely places to rekindle our romance with him. Let us take time to have a living, loving, daily, deep relationship with Jesus!

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Shah Rukh In DDLJ Wouldn't Do It Even In A Dream...

Chapter Two

SHAH RUKH IN DDLJ WOULDN'T DO IT EVEN IN A DREAM.......... The dangers of pre-marital sex

“I wouldn't do that to you even in a dream!” Shah Rukh Khan says to Kajol who suspects he made love to her while she was drunk and asleep in the movie DDLJ. Well. Not too many youth of today would say that. For them, an opportunity to have sex before marriage (with willing partners in most cases), is a dream come true! They probably will identify themselves more with the Shah Rukh who flirts with another man's wife in New York City and ends up having sex with her in the movie KANK. From hush-hush To rush-rush "Sex for me is not a huge mountain that needs to be climbed," says popular VJ, Nikhil Chinappa. "You make love when it feels right! What's the number of dates got to do with it. If we are compatible, yeah why not on the first date itself!" ( Delhi Times, September 5, 2001). Football Icon, Ronaldo was pretty cool about premarital sex. He lived-in with his manager's daughter, Viviane, during the days he played for Einhoven. Mamta Kulkarni, Bollywood actress, once mouthed: "Virginity, is a big issue made over a small tissue!" Speaking to India Today, Nadia Sachdev, a college girl in Chennai, was in her elements, "Earlier romances were a hush-hush affair. Now romances are invariably rush-rush affairs – affairs which rush towards sex!" With the invention of condoms, sexual activity, outside of marriage has received a shot in the arm. Remo Fernandez , popular rock singer, performing in a college campus sang, "Guys, 'dress' for the occasion! Girls, get some protection!…if you want oooo without the fear of AIDS." He was eloquently advocating the use of condoms among college youth – if you did not get the meaning of those lines still. Chunkey Pandey, Bollywood actor, once was quoted in India Today, saying, "Condoms are a man's best friends – don't leave home without one!" Basketball legend, Magic Johnson, was on American TV networks with this 14


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

message: "Wear the 'cap' below, before you do it!" Condoms Stop AIDS-infection? Rubbish! Young people are taught that wearing a condom makes one as secure as one in the Red Fort. Rubbish! Trash! Water flowing through a net would be more accurate imagery to describe what happens when a man puts on a condom and hopes it will stop the AIDS virus from harming him! The AIDS Virus, mind you, is 250 times smaller than the male sperm. Boy! The condom has a tough time just stopping the bigger male sperm and getting a woman pregnant. In the movie, Salaam Namaste, starring Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan, this is accurately depicted. Saif is confused that Preity got pregnent even after he wore a condom while they were intimate. Preity clarifies: a woman sometimes can get pregnent when the man wears the condom! Condoms fail 15 out of 100 times in married couples, a survey tells us. They fail 36 out of 100 times when young, unmarried women use it. For Homosexuals who use it, according to a British Medical Journal, the failure rate due to slippage and breakage is 26%. When condoms fail so many times to stop the male sperm, which is 250 times bigger than the AIDS virus, it will definitely fail to stop the not-as-big AIDS virus. Perfect Logic! Safe Sex – A myth? A woman can get pregnant during just one or two days per month. And the failure rate of condoms even in such a case is pretty high. Young friend, do you really want to trust this flimsy armor, to protect yourselves against this lethal disease called AIDS? You could get AIDS not just during one or two sexual experiences per month (as is the case with pregnancy), but every time you have sex! This surely explains why none of the Sex Doctors and Researchers (over 800 of them), raised their hand, when asked, if they would wear a condom, and have intercourse with someone infected with AIDS. But these very same fellows have the guts, to tell us that, 'safe' sex is possible if you just put a condom on and do it! A HPV infected girl talks ...listen There is another virus called HPV (Human Papillona Virus). Here is one fact you can't wink at: the HPV virus lurks around the portion of the genitalia that is not covered by the condom. How bad can it be, if you get the HPV virus inside your body? Just to get an idea listen to this letter written by a 25-year old college girl, infected by the HPV virus, to a top Counselor and radio-speaker: "The last four years of my life, since I contracted HPV, have been lived in chronic pain, two outpatient surgeries, multiple office biopsies, thousands of dollars in prescriptions and no hope. The effect of this problem is one of severe relentless infection. The condition can be so severe that the pain is almost unbearable. A sexual relationship or the possibility of marriage is out of question. The isolation is like a knife that cuts my heart out daily. Depression, rage and hopelessness and a drastically affected social and religious life are the result. Please take what I have written to the air waves." Tell me; is a night of passionate sex outside of marriage, worth a terrible 15


Shah Rukh In DDLJ Wouldn't Do It Even In A Dream...

situation such as this? Not when you are in the right senses. One sexual encounter is enough for AIDS It just takes one sexual encounter (even done with condoms on) to get an AIDS infection. If you checked out a recent United Nations report, the AIDS virus shares a nickname with a Hollywood hit movie where gun-trotting muscleman, Arnold Swarznegger, plays the lead: The Terminator. This is an apt name for the second greatest killer of people in developing nations. Have you noticed that in no popular movie, when the pretty actress and the handsome actor make love outside of marriage, none of them (invariably) get AIDS? Doesn't happen in Titanic. It all looked like so much fun. It looked cool. But do you know that it is a medical fact that it could happen even after just one sexual encounter? Ronan Keating, vowed to virginity! Did you know? The yahoo youth of today list peer pressure as the number one for having premarital sex. "Everyone is doing it. I would be called a museum piece, called a weirdo, if I don't!" 79 out of 100 American teens said that they engaged in premarital sex to 'fit in or be cool.' Excuse me, phuleeese! Not everyone is doing it. Take this: Boyzone’s Dicaprio look-alike Ronan Keating took a vow to stay a virgin till marriage. The only 'safe sex' there is, is to save sex. It is to save sex for the one woman or man you will love and marry. It is to only have sex with that one person all your life. Doing anything less is like shooting yourself on the foot or cutting the tree branch you are sitting on, buddy! Do this if you have any spine in your backbone. Do this if you have any guts in your bowels. Dare to swim against the tide! One in 4 people in an Indian cinema hall have AIDS! Young people – often girls – tend to think, "C'mon! This sleek dude I am sleeping with looks so decent. He will not have AIDS. I am cocksure." Don't be so sure, girl. The statistic which I spotted in the newspaper will send shudders down the spine of a sexually active youngster: In an average cinema hall in India, there are at least 10 people with AIDS. If you were on an airplane in India, chances are that four persons with AIDS are traveling with you! If you sat in a classroom in India, it is possible that at least there is one person that has the deadly AIDS virus in his body (The Times of India, 10 November 1998). That classmate, that fellow traveler you are planning to have a one-night sexual encounter with, may have AIDS dear! One writer put it well: "Your idea of living a pleasant life of sex outside of marriage can work fine for a while. But on the long run, it is as realistic as a pleasant canoe ride in the river above Niagara Falls!" Why are doing this to me? I feel used and disposable The cool, hip trendy youth of today are all in the hunt, the search for peace, fulfillment, in their lives. They think, if they could have the pleasure of sex – 'the best fun one can have without laughing' as Woody Allen put it – then their search for meaning and fulfillment will end. What a foolish miscalculation that is. Ask Monica 16


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

Lewinsky. Sex for her was "an exciting short-cut to feeling needed by the most powerful man in the world – the then U.S. President," as a discerning writer observed. Did all of the oral sex satisfy the inner longings of her soul? Not one bit. Her letter to Clinton published in Time magazine gives us a peek into her heart: "Why are you doing this to me? I feel used and disposable." That's how you may've perhaps felt, as you stared at the ceiling after yet another go at illicit sex. Maybe you are looking to change your behavior. It is possible, that you are saying, "Hey, I am destroying myself with my untamed sexual passions. I want to get out of this muddle. But I somehow can't – no matter how hard I've tried." Feel Dirty? You can be totally cleansed as if it never happened Pal, there is a way out. It's the Jesus way. About two millennia ago, though he was God Eternal he came to this planet to "save people from their sins." That includes sins of sexual nature too. Jesus was absolutely sinless. He asked his worst enemies of his time, the religious leaders, "Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin?" They had no answers. Johnnie Cochran, the brilliant lawyer who defended and won a near-hopeless case for Football Commentator O.J. Simpson was once asked, "Which historic figure would you wish to have as a client?" He replied without hesitation, "Jesus is the person I'd have relished the opportunity to defend – someone who was completely innocent of all charges and a victim of religious persecution. However because of his mission here, he would have undoubtedly declined." Yes! Jesus stayed sinless, even through all the temptations you and I go through today. That includes sexual temptations too! The part of the world he walked on – Israel – had some of the most beautiful ladies in the planet. I am not giving you a cock and the bull story. Remember, Miss World 1998 was an Israeli girl? He could and so can you – but only with His help Yet He beat the temptation to have premarital sex. And now He can give you the power to say 'no' to sin. He also taught that sexual sin – all sin in fact – will make the person who does it as its slave and ultimately take that person to eternal hell. But this sinless Jesus took that hell punishment upon himself when He gave up his life voluntarily on a hill called Golgotha. Jesus died for your sake and my sake. He died for every person in this world. His blood can cleanse us from every sin – including sexual sin. Because He is eternal and infinite God in human person, He could die for all people of all time. He came back to life – a feat which can be proved in a court with circumstantial evidence and a feat which sets him alone and apart from every so-called 'god' in this world. This Jesus gives you – whoever you may be – this call: "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life." Will you answer his call by turning from your sin and putting your trust on him to save you and forgive you? Then a strange peace, which the world and its pleasures cannot give you, will sweep over you.

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Shah Rukh In DDLJ Wouldn't Do It Even In A Dream...

Just One Way to get out Jesus made it clear he was the only way to God in the Bible – God's word in human words. He did not give you the option of calling him another good guru. If you call him just a good guru, you are actually calling him a liar! You know what, none of the predictions of the Bible (there are over 600 historical ones) have ever gone wrong, making it the word of God. My friend, you need to take the decision to come to Christ, right now. Reason? You could die suddenly. Ask Lady Diana if you had any doubt or if you could! Another Reason? Jesus is coming back as Judge for every one in this planet – from Sachin to Spears; from Manisha to Mandela! You have a choice: to meet him as a Savior today or meet him a judge who will send you to hell, the day He returns! By praying this prayer meaningfully you can experience forgiveness of every sin and receive the gift of salvation. Dear Jesus, I am sorry for my sexual sins and every other sin I committed. Please forgive me. You died for me on that hill in Israel. Wash me with your blood. I believe you are alive and coming back to this world. My life, my strength, my everything is for you. So be it!

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No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

Chapter Three

THE BLACK DOG OF DEPRESSION! On how to deal with depression

Watching World Trade Centre Collapse! Mathew Johnstone was living in New York at the time of the September 11 terrorist attacks and was a block away from the World Trade Centre when the first tower collapsed. "I watched as several people jumped or fell from the large burning holes," he wrote in a diary essay afterwards. "One man fell face down with his arms and legs outstretched, like a cat anticipating a jump, his tie flapping furiously over his shoulder. I remember thinking, 'that man is still alive'. It truly felt like the end of the world." His meteoric career as a creative director in advertising took him from Sydney to San Franscisco and New York, earning him a clutch of awards on his way. He was a man who appeared to have it all - and yet, for many years, he had a dark secret. He was suffering from clinical depression. "I was at the peak of my career, earning more than I had ever before, winning big business, but I wasn't happy..." he confessed. So although he often felt flat and empty, he learnt to hide it well. Black Dog Today, at 42, he no longer has to. I had a Black Dog, the book he wrote about his illness, has become, paradoxically, the most prominent achievement on his CV. A slim volume of 38 cartoon-like drawings about a man whose life is overshadowed by a black Labrador, it is already a bestseller in Australia and his native New Zealand. According to Stephen Fry, the actor, writer and well-known depressive, it says "with wit, insight, economy and complete understanding what other books take 300 pages to say!" Black Dogs have been symbolic of depression during Celtic times. Winston Churchill famously used the metaphor to articulate his struggle with melancholia. The strength of Johnstone's books' illustrations is their simplicity - the Black Dog that lay between him and his wife in bed suffocating their intimacy, the dog chased 19


The Black Dog of Depression

away his confidence at social gatherings and the dog chewed up his memory and ability to concentrate on his work. Johnstone was using the Black Dog imagery to externalize his depression. "The hardest thing when you are depressed is thinking that there is no way out. But with the right steps, those Black Dogs do pass...."(Interview by Catherine O'Brien. The Times, May 23, 2007, Times2, page 4-5). Aggression, then Depression! The story of Mathew Johnstone reminded me of the story of Prophet Elijah. At one moment, he was on a high. It was all aggro and agression. He was charged up. At Mount Carmel, he sent the Baal prophets packing. He chuckled at them saying, "Perhaps your God is asleep! Shout louder!" (I Kings 18:27). Little did he realise that, soon, he would be in a condition where-in he himself would be sleeping in depression so deep that angels had to shout loudly to wake him up! So deep and drastic was his depression upon hearing Queen Jezebel's words of threat to his life! Even after eating the cake baked by angels he slipped back to sleep in depression (I Ki 19:6). The man who beat the 450 Baal Prophets and 400 prophets of Asherah with a broom (of his scorching words) was now sitting under a broom tree! The one who accused the people of Israel of "limping" between two different opinions was now limping into depression himself (I Kings 18:20). Why do we get depressed? What was the reason for the depression of Elijah? An examination of I Kings 19 gives us the answer. Elijah was depressed because while he worked vigorously for the Lord, he did not spend ample time alone with the Lord he worked for. That is why the first thing he does after getting up from his sleep of depression is to travel to Horeb, the mount of God (I Ki 19:8). He knew the first step to crawl out of the valley of depression was to climb up the mountain of prayer. That is what he did. Another reason that Elijah felt depressed was this: he felt that he was alone in doing the task God gave him to do. Hear these words -I, even I only, am left - and you will know that is how he felt! (I Kings 19:10). He was wrong in this assumption. He was way off the mark in what he believed. Elijah was not alone. God had kept in Israel 7000 people whose knee did not bow to Baal and whose mouths did not kiss him (I Kings 19:18). God was also preparing Hazael, Jehu and Elisha to take up leadership roles in the task of ripping apart Baal worship in Israel (I Kings 19:15,16,17). When this was the case, Elijah, quite inaccurately, thought to himself that he was all alone in this task of taking on the challenge of Baal Prophets. You see, whenever we cut ourselves from the fellowship of God's people and exist as spiritual loners we can sink dangerously into deception and depression. Ask Elijah, he will tell you!

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No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

Are you feeling low? Are you depressed? Is the world of yours crashing down on you and do you feel like ending it all? Climb up your mount Horeb and hug your Heavenly Father there. Catch up with folks who are on fire for God. Then the depression that made you look as if you were drugged will fly away! The 'Black Dog' riding on your back, will dismount to make you delirious and joyous!

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Prudent Partner Pick

Chapter Four

PRUDENT PARTNER PICK Bible Principles One Can Use To Find A Life Partner

"No girl liked me!"” I couldn't marry because no girl liked me!" quipped India's former Prime Minister A. B. Vajpayee (reported in The Week magazine). For many young guys or girls today, that is not the problem. On the contrary there are far too many wanting to marry them and they are confused as to which one they should say, "I do" to! "Whom will I marry?" "With whom will I walk down the aisle?" "Who'll be the pop/mom for my babies?" "With whom will I wake up for the rest of my life?" Those questions cross young people's minds constantly. Sure, young people's mind muse over such queries, time and again. Choosing the person you will marry is in my opinion the most important decision apart from your decision to follow Christ. And what is more – it is a decision that should be kept for your entire life. You can change your computer printer but not your life partner (I Cor 7:11)! I read a newspaper article on the long list of heroines who reportedly found “happiness” in their second marriages starting from Indian actress Sridevi. I also read that actress Bipasha Basu and Soccer Star Christiano Ronaldo were partying hard and getting too close in Lisbon after co-hosting new seven wonders of the world ceremony in yet an another news magazine. The writer wondered where Bipasha's regular boyfriend John Abraham was at that time (The Week, July 22, 2007). As Bible-believing folk we cannot copy this trend. Sure, you must put a lot of thought before you choose the person to whom you will say in the church before beaming onlookers, "For better or worse, till death do us part, I will love you with every beat in my heart!" (As one popular singer put it. Words for the song found at www.tsrocks.com on 9 March 2007). 22


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

What follows is the Scriptural base for choosing a life mate. Partners won't be dropped from the heavens! The Scripture tells us that we must "find" a wife (Prov 18:22). There is no "finding" without "searching"! This piece will help you be Scriptural in your spouse search. This article will aid you to be biblical in your partner pursuit! Here are eight sentences you need to keep in mind as you do that: 1. Choose a partner who worships the same GOD as you do! Mouse and Dog – can they be friends ? That is to say that as a believer you must marry only a believer. No debates. No questions. Listen to Paul's words in this regard in contemporary English: "Don't become partners with those who reject God…Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil?" (II Cor 6:14,15). Kurt De Haan puts it eloquently: "Oil and water do not mix. A mouse and a dog would not make the best of friends. A person with a paralysing fear of heights would not be a wise choice as a climbing partner to scale Mount Everest…A huskie and a dachshund would not work well together as sledge dogs in the Alaskan wilderness. A follower of Christ would not make a good marriage with a non-believer" (as found in www.rbc.org on 9 March 2007 ). Though it is sad to state, some young people have no qualms about marrying unbelievers. They argue that they will convert their partners after the wedding. Well. Well. Well. If you think you are wiser than Solomon you can think of attempting something so foolhardy. The "brainiest" man's brains were brainwashed by the heathen women he married (Neh 13:26)! Yes, Solomon's was. Some of the women he married were so ungodly that they were forbidden to live even in the palace (II Chron 8:11). Soon, he started worshipping idols the way his pagan wives did. King Ahab sold God's nation Israel to his Baal-worshipping wife, Jezebel. You see the woman you take with you to bed will most assuredly influence your "head"! In cross-faith marriages, most often than not, the children will have a confusion about whose faith to follow – mom's or dad's. We read of a man born to an Israelite mother (who could be taken to be a believer) and an Egyptian father (who could be taken to be an unbeliever) who blasphemed the Lord (Lev 24:10-12). 2. Choose a partner who has the same GOAL as you do! Mr. and Mrs. Lot – we have lots like them! Mr. Lot wanted to escape the carnal cities of Sodom and Gommorah. But his wife didn't think that was a cool idea. That is why she looked back as they were rushing out of the city. Guess what happened? She turned into a pillar of salt. And their marriage froze. Now take a good look at Mr. and Mrs. Noah. Both were united in their goal of escaping the judgment-flood by entering the Ark! The gift of prophecy brought both Mr. and Mrs. Isaiah together. He, a great prophet himself, calls his wife "prophetess" in Isaiah 8:3, did you notice? The priest of Judah, Jehoiada and his wife were united in their goal of safeguarding the God-chosen dynasty of King David. While Jehoiada led the revolt of his nation against the evil queen Athaliah who was out to destroy all the descendants of King David, his wife 23


Prudent Partner Pick

Jehosheba hid the last survivor of David's family – Joash – in a bedroom, with a nurse (II Chron 22:11/II Chron 23). Prophet Amos has a question for you: "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?" (3:3). Nope. Marriage is much more than a mere walk down the Church aisle. Instead it is a lifelong walk together with your partner, correct? It is a till-death life stroll together, right? UBS Vs UBS Truckloads of youths who committed their lives to join a missionary organisation fulltime have got sidetracked. The reason? They have married partners who haven't shown even a slight inclination for missions. If your dream is to work for the IEM (the missions agency) while your partner is going gaga about getting a job with IBM (the computer company) you are in for trouble, buddy! You may want to join UBS as a couple after marriage and your spouse too wants to join UBS. "Wow! What a wonderful unity!" you may well think. between the couple. Wait. The UBS you meant was Union Bible Seminary at Pune and the UBS your spouse meant was Union Bank of Switzerland, in Hyderabad! I imagine that Prophetess Huldah married Shallum, the keeper of the Temple robe, because both their jobs involved and revolved around the Temple (II Chron 34:22). A high priest's wife must be a girl from his clan, we read (Lev 21:13 -15). In other words, he must marry a person "with ministry blood" flowing through her veins! The reason I decided to marry Evan, my wife, is not tough to guess: she had decided to be involved in ministry even as a Class Ten student of Santhosa Vidhyalaya, Dohnavur, South India, something I wanted to be since my Class Eight! 3. Choose a partner who belongs to the same GALAXY that you do, at least! There is nothing unbiblical about marrying a person from another culture, country or continent. There is nothing marred about marrying even believers from Planet Mars (if there are!). Both Moses and Joseph married girls who were not from their culture. Obviously these girls were believers. Zipporah, the girl Moses married, may have been Egyptian, but she was educated – in the ways of Yahweh. She had great faith in the Abrahamic covenant, which was sealed by the rite of circumcision. It was she – not Moses, mind you – who circumcised their son – a deed that shows that though she was an "outsider" she was out and out for Yahweh (Ex 4:25)! But young people must be warned not to go overboard here. When two persons born to different sets of parents, who have lived under different roofs and cultures, come together to be bonded by marriage, there will invariably be some adjustment problems. Certainly! But after only having counted the cost of such adjustments and alignments I would advise you to step into cross-cultural marriages. Jesus said that before we build a building, we better sit down and count the cost! And remember that marriage and family life is a building according to the Psalmist who mouthed, "Unless the Lord builds the house…." (Psa 127:1 NKJV). Again, saying 'no' to one proposal after another purely on the basis of caste considerations, is deplorable, to say the least! In Christ's family "there is no longer 24


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

Jew nor Greek…for you are all Christians – you are one in Christ Jesus" (Gal 3:28)! 4. Choose a partner who seems GORGEOUS to you! Beauty which tape can't measure Wanting to marry a "beautiful" or "handsome" person is quite normal. If an unmarried Israelite soldier discovered a beautiful prisoner of war he could marry her – this was one of 613 Laws that God gave Israel through Moses, can you believe it? The Bible specifically records that the wives of each of the three Old Testament Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – were particularly pretty. The modern implication of Genesis 29:17 is that Rachel, the wife of Jacob, would have given Priyanka Chopra (a former Miss World from India) a run for her money by her stunning gorgeousness! You probably never noticed this: Prophet Ezekiel's pet name for his wife was "the delight of my eyes!" (Check out Ezek 24:16!). So what is the lesson? Marry a person who looks beautiful to you for "beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder!" But wait a second! Do not make beauty the conclusive factor in the finalizing of your life partner. Samson did. He saw a Philistine woman – obviously beautiful – in Timnah and wanted her to be his wife, instantly (Jud 14:2). This wife of Samson cheated on him (Jud 14:17). For the "sons of God" who married the "daughters of men" beauty seemed to be the only issue (Gen 6:1-2). God's judgment on this lust came swiftly (Gen 6:3). Remember that beauty is fleeting (Prov 31:10). Charm that tape can't measure – character that is – must be the deciding factor when it comes to life partner choice. Not too many girls wanted to marry this plainlooking doctor who was a missionary to the lepers of Orissa. "We'll catch leprosy!" they perhaps thought. But not Gladys. When she married Graham Staines no one told her that her husband would be one of the greatest names in World Mission History! See what you stand to gain if you looked beyond the looks! Oh how many young people miss a girl with the character of a Mother Teresa because they are only looking for the charm of a Bipasha (the actress)! 5. The partner you choose must be in the same GRADE more or less as you are! Engineer Vs Engine Driver Moses, a shepherd, married a shepherd girl. Jacob did the very same thing. But what about Abigail? This intelligent and beautiful woman married an absolute fool and her married life was far from cool (See I Sam 25)! If a sharp-witted engineer marries a dull-headed engine driver, he is asking for trouble! If an high-IQ pilot is planning to spend the rest of his life with a low-IQ potter then we better check if his IQ is really high! You see marriage is not about having sex all the time! But it is all about communication. It is all about talking with your partner. It is all about connecting with your mate. And for this to transpire, both of you should more or less be in the same IQ level – same grade! A prudent man will ask the Lord for a "prudent" wife (Prov 19:14). 25


Prudent Partner Pick

6. Choose a partner without being all-eyes on the GRANT he or she can give you! Catherine Zeta Jones's catch The other day I read that Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta Jones signed an agreement that ensured she would get a sizable chunk of Michael Douglas' massive 150 million pound fortune, even before marrying him, in case their marriage broke because of Douglas being unfaithful to her (learnt from news.bbc.co.uk on 9 March 2007)! Not only Catherine Zeta Jones but many young people marry with an eye on the several "m"s their partners may have: money, muscles, mobike, mansion and mobile. Cherry Walia's stated, "Now all that matters (when it comes to the choice of a life-partner for Indian youth) is facts (cheque books) and figures (looks)" (quoted by Samar Halarnkar in India Today, 15 February 1999). This crass commercialization of "holy" matrimony is appalling, pal! Many believer girls of today would resent the way their parents "sold" them to their husbands the way Jacob's wives did (Gen. 31:15). Sure, a couple needs money to set up a new home. In that case the attitude that both the newlyweds should have should be: "I bring what I have and you bring what you have. Contentedly, let's begin our life together!" Recall this verse in Hebrews: "Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have…" (Heb 13:5). Incidentally that verse comes immediately after a marriage-verse that goes "Marriage is honorable among all…" (Heb 13:4)! 7. Before you finalise the candidate you want to marry, seek GUIDANCE! Samson and Esau threw away sound parental advice that in-effect was, "Do not marry an idol-worshipping pagan girl!" And their marriages were far from happy. Isaac was in compliance with his dad's idea that their trusted servant should travel 400 miles to get a Yahweh-worshipping girl for him. The girl he married was a solace to him when his mom passed away. At the same time one must be careful not to merely nod his/her head to a marriage proposal which even godly parents may suggest. One of the most godly kings that ruled Judah, a man known for his desire to know the will of God, King Jehoshaphat arranged his son Jehoram's marriage to the daughter of his contemporary king in Israel. That marriage ruined his son's life (II Chron 18:1/21:6). The girl Jehoshaphat's son married was none other than Athaliah, the daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, who was out to kill all the surviving members of David's family – the family handpicked by God to rule Israel forever (II Chron 21:5/22:2). Your spiritual leader – your pastor or Christian leader you respect – may be a good person to get guidance regarding marriage. Pastor Paul was quite involved in the marriage matters of his church (See I Corinthians 7/ Romans 7). 8. If a person you are cool with claims to love you, look for a GUARANTEE! By the word 'guarantee' here I mean commitment. Too many girls (or guys) go head over heels when a guy (or a girl) comes and proposes marriage to them. They 26


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

do not stop to check whether the boy shows evidence of his commitment to marry her. They do not cease to say to the concerned, "Don't love me for fun, girl. Let me be the one, girl!" (as Boyzone group so eloquently put it - song lyrics as found in www.tsrocks.com on 9 March 07). David's love for Saul's daughter was a love locked in commitment. Or else would he have killed 200 Philistine soldiers when his father-in-law wanted him to kill just 100 to marry his daughter (I Sam 18:25,27)?! Boaz's affection for Ruth was quite deep. When the person who was supposed to marry her backed out, he stuck his neck out to marry her! Play the "hard-to-get" game – instead of blindly saying "yes" to the first proposal you get – to sift the pure from the phony. Take time to gauge the love of the commitment-shy chap swearing love to you - see if he merely wants a weekend or a wife! Someone has smartly and correctly said, "Marry in haste and repent at leisure!" Before it is too late, go for it! If you follow the above steps, you can be assured that the partner you pick is God's will for you. Keep these Bible principles in mind when your parents bring a marriage proposal for you and you can be certain that you will not miss out on God's will for you! Don't keep on postponing your life partner choice looking for the "perfect" partner! There isn't one! Even Jesus is engaged to be married to an "imperfect bride" – the church! The Bible talks about seven "old maids" who begged men saying, "Let us all marry you! We will provide our own food and clothing. Only let us be called by your name so that we won't be mocked as old maids" (Isa 4:1). These women, out of pride perhaps postponed their marriage. "I do not need a man in my life," they must have thought even though they knew they were not called to be single by God, deep down inside. They were possibly looking for the perfect life partner. Meanwhile they got older and older. Their skin started wrinkling. Their bodies started getting shapeless. And men did not find them desirable anymore as they did when they were younger and tender. There came a point in their lives when they were desperate to get married and no man was willing to marry them. So they take to begging men to marry them. They did not even want the men they married to provide for their basic needs. All they wanted the men to give them was a title that they are their wives. How heartbreaking was the situation these women were in! And many young people find themselves in such a situation because they indefinitely postpone their marriages with the same kind of mentality. It is quite possible that you have a peace over marrying a believer who may not have all the qualifications this article talks about. Then go ahead with the marriage! And do send me an invitation!

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Swayambar: Rakhi Sawant Vs Eliazer, The Servant!

Chapter Five

SWAYAMVAR: RAKHI SAWANT Vs ELIAZER, THE SERVANT! Lessons from Genesis 24 on qualities to look for in a life partner

The TV show that grabbed the eye-balls in India in 2009 is this one which Shobhaa De talks about: Rakhi Sawant's bizarre reality show has garnered respectable ratings – which comes as a surprise to skeptics who had scoffed at the idea of Rakhi playing the coy bride and choosing a future husband on the sets of a TV show. But that's exactly what she's doing…. She's on a roll. From a spirited, wild and whacky woman who was forever putting a foot in her mouth, Rakhi is currently playing the demure bride-to-be, gaze modestly lowered, head chastely covered…(The Week, August 2, 2009). What about you? Would you like to choose your life-partner the way Rakhi did with TV cameras panning you from head to foot? I guess that you wouldn't. What would be the Biblical way of going about a Swayamvar – a life partner hunt? To answer this question, you've got to read Genesis 24 – the story the Holy Spirit included in the Biblical record of Isaac's bride hunt which carries priceless principles we must keep in mind when we go about a life partner search. In this chapter, Eliazer, the servant of Abraham chooses a life partner for his master's son, Isaac. Here were the qualities he looked for in that person when he chose: He chose a believer. He was asked to go on a long journey, a journey that lasted atleast 21 days according to some Bible Scholars, to look for a wife for Isaac. The reason for this was not hard to guess: in the area Abraham lived there were hardly any believers of the living God with a transformed life of no-idolatry. Abraham explicitly forbade Eliazer from choosing a girl “from the daughters of the Canaanites” (Gen 24:3). Canaanites were a wicked people who were recipients of a curse from the God-attested Noah, we understand from a previous Bible reference to them (Gen 9:25). So, the essence of what Abraham was driving home to Eliazer was this: I don't want my son to marry an unbeliever from Canaan – but only a believer! Keep on traveling till you meet one! Keep on searching till you find one! 28


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

Here is where many young people trip and fall. They fall in love with “cute” and “cool” unbelievers they bump into – in their college, in their offices. God's message for such folks is the same as Abraham's message was for Eliazer: Swear to me that you will not choose a life partner who is not a believer! (Eliazer by placing his hand under the thigh of Abraham was making a solemn oath to this effect in line with the traditions of those times – Gen 24:9). He chose a Good-looker. Eliazer bumped into Rebekah who “was very attractive in appearance” (Gen 24:16). There is nothing unspiritual about wanting to marry a pretty girl or a handsome boy. But we must NOT make beauty the first and final deciding factor when it comes to our life partner choice. But remember that beauty is temporary – it could disappear instantly if someone throws acid on your partner's face (God forbid it) or a disease wrecks havoc on your partner's body (We pray that it would not happen). He chose a “Holy-Walker”. The girl that Eliazer chose for Isaac, was a virgin, the Bible records (Gen 24:16). She was beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside! She had beauty that tape could not measure – the beauty of holiness. In other words, Rebecca was holy in her walk! She chose a Hard-worker. The girl that Eliazer chose for Isaac was electric when it came to completing a task she voluntarily would take up. She not only offered the ultra-thirsty Eliazer, water. She also offered the same for the gallonsgulping camels that Eliazer rode on. It was no easy task. It must have involved a lot of sweat, I bet. He chose a Giver. Rebekah, was willing to give a room in her home for the longdistance traveler Eliazer to stay (Gen 24:25). Marriage is a give and take relationship. So a marriage between two givers, trying to out-do each other, is bound to work! He chose a “Converser”. Rebekah converses with her family and narrates to them about how she dramatically met Eliazer (Gen 24:28). One of marriage's primary purposes is for meaningful conversations. It is not all about having sex, 24/7. A married man is writing this piece, by the way. He chose an “Obey-er”. When Rebekah said, “I'll go!” to say, “I do!” she actually was obeying God. She certainly overheard it when Laban and Bethuel said, “This thing has come from the Lord!” (Gen 24:52,58). This was how, her thought process got going: Since this thing is from the Lord, I must make it happen! Let me go with this man, to make that happen! He chose a “Respecter”. When Rebekah spotted the man she would marry, she covered herself, in line with the traditions of the times she lived in – as a mark of respect and love for her would-be husband (Gen 24:65). You can't marry the person, you can't respect, can you? Would you take the cue from Eliazer in your Swayamvar? And I can tell you, if you do, you would have a wonderful married life! 29


Ms. Padukone Vs Mrs. Mahlon!

Chapter Six

Ms. PADUKONE Vs Mrs. MAHLON! Lessons on Romance-Love-Marriage from the book of Ruth

The most unromantic moment of 2009, according to some, came when bollywood actress, Deepika Padukone and her actor boy-friend Ranbir Kapoor (RK) called their relationships, quits. After this event, 'the girl's stuck with an RK (tattoo) on the nape of her neck' (as India Today put it in its January 11, 2010 issue). What was the most romantic moment in 2009? You may have some answers ready to give. Hang on – I have got another question. What is the most romantic scene in the Bible? When Ruth's heart went lub-dub‌ Is your mind racing toward the David-Goliath story? Are you thinking about how David kept asking what was the reward promised to the Goliath-slayer would be, after having secretly fallen in love with Saul's daughter, Michal? Did you find that scene most romantic? Wait. Let me tell you what the most romantic scene for me in the Bible would be. It is what happens between Ruth 4:4 and 5. Between Ruth 4: 4 and 5 you would have heard the loudest heart beats in the entire Biblical record. Those heart beats belonged to Ruth. The relative closer to her, than the man she loved, Boaz , had said 'yes' when he was asked about redeeming the "land". They asked him the next question about redeeming (marrying) the "lass" (that is, Ruth). Ruth's heart when this question was asked, beat loudly and rapidly, I believe, at this juncture. How romantic! That particular relative of her, cleared his throat to answer the question. When he said 'no', Ruth, I guess, was so elated, so joyous, that she did not feel like spitting on his face as she should have, as the Law of Moses recommended (Dt 25:8,9). Yes, that very widow should spit every such relative who would not come forward to marry a childless widow, upon the face in public! But Ruth, the childless widow, did not do that to that irresponsible relative. The reason was too obvious: she was in love with Boaz, who was next in the relatives' line to marry her! 30


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

In the book of Ruth, we have loads of practical lessons about romance, love and marriage. Can I share them with you? A Blessed Marriage from every direction! We must first of all note that Ruth's marriage to Boaz was a blessed one from every direction! The city elders blessed them (Ruth 4:11). The city women blessed them (Ruth 4:13). The Lord blessed them (Ruth 4:13). What is more is that Ruth and Boaz became ancestors for Jesus Himself! What a blessed privilege! Do you want such a blessed married life - a married life blessed in all possible directions? Then you must study and observe both the folks who got married to make up the family that was so very blessed. Let us start with Ruth. I will use the very name of Ruth as a short form for the characteristics she showed to be on the road for a blessed married life: R-Right God Worshipping, Reasoning Ruth The conversion of Ruth Ruth was a Moabite woman. The Moabites worshipped idols. Their god was Molech (I Kings 11:7, 33). This false god Molech was known for his demand of child-sacrifice (II Kings 23:13-14; Jer 32:35). Ruth may have thought to herself, "Why should I worship a god who wants babies to be sacrificed to him?" She listened to voice of the True God speaking to her in her conscience. She perhaps concluded Molech could not be god. So, when Mahlon proposed to her in marriage, she said "Yes" to become Mrs. Mahlon! (Ruth 4:10). She was much different than the Ms. Padukone we talked about, at the start of this article. The Bible specifically says that Mahlon and his brother "took" wives from the Moabites (Ruth 1:4). When Ruth was taken like that, she could have easily refused the marriage proposal of Mahlon. But by marrying Mahlon, she was turning her back to the worship of false gods! Ruth must have shown some traits of a believer for Mahlon to have married her. The Bible did not specifically forbid the men of Israel to marry the women of Moab (See Dt 7:1-4 and you will find that the Moabites are not part of the 7 "ite" guys that God forbade the people of Israel from intermarrying). When Ruth told her mother-in-law who wanted her to return to her homeland after the death of her husband, "Your God is my God!" (Ruth 1:16), it did not happen over-night. There perhaps was a day in her life, long back before that event, when she had shunned idols and to embrace the true God, the right God, the God of Israel. Life Partner Search – Begin It With God Do you want a good and godly life partner? Your partner search must begin with God - the Right God, The God of Ruth. He is the same God who gave Eve for Adam. He is the same God who promises to “settle the solitary in a home..." (Psa 68:4). He already knows the person He created for you to eventually marry. God is more interested about your wedding, than you are! So spend time in prayer seeking God's 31


Ms. Padukone Vs Mrs. Mahlon!

face. Jesus, who was already very intimate with His Father, spent the whole night with Him in prayer before He went ahead and chose His 12 Disciples (Luke 6:1216). You too can ape Jesus in this regard as you go about choosing your life partner. The very first step in finding out a godly, God-approved life partner is to have a close communion with the Right God, the True God - Ruth would tell you that. U-Under the Word's Influence Ruth A big 'No' to negative influences Ruth, as we see, did not come under the influence of her co-sister. Orpah, the cosister of Ruth, "kissed her mother-in-law" goodbye, when her mother-in-law gave her the freedom to return to her land, following the death of her husband (Ruth 1:14). But Ruth "clung" to her (Ruth 1:14). Ruth, also, refused to come under the negative influence of her mother-in-law, Noami. When she arrived in Bethlehem, with Ruth, after a safe journey only to complain, "Don't call me Noami, call me Mara, for the Lord Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me!" (Ruth 1:20). The very reason they had a safe journey from Moab (a place outside Israel) to Bethlehem should have enthused Noami to praise God with cheer, but that did not happen. In an incident that happened a little earlier, recorded in Judges 19, we understand that it was not even safe for women to travel from Bethlehem to another town within Israel. One such traveling woman was raped and murdered, even though she had a male companion! On the other hand, Ruth, it looks like, was positively influenced by the Bible she read at that time. She intently read the Law Books of the Bible, I believe. She must have read the story of Sarah in Genesis 16 (verse 3) in her Bible, I imagine. Sarah, in that story, asked her husband Abraham to sleep with the servant girl Hagar to bring into existence, Ishmael. After Ishmael was born, Sarah and Hagar did not get along that well. And Abraham had to pack Hagar and Ishmael off. Having read this sad story, even though she did not have children with her husband Mahlon, Ruth refused to take the God-dishonoring step of allowing her servant girl to sleep with her husband, even though they did not have children for 10 long years (Ruth 1:4,5). This is my perception. She allowed the Bible to influence her in a practical, positive way. The Road-Map For A Happy Married Life What about you? It is one thing to merely read the Bible. It is totally another thing to come under the influence of the Bible! Do you regularly read the Bible and apply the principles you learn from it, in your day-to-day life? In the Bible you've got the road-map for a happy married life. The most important thing the Bible teaches about life partner choice is this: a believer must only marry another believer (I Cor 7:39 makes this as the most important condition when a believer decides to get married). Do you comply with this Biblical command? Or, are you stubbornly in love with an unbeliever? Repent!

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No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

T-Tenacious Ruth Here goes a hard-working girl! Ruth could have happily stayed back home, cooled her heels, after her motherin-law and she reached Bethlehem once again after many years in Moab. But she was fiercely tenacious in that she was willing to go out in the hot sun and start working in the fields so that the duo would have food on their tables. In fact, Ruth took the initiative to go out and get work. Hear Ruth 2:2 for yourself, if you have any doubt about what I am talking about: And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me go to the field and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” And she said to her, “Go, my daughter.” When Boaz saw her working in his fields for the very first time, this is what he heard about Ruth: She worked in the field from the early morning till evening; she stopped only once to take a short break (Ruth 2:1). The workers in Boaz's field testified to her hard-working nature. What Ruth did not tell Noami She not only gleaned and gathered sheaves. At the end of the day, she beat up what she had gleaned (Ruth 2:17). She did not go home each day, with just the sheaves she had gathered. She did not tell the old lady Noami, her mother-in-law: "Old lady, you better complete the process I started. I gathered the sheaves. Now you've got to beat them up so that we can collect grain! You are, after all, sitting at home, doing nothing while I worked very hard the whole day!" She worked so very hard that she gathered quite a lot of food (Ruth 2:17). Who Knows? God always blesses hard-workers. In the hard-working Ruth's case, she "ended up in the part of the field owned by Boaz" (Ruth 2:3, The Message). Yes, there were many fields in Bethlehem those days. But God lead her to the field of Boaz, the man she would later marry, and have a blessed marriage with. It was not a mere coincidence that she landed up there. It was because of a Divine Plan! You see, how the Lord blesses those who set out to do hard work! Keep working hard and going forward! Who knows – God may have your life partner waiting for you, in the place you will land up to work in, with a singular mind to work hard! Some young people dream all the time about their potential life partners and waste their time. Such folks should learn from Ruth. They should roll up their sleeves and work hard. They should be willing to sweat it out. Then, other things would fall in place as per the Lord's will. It is important for boys to come up in their careers by working hard, before they get ultra-busy in a life-partner search. Girls should take time out to learn skills that would help them run a home smoothly before they go all out to search out boys to marry in a hurry.

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Ms. Padukone Vs Mrs. Mahlon!

H-Humble Ruth Right estimate of herself Ruth had a humble and right estimation of herself. This quality in her helped her find God's man for her. The humility in her oozes out as she greets Boaz saying, "Why have I found favor in your eyes, that you would take notice of me, since I am a foreigner?" (Ruth 2:10). When her mother-in-law asked her to propose in marriage to Boaz, through a symbolic act (Ruth 3:1-5) her obedient positive response revealed yet again that she was very humble. You see, Boaz was obviously much older to her. We see that he regularly called Ruth his "daughter" (Ruth 3:10-11). Ruth, on the other hand, was "young". The servant who was in charge of the reapers, you may recall, referred to her as the "young Moabite woman" (Ruth 2:6). And since she was a Moabite woman, chances are that she would have been very beautiful. We have evidence from the Bible that Moabite women were stunning to behold, generally speaking. I invite you to recall that Prophet Balaam, on seeing that the Moabite girls were very beautiful, asked Balak to send them with a mission of seducing the men of Israel (Rev 2:14; Num 25). So I would like to suggest that Ruth was quite pretty. Catherine Zeta-Jones & Michael Douglas Vs Ruth & Boaz At this point in time, I am reminded of a trivia I read about a celebrity couple: Hollywood Actor Michael Douglas, who is in his 60s and the always-beautiful Catherine Zeta Jones, were born on the same day, September 25, but 25 years apart! Michael Douglas is older than his present father-in-law! I am trying to present Boaz and Ruth as the Bible's Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Here is one reason why I can't say that: Boaz did not divorce his wife of 23 years like Michael Douglas did to marry a younger woman! You want me to propose to that bald old man? Let's get back to the book of Ruth. When her mother-in-law asked this pretty young woman named Ruth to propose to the much older (and perhaps balding) Boaz, she could have easily blurted out: "You want me to marry that bald, old man?! Come on! If you want, you marry him! Leave me out of this!" But she did not do that. She humbly obeyed as she knew deep down that this was from the Lord. She perhaps reminded herself that even though Boaz was not that great looking, he was a believer who took Yahweh's Word seriously. Ruth looked beyond Baoz's age and looks. She perhaps reminded herself that she was a widow and if the never-married Boaz decided to marry her, he would have made a concession (a tough thing to do at that time, and even this time!). Ruth must have told herself, that she must be willing to make a little compromise when it came to her expectations and dreams for her marriage and marry a much older man! And what is more, Ruth was willing to propose to Boaz (indirectly atleast) - something that is not easily done. It is always been the tradition that the boy proposes to the girl and not vice-versa, all through the ages. And if Ruth agreed to do it, it was because she was humble! Boaz himself 34


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appreciates the choice of Ruth that showed forth her humble willingness to compromise by saying, "You have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich." (Ruth 3:10). Be willing to make at least one compromise… Based on this example of Ruth and Boaz, I am compelled to tell young people on the lookout for their life partner this: you must be willing to compromise on one thing at least when it comes to your choice of your life partner, apart from the biblical clause that a believer should marry only a believer. I write this way having read First Corinthians 7:39, which teaches that the only condition a believer should make when it comes to life partner choice is this: the person he or she marries must be a believer; all else is secondary. So, what sort of compromise can we possibly make when it comes to our life-partner choice? It could be a compromise on the education qualification. It could be a compromise on looks. It could be a compromise on the background. There is a practical reason too as to why we must be willing to do this: none of us are 'perfect' life partners. And so we must not go around hunting for 'perfect' life partners. Before beauties become beggars…. If you are unwilling to compromise even a bit, then, chances are that you could remain unmarried for a long time – something you could have easily avoided. And the longer you delay your marriage, the task of finding a life partner becomes all the more difficult. So take heed! When beauties postpone their marriages when they are young because of a proud and cocky attitude ('no boy is really a good match for me'), a day would come they could become 'beggars', 'beggars' who would beg boys to marry them, when they have become much older (See Isaiah 4:1). What I am not saying… I must also point out here that I am not advocating that young women marry men much older to them as a thumb rule. That is not the whole point of this article. There could be some complications when this is done and I am not going to take time to explain those obvious complications. All I am saying is this: young people must be ready to make a compromise, in one not-so-important area (except the 'believer' clause) when it comes to life partner choice. The Holy Spirit would Himself tell you what that area could be on a case by case, basis. Next we move to the character of Boaz. Let us use his name itself as a short form to remind us of the characteristics we need to exhibit to have a blessed married life. Let's takeoff: B-Bible-Following Boaz The Bare Minimum, To Scrape Through To Heaven…. When Boaz instructed his men to leave certain areas of his field without being harvested, so that Ruth could have more food to carry home, he was simply 35


Ms. Padukone Vs Mrs. Mahlon!

following the Bible he read. He read Leviticus 19:9,10 in his Bible that went, "When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God." He knew from Deut. 24:19 that if he followed this rule, God's blessing awaited him. And he seriously set out to obey this law. What is more, he measured out six measures of barley and put it on Ruth's spread out garment (Ruth 3:15). He sought to even exceed the high standards set by God's Word on this subject by 'pulling out some bundles' of the harvested crop for Ruth to glean (Ruth 2:15)! What an example! I think of Boaz when I met with young people who tend to ask me, "What is the bare minimum I can do, to please God and be holy?! What is the bare minimum I can get by with, so that I can at least scrape through to heaven?!" That is not the way that Boaz thought! Wow! God, above His Girl! Boaz also followed the Bible he read to the last letter when it came to his responsibility of redeeming Ruth. He knew from Leviticus 25:47-50 that there was a relative to Ruth closer than him who had to be given the first chance to redeem Ruth's lost land, marry her and give her a male child. Therefore, he told Ruth that this closer relative would be given his chance, as per the Laws of God. But if he backed out, he would step right in (Ruth 3:12,13). I am sure that Boaz loved Ruth even as he spoke these words. But he never allowed his love for Ruth swallow his absolute obedience to God's Word! He placed God and His Word above his girl! Several young people when they get emotionally involved with an unbeliever, trash the Biblical command that a believer should marry only a believer, without much second thought! These folk must learn from Boaz! Several believers, refuse to obey the biblical command of water baptism by immersion after their conversion, because they are so very emotionally attached to their parents who do not believe this biblical command! Come on, guys - learn from Boaz! O-Open Mouthed Boaz Boaz is very good when it comes to communicating with Ruth. He opens his mouth and talks in a way that would wow her. He probably knew that women always have liked men who are great conversers. He probably knew that while men are attracted through the eye-gate, the women are generally attracted through their eargate! He does not remain tongue-tied when he sees Ruth, an absolute new comer to his world. RuthInfo.com, CricInfo.com We see that Boaz takes time to find out all about Ruth. He asked the young man who was the headman of his reapers, "Whose young woman is that?" upon spotting Ruth (Ruth 2:5). The word, "whose," is significant here. In other words, he is asking, "Whose daughter is this girl?" It is important to find out about the family of the girl 36


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you will marry. Boaz got the complete information about the hardworking, widowed Ruth from the manager of his farm (Ruth 2:5-7). It was as if Boaz was getting ready to set up a website by the name of ruthinfo.com (in the lines of cricinfo.com!). Oh, how many young people tie the marital knot without even making an effort to get basic information about their partners! How Boaz Talked With Ruth Observe how Boaz talks with Ruth and gather some practical tips (Ruth 2 : 8 -14 ) : Boaz talked to her like a brother (he was bothered about her safety, like an overprotective brother and so he told her, "Glean here in my field, only. Do not go to other fields, You don't know about the men over there!�). Boaz talked to her like a mother (he was concerned if she drank water sufficiently even as he saw her working hard). Boaz talked to her like a believer (he talks about her testimony - a testimony he pulled up by through enquiries). Boaz talked to her over dinner (so that he could have even more time to talk to her!). Boaz, perhaps, knew that women, on an average speak 13,000 words more than a man per day! And by talking a lot with Ruth, he was offering her what she just loved to do! Boaz Vs Samson It must be noted here that Boaz's conversations with Ruth were not like Samson's with Delilah. Samson fooled Delilah by telling lies to her. And that made Delilah mad. But on the other hand, Boaz's conversations with Ruth were based on truth, and this, Ruth, truly appreciated. First Night Without The First Word! Boaz was the opposite of Jacob who went through his first night with his first wife without even having a conversation with her! If he had taken time to strike a conversation with her in the first night, I am sure, he would have discovered it was Leah and not Rachel, his love, that he was copulating with! Marriage is about conversations, not just copulation! A-Above Reproach Boaz Alone with a pretty girl, in the cold of the night‌ It was cold at night. Boaz was sleeping soundly in his field after a hard day's work, followed by heavy dinner. When he tried to roll-over while sleeping, to his astonishment he discovered that he had kicked a woman who was sleeping near his feet! It was a greater astonishment for him to discover that it was Ruth. She had come to request him to redeem her (and thereby marry her) by that symbolic act (Ruth 3:6-9). What did Boaz do? He looked around. Everyone else was sleeping 37


Ms. Padukone Vs Mrs. Mahlon!

soundly around him. Here he was – alone with a pretty girl, in the cold of the night. Did he grab that opportunity to have sex or indulge in casual sexual touching with her in such an inviting setting, like Amnon, David's son, did to Tamar (II Samuel 13)? No! He made sure that she was sent from his field, as soon as it was possible, at the crack of dawn, long before others would wake up. He took this step to protect both his reputation and Ruth's reputation (Ruth 3:14). By doing that, he was also telling Ruth indirectly this: We will NOT meet in a similar fashion, next time out – it is not wise and nice! By doing that he became an awesome illustration for this New Testament verse – Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality (Eph 5:3). Here was a man who practiced the presence of God in the place of His work (See how he greeted his workers - Ruth 2:4). Here was a man who knew there was a God who watches everything he ever did. And so, like Joseph of Genesis 39, he could overcome temptation! Billy Graham's example Billy Graham, the great evangelist, took the cue of living above reproach from Boaz when he wrote in his autobiography, “I did not travel, meet, or eat alone with a woman than my wife…When it was necessary to speak one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex, it was done with an uncompromising way!” Will you take the cue from Billy Graham? Or would you be so foolish to throw fire on your lap and expect your clothes to go without catching fire! Z-Zooming, Zipping Boaz No dilly-dallying Boaz did not delay matters when it came to redeeming Ruth or marrying her. He was decisive in what he did. He did not dilly-dally. He swung into action, straightaway. After that surprise night-visit that Ruth made to meet him, he waited till only day-break to get going at lightning pace about the marriage-proposal he indirectly received from Ruth. He quickly organized a meeting in which the closer relative of Ruth and 10 elders of the town were present. The venue was in a public place – the town gate (Ruth 4:1-2). Wrinkled Skin, Rigid Habits Once, you know that a certain believer is the person God wants you to marry, don't postpone matters. Don't sit on things. Don't give that standard line which is usually on the mouth of our Bollywood heroines, “No marriage plans on the cards!” and postpone deciding on your wedding by giving some excuse or the other! Boaz didn't, as we just saw. There are those who have postponed their wedding plans, only to sorely regret it later. Your skin becomes wrinkled, your habits become more rigid – these are two unwelcome things bound to happen as time passes. These two things will not help you when you enter a marriage relationship at a later stage. And if the believer you are considering marriage with is pretty slow in making up his mind, you should seriously consider breaking up with him. If a man truly loves you, he 38


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would not keep you waiting forever, before he marries you. That Closer Relative…. We have talked about Ruth. We have talked about Boaz. Now let's talk about the Closer Relative of Ruth who backed out from marrying her. Why did he do so? According to Numbers 27:11, he stands to gain the property of Ruth, if Ruth remained unmarried and had no child. And if he did marry Ruth, he would have to financially support not only Ruth but also any children born to them. Keeping these commercial reasons in mind, he backed out of redeeming Ruth and paved the way for Boaz to act. Do you back out of a good marriage proposal just because the concerned person is poor? Do you want to marry an unbeliever, just because that particular person is rich? Do you 'demand' dowry? Such things will never please the Lord. Repent! The closer relative was actually to be spat upon by Ruth. But he escaped that punishment. Jesus was spat upon for your sake… It was Jesus who took that punishment that the closer relative deserved – the punishment of being spat upon. Jesus was spat upon enroute to the cross, please recall. He was no irresponsible bloke. Instead, he was the most responsible person ever, having fulfilled all the responsibilities His Father had sent Him to the earth with. Yet, the punishment for the irresponsible blokes came upon Him. He was taking our place. Yes, we should have been spat upon because we behaved so irresponsibly in many ways – we failed in our responsibility to be living lights to those who do not know Jesus. But Jesus says, “I love you. I will take your punishment of being spat upon!” Isn't that wonderful? Isn't that enough reason for us to shake off our irresponsible ways?

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How I Met And Married My Wife

Chapter Seven

HOW I MET AND MARRIED MY WIFE

"How did you meet your wife?” Often times, young people and even some pastors I get to speak to ask me how I met my wife. I would consider that very question a compliment. Well. Well. Well. I met my wife Evan for the first time (as far as my memory goes) at a camp meeting in Vellore called Ministry Efficiency Program for missionaries of Blessing Youth Mission, the year being 1987. I was 12 years old and she 10. Both of our parents were missionaries with Blessing Youth Mission. I distinctly remember how skinny and how stunning she looked even at that time! Another time I bumped into Evan even before I started thinking along the lines of being married to her was in the year 1993 at the BYM Missionary Kids Camp at Sitteri Hills at Tamil Nadu. Evan had just finished her grade 12 and was preparing for her Medical College Entrance Examinations, then. I was bathing near a handpump in Sitteri Hills along with a few boys when she climbed uphill from the Sitteri Bus stop, to arrive one day later than all of us. I cut short my bath and ran in! I did not have an Arnold Schwarznegger body to show her, you see! Butterflies in my stomach on seeing a pair of sandals! After I finished my B. Tech. (Agricultural Engineering) from Allahabad Agricultural Institute in 1997, I briefly worked at Chennai. Evan, too was at Chennai then, working in Madras Medical Mission – a famed heart hospital. We met at the English Students for Jesus (ESFJ) which met at the home of Mr. S. C. Vedasironmani, a home that almost kissed the Numkambakkam Railway Station. I recall how I once reached late for an ESFJ meeting and saw a pair of footwear outside Mr. Vedasironmani's home – a pair of footwear I recognized to be Evan's! I told myself, "She is in there!" and had butterflies in my stomach! After one meeting I distributed the MISSIONARY KIDS magazine with my lead article, BEATING SEXUAL TEMPTATIONS, fresh from the press to those at ESFJ. Again, Evan, was 40


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

there to receive it! Little did I know then that she would be the woman with whom I would have short accounts with in order to effectively beat temptation down the line! The Guitar Strumming Girl An important development then was that I got to know about Evan's ministry involvement. She did not go ballistic about Blessing Youth Mission (BYM) as I did. But quietly she did ministry in her style: strumming the guitar in the prayer cell at Working Women's Hostel, Vepery, Chennai – a hostel that housed some of the most hip girls in Chennai; taking interested girls to the church she attended, the Apostolic Christian Assembly(ACA), India's largest church when we take to count the number of people who sit for one service, for water baptism. Not a dumbheaded Head-nodder! I also recall how Evan did not simply nod her head to whatever I said – a quality about her that secretly admired. When I made a negative remark about a famous revival preacher who left BYM to start his own ministry she was not pretty pleased and told me that she wasn't in no uncertain terms! The Prophet in her probably told her that I too would do the same thing one fine day! And I did! When she told me that she had committed her life for the ministry during one of the special meetings in Santhosha Vidhyalaya, Dhonavur, the School she studied in for the best part of her life, since her parents were missionaries in Orissa, I took special note, for, I was looking for a life partner who had done that before meeting me! On one occasion, she recited Isaiah 6, while walking down the road with me! She had learnt by memory this passage and such passages as a kid! Here was a girl who had the Word in her heart and slowly and surely winning a place in my heart! Here was a girl who had the qualities I was looking forward to, in my lifepartner! Yellow Salwar! From June 1998 I was at Southern Asia Bible College, Bangalore, studying for my M. Div., I started getting proposals for marriage from well-meaning family and ministry friends through my parents. It was at this time I rushed to the jungles opposite to the Bible College and started praying about my life partner very seriously. At the end of those seasons of supplication God wrote in my heart that Evan was His chosen girl for me! Before knowing that, I made sure she fulfilled some of the criterion I had for the girl I would marry: a believer, involved in the ministry, part of the google generation – the generation I was trying to reach, but outside my caste, a caste so notorious in Tamil Nadu for marrying only within itself! The first time I met Evan after I knew I would marry her was at Chennai Central Station. She wore an Yellow salwar and my heart skipped a beat! And to cut the long story short – we got married at Gudiyattam on the 9 July 2001 – in the presence of our beloved missionary parents along with 800 people. "Evan is the greatest thing that happened to me, apart from the Lord Jesus," I told the 41


How I Met And Married My Wife

crowd. That was the first time she heard me speak in public, though I had been preaching for 10 years at that point in time! Yes, she did listen to me preach once via tape - a tape that had a missionary challenge message from the book of Amos I gave to the students in Santhosha Vidhayala. But she had never listened to me speak live, till then. Bubbly Extrovert After marriage we moved to New Delhi to work with the Assemblies of God there. I was the youth pastor cum Bible College Teacher. Soon we had modern youth coming up to us and opening their lives to us so that we could counsel them from the Bible. One reason why that happened was this: they saw Evan, a bubbly, extrovert next to their thoughtful introvertish youth pastor. The first ever youth camp, Evan and I addressed together was at the Mark Buntain Memorial AG Church at Kolkota in October 2001 - just three months after we got married. I still remember how Evan's moving solo, "He touched me!" touched the young people after my first message in that youth camp - a gospel message. At New Delhi Evan started sharing the Gospel with Auto Drivers. She picked up Hindi just to be able to do this. Her testimony about how she did it was published in the Blessing magazine. Talking about magazines, I must talk about how Evan edits almost everything I have written in the nine-plus years of our marriage so that my writings will graduate from crass to crisp, elongated to elegant. “She Preaches better than you!� After we joined Blessing Youth Mission, the first town we preached in together was at Miraj, Maharashtra. It was a town with lots of AIDS-infected young people. And we were asked to speak on subjects that were relevant. Evan's salvation message with a AIDS backdrop saw a lot of youth commit their lives to the Lord. One missionary aunty remarked that she preached better than me in that meeting. I could not be prouder when I heard that! Later on she stood before a packed hall full of youth of various churches in Kohlapur and taught them how to choose their life partner. The youth were all ears. Pregnant and preaching! I also recall how we preached in tandem in Lady Doak College, Madurai, Bishop Heber College, Tiruchy, Tell The World Youth Camp, Siligury and New Life Fellowship All Karnataka Youth Camp, Bangalore. Each time Evan spoke the Lord opened the hearts of the young people to grasp the truth He wanted them to hear from the Word. When she preached to the youth of Hyderabad Methodist Church at Karigari she was not only pregnant with the Word of God, she was pregnant with our first son, Dale Nathan! Her impact on Genpact youth Her message "Sinking Ship Not Called Titanic" (on relationships) preached to 500 youth of the New Life AG Church, Secunderabad, was video-recorded. That 42


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particular video was brought briskly in the meetings we have addressed. Once I was stopped by a girl who works for Genpact in Hyderabad. She stopped just to tell me, "I still remember the message your wife preached on relationships in that youth camp. It was a big blessing!” Nappy-changing and cheering from afar She was invited again by the same church - the New Life AG Church, Secunderabad - to do a workshop on March, 2008 - World Women's Day. That day, she made a compelling presentation titled, "Single and Despondent to Single and Confident" for the over 200 single girls. On that day, my job was simple: nappychanging and cheering-from-afar (it's an all-women's meet, that's why). Poems for my wife From time to time I have written poem/short prose to express my love for this great girl called Evan that God gave me. May I share one such poem I wrote: Thank you, Evan, for sharing with me, your skin, Thank you for pointing out in me, sin! Thank you for paving the way for me to win, Thank you for training me in matters like tomatoes, Face Creams and 'Rin'! And one time, I picked up my pen and wrote, “You are one Woman, I'll gladly walk life's road, even if that road is as long as Nile!” It is not that we never fight or have disagreements. When we do, I tell Evan that I would be her roommate even in Heaven and so she has no option but to put up with me! Now, there is a new woman in my life. Shocked?! Don't be - I am talking about my little daughter Datasha. When she smiles at me I am floating in thin air, mile high! When she calls me "Dad-dha" I am over the moon. I thank God for these two women in my life. I did not deserve them, yet God gave them to me! And I am so grateful to God.

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True Romantic Love

Chapter Eight

TRUE ROMANTIC LOVE (A chapter that explains to youth how true romantic love would be according to the Bible)

The air's rife with romance talk! Come Valentine's day – the fourteenth of February –and the air is rife with "romance" talk. The atmosphere is charged with "love" discussions. "Surely this is true romantic love," swear young people after having watched the latest romantic flick. When they say that they are probably way off the mark. What then is true romantic love? To search for the answer I turned to the only source of absolute truth, in every sense of the word, in the entire planet – The Bible. And guess what? I found out that God has devoted an entire book, in the sixty-six books of the Bible, to the subject of romantic, marital love. "Which book?" you might wonder. I am talking about the book of Song of Songs. The Song of Songs is quite a different book – a unique book – in the canon of Scripture. Bible scholar Renita J. Weems tells us why: "The Song of Songs represents a remarkable departure from the other books in the Bible. To open the pages of this brief volume of poetry is to leave the world of exceptional heroism, tribal conflict, political disputes, royal intrigue, religious reforms and divine judgment to enter the world of domestic relations, private sentiments and God-pleasing romantic, marital love" [The New Interpreter's Bible: Volume 5 (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997), p. 363]. 1. THE BIRTH OF TRUE ROMANTIC LOVE There is a time to love The young woman of Song of Songs repeatedly tells the women of Jerusalem, "Don't excite love, don't stir it up, until the time is ripe – and you're ready" (2:7; 3:5: 8:5). A Bible teacher made this comment about that verse: "It has been suggested that the statement is a warning against forcing love to develop prematurely". Premature birth of love. It is happening all the time. In the teenage years one's mind will generally be oscillating. It is not steady. So it would be extremely unwise to take any major decision – especially that of choosing your life partner – in that period. It 44


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is better to postpone that decision till you are older. It is advisable to make that critical choice after taking the counsel of older people, at a later time. No wonder the same Solomon wrote, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: …a time to love…" (Eccl 3:1,8). Joseph knew it! When Joseph was 17 or thereabout, a woman was after him (Gen 37:2). But he ran from her. He knew there was a time for everything. God gave him the daughter of Potiphera as his wife when he was much older. I see that as a reward for having said "No" to the wife of Potiphar! If it is God's job to "settle the lonely in families" then it is best to wait in His presence before we attain the right age to think seriously about our life partners (Psa 68:6). If a bird wants to fly away from you… "Don't excite love, don't stir it up, until the time is ripe – and you're ready". There is yet another way one can interpret that. What usually happens in many a romantic relationship is that, one person goes crazy – "head over heels in love," as the yahoo youth put it – to the extent that the other person feels awkward about it. Soon the other person might want some 'space' in the relationship. This is very hurtful to the person who has gone over-board. James Dobson – America's respected Christian counselor on family issues – makes this profound point in one of his talks: When the person you are interested in demands space, give it to him/her. Instead if you start getting desperate and move heaven and earth in an effort to get close to that person, chances are that the particular person will move further away from you. You see, your friend of the opposite sex moved away from you to get that "space" he/she wanted. But if in your response you try to curtail that distance she/he has created, nine times out of ten, she/he will once again recreate that distance. Why do that? "If a bird wants to fly away from you, let it go. If it comes back to you, then that bird is yours. But if it doesn't – it wasn't probably yours in the first place! (As heard in a Focus on the Family's Video for young people). 2. THE DEPTH OF TRUE ROMANTIC LOVE Eye Candy Vs Heart Character! True romantic love will not zero-in on the not-so-pleasing or not-so-alluring aspects of the partner's looks. True romantic love is not basically looking for eye candy. It will look for heart character! For example, in the book of Song of Songs, we read that the girl's brothers used to "worry" about her because she did not look that "grown up" (see 8:8, The Message). Also we are told that her complexion was dark in an area where fairness was equated with beauty (1:5). Weems explains: "the lyrics of the Song of Songs record the personal predicament of a certain blackskinned maiden – her struggles to earn the love of a man for whom she was deemed, for reasons not exactly clear to modern readers of the Bible, an unsuitable mate" (The New Interpreter's Bible: Volume 5, p. 367). But her man liked her anyway. If 45


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anyone understood that "charm can be deceptive and beauty doesn't last, but a woman who fears and reverences God shall be praised" it was the man of the Song of Songs (Prov 31:30, LB). The girl was a virgin, as we already discovered (4:12). Her character wasn't like the 'veiled woman' – the prostitute – we learn (1:7). And what is more is that the girl liked the boy not because of his fame but because of his good name – reputation or character. His name was like "perfume poured out," she announces proudly (1:3). None is so beautiful or more handsome than in whom Christ is reflected. Only a person with a shallow kind of love will refuse to look beyond the "looks" of a person he is considering for marriage! Missing many a Miss with mighty moral fiber The youth of today miss many a Brand (a missionary to Kolli hills in Tamil Nadu) because they are enamoured by many a Bhoomika Chawla (Telugu actress)! Quite a number of in-the-Christ-Narrow-Road youth throw away the likes of an Amy Carmichael (a missionary to Dohnavur, Tamil Nadu, India) when it comes to their marriage because they go bonkers about marrying an Angelina Jolie! They miss many a Miss with mighty moral fiber because they go only looking for a lass with physical structure. Sad, isn't it? My wife and I Let's get back to the story of Song of Songs. After the prolonged knocking of her door the young woman opens her door after reluctantly dressing up only to find him gone (5:2-8). It would seem from this account that the young man was a bit impatient and the young woman was sort of lazy. Yet they loved each other and stayed married to each other. I am person who is blessed with extraordinary patience but my wife isn't. I am not done yet. I am a person who is disorganized and not-soclean. But my wife can be called "clean queen" and "systematic sister"! Yet we love each other and have been happily married for over 9 years (at the time of writing this book). We have read the book of Song of Songs together. We have understood from that book that we need to make room for each other's negative points and work on them together to make a marriage work! The lovers fight and get back together again! After the prolonged knocking at her door the young woman opens her door after reluctantly dressing up only to find him gone (5:2-8). It would seem from this account that the young man was a bit impatient and the young woman was sort of lazy. Yet they loved each other and stayed married to each other. Any true romance must sail over the negative points of the partner. There is no getting around this. Commentator Marvin Pope explains exactly what happened in Song of Songs 5:2-8. "The request to 'open' could in certain circumstances have sexual connotations," he penned to enlighten us [The Anchor Bible: Song of Songs (New York: Doubleday and Co, 1977), p. 514]. It would seem that the woman was not initially interested in the man's sexual 'come ons' and that led to the misunderstanding between the pair. The man obviously left with 'wounded pride' [Solomon on Sex, Joseph C. Dillow 46


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(Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1977), p. 102]. But the twosome got together again so much so that the beloved says immediately after that tiff between them, "My lover is radiant and ruddy, outstanding among ten thousand!" (5:10, NIV). True romantic love is all about making allowances for the person's faults and bearing it gladly. The more the couple forgive each other and make allowances for each other's faults, the more "true" and "deep" their romantic love is. "Marriage is a union of two good forgivers," I read somewhere. "Yes!" the couple of Song of Songs would say! 3. THE WAIT (NOT WEIGHT!) INVOLVED IN TRUE ROMANTIC LOVE Locked Garden! That the young woman in the poem of Song of Songs is a virgin is quite clear from this description: "You are a garden locked up, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain" (4:12, NIV). "When Solomon says it is locked, he is saying it has never been entered; she is a virgin. Rock walls to prevent intrusion from strangers surrounded gardens and vineyards in Palestine. Only the lawful possessor of the garden could enter it," explains Dillow (Solomon on Sex, p. 81). Why is the woman called 'a spring sealed up,' you might wonder (4:12). Dillow goes on to explain: "Because water was scarce in the East, owners of fountains sealed them with clay that quickly hardened in the sun. Thus, a sealed fountain was actually a shut fountain – shut against all impurity; no one could get water out of it except its rightful owner. Thus the Shulamite was closed to the world and inaccessible to all – no one could disturb her pure heart or desecrate her pure person" (Ibid.) God places great value on premarital virginity of young people (Deut 22:13-21). The Safe Sex Hoax This message of Song of Songs is critical in an age where 'safe sex' (by use of condoms) is atrociously and actively advocated on the TV networks, bill boards and even on Inland letters! But the fact is that the only way to have safe sex, is to save sex for marriage (as someone eloquently put it). Condoms, sometimes, cannot stop even the male sperm when married couples use them, several studies tell us. And as a result some wives get pregnant even when they have had sex with their mates who have worn condoms. And what is more is that the AIDS virus is 250 times smaller than the male sperm. If the male sperm were a football, the AIDS virus could be likened to a table tennis ball! If there have been times that the "football" has not been adequately stopped by condoms do I have to tell you that it is much more easier for the “table-tennis” ball to slip through? Do not believe the Safe Sex hoax! It is plain rubbish! Not even one of the 800 sex research scientists at a Washington conference stood up when they were asked to get up without second thoughts if they dared to have sex with an AIDS patient with a condom on. And these fellows have the audacity to say "wear it and do it"! Chastity – not condoms – is the way to prevent the deadly AIDS virus' infection. What is more, it works every time, unlike 47


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condoms! Why not then sing to your proposed partner: "I do not want sex with you now/I can wait till we make the wedding vow!" [Statistics gathered from Quick Facts on Safe-Sex (Colardo Springs: Focus on the Family, 1992]. You don't have to go all the way to catch AIDS Many young people imagine that they have to go all the way in order to catch the deadly AIDS virus. You don't have to. A teens' magazine carried a confession of a girl to her younger sister about how she got AIDS without going all the way with her boyfriend – they had only indulged in petting! (I refer to Brio Magazine published by Focus of the Family). God's big gift box to us on our Wedding Day! When my wife and I got married on July 9, 2001 there were several people who got on and gave us gifts. And hear this – even God did the same. I am not kidding. He sure did. He gave us a big gift box called "Sex"! And we were very glad that we did not unwrap it before God gave it to us on our wedding, even though we knew each other literally all our waking lives! 4. THE WEIGHT OF TRUE ROMANTIC LOVE Solomon's nth wife or The Shepherd's first wife? The weight of true romantic love can't be measured in gold or silver. It's value can't be measured with money. True love cannot be bought with money – that is what we get to learn from the book of Song of Solomon. The young woman goes on to say, "If a man tried to buy love with everything he owned, his offer would be utterly despised" ( SS 8:7, NLT). I just love the way Eugene Peterson has rendered this verse: "Love can't be bought, love can't be sold – it's not to be found in the marketplace!" Bible scholar Dillow observes, "The poet is emphasizing the fact that worthwhile love is never earned, but can be freely given. If you set a price of one million dollars on it, it still could not be purchased. It comes the same way God's love for us comes – it is freely given!" (Solomon on Sex, p. 151). Some Bible Teachers like Greg W. Parsons suggest that it was the filthy rich King Solomon who tried to woo away this girl from her shepherd lover by showing her the money [Guidelines for the Understanding and Utilizing the Song of Songs. Bibliotheca Sacra 156 (October – December 1999), p. 413]. But this lady did not yield to the temptation of becoming the nth wife of Solomon just for the money she would make! If that were true what a shining example she is in an age when girls choose their husbands keeping their mobikes, mobiles and money in mind! C. D. Gingsburg comments that in the Shulammite girl – as she is called in Song of Songs 6:13 – it would appear that Solomon at last found the virtuous girl he was searching all over (Read Eccl. 7:28) who refused his lucrative offer to join his already-strong harlem of thousand women [The Importance of the Book: A Feminist Companion to the Song of Songs (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993), p. 47].

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Dowry Demanding and Male Prostitution! This might sound quite radical but I must say this with all the humility: those who demand dowry (a common thing done in India) can be called "male prostitutes!" The reason I am suggesting this is that as a man when you demand dowry you are demanding money from a girl to have life-long sex with her (it can be seen that way, isn't ?)! That is being cheap – you yourself would tell me. That is being mean – you yourself would readily admit. And mind you, male prostitutes do not make it to heaven – the Bible says (I Cor 6:9,10)! As an Engineering Graduate with two postgraduate degrees I could have put up hefty dowry price upon myself. What was more, I hail from a particular part of Tamil Nadu that was notorious for taking dowry and passing it off as no big deal. But I refused to follow that trend having been convicted about this issue by the Bible. 5. THE LENGTH OF TRUE ROMANTIC LOVE Love strong as death The young woman says, "Place me like a seal over your heart, or like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, and its jealousy is as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame. Many waters cannot quench love; neither can rivers drown it" (SS 8:6,7, NLT). This is a figurative way of saying that the relationship between the young woman and the man is for keeps – lifelong. Weems notes, "In the last three chapters of the book, having defended their relationship against forces from within and without, they eventually embrace, consummate their love, and pledge their love, which though costly, is more powerful than the forces opposing it (The New Interpreter's Bible, p. 373). Their glowing example is a stirring rebuke to the youth of this generation that swaps partners for new ones with the ease with which they change shirts. Britney's brittle marriage What the woman in the Song of Songs is expressing can be put in the words of the famous song, "My Heart Will Go On," that goes, "Love can touch us for one time and last for a lifetime!" (words taken from www.lyricsfreak.com on 9 March 2007). Pop Princess Britney Spears married her childhood friend and divorced him the very next day (learnt from www.eonline.com/news on 9 March 2007)! Their commitment to marriage was brittle. Their love for each other was not as strong as death. The length of their romantic love was not a life time. The most romantic scene in the Bible The most romantic scene in the entire Bible – what was it, I pondered. Here is my choice: it is Abraham mourning the death of his 127-year-old wife Sarah (Gen 23:1)! How romantic is that! Abraham's love for his wife was true romantic love – it was strong as death! The fact that romantic-marital love is to last lifelong must make us realize how important it is to make the right choice when it comes to choosing our life partner. We can change our lousy printers – but not our life partners! 49


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6. THE HEIGHT OF ROMANTIC LOVE Fun and truckloads of it! God desires that true romantic love climaxes – reaches its height – when the married couple have unabashed sex. The wedded couple of Song of Songs, without reservation, smell each other (1:12), embrace each other (2:6), kiss each other (1:2), hold each other (3:4), taste each other (2:4; 4:16) and climb on each other (7:8). In short they had fun and truckloads of it exploring each inch of their bodies! Yes, the story of Song of Songs is the story of how a husband celebrates his wife's body without holding anything back. Else where in the Bible, Renita J. Weems notes, the female body bleeds (Lev 15:19-30), breeds (Lev 12), challenges male wisdom (Num 5), spurs male fantasy (II Sam 11/Lev 21:7), it could force a man to miss his religious duty (Exod 19:15) (The New Interpreter's Bible, p. 369-370). But in the book of Song of Songs we see the lover and the beloved can stand in the Garden naked without feeling any shame and enjoy each other's body to the fullest – something that Adam and Eve could not do after they sinned [Tremper Longman III's thoughts in "The Theology of Song of Songs" in The New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis, (London: Paternoster Press, 1998)]. The day of the wedding for the groom was the 'day of his gladness' (SS 3:11, NLT). Proverbs 5:15-20 and Ecclesiastes 9:9 extol husbands to rejoice over their wives. Song of Songs tells us how this can be done practically, writes Parsons (Guidelines for Understanding and Utilizing Song of Songs, p. 412). Sharon Stone, for once, agrees with Scripture! The fact that it was not just the man who was enjoying sex, but also his wife, is blatant by the fact that she initiates sex, at least on two counts in this book (1:4; 8:5)! Did not God create the institution of marriage for pleasure too and did not just set it up for the production of children? Absolutely! The couple in Song of Songs understood that pretty well, as did Isaac and Rebecca (who were spotted fondling each other when both were not exactly young and vigorous – Gen. 26:1-9!). An observation that drives home this point is that there is no record of birth of children in the book of Song of Songs. It is as if God wanted to pass on this message to the pseudo-religious lot in Christendom: "Sex for pleasure's sake inside of marriage is mighty cool. You don't have to have sex just for procreation!" Hollywood actress, Sharon Stone, once said, "The best sex there is, is married sex!" (As quoted in one of the Newspapers). At this point, at least, the Bible would unreservedly agree with her! Lessons galore on real romantic relationships – you've got them in the book of Song of Songs. Here's wishing that these lessons would so impact you that you will have a smashing married-romantic life!

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Chapter Nine

HOW FAR IS TOO FAR? (When it comes to boy-girl physical intimacy before marriage)

The headline in Hyderabad Times was deliberately attention-grabbing. With the picture of actress Preeti Jhangiani serving as eye-candy, the headline screamed: "I don't mind lip locks!" The article talks about how this actress after playing an orthodox girl in her debut movie Mohabbatein, boldly indulged in a lip-lock for a music album. (The Times of India, Hyderabad Times, October 18, 2008). "What would God think of this statement of Preeti?", I mused. What would the Bible answer modern youth who are asking the question, "Can I kiss my faithful boyfriend, passionately, without going further?" - that is what I was contemplating. What would the Bible's reply to youth who are asking, "How far is too far when it comes to boy-girl intimacy before marriage? Can Jesus-loving girls sing with Barbie, You can touch my hair and touch me everywhere?" Well, that is the question! Jesus touched women, but‌ You know what? Jesus, a normal red blooded young man touched women and allowed them to touch him. In fact about one woman he said, "from the time I entered, she has not stopped kissing my feet" (Luke 7:45). Jesus took Jairus' young daughter by the hand (Mark 5:41). Before we punch the air to exclaim, "My Master touched the opposite sex and therefore I can have a whale of a time!" do notice in what situations he touched women. It was in public places before the eyes of the several others. There was no secrecy about it. And nothing obscene about what he was doing. Period. So those fun-games we play in the church in front of each other which involve touching the opposite sex in an appropriate way would be cool in Christ's eyes. Do a Clinton? Do a Lewinsky? But we must probe this matter little deeper. "What about touching the opposite sex, the way Bill Clinton touched Monica Lewinsky?" – that's probably the question that hides at the back of your mind. In Scripture we do find the answer for this 51


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burning issue. Certainly. Here I outline what four different books of the Bible have to say about this sensitive subject: The Pagan's clear conviction – When a Pagan (a Non-believer) king saw, Isaac 'fondling' his wife Rebecca through the window, he shot a question: "Why did you not tell me that Rebecca was your wife, Isaac. Why did you instead say that she was just your sister?" Stop. Listen. There is a moral in this narrative. A truth for youth hidden in this story found in Genesis 26:1-9. It is this: even a disbelieving king knew instinctively that only a husband and wife can fondle each other – not just any couple! Even a pagan king instinctively knew that you could fondle only your wife – not anyone else of the opposite sex. When this is the case, it is quite sorrowful to note young people who are church-regulars are also being casual sex regulars. The Proverbs' penman's penetrating question – The Proverb's penman's question to this generation of youth who have no qualms about exploring every inch of the body of the opposite sex is this straightforward: "Why embrace the breasts of another man's wife?" (Prov 5:19). Just the previous verse in this passage makes out that the breasts of young wife must be caressed by only by her young husband (verse 18). Getting physical with the opposite sex before marriage is like scooping fire on your lap and expecting nothing to happen (Prov 6:27). Duffy Robbins said, "You can't spend your time heating up hormones – by indulging in petting – and expect nothing to come out of it!" . The problem with petting is this: you will want to get more and more intimate with the person of the opposite sex you are getting physical with. I haven't yet met a young man who told his girlfriend, "Girl that kiss was awesome. However, from our next meeting onwards we will just shake hands – okay!" Even in the Bible I read about a young man who first "strolled" near a seductive woman's home; then he started to "smooch" her only to finally "sleep" with her (Prov 7:8-23). Notice how he graduated from lesser forms of intimacy to greater forms. Our body is wired that way. The Bible calls him "a youth who lacked judgment" (Prov 7:7). And if we get physically intimate with the opposite sex we too will earn that same name. You don't want it – do you? "If you cannot stop, don't start!" – that was a signboard put up in a Brake Station. Relay that principle in the area of sexual intimacy and the message is crystal clear: if you want to stay a virgin and please the Lord, don't even start to be physically intimate with a person of the opposite sex! Be the Joseph who ran away from the woman who touched him the wrong way (Gen 39:12). The Poetry of Solomon's conclusion – The young lady in Song of Songs describes the way she is physically intimate with her man very graphically: "His left hand is under my head and his right hand embraces me" (SS 2:6 NLT). Shortly after this statement, comes the call which was 52


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referred to earlier in this piece: "Promise me, O Women of Jerusalem…not to awaken love until the time is right" (Vs. 7). Keeping the context of this verse just quoted, we can conclusively say that the young woman of Song of Songs is saying this: "Do not get physically intimate with the opposite sex until the time is right! Show some temperance. Show self-control! " And we know from Scripture that 'the right time' for climaxing one's sexual desires is within the boundary of marriage. Therefore those in true love certainly will not indulge in intimate touching of the opposite gender before marriage. Sure, the couple in Song of Songs did pet and fondle each other a lot. The man in question in this book 'browses among the lilies' (2:16). He also goes to his garden 'to pasture and pluck lilies' (6:2). And you know what – sheep never eat lilies! So obviously in the boy's vocabulary the girl is the "lily" he wants to pluck – fondle, caress and touch intimately (See 2:2)! But remember they were already married (5:16). The young man calls the girl his "bride" – not girlfriend (4:12; 5:1). So we learn again from Song of Songs that petting is out of bounds for those not married to each other. The Prophet's graphic parabolic narration Prophet Ezekiel in his twenty-third chapter wrote a graphic parabolic narration of how two sisters, Oholah and Oholibah (symbolic of Israel and Judah) allowed men to touch them in places they shouldn't have touched. God did not mince words when he named the act of allowing one's breasts to be fondled as "prostitution" and explicitly said that he was "disgusted" with such behavior in this shocking passage (Ezek 23:3,18,19,21). Bible Scholars explain, this passage actually speaks of "the elect people of Israel's figurative promiscuity in Egypt where they sought to be caressed by a foreign faith and culture" [New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology and Exegesis : Volume 4 - London: Paternoster Press, 1996, page 1091]. They brilliantly observe that, in this passage, the breasts fondled by illicit lovers of these young girls were being torn as part of God's judgment upon them (Refer to Ezek 23:21,34) (Ibid., Volume III, page 214). I believe that even through this passage, God is teaching modern youth that he is pretty peeved when they get intimate with the opposite gender without the benefit of marriage. Have you grasped this truth for youth that emanates from Ezekiel 23? There were days you learnt truths only from elementary passages like Psalm 23 when you were a child. You aren't one anymore! You have grown up! Grow up to grasp this lesson that jumps out from Ezekiel 23! Our Patriarch's practical wisdom led suggestionTalk without holding back with your grandpa. Have a frank discussion with your grandmom. Ask them why they are not comfortable when you get touchy-feely with the person of the opposite gender before marriage. They may not quote any of the Scripture passages or verses you have read so far in this article. But they could say something like this: "We don't know what will happen tomorrow or in the days 53


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to come when it comes to your relationship with this person. When this is the case, why do have to become so close physically with him or her. What if, something goes wrong and you actually do not marry this person with whom you are merry-making without holding any part of your body back? Will you not feel bad? Would you not feel miserable? And those scars can stay with you for a lifetime and affect your marriage with someone else! So, keep the opposite gender at an arm's length from you, dear!� Guess what? There is a lot of practical wisdom in what they are concerned about. Not only that. There is Scriptural truth behind this counsel as well. Yes, the Bible in many places tells us we do not know what will happen to us in the future (James 4:14). So getting physically intimate with a person, you know you can never be 100% sure of marrying, until the event has actually happened, is nothing but plain folly! The concern of our older folk is illustrated by the story I have narrated below: Karan's question and Shahid's answer Karan Johar shot a point blank question to Actor Shahid Kapoor in the Star World TV program that was aired on March 9, 2007 titled "Koffee with Karan". This was the question: "In one word tell me what you think of casual sex?" His girlfriend of three years, actress Kareena Kapoor was sitting beside him in the show. When Shahid answered that "casual sex was convenient," he was only airing the views of the Google Generation that they didn't mind exploring the bodies of the opposite gender without actually having "sex". And we know what happened to the much publicized relationship between Shahid and Kareena. They broke up. And Kareena is now going around with the already-married actor, Saif Ali Khan (at the point of writing this piece, I must add, because we never know in the world of Formula One Speed World of Bollywood Liasions‌!). After reading about this real life incident, do you now see why your older folk were not cool or happy when you got too close physically with your friend from the opposite gender? What disgusts Dicaprio Your grand pop does seem to have a very unlikely person agreeing with them in this regard. Who? Leonardo Di Caprio of the Titanic Movie fame. I was surprised to read this about the man who probably did the most watched kiss of all time on the screen: "Kissing disgusts Dicaprio!" He went on to say in the news item, "The human mouth is one of the dirtiest things in the planet! There's so much bacteria, slime and trapped food. A dog's mouth is cleaner!" (learnt from www.imdb.com on 9 March 2007). If you avoided kissing altogether before marriage, apart from keeping you off from sexual sin you would have kept your mouth from bacteria, it looks like! Uncle Billy Graham's example Therefore never get into a confined space alone with a person of the opposite 54


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sex and lock yourself in. This simple practical step will save you from the temptation to have the kind of physical intimacy that will displease the Lord. Billy Graham writes in his best selling autobiography about how he refused to meet with Hilary Clinton in private but insisted that they sit in front of others in a restaurant and meet. Here are the exact words he used in reply to Hillary Clinton's request, "I would be delighted to. But I don't have private luncheons with beautiful ladies. We could sit in the middle of the dining room at the Capital Hotel where everybody would be able to see us, and still have a private conversation" He was in his seventies when this particular incident happened! (Just As I Am. USA: HarperSanFrancisco Zondervan, 1997, p. 651). Billy Graham certainly understood all what the Scripture said about physical intimacy limits with a member of the opposite sex! Thank you for the example, uncle Billy! I have already been fondled, so what do I do? After having read so far, you could say this: "I have already been intimate physically with a boy who is not a believer. What should I do now? If I break up with him at this point, he will never marry me!" You know what? That is your golden opportunity to just do that and break up with him. By doing that you will please the Lord whose Word clearly says that believers must marry those who are ALREADY believers (not becoming one or in the process of becoming one – I Cor 7:36 onwards and II Cor 6:14). Any boy (or girl) who touches you the wrong way cannot be a true, practicing believer. By marrying the person who is physically intimate with you before marriage you will convert your single sin into double sin. So why do it? Someone was smacked because you allowed yourself to be fondled! Come to Jesus. NOW! He will wash your sins away – no matter how bad you have been all this while in this area. He died for you on the cross so that he can wash away your sin. He was beaten in His sinless body for the sins of your body – including the sin of allowing the opposite gender to fondle you, before marriage (I Pet 2:24). He was beaten that you might have peace – peace you tried to unsuccessfully get by allowing that friend of yours to touch you places that you should not be touched (Isa 53:5). Yes, someone was smacked, by cruel Roman Soldiers because you allowed yourself to be fondled! That was Jesus! He took your punishment upon Himself! Though your sins are blood red, they will become white as snow when you ask Jesus to cleanse you (Isa 1:18). You will be pure in His eyes and that is what counts! He will make you a real virgin again! So why are you waiting? Are you getting ready to send that phone text message to your friend from the opposite gender, saying that it is over between you both?

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Is Being Gay, Okay?

Chapter Ten

IS BEING GAY, OKAY? What the Bible teaches about homosexuality

So Homosexuality is cool, the courts have ruled. Being gay is okay, is what they assert. Lesbianism is legal now in India. At least in New Delhi. Hmmm… This is what the greatest book in the World, the Bible, has to say about one of the hotly debated burning issues of our time: CREATION When God created the world He could have shown us that He was fine with homosexuality. He could have. But He did not. He could have created one set of Adam and Eve and put them under one tree and married them off. "You guys are a straight married couple - My blessings are upon you!" He could have said. He could have created one more couple, Adam1 and Adam2 and solemnized their wedding under yet another tree in the Garden of Eden. God could have blessed saying, "My homosexual married couple - my choicest blessings are with you. He could have created couple No.3 - Eve1 and Eve2. He could have visited the tree under which they were copulating and uttered, "Be fruitful and multiply - my blessings are with you, you lesbian couple!" But he did not. As someone smartly put it, “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve or Madam and Eve!” You know why? Homosexuality never entered his mind as a valid way of living. So it is not an option for us his creatures to consider. The Maker knows what is best for his makes, right?!! From the very way God has designed the body of a male and the body of the female, it is quite obvious that a male was meant to have intercourse with a female only, isn't it? COMMAND When God issued a set of commands to Moses, he made sure he included a straightforward command about homosexuality. He did not dodge the issue. He did not sweep it under the carpet. Instead, he told Moses to tell his People, Israel, "Do not sleep with a man as you sleep with a woman." (Lev 18:22). God reserved a word 56


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for such behavior: abomination (ESV). Some homosexuals might call homosexuality "awesome". But God calls it "awful". CZARS The czars (kings) of the Bible Times like Asa, Jehoshaphat and Josiah took a strong stand against “male prostitutes” of their time. Those days the lady folk were not allowed to go out that freely. And who do you think used the services of these male prostitutes? Males mostly. Yes, these guys provided homosexual services for their male clients. King Asa put them away (I Kings 15:12), King Jehoshaphat “exterminated” them (I Kings 22:46), and King Josiah broke down their houses (II Kings 23:7). Rehoboam, the king of the kingdom of Judah “did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord” (I Kings 14:22).The following verses elaborate that general statement. In verse 24, the Bible talks about the presence of male prostitutes in this king's time. So male prostitution was one 'evil' that King Rehoboam allowed to the Lord's displeasure. CONDEMNATION Las Vegas is known for gambling. New York, for skyscrapers. Tirupathi, for laddoos. And the city of Sodom was known in the Bible times for rampant homosexuality. And what happened to that city? God rained fire on them, the Bible records (Genesis 19). That was his way of firing the homosexuals. What fell on them that day was just a temporary fire, mind you. It just took away their physical life. An eternal fire that would torment their souls and bodies awaits the sold-out, stubborn homosexual offenders of Sodom, we read in the Bible book of Jude (Jude 7). God, I am afraid, will not be ready to congratulate you for your homosexual behavior. He is, make no mistake, getting ready to condemn you, my homosexual friend, for this outrageous behavior. If he did not do that, he would have to apologize to the city of Sodom. And that won't happen. Shahid Afridi might block 12 balls without taking a single run, but that will not happen. God, the Sinless One, never apologizes to anyone. So before God's fierce condemnation strikes you, my gay buddy, I am appealing to you in love - repent from the sin of homosexuality! If we are still alive, despite our homosexuality and other sins, it is because of the great grace of God - a grace that is waiting for us to repent! And that grace won't wait forever! And time is running out! CHRIST Jesus, God in human flesh and bone, talked a lot about sex and marriage. He went back to the story of creation found in the book of Genesis to teach what God's plan was for sex and marriage. "A man will leave his father's house and be joined to his wife," he taught (Mark 10:7). He did not teach, "A man will leave his father's house and be joined to another man." He did not teach, "A woman will leave her family and be joined with another woman." He said that some folks have been born as eunuchs (Math 19:12). But never did he say, some people have been made homosexuals by God. 57


Is Being Gay, Okay?

When Jesus died on the Cross, our sins were laid upon Him. He bore ours sins on his body (I Pet 2:24). Our bodies should be punished for the sin of homosexuality. That punishment is death. Hear this for yourself from the Bible: If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them (Lev 20:13). We deserve punishment for our other sins, too, from the all-Holy and all-Just God who cannot and will not wink at sin. But Jesus says, "I love you. I will take your punishment." He was bound, blind-folded, boxed, bruised, bloodied and broken for your sin and mine. COMMUNICATION When Paul communicated God's truths with believers in Rome, he talked about this issue. In his very first chapter he talked about homosexuality as a condition you fall into, when you stubbornly fall away from God (Rom 1:26, 27). Homosexuality was a punishment that God allows in your life, when he sees that you are hell-bent on rebelling from him. Later Paul in his communication with Timothy writes that homosexual behavior was one way you break the laws of God and become disobedient to him (I Tim 1:8-11). While writing to the church at Ephesus, Paul acknowledges the only plan that God ever had for marriage was this: "... a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh� (Eph 5:31). No other permutations and combinations were permissible! CORINTH In one of the churches Paul ministered to, there were former homosexuals (I Cor 6:9-11). After naming homosexual behavior as one of the sins in the sin list, he writes, "Such were some of you". Paul warns, if they returned to such behavior and persisted in it, they would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. They would not go to heaven. I have good news for you. If it was possible for the people of Sodom to turn from their homosexual behavior, it is possible for you too. God does not want you to live in this sin and perish. He does not want your riddance. He wants your repentance. CLARIFICATION So people say they are born with a homosexual bent and so they have every right to be homosexuals. This is how their argument goes: Some are born lefthanders. Some others are born right-handers. Similarly, some are born homosexuals while some others are born straight. God made us homosexuals and so we don't want to be straight! Come on! When one makes the choice of being a lefthander or a right-hander, he or she is not making a moral choice. But when one makes a choice of homosexuality over a normal man-woman relationship, one does make a moral choice. And God has not created anyone with a homosexual bent. Some were created as eunuchs, yes. But as homosexuals - they weren't.

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We choose a homosexual lifestyle using our inborn sinful instincts - instincts inherited from the first man, Adam. Just like Ethiopians naturally have dark skin, we too have naturally inbuilt instincts to sin. This is the teaching of the Bible (Jer 13:23). But through Jesus, we can overcome those sinful instincts. When Jesus died for us on the Cross, our sins and sinful desires were nailed with him (Gal 5:24). We could have many other natural desires and inborn bents that are surely sinful - the desire to have many sexual partners, the desire to murder, the desire to rape, the desire to have sex with animals, Etc, Etc. But those natural desires should be curtailed, curbed, cleaned and consecrated with the power of the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit. They should not be used as a justification for our sins. Justifying your homosexual behavior saying you were born a homosexual is as stupid as claiming that you are a shop lifter because you were born a shop lifter! Some others say that David and Jonathan were homosexuals and that God was cool about their relationship. There is no biblical warrant to believe that if you have understood what the whole Bible says about this issue. The message of one part of the Bible should not contradict the message of another part of the Bible - this is the cardinal rule of Bible interpretation. Yes, it was true that David's love for Jonathan was a very deep love - a love deeper than the love he had for women (II Sam 1:26). The word that is used here by the Septuagint, the most respected and the oldest available Greek translation of the Bible, for the love David had for Jonathan is certainly NOT "eros" - the Bible word for sexual love. So my friend, say "bye" to the sin of homosexuality and every other sin you may be in. "Sin is anything Jesus would not do." His Blood, shed for you on the Cross, will cleanse you. And you will be a new person. You will have a joy and peace which homosexuality can never give you. You will be filled with inexpressible and glorious joy - something no sin can give you.

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When The Urge To Watch Porn Becomes Unbearable...

Chapter Eleven

WHEN THE URGE TO WATCH PORN BECOMES UNBEARABLE... (What the Bible teaches on the topic of watching nudity and porn)

Porn-again Christian? Perverted pictures – you have them pasted in a swarm of sites. Wicked videos - a great volume of websites host them. Internet has netted a lot of young people – believers included – in its web of Pornography. According to an alarming survey 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to porn (learnt from Christdot.org/modulus.php? name=name&file=article&sid3856 on 12 March 2007). Yes, it is sad but true: many born-again Christians are also porn-again Christians (to use a phrase coined by Mark Driscoll). That 62 per cent of men approve of pornography is not new. What is interesting is that one in five women approves of it, and more, nearly one in four watch it." Those lines are quoted from India Today, one of India's leading news magazines (December 1, 2008 issue). Men and women may "approve" of porn. But God wouldn't. His Word, the Bible wouldn't. Here is why: The Bible on Porn: Clothing for the first couple If nudity wasn't a big deal God would not have given clothes for Adam and Eve to wear (Gen 3:21). The Harm, Ham did! Ham, who shamelessly ogled at the nakedness of his drunk, unclothed, father Noah, was cursed to become the lowest of servants. Wondering why – He was a servant of his eyes – he had no control over what his eyes saw (Gen 9:21-25). Priests on pedestal Priest standing on a pedestal while ministering to the people had to cover their nakedness from people who sat a lower level – this was one of the laws God gave Moses (Ex 20:26; 28:22). 60


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Nudity only in Holy Matrimony! At least 21 times I counted the phrase "You shall not uncover the nakedness" in Leviticus 20 in the English Standard Version of the Bible. God was telling his people that a person's nakedness could be enjoyed only by his or her spouse and none else! God wanted nudity only in the context of Holy Matrimony! Appalling Absalom! Absalom, who could be called the John Abraham of the Bible, got out of his clothes and got into bed with women who were not married to him in the full view of public. God was so appalled at this action and several other actions of his, that his life was cruelly cut short (II Sam 16:22; 18:14). Woe to Oholibah! Because Oholibah "flaunted her nakedness" that God "turned in disgust from her" (Ezek 23:18, ESV). The world may have a long, lingering, lustful gaze at a semi-clad or topless picture of a celebrity and go "Wow!" But this is what God would say about the same thing - "Woe!” The punishment for peeping toms Christians are supposed to be the ones who clothe the naked. Not the sorts that will lust at the unclothed. And on the Day of the Judgment, Jesus will reward those who clothe others (Math 25:36,43). You can imagine what He would do with the strippers and those who enjoy watching them! You can guess what He would do with peeping toms who enjoy watching the opposite gender disrobing! British missionaries when they saw that, women of a particular community in South Tamil Nadu, were not allowed to cover their top adequately started a social revolution which brought that to grinding halt, years ago (learnt from www.springerlink.com on 12 March 2007). These missionaries were only simply following the Bible! By surfing porn sites in the Net you not only disobey God's Word but also do yourself a great deal of harm. Slowly but surely you will start treating women, as mere objects to be used and enjoyed – not people with whom you must relate with respect. Exposure to porn will kill the God-intended thrill you could have had after marriage (Prov 5:18-19). Not only that – by visiting these dirty sites you are actually feeding the greed of the starlets and actresses of the Porn industry. "The consequences of pornography affected me emotionally with a deep and permeating sense of shame and guilt. I've struggled with loneliness and feelings of abandonment, rejection and betrayal. The pain at times has been crushing. My anger toward pornography is intense – it cost me all this and more while the pornographers make billions" – those are painfully real words of actual confession from a Net porn addict. The biggest lie the Devil can tell you is that "a pinch of porn will do you no harm." Soon you find out that a little porn will not be enough. What was enough till yesterday is not enough today – what gave you a cheap thrill yesterday doesn't 61


When The Urge To Watch Porn Becomes Unbearable...

excite you that much today. You would want more and more depraved forms of porn. "You will never find in sin, what you entered sin to find," someone smartly said. "You will end up hungrier than ever!" - that is the message of Prophet Hosea to those who indulged in sexual sin in his time (Hos 9:1-2, Eugene Peterson Version). It is widely believed Anna Nicole Smith, a famous Playboy centerfold, one time topless dancer took her own life. She was just 39 (Source: www.msnbc.com on 19 March 2007). You may wonder why? No amount of pornography can satisfy the human heart. Porn could not plug the vacuum in the heart of this Nicole. The only One who can satisfy a person's inner longings in a lasting way was the One who took 39 brutal lashes on his back for you on the road to the cross – the Lord Jesus! Oh how I wish Anna Nicole Smith, who died at 39, knew the one who took 39 lashes on His back as a punishment to bring lasting peace for her (Cf. II Cor 11:24)! It is now too late for Anna Nicole Smith to know him. But for you, who is reading this piece, it isn't! Online with God before you go online Ask the Lord to cleanse you of your addiction to Net porn. Though your sins are like scarlet they shall be as white as snow (Isa 1:18, NIV). Get online with your God even as you get online in the Net. "Online with God? But how?" you may wonder. Let me explain: by getting in line with God's Written Word you can get on-line with God. "But the thing David had done displeased the LORD," is one Bible verse on my mouth as I enter an Internet centre (II Sam 11:27, NIV). "I will set my eyes before no vile thing" – a sentence penned by David after the Bathsheba event is another temptation-busting verse (Psa 101:3, NIV). "I made a solemn pact with myself never to undress a girl with my eyes" – Job's words in contemporary English by Eugene Peterson should also stand us in good stead when the Net-associated temptations swoop upon us (Job 31:1, The Message). Quote these Scriptures and the Devil will not court you as you walk into the Net Café! Accountable to God as well as Gad! If you keep tripping in this area, confide in a close friend of the same sex about your failure. Give the person the authority to ask you without much emotion, "Have you looked at porn, lately?" David was not only accountable to God but also to Gad (the Prophet who was friend of David! – II Sam 24:13ff). Sexual sin flourishes in secrecy. Satan would say, "No one would ever get to know if you surfed porn." That is a lie. God certainly knows. His Word says, "Nothing in all creation can hide from him. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done." (Heb 4:13, NLT). And the people also can get to know. Think of the situation if we were to die when we are on-line (does not the Scripture teach us that our life is uncertain time and again – Prov. 27:1 is just one such reference) what Web sites would we have left open? That's a question that will help us jam the brakes if we are flirting with the thought of yielding to the temptation of looking at Internet porn. 62


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Too much is too bad! Too much of anything is simply too bad – no matter how sweet it is! "The man who fears God will avoid all extremes," we read in Ecclesiates (7:18, NIV). Is it not strange that we find it easy to sit before the Internet for hours on end but do not feel exactly the same way when we sit for intercession for our nation? The Internet as we have seen can be a blessing. But it can also becoma a bane – if we use it recklessly. Unwisely. While it can be of great help in general, it can also make us yelp in the agony of addiction! It all depends on how we use it. If we use with moderation, we will make best use of it – in a way God will be pleased. Restraint – that is the word we must keep in our minds as we sit before the Net. Controlled used of the Net will leave your character unscathed. The question is simple: are we using the Net or has the Net netted us? Even in the Internet Age we must be able to say along with Paul, "And even though 'I am allowed to do anything,' I must not become a slave to anything." (I Cor 6:12, NLT). Compulsive Internet user?! What are some of the controls we can adopt as we go about mouse clicking? When it comes to e-mail-checking – don't do it too often. Just check if you are "a compulsive e-mail check-er!" or compulsive net user. Depending on how often you are on the Net cut down the frequency of your mail-checks. When you have to choose between a full-privacy Internet Café (with closed cabins) and an Internet Café without that much privacy chose the latter one. By doing that the temptation to go into obscene Web sites will dip down drastically. Surfing the Net in a lockablefrom-the-inside cabin Net Café or locked room is as foolhardy as ladling your lap with fire and expecting you won't be scorched (Prov 6:27). If you have to surf in such a cabin do leave the cabin door atleast partially ajar - open. Most often than not, when you visit an Internet Café take a believer buddy along. Are not "two better than one…if one falls down, his friend can help him up"? (Eccl 4:9,10). Yes – anyday! Keep the connected-to-the-Net Computer in your home in a room in which anyone can walk in and walk out at will. Plan what you are going to search before you set foot into the Net Centre. Jot the subjects you want to browse on a pocket notebook. And stick to those subjects. "Mark out a path and play safe. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil," the Proverbs penmen entreats us.(Prov. 4:255:3). Aimless searching in the Net is nothing but one step short of a deliberate attempt to fish for the forbidden. Take it all in, but…. These famous words from the writer of Ecclesiastes will bring to a fitting end this write-up on the In-the-Jesus'-narrow-road-youth and his use of the Internet: "Young man, it's wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it. Do everything you want to do; take it all in. But remember that you must give an account to God for everything you do." (Eccl 11:9, NLT). In short: take Christ with you as you go for Web-sighting. Freeze, where he would freeze; Freak out, where he would freak out! Cool uh? 63


Masturbation: Christ Vs The Coach

Chapter Twelve

MASTURBATION: CHRIST VS THE COACH

“If you want sex but do not have someone to share it with, one option is to go solo whilst imagining you have a partner, or a few partners, who are as beautiful as you wish to imagine. No pillow talk and no hugging required. Just roll over and go to sleep." That is part of the four-part paper, reportedly, written by India Coach Gary Kirsten, who has helped India to become the leading one-day side in the world. The relevant chapter is headlined "Does sex increase performance?" and the answer is explicit: "Yes it does, so go ahead and indulge." (www. http://www. theaustralian. com.au/news/sport/ pre-match-sex-helps-players-performance-gary-kirsten/storye6frg7mf-1225779005444, September 24, 2009. Post accessed on February 24, 2010). Going by what you just read, it was alright for Kirsten to masturbate. Would Christ recommend masturbation or self-stimulation? After I preached God's word in a particular city, a young man wrote to me. He asked, "In your message on beating sexual temptation you did not mention masturbation. What does the Bible say about it?" I have thought about this question a lot when I grew up as a teenager. I searched the Scriptures up and down for Bible references on this issue. Given below is my personal opinion on the issue of masturbation. I thought once that when Paul wrote, "Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin," he was talking about masturbation (Rom. 6:13) . I was wrong. Paul would have no trouble talking about intimate body parts of a person if he had to. He told the false teachers to castrate themselves for confusing the believers in Galatia that a mark in the most part of a man's private body (circumcision that is) was essential to be saved! (Gal 5:12). Paul certainly did not shy away from open talk. If he was so bothered about masturbation he could have talked about the act openly. Paul who openly talked about removal of the male organ in Galatians somehow did not feel led to talk about the rubbing of the male organ (which masturbation may involve)! 64


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The Tamil Bible (I believe the other vernacular Bibles too) includes those who masturbate in the list of people who will not enter the Kingdom of God (I Cor 6:9). But a careful study of the Greek text of the passage (Greek was the language the NT was written down in) suggests that Paul was not talking about masturbation there. The NIV and other reliable English translations translate that word as "male prostitutes." So the Tamil Bible Translators (and most Indian vernacular Translators of the Bible) have got it wrong here. Some quote the story in Genesis 38 to say masturbation is sin. Read that story if you haven't. God punishes the man in the story not for spilling his semen on the ground, but for failing in his duty to his dead brother's wife. The Law of Moses taught if an elder brother dies without a child, the younger brother must marry his widow and give her a child. But the man in Genesis 38 was greedy for the property of his elder brother. If he gave his sister-in-law a child, then that child would get the dead brother's property – not him. So he deliberately spilled his semen on the floor during intercourse. God killed him – not because he was masturbating or that he spilled his semen on the floor but because he was greedy and had failed in his duty to his sister-in-law (Deut 25:5-10). What Boaz did for his relative widow Ruth, the man in Genesis failed to do. That is clearly the reason why God killed him – not for masturbating! So we come to the conclusion that the Bible is silent about masturbation. The Bible talks about sex between men and women who aren't married (Lev 18), man and man / woman and woman (Rom 1), man and animals (Lev 18:23). The Bible condemns them all as sinful. But strangely it leaves out masturbation. Was it because no one knew about masturbation in the days when the Bible was written? No. Some Egyptian literature penned during the time the Bible was being written does talk about the act of masturbation. So keeping in mind the silence of the Bible on masturbation, some respected Bible Scholars have come to the conclusion that God is not bothered about this issue as He is bothered about other forms of premarital sex. If He was, He would have told us in His word. But unfortunately many youngsters (including many believers think about this issue all the time)! That doesn't mean the Bible tells us to masturbate. Talking about the passions of the body, Paul writes, "It is better to marry rather than burn with passion." Notice Paul does not write here, "It is better to masturbate rather than burn with passion” (I Cor 7:9). So the Bible never positively advocates the use of masturbation as a means of relieving sexual tension. Not at all. Keeping these two views in proper tension, some respected Bible teachers tell young people this: Don't condemn yourself if you masturbate. It is not an issue with God. Actually, it is easier to quit masturbation knowing God is not bothered about it. This has been the practical experience of some youngsters I know. Again, there are things that go along with masturbation the Bible condemns. For example, many young people view pornography while masturbating. This is 65


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wrong. A woman's nakedness belongs to her husband alone (Lev. 18, KJV). A man despises a woman if he watches her naked (Lam 1:8). Noah's son sinned by watching his father naked and not doing anything about it (Gen 9:22). A man willingly watching another man's nakedness itself is wrong! Again, for most young people masturbation is accompanied by filthy thoughts. Enjoying the filthy thoughts is sin – the Bible makes clear (Math 5:28/Job 31:1). Masturbation can become an obsession. It is possible to be addicted to that habit. Paul says to the Corinthian church, "You may say, 'I am allowed to do anything.' But I reply, “Not everything is good for you. And even though I am allowed to do anything,” " I must not become a slave to anything" (I Cor 7:12). This passage is talking about sexual sins (Vs. 9 following). Though Paul is not talking about masturbation here (or anywhere) the Scriptural principle that we must become slaves of any habit is clear (That will apply to even addiction to coffee or Coke or chocolates also, by the way!) Ask seasoned doctors. They will tell you, though there is nothing harmful with masturbation done once in a while, excessive masturbation can be a cause for the release of semen quickly when a man makes love to his wife (this, phenomenon is called pre-mature ejaculation). This has taken away the sexual pleasure within many a marriage. Therefore my personal advice to you is to challenge you to practice self-control (which is by the way, a fruit of the spirit). Self-control in sex is great virtue to have, even after you get married. Wondering why? The woman you marry may not jump in the bed with you every time you want her to (this is a married man speaking!) If you fail and do masturbate, don't condemn yourself. Look to God. He understands. Get up. "Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again" the Bible tells us (Prov 24:16). Don't be thinking of masturbation all the time. Divert your thoughts to things that God has spoken so much about in His Word. Here is one thing God is clearly concerned about: the Google Generation must be grabbed from Gehenna (hell)! I have formed this opinion of mine on masturbation after reading the writings of many respected Bible Teachers, the very best of them. Some of my views may be controversial. The point remains that Christians are divided on this issue. When you quote me on this subject please quote the entire view and not just parts of it.

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Chapter Thirteen

PICTURES TO PUNCTURE YOUR ENTHUSIASM TO SMOKE AND DRINK

The single biggest cause of preventable illness‌ Graphic images of the health consequences of smoking are to be shown on cigarette packets from September next year in Britain, the health secretary, Alan Johnson, said yesterday. The pictures include a dead man on a steel mortuary table, patients wearing oxygen masks in hospital, a baby in an incubator and a man with a large tumor below his chin with the words, "smoking can cause a slow and painful death". One image shows a pair of healthy lungs next to diseased organs, with the warning: "Smoking causes fatal lung cancer". Mr. Johnson said, 85 per cent of smokers wanted to give up and that warnings had helped some of them to kick the habit. "Smoking is the single biggest cause of preventable illness and preventable death" (Brendin Carlin's piece in The Daily Telegraph, August 30, 2007 and Audrey Gillan's piece in The Gaurdian, August 30, 2007). What does the Bible have to say about smoking? Though there is no direct reference, there are two images from the Bible which will puncture your enthusiasm to smoke. Here is the first one: THE TEMPLE IMAGERY Graphic images of the health consequences of smoking may inspire some to quit the habit. But I believe a greater inspiration will be this image of what happens when one smokes, as recorded in the Bible: the body which is the temple of the Holy Spirit gets defiled. We read in the Bible in I Corinthians 6:19 thus: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own. No God-fearing person would want to smoke inside God's temple - the church. None with a tinge of respect for the Savior who gave his body as an offering for our sins, would want to puff away to glory in the house he built - the church. 67


Pictures to Puncture Your Enthusiasm To Smoke and Drink

When this is the case, why would we do it anywhere else. Even if we get away to a place that is far from the local church and smoke there, we are still smoking in the church! The reason being, our bodies can also be seen as mobile churches! It is my prayer, that this image found in the Bible will inspire the smoker to bid "bye bye" to smoking! Here is yet another imagery that will puncture your enthusiasm to puff: THE TRAITOR IMAGERY Another picture found in the Bible that will help us pooh pooh smoking is depicted in Acts 1. Puzzled? Hang on. Here is how the death of Judas Iscariot, the traitor-guide to those who arrested Jesus is painted in Acts 1: this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:18). What is the connection between the suicide snap of Judas and smoking you may well ask. Valid question. Here is the connection: Smoking is slow suicide. If Judas was doomed to destruction for having committed fast suicide (John 17:12), the punishment for those who commit slow suicide by puffing away to glory is not going to be any different (one cigar takes away 5 minutes of your lifespan). While Judas fell precariously so that his bowels would gushed out, those who smoke begin a slow process of baking their lungs. Imagine that. That imagination can become an inspiration to kick that smoking habit you may have. Drinking alcohol is also as harmful as smoking is. So it is my plea that you avoid drinking alcohol as well. The mother of King Lemuel told him, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink� (Prov 31:4). In the New Testament we read that all believers are kings in the eyes of the Lord (I Pet 2:9). So as kings, as leaders whom God wants to use to build His Kingdom, we must not drink alcohol. This is my conclusion from these two verses just quoted. These two imageries will help you kick the smoking habit and the drinking habit not just for one day, but for an entire lifetime! Jesus can help you say bye to smoking and become busy with the work of saving those going to the place where "smoke of their (the anti-Christ worshippers, that is) torment" never goes out - Hell (Rev 14:11)!

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Chapter Fourteen

TAMING SEXUAL TEMPTATION LIKE JOSEPH Devotional thoughts from Genesis 39

What Zidane told Marco Materazzi who pulled his shirt in the World Cup final 2006 reminded me of what Joseph did in Genesis 39 when Mrs. Potiphar pulled his shirt. Zidane told him, "If you want, we can swap shirts after the match." Joseph, I believe, told the wife of Potiphar, "If you want my shirt I can gladly give it to you! I do not like shirts. My father gave me a multi-colored shirt and I got into trouble because I wore that to the envy of my brothers. I got thrown into a pit because of that shirt. However, you cannot touch me. How could I ever do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God!" (Gen 39:7-10). In this essay I focus on Genesis 39 to glean out lessons that will help us beat sexual temptations. I am writing this essay not just because of the Zidane-Materazzi incident. There is another reason: a cover story in a national news magazine. I am referring to the recent issue of The Week magazine which had this cover caption: "Sex at work – a new wave of intimacy" (in its May 28, 2006 issue). It announced a startling spurt in pre-marital and extra-marital sexual activity especially among the 3 lakh or so BPO workers in India. "The crowd is young in BPOs. When money coupled with opportunity beckons them, they cut loose," explains Vijay Anand Menon, a Software Engineer. Richard Crasta's creative pen describes what typically can happen in a call center environment : Imagine that on the post-night-shift company bus bedroomeyed Mack (the name he uses during his calls - his name is actually Moti Lal!) says to Ruth (the name she uses on her calls – her factual name is Kaushalya Devi), "Care to drop into my pad for a cup of coffee, babe? Nobody's home." Then Ruth, if she had a bad night getting hell from some oil sheikhdom customer whose camel's health insurance policy has lapsed, may just reply, "Whatever mate, why not?" In this write-up I want to introduce you to a “call-centre” employee who lived thousands of years ago who in a similar situation surprisingly said, "Whatever mate, I am simply not interested!" Scratching your head? Yes, I am inviting you to see 69


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Joseph in the Bible as a call center employee. Wasn't he supposed to answer the beck and call of Mr. & Mrs. Potiphar as he was their employee? You are smiling… Genesis 39 – I have read that chapter over and over again. I continue to do so. From it I have discovered several life lessons that will teach youth to overcome temptation. Shall I share them? The chapter begins with the word, "Now…" It says, "Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt..." Whenever there is a word "now" in the Bible we must rewind back to see what happened before that "now". If we do that here what do we see? We see the story of Joseph's elder brother – Judah – yielding to sexual temptation. He ended up having sex with his own daughter-in-law, sick as it sounds (Gen 38)! But Joseph, the temptation-triumphant-tyke, would be different. That is the point of the writer of Genesis 39. The call from Joseph's example is that we be daringly different in this depraved generation. We note in this chapter that Joseph was left at the home of Potiphar, one of the important officials in the government of Pharaoh (Gen 39:1). He sure was a rich man. A big shot. God perhaps knew that the much-pampered Joseph would have found it difficult to survive as a pebble-breaker for the Egyptian pyramids – which is what most foreign slaves brought into Egypt were asked to do. So he rolled out a life in the cozy home of a cabinet minister for him. That reminds me of yet another lesson in temptation: God will not allow us to be tempted more than we can bear. If God has put us in a particular place he will have a "way of escape" for us from that temptation right there. Excuses such as, "The temptation was too much that I had to yield to it!" would be, at best, lame! Let us read on. It says here in Genesis 39 that the "Lord was with Joseph…" (Vs 2). That phrase is repeated in verse 3 and verse 21 too. The point of the author of Genesis 39 is not hard to grasp. Being constantly in the presence of God helped Joseph say "tata" to temptation's tango. Yes. When we are in God's presence temptation's powers will not seem titanic. The movie stars of our age are, in general, bad examples in most cases. I am not advocating that we follow them. However, to make a point here I want to cite Shah Rukh Khan. It is reported he calls his wife, Gauri, 20 times a days when he is away from her because of his movie shooting schedule. When quizzed that why there are no rumors that he has affairs with his pretty co-stars in movies, his answer is simple yet sublime: "I love my wife and stay in constant touch with her wherever I am. So I do not topple when the pull of temptation to have an affair with the gorgeous ladies around me knocks my door!" Just as Shah Rukh's conscious celebration of his wife's presence enabled him to shoo away seductions to have affairs with his pretty co-stars, the celebration of God's presence would help us tame temptation. That is why Jesus told his drowsy disciples at Gethsemane, "Watch and pray that you will not fall into temptation!" (Luke 22:40). What is prayer but a constant communion with God?! More prayer means that we have more power at the hour of temptation! 70


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When we go back to Genesis 39 we figure out that Joseph is given a promotion as the number one servant in the house of Potiphar (Vs. 3-4). We note "the Lord gave him success in everything he did" before the Devil gave him temptation (Vs. 3). Very often this happens. Some of the darkest temptations can follow our successes and promotions. So we need to watch out when success knocks at our door. Temptation may not be far too behind. Jesus knew this, I believe. That is why we see that he rushed to pray alone after his successes. When he fed a huge hungry crowd with five loaves and two fish he "went up on a mountainside by himself to pray" (Math 14:23). I have felt the pull of temptation after I have yelled Yahweh's Word, with great results, to Yahoo youth! So I would snatch extra minutes of supplication after such success seasons! Often, I would ask the young people what the first temptation Joseph faced in Genesis 39 was. They would invariably talk about a "bed" temptation – a woman was pulling Joseph to bed when no one was around. I beg to disagree. I believe the first temptation that Joseph faced in this chapter was the "broom" temptation, rather than the "bed" temptation. Puzzled ? The other servants in Potiphar's house, when no one was there to oversee them, they perhaps did not sweep the house well. They gave into the little "broom" temptation. But Joseph won over that temptation for the Word describes him as "a faithful steward" (Vs. 4). That is why he propelled and pushed Joseph as the head for all the servants in his home! Do you want strength to beat huge temptations? Then start beating small temptations first. Say "no" to the temptation to look over your buddy's shoulder in the examination in the classroom. Then you'll have the power to say 'no' when the temptation comes to dirty-touch your friend of the opposite sex below the shoulders! Don't you remember the famous lines of the hymn, "Yield not to temptation…" which goes this way: "Each victory will give you power over some other to win!"? Yes, it does! Let us release the pause button in the story of Joseph in Genesis 39. What do we get to see? A description of Joseph's physical appearance: "Now Joseph was wellbuilt and handsome…" (Gen 39:6b). I put my head on my chin and racked my mental faculties and mulled over that description. This thought came into my system: "Joseph's body was not only a superb body but a surrendered body!" Yes! That is true! It was as if he heard Paul writing in Romans, "Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness" and obeyed it in his life (Rom 6:19). I am certain Joseph surrendered his well-toned body to his Maker each day saying, "My head is yours, Lord. May I use it today for your glory. My hands are yours, Master. May I use it this day to magnify your name. My heels are yours too, Savior. May I use them in a way to bring delight to you!" Can we not do the same, chum? On the other hand, Mrs. Potiphar's body was not a surrendered one. One version puts it this way: "She cast longing eyes on Joseph…" (Vs. 7). In other words, she was not able to control her eyes and they were aflame with lust. Time magazine 71


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reported Monica Lewinsky's following statement as to how Bill Clinton used to look at her during their torrid affair in the White House: "And the way he was flirting was inappropriate. So I think it was the eye contact, and the way he looks at women he's attracted to. He undresses you with his eyes. And it is slow, from the bottom of your toes to the top of your head back down to your toes again. And it is an intense look. He loses his smile. His sexual energy kind of comes over his eyes. It is very animalistic" (reported in its March 22, 1999 issue). That was the kind of look David gave the bathing Bathsheba. Our eyes are supposed to be the lamp of our bodies according to Jesus (Math 6:22). Do we control them? Or do they control us? While Joseph had his entire body doing what he wanted it to do the eyes of Mrs. Potiphar swayed and sucked without a whiff of it. Who do you resemble - Joe or Mrs. Potiphar? The Genesis 39 story moves forward. Mrs. Potiphar's request is shameless: "Come to bed with me!" (Vs. 7). We understand Joseph's reply to that invitation was ruthless for we read in the Bible "he refused" (Vs. 8). He said "No!" when sexual temptation met him directly. My young friend, do you know to say 'no'? Notice that Joseph did not say at this juncture, "I have worked the whole day, ma'am….I am dead tired. Why not talk about this tomorrow?!" Please note that our Joey boy did not change the topic when Madame Potiphar told him in-effect , "I am ready – are you ready too!" For example, he did not say, "Madame, we do not have cooking oil in the house. Can you give me money so that I can buy it and come?!" in reply to her request. He simply looked her in the eyes and said, "No!" Would you follow Joseph's example when you are invited to watch a porn CD by your buddies or invited to join a smear campaign? Verses 8 and 9 of Genesis 39 give us a peek into Joseph's mind – his line of logic in refusing Mrs. Potiphar's pleasure package. This is what he says to her in-effect: "Madame mind you – I am not your husband! I am your servant. What is more is that I am the most trusted servant of my Master – your husband! I can't do this and ruin my Master's great trust on me!" A true realization and genuine appreciation of who we are will help us overcome temptation. It surely helped Joe to overcome his temptations. Who are we? We are called to be "holy people" (I Cor 1:2). Let's live up to that awesome name! What is the trust God has placed on us? That we will "walk worthy of the Gospel of the Holy One – the Lord Jesus." Joseph did not stop by merely talking about his Earthly Master to his mistress who made sexual advances to him. He also talked about his Heavenly Master to her when he asked, "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Gen 39:9). When I read that stunning sentence that Joseph used to diffuse the temptation bomb that his Mistress tossed at him I discovered something that made me jump for joy! I discovered that he was merely echoing God's words to the disobedient and deceived Eve that was "What is this you have done!" (Gen 3:13). Rather than wait for God to tell him just that Joseph decided to ask Mrs. Portiphar the very same question in a modified way! Joseph hid God's word in his heart so that 72


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he would not sin against God (Psa 119:11). Would you strive to do that? Will you not write out relevant Bible Verses in line with your area of temptation and keep them in your pocket and read them whenever you get time – while traveling, while waiting in a queue? Jesus did not court the Devil. His secret? He quoted the Scriptures (three verses from the Old Testament) to send the sidetracking Satan scurrying (Math 4). And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her." That was Genesis 39:10 for you. From that verse I learn two things: One, temptations will keep coming. Mrs. Portiphar wasn't content to tempt Joseph just one day or once in a while. She did it daily. Contstantly. Ms. Temptation took no tea break in the case of Joseph. It was also true in the case of Jesus. He was not only tempted at the start of his adult life and ministry (I refer to his bread temptation, building temptation, bowing temptation recorded in Mathew 4). He was tempted through out. When Peter his disciple told him not to head towards Jerusalem to be crucified, it was a temptation for Jesus. When people lampooned him with the words, "If you are the son of God come down from the cross!" it was huge temptation for Jesus. He was indeed the Son of God and he could effortlessly comedown from the cross if he wanted to. If he stayed put there it was because he wanted to beat temptation that trailed him till the end. Temptations will also trail us and tail us relentlessly. After we have switched off the racy show on TV, the temptation can come through the magazine we are flipping over. After we are through with the magazine, it may come through a MMS that has leaped onto your cellphone through the airwaves. The second lesson I learn from this verse is far too obvious: the way to victory over sexual temptation is fleeing from the source of temptation. Notice that Joseph "refused to even with her". It was as if he had read Paul writing to young Timothy to "flee the evil desires of youth" and wanted to follow it (II Tim 2:22 ). Or perhaps he remembered how one of his far-out forefathers Cain lost to temptation because he allowed "sin" to "crouch" at his door (Gen 4:7). So Joseph refused to crouch near the source of temptation deliberately. I constantly strive to read the Bible with imagination. I want God hear God tell me what the GE ad punch is, "Imagination at work" when I do my Bible Mediations! Here is one occasion when I was in my elements. I imagined what would have transpired if Joey Boy of Genesis 39 met with the Naughty Boy of Proverbs 7. After giving each other a "hi-fi" they would start conversing. "There is an aunty living in the corner of the street. Her husband is not at home. He has left for a long business trip to the Americas. His purse is full. He has carried all his credit cards. The ABN AMRO credit card. The Citibank Card. The HSBC credit card. He will not return in a long time. Guess what? This aunty is constantly calling me on my mobile. Her phone text messages are raunchy. Her phone text messages, ‘Come home. No one is at home. My bed sheets are scented. Condoms are under the pillow,’ said it all. This temptation was absolutely lip-smacking. I can't wait to meet her, dude!" Those are the words of Naughty Boy to Joey Boy (Duke's imagined version based on 73


Taming Sexual Temptation Like Joseph

Proverbs 7). To this Joey Boy's reply would have been: "Come on bro! I am running away from an aunty who did something exactly similar. Her husband too wasn't at home. She kept giving me inviting looks and seductive compliments. I had to leave her or else I would have given in. Can't scoop fire in your lap and hope nothing would happen, right? And my! And I bump into you!" What was the end of Naughty Boy who was inching close to temptation's source so wantonly? The Bible is blunt when it describes that: "She has him eating out of her hand, bewitched by her honeyed speech. Before you know it, he's trotting behind her, like a calf led to the butcher shop; like a stag lured into ambush and then shot with an arrow; like a bird flying into a net not knowing that its flyin g life is over" (Prov 7:21-23, Peterson Version). In short, Naughty Boy's end was sad: his peace and life was lost. On the other hand Joey Boy's end was smashing: he became Egypt's Prime Minister, a picture of the very son of God (Both Joseph and Jesus were sold for coins and accused of sins they never committed!). What is the moral of the story of Naughty Boy and Joey Boy? Let the Proverbs Penman tell you that: So, friends, listen to me, take these words of mine most seriously. Don't fool around with a woman like that; don't even stroll through her neighborhood. Countless victims come under her spell; she's the death of many a poor man. She runs a halfway house to hell, fits you out with a shroud and a coffin." (Prov 7:24-27, Peterson Version). Running towards temptation is one of the favorite pastimes of youth of all generation. Do you walk into an Internet Cafe and lock yourself alone cabins to browse the web? What is that but running into temptation? Do you spend hours watching TV late night all alone? What is that but scooping up the fire of temptation in your lap? Girl, when you hop onto the bike of the boy whose intentions you know aren't clean, what can one call that but "kissing temptation"? Let us scroll down further as we read Genesis 39. This is what we read: "But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, she caught him by his garment, saying, "Lie with me." But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house." (Verses 11,12). What we do when we are all alone is perhaps the best reflection of the character we possess. "When I all alone with the stars above, you are the girl, I love!" sang Jascha Ritcher of the MLTR. Can we declare what Richter said about his girl to Jesus? I guess Mrs. Portiphar deliberately packed off the servants in the house to different directions with instructions. "You get some vegatables!" "Hey, you! Shop for some good fruits!" After she finished giving the instructions she was alone with Joseph. She looked this way and that way. There were no one around. Husband was at work. All her servants except Joseph went shopping. Wasn't it the best time for some fun? But Joseph looked up. He knew his Omnipresent Maker was watching him! And he realized that even if stayed with her for one more second he would loose his self-control and yield to that titanic temptation. And so he ran. He left his shirt - which his temptress caught hold of - and ran! "I have nothing for shirts. My 74


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father gave me a shirt - a multicolored shirt. I got into trouble the day I wore it. If you want you can have my shirt. But no sex please!" he perhaps told her as he ran. The story moves forward. Mrs. Portiphar who perhaps gave compliments to Joseph like "Hi! Handsome!" now refers to him as "the Hebrew servant" ( Vs. 17 ) to her husband after he got back home. She accused him falsely of trying to have sex with her. I am no prophet. I am not even a son of one. But I prophecy. When you take a stand for Jesus you will be stoned. It may not be with stones made of silicone but "stones" from the mouth of people. Did not Jesus himself say, "You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved" (Mk 13:13)? Say "no" premarital sex you be labeled a "Number 9" or "Nerd". A "Holy Joe!". A "Modern Mother Theresa". A "Museum Piece". A "Thumb sucking Momma's boy!" It happened to Joseph. A woman who spoke of him as a hero before he refused her sinful suggestions now calls him a zero in effect after he said "No" to her come-ons! She actually referred him as a "Hebrew slave" (Gen 39:19 NIV). It was a racial slur. It was akin to the Spanish Football manager Aragones calling the Thierry Henry, "Black ______". The Egyptians did not dine with the Hebrew people because they thought it was below their prestige to do that. The Bible plainly says, "The Egyptians could not eat with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians" (Gen 43:32). Yes, all what Joe got for refusing to sin was loads of loathe and infinite insults. Yet he bore it all. One reason he did that was certainly the joy unspeakable that floods one's heart when that is done. The world cannot take away that joy. Money cannot buy that joy. The Devil cannot take away that joy. Joseph perhaps knew even as he left his shirt behind that it could be used as an evidence against him. He certainly was no dumb head. But even then he did not come to get it back. "What if I yielded to temptation during that time" - that was perhaps his concern. "What if I gave in to her charms when I went to get back my shirt" – that was perhaps working on his mind. He wanted to keep a safe distance from his seductive mistress. Let us zero in on Mrs. Portiphar's statement to her husband again: "That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me" (Vs. 16, NIV). Notice she is trying to shift the blame for the whole thing on her husband here. "... You brought us," she says. In other words she says she was not responsible for whatever happened. When I read that a thought came to me: Yielding to temptation and cooking up excuses go together. A constant temptation-loser is a compulsive excuse-maker. He does it to cover up his or her sin. "Excuses are nails in the coffin of failure," someone rightly said. Did you sin? Don’t offer excuses. Don't give explanations. Just exit - from your life of sin. Repent. Ask the Lord to cleanse you. Mend your relationship with Him - don't end it. "The righteous falls seven times and rises again" the Bible says (Prov 24:16). Even Paul tripped into the sin of speaking ungracious words. But he was quick to correct himself based on the written Word (Acts 23:1-4). 75


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We know what happened next - Joseph got unfairly thrown in the prison (Gen 39:19-20). The reward he got for staying pure was prison! For refusing five minutes of sinful pleasure he had to endure 14 years in prison. But Joseph does not loose heart. He took it in his stride. He keeps doing the very same things he did while he was in Portiphar's home. He got a promotion for being the most faithful of all the servants in both places - did you note? (Vs. 20-21). He was made the "in charge" in both places. Just like Potiphar did not have anything to care about with Joseph around, the Prison Warden did not have anything to worry about with Joseph around (Vs. 23). Are we faithful wherever God has placed us? Is our Christ-like walk dependent on location? Are you a light for Jesus only in the Church premises? Do you become an embarrassment for Him when you are elsewhere – say in College, in Office, in an Internet Parlor? The story of Joe saying "No" to Mrs. Portiphar is gripping. One reward for such self-controlled behavior was his marriage to the daughter of Potiphera (Gen 41:45). He said "No" to the wife of Portiphar and God gave him the daughter of Potiphera! Yes, while there is suffering for saying "no" to temptation there is also a blessing waiting!

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Chapter Fifteen

BIBLE WAYS TO BEAT SEXUAL TEMPTATIONS

We live in a generation saturated and sunk, drenched and drugged with sex. Push-button sex is Satan's No.1 enticement to this "Me First" generation which says "I want pleasure and I want it, now!" A whopping 77% of the 1,665 respondents to poll in 8 major Indian cities admitted that they longed for sexual temptations so that they could yield to them (Information source: Outlook, 13 October 1997). The trend hasn't changed much with time. Here is something to suggest that: a survey done in seven Indian cities revealed that 58% of the sample youth support pre-marital sex (Hyderabad Times, 9 December 2005). "The movie icons are yielding to it. The sports superstars are yielding to it. Why, even Christianity's Star Preachers are yielding to it. Why then should I be an exception?" says that typical, tired, stumbling, Christ-believing youngster. Why's that? It's because sexual temptations are powerful, penetrative and almost permanent. So if you can't beat them you think let me join them. Well, you CAN beat them. My personal meditation on the Scriptures has given me ten ways to beat sexual temptations. "Win the battle against sex and you win the battle of your life. Lose it, then you lose the battle of your life," wrote Billy Graham as early as 1957 (quoted by George Verwer in "The Lordship of Christ," found at www.urbana.org on 3 March 2007). Let's start – 1. SET! The very first step to beat sexual temptation or any temptation concerns our mind. If you quizzed Daniel how he beat temptation that pertained to the desires of his body (in his case it was the temptation to eat tasty food that may have been openly offered to idols and later offered to him) this would be his reply: "I made up my mind not to defile myself‌" (Dan 1:8, NLT). We must set our mind to appreciate the fact that sin's pleasures are at best "fleeting" (Heb 11:25). Moses, once he recognized this could bid farewell to a royal life in the Egyptian Palace (where sexual pleasure was there for the asking!). When we have it in our mind that a single day in God's courts is better than a thousand anywhere else, then, we would 77


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stay far from sin (Psa 85:10). Very often Satan would entice us with sexual temptation saying we would feel awesome if we yielded to it. But the end result would be that we would feel awful after an initial elation. The confessions of famous people who drink sex sin like water helps us further to understand this. Boris Becker, had a fling with a Russian model following his defeat in his last Wimbledon game. He confessed, "It was an act that lasted five seconds. I never saw her again or before. It's mistake that is going to haunt me for the rest of my life…The result is brutal for me (the Russian model became pregnant as a result), especially for my wife, my children and my mother" (The Times of India, 11 April 2001). Monica Lewinsky, who had a sexual affair with Bill Clinton wrote a note to him when she discovered he was distancing himself away from her after having enjoyed her bodily charms. "Please don't do this to me. I feel used and disposable" – that is what she wrote. Say, you have an option of getting into a permanent job and temporary job, what would you naturally choose? The permanent job obviously! But when it comes to temptation – especially sexual temptation – we choose the temporary job. I say that because we chase after passing pleasures when there are eternal pleasures at the right hand of God (Psa 16:11). 2. SPRINT! Beating other types of temptation may require "resisting" (1 Pt 5:9) while beating sexual temptations requires "running" – away from the source – be it a person, a situation or a place (2 Tim 2:22). Joseph did it. And he won. He sprinted from the person – "he refused to even be with her" and then from the sin-inducing situation – "left his cloak ... and ran out" (Gen 39:10,12). The young man of Proverbs 7 did not. And he lost. It was expected because "He was going ... near her corner" (Prov 7:8, NIV). King Solomon, a man who had seen it all has some solid advice: "Do not go near the door of her house" (Prov 5:8, NIV). If your eyes keep zeroing in on the object causing the temptation like how David's telescopic eyes zeroed in on the bathing Bathsheba or Samson's eyes on the Gaza prostitute be sure you've bought the ticket to disaster (2 Sam 11:23; Jdg 16:1). Like how you'd look away when your eyes spot an electric welding arc, deliberately look away when you see a sexually seducing source. A person who plays the fool and stays at close quarters with sexually seducing source, still expecting to come out clean is like a wishful thinking fool who expects his clothes to be unburnt after having scooped fire on his lap (Prov 6:27). 3. SWEAT! David lazily shrunk away from the job he was supposed to be doing – waging war. So he ended up doing what he was not supposed to do – making love with a woman who was not his wife (2 Sam 11:2). On that catastrophic day he woke up in "the evening" (2 Sam 11:2). I'd imagine he slept right through the morning and got up only in the evening! "The bed of sloth is often the bed of lust," wrote Matthew Henry, the great Bible Commentator (found at www.searchgodsword.org on 6 78


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March 2007). When Amnon lazily shrunk into his bed even though he was perfectly all right, he ended up raping his half-sister (2 Sam 13). The message is clear: laziness is a sure-fire ticket to sexual sin. Standing waters gather filth, haven't you noticed? Sweat it out at the job you are called to do and the force compelling you to do the forbidden can be resisted. 4. SNAP-FREE! When Jesus said "gouge" your eye which "causes you to sin," He advocated the use of drastic steps to check and curb the onslaught of sexual passions (Math 5:2830). Joseph snapped free from the wife of Portiphar when he came to know about her immoral intensions. He understood Jesus' "gouge-your-eye" message right. Chuck Swindoll, that famous American Bible Teacher, when he checks into any hotel gives specific instructions to the staff of the hotel to block all pornographic channels that go into the television in his hotel room (Learnt from www.ccel.us/Swindoll.chap3.html on 5 March 2007). He sure understood Jesus' "gouge-your-eye" message right. Billy Graham once narrated an incident about how one of his associate evangelists staying alone in a Paris hotel locked himself in and threw the key out through the window when the temptation to go out and visit the strip-tease joints in Paris where no one would know him became almost unbearable (I heard this story in a Ravi Zacharias sermon tape). That evangelist too understood Jesus' "gouge-your-eye" message right. The Bible says that bulls with the habit of goring have to be kept penned up (Ex 21:29). "Believer bulls" who know that they have a special weakness for "sexual goring" should "pen up" themselves with such kinds of special and drastic steps for beating sexual temptations. Samuel said to all the people of Israel, "If you are really serious about wanting to return to the Lord, get rid of your foreign gods and the images of Ashtoreth…" (I Sam 7:3). Ashtoreth is the name of the Canaanite goddess of fertility, sexuality and war [The Nelson Study Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson publishers, 1997), p. 462]. So the images that God wanted his people to destroy were images that were probably sexuality explicit. They certainly look like pornographic images that the people of Israel enjoyed looking at. These had to be destroyed. True, porn material is available with ease in India and elsewhere. One magazine reported that they are as common as vada pav and masala dosa and their business worth in India is Rs. 2,500 crore (The Week, January 21, 2007). But just because porn is so easily available viewing them cannot be appropriate. According to God's word, pornographic material – CDs, photographs, Etc – must be destroyed. A doctor who heard Billy Graham preach in London in 1954 confessed that his waiting room was full of pornographic literature. After surrendering his life to Jesus, "he immediately gathered up and threw it into the Thames" [Just As I am, (USA: HarperSanFrisco, 1997), p. 229]. Will you also follow suit?

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5. SELECT! “Two are better than one ... if one falls down, his friend can help him up" (Eccl 4:9-10, NIV). Thus wrote Solomon, I believe, because he missed an "accountability" friend in his life. His father had a Nathan who could look him in the eye and tell him "You may be king, but you need to measure up!" when he fell into sexual sin. But Solomon had no such court-prophet-friend – someone who'd not only pat him on the back when he was on song, but also correct him when he went wrong. On the other hand, ungodly friends and their corrupting counsel could surely lure you into sexual sin. It was Ahithophel's corrupting advice, "Lie with your father's concubines," that made Absalom perform a sexual exhibition "in the sight of all Israel" (2 Sam 16:20-22). Amnon's friend Jonadab poisoned his mind to egg him on to play a drama to rape his half-sister (2 Sam 13: 3-5). Select a friend with whom you can share with confidence the struggles you face in beating sexual temptations - even the failures – and giving him the authority to check you will go a long way in helping you beat it. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Prov 27:17 NIV). I am really benefited in my life with the help of an "accountability" friend. It can tell you that this really works! 6. SHOOT! From the warnings against adulteresses in Proverbs we read this: "These commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light ... keeping you from the immoral woman" (Prov 6:23,24 NIV). Quote the scriptures and you won't court the devil when he brings those seductive temptations to you. Shoot Scripture verses to shoo away the Devil! That is what Jesus did. He quoted three verses from the Old Testament to send Satan scurrying (Math 4). Tempted to watch pornography? Quote II Sam. 11:27, "But the thing David had done displeased the Lord" (The first thing he did in that chapter was to have a long, lingering, lustful, look at bathing Bathsheba). Is Satan seducing you to touch the opposite sex intimately? Then quote Proverbs 5:20, "Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife?" (NIV). Or quote Proverbs 6:29, "No one who touches her will go unpunished" (NIV). Addicted to the act of masturbation? Then quote Gal 5:16, "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (NIV) Or I Cor. 7:9, "But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry (not masturbate, mind you!). For it is better to marry (not masturbate, please note!) than to burn with passion!" (NIV). Is anyone inviting you into a homosexual relationship? Then quote I Cor. 6:9-10, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral…nor homosexual offenders will inherit the Kingdom of God" (NIV). Psalm 101:3, Mathew 5:28, Job 31:1 are other potential "bombs" to bust sexual traps. Then you can say with David "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you" (Psa 119:11 NIV).

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7. STAY PUT! If I paraphrased Nathan's question to David after his adultery it would be this way. "If you wanted sex, you could have had it with your wife. Why in the world did you go after another man's wife!'' (2 Sam 12: 8,9). The question Solomon asks us is also in the same vein, "Enjoy the wife you married as a young man!... Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a whore?" (Prov 5:18-19, The Message). God told us never to lie, never to steal but never did He tell us, not to have sex. He only told us to stay put – wait – for the right time, marriage. Just remember, you are not banned from sexual pleasure - the pleasure about which Hollywood Entertainer Woody Allen quipped, "It's the best fun one could have, without laughing" – forever (Found at www.brainyquote/quotes/authors/w/woody_ allen.html as on 5 March 2007). Just remember a day is coming when you can have all of it – the day of your wedding. Believe me, that very thought would puncture the pressure which gigantically builds up as we set out to beat sexual temptations! 8. SWERVE! Any red-blooded young man would have a copious quantum of sexual energy, which unless swerved – diverted – for other nobler purposes will definitely lead to inevitable sexual sin. Blocking a furiously flowing river with a dam may be a great idea, but easing the pressure off the dam walls by diversion canals is brilliant, right? Ask David, he'll give a diversion idea: "advance against troop", "scale a wall" (Ps 18:29 NIV). Or ask the Nike shoes ad fellows and pat would come this ready reply: "Move. Hit a ball. Climb a hill. Run a mile. Don't sit there. Just do it!" I am not kidding – when your sexual energies magnetically pull you to watch a blue movie, perhaps it's time to diffuse that energy into the blue waters of the beach, swimming. If "the glory of young men is their strength," what can be more glorious than giving off our best strength to the Saviour, rather than to sinful sexual pleasures (Pro 20:29; 5:9, NIV). 9. SHUDDER! The effects of yielding to sexual temptation are deadly. It is said that Bill Clinton lost the privilege of his face being carved with the other great American Presidents at Mount Rushmore and a noble Prize because of his incredibly foolish sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky (Source of information - The Asian Age, Bangalore edition, 21 September 1998). It is a fact that the great Australian legspinner, Shane Warne, lost the honour of leading the Australian Cricket Team because of the phone sex scandals that surrounded him (learnt from www.tribuneindia.com/2004/2004 1023/spr-trib.htm on 6 March 2007). From the Bible we read about the following lethal results when people have lapped up sexual sin: Firstly, the LORD will leave you and you won't know it. Like it happened for Samson as he lay on Delilah's lap (Jud 16 20). Secondly, you can never be a leader who will influence people for good. Joseph, one who was famous among a set of 12 brothers for beating sexual temptation was told under Divine 81


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Inspiration that he would be "prince among his brothers" while the one who slept with his father's wife, Reuben, was told "you will be first no longer" (Gen. 49:4,26). David, the great leader of Israel who had an adulterous affair, had to go silent when his son raped his daughter (2 Sam 13:2l,22). Thirdly, violence could become commonplace in your family. David learnt this bitter truth when the lives of three of his Sons - Amnon, Absalom and Adonijah were cut short violently at the prime of their youth. Fourthly, you would have given birth to spiritual enemies who will battle against you for the rest of your life. The sons born to Lot's daughters out of his incestuous relationship with them became ancestors for the Moabites and Ammonites – two of Israel's most bitter enemies in their later years. Fifthly, the advantages you may have gotten through sexual sins will melt away. Remember, David's love-child born as a result of his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba eventually died notwithstanding his plea that God would spare Him (2 Sam 12:14). Sixthly, God's name will be blasphemed. “You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? As it is written: God's name is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you!” wrote Paul (Rom 2:22,24). Finally, when you persist stubbornly in sexual sin you'll go to hell. The Bible doesn't mince words when it says "the sexually immoral - their place will be the fiery lake of burning sulfur" (Rev 21:8). L-U-S-T is a four letter sin that will take you to a fourlettered place - H-E-L-L. Do these fatal figures concerning those who indulged in sexual sin make you shudder? It is meant to do just that. Reason? Shuddering can also be biblical way to beat sexual temptation! After proclaiming the Ten Commandments to the people of Israel (including the command, "You shall not commit adultery") Moses told them, "The fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning!" (Ex 20:14,20). The next time when you think of yielding to sexual temptations, take time to count the cost of yielding to them and you will find that thought not so pleasurable. 10. SPIRIT WALK No – we cannot beat sexual temptation on our own strength. We need the power from Above to tame the passions from within. The person of the Holy Spirit will supply the power we need for the same. Paul wrote that we can "put to death" what our sinful nature urges us to do through the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:13, NIV). He again writes in the same vein that "if we walk in the Spirit" we will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature (Gal 5:16, NIV). The consciousness of the presence of the Lord enabled Joseph to resist the advances of an immoral woman (Gen 39:3,10-12). I was reminded of this when I read a letter written by an young women to a magazine. Here are excerpts from that letter: "I am a 27-year-old employed woman. In a moment of madness, I had sex with a colleague of mine one evening when just the two of us were in the office working late. Or rather, we thought that we were the only people in the office. Actually, the office peon was there and he saw us. My colleague and I came to our senses that same night…But that peon is giving us trouble. He is threatening to tell people in the office about what 82


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happened unless we give him money…(Women's Era, August (First) 2006, pages 97-98). The tone of the letter suggests to me that this young girl would not have indulged in sexual sin if she knew that the peon was there. You know what – there is always someone watching us, wherever we are and whatever we do. That is God. He says, "I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me!" (Jer 16:17, NLT). When we are always conscious that the Unseen One sees us – only the Holy Spirit can make us realize this on a minute by minute basis – we can say "No" to sexual temptation like Joseph! Yes, you can beat sexual temptation!

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Chapter Sixteen

SAMSON – THE BIBLE'S ANSWER TO SHANE WARNE

Introduction At one point in time, this wrist spinner had the highest number of Test Wickets – over 700 of them! He also bowled 'the ball of the century' to England's Mike Gatting. The ball pitched outside the leg-stump, spun viciously across, to clip off the off-bail of the baffled Mike Gatting's stumps. But the control he exerted over the cricket ball, even as he wrist spun it, he did not exert on himself. He had affairs. A British nurse, a South African housewife, were part of that list that kept growing, notoriously. He was supposed to have succeeded Steve Waugh as Australian captain. But that did not happen, given his off-field indiscretions. Here was another 'he-man' with a 'sheweakness' by the name of Shane Warne. Samson was Bible's answer to Shane Warne. No one has so much talent and no one packed so much power in his blows. Yet this dynamic 'he-man' had a distinctive 'she-weakness'. When we read Judges 14:1, 15:1 and 16:4, we see that he is busy picking up one new girl, each time! In this essay, we will try and summarize his interesting life using his very name, S-a-m-s-o-n, as an acronym: S – Selected Samson Let us start with the alphabet, S. It reminds me that he was the Selected Samson. He was born to his long-barren mother after a man of God appeared to her, supernaturally. This man of God implied that God had a plan for Samson even before he was conceived in his mother's womb. That plan was that he would 'begin to save Israel from the hands of the Philistines' (Jud 13:4). Yes, Samson was selected to execute God's plans, long before his dad's sperm fertilized his mom's egg! That is not only true about Samson. It is true about you as well. That is what the Bible teaches. That's why Isaiah writes, “The Lord called me from the womb!” (Isa 49:1). No wonder, little boy, Jeremiah is told, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet unto the 84


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nations!” (Jer 1:5). Jesus confirmed, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide” (John 15:16). Before you started kicking the walls of your mommy's womb, God set the plan for your life, rolling! Girl, before that boy set his eyes on you, the God who made you, did. He has a grand plan for you! Boy, before that girl set her heart on you, the God who created you, did. He has an unbeatable plan for you! You were marked out to fulfill His royal plan. May be, you are sulking right now. It may be true that someone has rejected you. Rejected you, on the basis of your looks (You were not as beautiful as Deepika Padukone). Rejected you, on the basis of your ability (You were not as talented as Sachin Tendulkar). Rejected you, on the basis of your financial condition (You were not as rich as Vijay Mallya of Kingfisher fame). But don't worry. The person who really counts – your Creator – He has chosen you. You are the apple of His eye. You are inscribed in the palm of His hands. Your pic is stuck on to His fridge. Your snap is tucked away into His purse. I'm feeling special because I'm marked out to execute His unique plan for me from eternity past. What about you? A – Anointed Samson What more, do you know about Samson, from the biblical narrative? Secondly, we learn that he was the anointed Samson. The next letter in Samson's name is 'a' and so we shall call him 'Anointed Samson.' Yes, he had brushes with the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord began to stir him…” we read (Jud 13:25). When the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, he killed a Lion, with the same ease with which one would kill a kid goat (Jud 14:6). Empowered by the Spirit, he won over 30 people, with energy and punches to spare and took out their clothes (Jud 14:19). When the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, strong ropes that bound him, snapped with effortless ease (Jud 15:14). Do you know, the same Spirit that was upon Samson is available to you, as well? You can tame the Lion called Lust in your life easily when you are full of the Spirit of God (Read Romans 8:13 and you will understand this truth!). You can win not just 30 people, but a countless number of people, for the Lord, with the Holy Spirit inside you (Read Acts 1:8 and you will grasp this!). With the Holy Spirit controlling you, no rope of addiction (porn-watching addiction, cigar-smoking addiction, gossip-addiction, serial-watching addiction, T20-addiction, included) can bind you forever – these addictions would have to snap! (Read Galatians 5:1625 and you will appreciate this!). There were times when this anointed Samson, we discover from the Bible, behaved like the atrocious Samson. There were times when Samson's actions were not always lead by the Spirit. Yes, the Spirit-filled Samson did not produce the fruit of the Spirit, always. There were times when he presented the members of his body as slaves to impurity (Rom 6:19). He spoke lies to Delilah (Jud 16:6-14). And he lay down with a woman who was not his wife (Jud 16:1). Yet, he was able to work 85


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miracles through the power of the Spirit, routinely, as if nothing was ever wrong within (Jud 15:14; 16:3,9,12,14). That tells me that one can demonstrate the gifts of the Spirit without exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit. Self-control is one fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) but Samson and self-control were far away from each other! Do you show-forth the gifts of the Spirit, like healing, speaking in tongues, miracles, Etc? Good. Strive to cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in your life, as well. Do you clearly demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, Etc? That's excellent. Eagerly desire to demonstrate the gifts of the Spirit as well. We must pursue love (a fruit of the Spirit) and eagerly desire the spiritual gifts, Paul wrote (I Cor 14:1). Both the gifts of the Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit are equally important. M – Married Samson The Bible reveals interesting details about how Samson got married. The third alphabet in his Samson's name is 'm' and we shall call him 'married Samson'. He saw a beautiful girl who belonged to the community of enemies to God's people – the Philistines. He did not bother to look beyond her looks. He went straight to his dad and told him that he had to marry this pretty Philistine girl. He stood on one leg – stubbornly – till his dad agreed. “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes!” – that is what he told his dad (Jud 14:3, ESV). But what Samson did was not right in God's eyes (even though it did ultimately serve God's plan of using his marriage union as a means to destroy the Philistines – Jud 14:4). In the book of Judges, we repeatedly read of the many horrifying acts that people committed, like cutting up dead bodies and parceling the parts in different directions – because it seemed right in their eyes (See Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). And Samson's desire to marry the 'uncircumcised' Philistine woman (the unbelieving child of the Devil in the New Testament context) was one such act that did not please the Lord. Samson was hellbent on marrying an unbeliever who would in turn make his life, hell. And true enough, Samson's life became horrible as hell when he married this woman. She became a nagging wife (Jud 14:17). She was the kind of wife the writer of the book of Proverbs talked about – the sort who converted a home into hell by constant quarrelling (Prov 19:13; 21:9; 25:24; 27:15). She passed on Samson's secrets to his friends and eventually married one of them, ditching him (Jud 14:17; 15:2). The main reason why Samson's parents opposed his marriage to this Philistine bombshell of a beauty came from the Bible they read. The people of Israel, God's covenant people, were not allowed to marry foreigners, who in turn were unbelievers, according to the Laws that God gave Moses (Ex. 34:16; Deut 7:3). What about you? Are you flirting with the idea of considering that goodlooking, hugely-talented unbeliever in your college or corporate company as your possible life partner? Think about Samson and his sad marriage story you just read about, above! Think about wise man Solomon, whose unbelieving wives influenced him to worship idols, having brain-washed him (I am sure he thought that he would convert his idol-worshipping wives to Yahweh! But it did not work out and this idea 86


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almost never works out!). Think about Ahab, whose Baal-worshipping wife, Jezebel, encouraged Baal-prophets to mushroom in God's land. Think about Paul's record of God's command that went this way, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers..” (II Cor 6:14). And trash that very idea. In every marriage, differences do crop up between the life partners. And when a believer marries another believer, they have an awesome advantage, when it comes to handling those differences. They can go to the Bible, the book they both commonly believe in, and allow it to have the final say in all matters their belief and behavior. Their differences could be hereby resolved and the couple in conflict can move on with their marriage. And why would you loose out on this big benefit by marrying an unbeliever?! S - Sexually Immoral Samson The third alphabet in his name, ‘s’, reminds me that he was the Sexually Immoral Samson. Samson's second affair with a woman was with a common prostitute (Jud 16:1). The Bible uses two different words for two different kinds of prostitutes – the religious type and the common type. And the woman he slept with, we understand from the Hebrew word used here, was the common sort. He spent a passionate, sinful night with her. The previous time, Samson was interested in a woman, he had the self-control to atleast, wait and marry her, before he got physical with her (Jud 14). But here, he did not even attempt to slow down what his hormones screamed at him to do. And what Samson did was a sin. A sin that had consequences. Samson perhaps thought no one would know what he did with nameless Philistine prostitute. He thought he could go wham, bham and thank you, maam and slip out secretly. But what he secretly did, became headline news. The news of him visiting a prostitute got around (Jud 16:2). And, pretty soon, a group of people gathered around the very home, he was secretly sleeping with a prostitute with. Samson became a living example of the Bible statement: You may be sure, your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23). Are you living in a secret sin? It could be the sin of porn-watching when no one is watching you! Beware! If it does not get exposed here on the earth, it would definitely get uncovered to your huge embarrassment on the day of judgment (Heb 4:13). You and I have two choices: we can uncover our sins to the Lord Jesus in repentance. Or we could cover up our sins, now, and wait for him to uncover them before the whole planet on the terrifying day of judgment. What would you choose to do? Samson's third affair with a woman was with a woman named Delilah. Her name meant “flirt.” Samson went overboard flirting with a flirt! You should not flirt (show romantic interest) with a person of the opposite sex, you have absolutely no intensions of marrying. This is what I understand from the book of Song of Songs. Romantic love should be strong as death – it should be casually given and taken back at will (SS 8:6)! Coming back to the story of Samson we must note that Delilah was not his wife. Yet, he got physically intimate with her. Samson felt no shame in sleeping on her lap (Jud 16:19). “Having put him to sleep on her lap…” that is the 87


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Bible says in this regard (Jud 16:19, NIV). It is quite possible that Delilah offered sexual excitement to Samson with her body even as he lay on her lap, brought him to climax, after which it was only natural for Samson to collapse to deep sleep. Yes, Surely Samson had heard the story of Isaac-Rebekah-Abimelech (Gen 26:6-9). Abimelech, the pagan king, knew from his natural instinct that it was not right for a man to touch a woman intimately, if she was not his wife, already. That is why, he questioned Isaac who did just that to Rebekah, whom he claimed was his sister! Hey, Samson! Did you not grasp from this story in your Bible that physical intimacy with the opposite sex is out of bounds for those not married? Yet, why did you allow yourself to get so very physically close to Delilah? Do you cross the limit when it comes to boy-girl physical intimacy? Repent! Pull a full stop to such a behavior. Take a U-turn. God called the two woman who allowed men to play with their breasts as 'prostitutes' in the book of Ezekiel (Ezek 23 – read it fully). In God's sight, such behavior is abominable! Physical intimacy with the person of the opposite gender is dangerous because one thing will lead to another. You know it by experience. You can know it even from the Bible. Don't you remember reading about a young man who graduated from 'smooching' to 'sleeping' with the woman whose husband was away, in Proverbs 7? So don't even, start any form of physical intimacy with the person of the opposite sex before you get married to that person. If you have failed in this area, ask the blood of Jesus to cleanse you. His blood will cleanse you from EVERY sin! Samson, who repeatedly sinned against God with his lustful eyes had his eyes blinded at the end of his life (Jud 16:21). How sad! There awaits an apt punishment for our sins, if we don't truly repent from them! That punishment may even come before we die. Or it could come after we die on the day of judgment! So we must be careful how we live! O-Out-of-the-World Samson The fourth alphabet in Samson's name was 'o' and this alphabet made me recall that he was the 'out of the world Samson'. Some of the things that Samson could do were simply out of the World! For example, single-handedly, with a donkey's jawbone, he broke the bones of 1000 men and killed them (Jud 15:15). After this jawbone battle, he became ultra thirsty. He was about to faint in exhaustion. At that time, Samson prayed. In answer to Samson's prayer, God split open the ground below and from it gushed out fresh water – fresh water that quenched Samson's thirst and refreshed him (Jud 15:19). Do you know something? A miracle could be just a prayer away in your life? Is someone about to die of incurable disease in your family? Pray for a miracle. Is someone so stubborn in your friends circle that you feel that he has no chance of accepting Jesus as Savior? Pray for a miracle. Is the task of quitting your worldly job and joining fulltime missionary service, seeming next to impossible? Pray and you will see that God can make it possible. Prayer can do anything God can do. If what 88


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we prayed for is alongside the will of God, a miracle will happen! But just because a miracle happens, it does not mean, we can live as we like after having experienced that miracle. But that's what Samson did. Immediately after quenching his thirst after drinking the miracle water that God gave him, Samson raced to spend the night with a prostitute who would quench another kind of thirst in his body (Jud 15:19-16:1). How distressing! The Lord eventually left Samson and he did not realize it (Jud 16:20). He had backslidden and he did not have a clue. How dangerous! No wonder, Jesus warned that, the miracles we do, would not save us on the terrible day of Judgment (Math 7:21-23). What would save us on that day is a living, daily, deep, life-transforming relationship with Jesus, who died for us on the Cross of Calvary and rose again from the dead! Samson prayed for an out of the world thing to happen at the fag end of his life. He wanted God to strengthen him one final time so that he could avenge his tormentors the Philistines by pushing apart some building pillars with his raw hands (Jud 16:28). When the pillars get pushed apart, the Philistines who had come to lampoon him would be powdered to pulp, Samson knew. It did not matter to Samson that he too would die in that building crash. He was ready to lose his life in the service of Yahweh. The man who served his selfish, fleshly desires was now willing to give up all very life for Yahweh's sake. What a transformation! And as the buildings collapsed over him, I am sure, Samson was fully right with his Maker. Otherwise, there is no way, his name would be found in the list of believers in Hebrews 11 (in verse 32). Because Samson's name is found in the list of believers in Hebrews 11, I am sure that was a time in his life when he made up with his Maker – the Maker who left his life in disgust when he sinned repeatedly and stubbornly (Jud 16:20). His hair began to grow back – a possible sign that God had forgiven him, the 'repentant' him, more than a mere natural phenomenon (Jud 16:22). Samson had the time to repair what went wrong with his life, at least at the fag end of it. But you and I, may not have that opportunity. Who knows – our end can come so very suddenly, that there is no time to pray even for a second! So, why not make use of the time we have, right now? Otherwise, it may be too late. After we die, we will have no opportunity to repent from sin. After we die, only an inescapable judgment awaits us (Heb 9:27). It is never too early to come to Jesus. But, at any moment, it can be too late. Samson's name, barely, just about, made it to the list of believers in Hebrews 11, because of what he did in his dying minutes. But you don't have waste a minute in repenting and trusting Christ as your Savior. And when you do your name would be written in Heaven, Jesus promised (Luke 10:20). But if you don't, a day is soon coming when all folk whose names are not written in Jesus' book of Life would be cast into the lake of eternal fire (Rev 15:20). Because I love you, I tell you this truth, however bitter it is, to swallow.

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N-Nazirite Samson The last alphabet in Samson's name is 'n'. And so we note here that Samson was called by God to be a Nazirite from his birth for his whole life (Jud 13:5). What was a Nazirite, according to the Bible? Read Numbers 6:1-21. A Nazirite was someone who voluntarily took a vow of holy separation to serve God in a special way. As a Nazirite, Samson could not drink wine, cut his hair and not come in contact with the dead (Num 6:3-8). You may wonder why these seemingly stupid rules were included as part of the Nazirite vows. Let me explain: if you did not drink wine, you could remain sober to serve the Lord with wisdom and intelligence; if you did not cut your hair, you did not have to fashionably align it or shave it; time is thus saved, time that could be used to serve the Lord!; when you don't even touch a dead body, you are symbolically saying that God is Number One is your life and every one else, including your dear loved one, only come next! So, the thrust of the Nazirite vows, is about, carving out the maximum, focused time to serve the Lord, through your entire lifetime! Samson, for a major part of his life, kept the easiest part of the Nazirite vows he undertook to keep. I am referring to the vow that he would not allow his hair to be cut. (Is it difficult to grow your hair, without cutting it? I don't think so). But the other elements of his Nazirite vow, he broke without much second thought. As a Nazirite, he could not go near the dead. But he touched the dead body of a Lion because his body ached to taste the honey from it (Jud 14:6-9). He touched the dead again when he touched jawbone of a dead donkey to use it as a weapon, may be because he could not find any other weapon and he just loved to fight! (Jud 15:15). As a Nazirite, Samson should not have drunk wine. But the Bible record he went to a feast in Judges 14:10. The Hebrew word used there for 'feast' implies that wine was served there. So, Samson, in all probability broke the Nazirite vow of 'no drinking wine'. When Samson was boasting to Delilah that, no razor had touched his hair, he was bragging about how he had kept the easiest of the three vows he had to keep as a Nazirite! It was no big deal! We, too, behave like Samson, some time! We go at great lengths to keep certain easy-to-keep commandments the Lord has given us. But we repeatedly trip on some commandments, we simply don't like to follow or have the will to follow. For example, some of us may never commit physical adultery. But, at the same time, we are okay with committing mental adultery – the act Jesus talked about in Mathew 5:28. We routinely strip women in our minds, breaking the covenant that Job talked about in Job 31:1. But in God's eyes, both forms of adultery are stinking sins, sins that we must avoid at all cost! Maybe, some of us may never use foul language. But, at the same time, there are folks among us, who do not mind telling lies! But using foul language and telling lies are both sins in the eyes of the Lord! There are those among us who go at great lengths to obey God when it comes to supporting missionary work with our prayers and purses. But, at the same time, there are many among us, who do not want to take the difficult step of resigning from our worldly 90


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jobs to join a missionary organization in obedience to the call of God in our heart, because that step calls for sacrifice and is hard to take! You see – how selectively we obey God, like Samson! Jesus demands our 100% surrender and we will get a 100% reward. There are no 50% rewards for a 50% surrender, so wrote Billy Graham. Conclusion So there you have it, the life of Samson put in an acronym – S for Selected Samson, A for Anointed Samson, M for Married Samson, S for Sexually Immoral Samson, O for Out of the World Samson and N for the Nazirite Samson. So having had a long look at the life of Samson through this essay, how much of this Samson do you see in you? Do you know that Jesus took Samson's punishment upon himself on the Cross? Jesus knew no sin. Jesus chased no woman immorally like Samson did. Yet, this Jesus, was blindfolded and made fun of enroute to the cross. That blindfold punishment that Jesus endured was very close to the punishment Samson had to endure – have you ever seen it that way?! You and I were the “Samsons.” We deserved Samson's punishment. But Jesus loves us very much. He took Samson's punishment (our punishment) upon him on the cross (Isa 53:4-5). So, would you take Jesus into your life and flush out the streaks of Samson you see in your life? Would you do it right now? Samson repeated his mistakes. When his wife pestered him, he revealed a secret to her (Jud 14:17). When his girlfriend Delilah nagged him, he revealed another secret to her (Jud 16:16). Samson did the same thing, time and again, and expected the results to be different. They weren't. The question now is simple: would you repeat the many mistakes that Samson made in his life, in your life? I hope not. God's plan for Samson was expressed through the words of the Man of God who visited his parents: “the boy will be a Nazirite of God from birth until the day of his death” (Jud 13:7, NIV). Samson, sadly, did not live up that heavenly expectation of him. The challenge before us is this: Would we, live up the heavenly expectation, God has, for us, in the one life we have?

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Chapter Seventeen

DO YOU BALANCE LIFE AND WORK?

Gautam Gambhir, the balanced cricketer Indian Cricketer Gautam Gambhir, has got what few of his fellow cricketers haven't got – balance. I refer to balance when it comes to cricket skill. What I mean is that he plays all three formats of Cricket amazingly and audaciously well. Talk about Twenty20. Gambhir has shown how awesome he is when it comes to playing this format. If India won the Twenty20 World Cup 2007 Final versus the Pakistanis, Gambhir is one bloke they've got to be grateful to. His cool and clever 75 off 54 balls was about half of India's total score in that nerve-wracking game. In fact, He was India's top scorer in that tournament. Talk about One Day Internationals. Gambhir's performance in this format has been out-of-the-world. In 2008, he was the world's – not just India's – leading run-getter in this 50 Overs an innings format. Talk about Test Cricket. Gambhir showed us when India toured New Zealand in 2009 that he was up there with the world's best when it came to this format of Cricket – considered to be the toughest of them all. He batted 10 hours and 43 minutes, played out 436 balls, to make a match-saving 137 runs in the Napier Test which in-effect proved to be a series-winning innings! At the end of that historic series he was No.4 in the World Rankings for Test Batsmen! Sehwag, his Delhi Team-mate had this to say about Gambhir: “He is the only opener I have known who is at ease in any form of the game!” The Bible teaches that we must be balanced This 'Gambhir' quality should be ours as well when it comes to life. That is what the Bible teaches. Yes, we must be balanced people. We read, “It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes!” (Eccl 7:18). We need a balance in our doctrine. A balance in emphasis between the Sovereignity of God and the free will of Man. A balance in emphasis between the 92


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Love of God and the Wrath of God – to cite another example. We need a balance in our disciplines. Our Spiritual disciplines, I mean. We need to pray. But we also couple prayer with action. Hannah not only supplicated before God for a child but also went ahead and slept with her husband in order to have that child. Isn't that an unforgettable illustration for this? We need to strike a balance between being harmless as doves and being shrewd as snakes. The list of doctrines and disciplines in which we must be balanced is large. I have just talked about a sample here. Jesus advocated Balance The Lord Jesus advocated balance. This truth is found in a verse which is a Pastor's favorite – Mathew 23:23. Here Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” Jesus was driving home this point here: the rituals insides the church should be balanced by relationships that exhibit justice, mercy and faithfulness outside the church! As activities that go on with-in the church are important, so also are the activities outside the church. Hear this, Junk-food Over-eating Generation! Do you know the Old Testament warns us that too much is too bad? Take for example, food. The Proverbs penman's counsel in this regard is this: “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it!” (Prov 25:16). I found that verse to be very interesting. Honey is the best of natural foods available – a very healthy food. I have been told to switch to eating my dosa with honey, rather than with sugar, by well-meaning folks! The Bible's counsel to a generation that over-eats even junk food is that: even over-eating healthy food is bad! Too much of even a good thing, is bad! The one area in which we all need balance desperately is our Work Life. Yup, we all need a Work-Life Balance. Work is Important Work is important. The Bible does teach us, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in the grave, to which you are going!” (Eccl 9:10). While we are on this side of eternity we must roll up our sleeves, get to work and give it our best shot. After we die, we cannot come back to the earth to make up for not having worked hard. So, let's not forget, work is important. Family is Important Family is important too. Paul underlined this when he wrote, “If anyone does not provide for his relatives, especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (I Tim 5:8). The word referred to here, “need” 93


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includes meeting the emotional needs of our families and not just the monetary needs. No one wants the tag of being worse than an unbeliever, correct? So let us spend time with our families for that is mighty important. So there you have it – both work and life are important in our God's eyes and we need to balance both. Too absorbed by Family that work is forgotten! We can make the mistake of getting carried away with our family matters that our work quality suffers. In the Bible, a story found in Judges 19 exemplifies this. A Levite talked about in this chapter was employed as a priest in the remote hill country of Ephraim. His concubine was unfaithful to him. It was easy for her to have an extra-marital affair because even her relationship with this Levite was an extramarital one – she was his concubine after all, not his wife! When the news came out that she was unfaithful, she took a flight back home – to far away Bethlehem in Judah. You would have expected her to come back quickly. But she did not. The days became weeks. The weeks became months. Four months – that was how long she stayed with her father having left her man. The Levite could not take it any longer. He wanted to meet with this estranged Woman of His Life, desperately. He traveled to Bethlehem to the run-away concubine's father's house. For five days he stayed there at the loving invitation of his father-in-law. Twice he tried to start back his journey. But the concubine's father stopped him talking about bread crusts and bed rests that he needed to have. But this man, who had a job to do back home (He was a priest with responsibilities!) does not seem to get on with it! It was as if he was holding onto his woman's saree pallu and was living in her home, having forgotten his work that was left undone back in his home town. Are you like that? Do you spend so much time with your family that your work never gets off its starting blocks? Too Absorbed by Work, that family is forgotten! We can make the blunder of spending too much time at work, forgetting our families. Moses, perhaps, did that. Moses had sent back his wife, Zipporah and two sons to be with his father-in-law. Then he got so busy with his regular work as leader for Israel, that he never bothered to pick them back, it looks like. So one fine day, Moses's own father-in-law decides to bring Moses' sons and wife back to Moses, who was still busy with work. Moses reminds us that we should not go gaga about work in a way that we tell our families, “Go! Go!” The story of two Johns John Wesley was very good at his work – that of being a revival preacher. He spent night and day in travel to answer his life's calling. In the process he neglected his wife and children to the point his wife became hysterical and violent. His wife died a lonely death. In the name of doing God's Work, John Wesley did not balance family and life, which was sad. 94


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Today's youth would connect more with what happened to another John – John Mayer. The singer who is dating (or dated – you never know in this lightning quick Movie-World romantic equations) FRIENDS star Jennifer Aniston. The reason why their relationship ran into trouble was that he was spending too much time on the microblogging website, Twitter. Here is what supposedly happened according to one website: John suddenly stopped calling her or returning her emails and when she would finally catch up with him, he'd say, “I've been so busy with work. I'm sorry I haven't had the time to call you back!” When Jen heard this, she fumed. There he was, telling her he didn't have time for her and yet his page was filled with Twitter updates. Every few hours, sometimes minutes, he'd update with some stupid line. And in her mind, she was like, He has time for all this Twittering, but he can't send me a text, an email, make a call? He didn't even deny it. He knew he was avoiding her. So when she called him on it and ended things, he just said "OK." Porn Widows? If you give all your time for the laptop, working on it and entertaining yourself , without giving ample time or attention to the wife who would love to be in your lap, your story could turn out sad, like these two Johns! So beware! Husbands can convert their wives into “Porn Widows,” Dr. Sudhakar Krishnamurti warns. They do that by chatting with strangers on the Internet with a morphed picture of Marilyn Monroe or Mallika Sherawat or some sex symbol, while they have a completely asexual relationship with their wife…. (Outlook, 26 January 2009). But, guess what, it is possible to have Work – Life Balance. The Times of India, April 25, 2009 had this story: Beyonce Enamoured By The Way US First Lady Balances Her Life, Says She is Her Hero. Some Bible Characters like the U.S. First Lady too seem to have to struck the fine balance between the two – Work and Life. Let's close-in on their lives: Prophet Ezekiel's Work Life Balance! Prophet Ezekiel. Here was a prophet who was exceptional at his work place. How hard he worked in communicating what God wanted to communicate with his people is obvious when we read what he penned in Ezekiel 23. In this chapter, he compares the story of Israel and Judah to that of two sisters. One followed the other into adultery of the worst sort. Likewise, the nation Judah followed Israel into adultery. The literary style of this passage is pulse-racing. Ezekiel took time to put what God gave him to communicate in a creative and captivating way. In short, he was a prophet who was good at his job. Not only that. He was a prophet who had a great relationship with his wife. How do I know that? Do you know, how he called his wife? I imagine, he called her, “Delight of My Eyes!” (Ezek 24:16). Think of it. The great prophet calling out to his wife who was in the kitchen, “Delight of My Eyes, a cup of coffee for me, please!” “Delight of My Eyes, I want to tell you, you are looking gorgeous today!” Etc, Etc. The nickname that Ezekiel chose for his wife suggests that he wanted her to be in his view always so that he could admire her 95


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character, see her beauty, hear her talk! Oh, how many husbands want to work far, far from the presence of their wives, because they think they are nothing but an irritating interference and distressing disturbance for the work they do! But it looks like Prophet Ezekiel did not see things that way! God had to specifically tell him not to mourn for his wife. God saw how much he loved his wife and would miss her when she was dead and gone. And so He gave this specific instruction! Here was a man who was madly in love with his life partner long after the early days of marriage! Here was a man who shows that work-life balance can be achieved! Caleb's Work Life Balance! Caleb is another chap who seemed to have this elusive balance. Like Ezekiel, he was good at the job God called him to do: to be a spy who visited the land of Canaan. He came back from that God-given work and gave a speech that tells us that he was a man who did his work differently – daringly different to be precise. While others were very negative in their reporting, Caleb dons the role of a Pep Talk Prince with effortless ease. He says, “Let us go at once and occupy it (the Land of Canaan), for we are able to overcome it!” (Num 13:30). A guy who was positively good at his work, no doubt! What about his family life? Going by what we read in Judges 1, it does look like his family life was rocking – it was not on the rocks! He gave his daughter what she wanted (Jud 1:11-15), He gave her the upper springs and lower springs. This act of Caleb rings this truth into our mind: here was a man who doted on his daughter. Caleb, it looks like, had a decent work-life balance. Jesus' Work Life Balance! Let's talk about Jesus in this regard. Jesus gave His all for the job His father called Him to do. He said, “As long as it is day, I must do the work of Him who sent me. For night is coming where no man can work” (John 9:4). Can you sense, how seriously Jesus took the task given to him? Do I have to remind you that the same Jesus spent quality time with his earthly family members? After working his first miracle in Cana, he went home to see his mother and brothers and stayed with them for a few days (John 2:12). When his own family called him “mad” (Mk 3:20) it was then that Jesus talked about new members of his family – they became his family members by faith (Math 12:46-50). Jesus met with his “new” family regularly. That is why Judas knew exactly where Jesus would be on that Thursday night before His death on that Friday. Even from the Cross, Jesus took care of his mother, by arranging for a substitute son for her (John 19 25-27). He wasn't only concerned about the “work” he was doing on the Cross – that of saving the world, alone. He was also concerned about the lone member of his fleshly family – his mother! Jesus prayed to the Father as well as played with the kids! What a cool combination! My Work Life Balance! When I was in the Call centre industry, I used to stay back in the office for some time in the early morning after I logged out. I would read the Bible online in the netconnected computer systems. And I would also write articles for the magazine, The 96


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Days Of Your Youth, wrapping Bible Truth around contemporary events. Yes, by God's sheer Grace, I worked hard. I also tried to balance things by spending time with my wife and children. I recall taking my son, Dale Nathan to a water theme park in Hyderabad, one day. It was raining heavily that day! Playing in the water with him – natural water from above and stored water from below was exhilarating. And this act was as God-pleasing as staying back in the office to write articles! How does One strike this elusive Work Life balance? Here are some practical tips: DELEGATION Moses was told by his father in law to delegate his taxing and time-taking work load to able men (Exodus 18). And this practical suggestion came after he dropped back Moses's wife and kids with Moses after they had stayed in his home for a while. The lesson is clear: if you delegate work, you will have time for your family. I do say “no” to preaching assignments in an attempt to spend more time with my family now and then. And when I do that, I see things this way: When I say “No” to a preaching assignment, someone else would get invited – thereby the work of preaching God's Word gets automatically delegated! DEVOTION We must take stock of our lives to see if we are devoting time for the fulfillment of the five reasons why God created marriage which is Meaningful Conversations (eg. Elkanah – Hannah), Magical Climax (eg. The Song of Songs couple), Making of Children (eg. Gideon), Moulding of Character (eg. Moses – Zipporah) and Merged Christ-Reflection (eg. Aquila and Priscilla). We may be weak in certain areas. We must take extra time out to make sure we do justice to that God-intended purpose for marriage. “IT and BPO sectors top the list of marriage breaking professions, according to the survey, followed by medicine, law and accounting. A recent study in Bangalore showed that long hours in the boardrooms was 'wrecking havoc in bedrooms'. Many techie women engaged in sex once in 4 to 6 months, leading to many cases of unconsummated!” (The Week, March 11, 2007). Such a behavior displeases God! The Bible teaches that sex within marriage should be enjoyed – not merely endured for the sake of making children (Proverbs 5:18-20). Google Inc. Vice-President for Asia-Pacific and Latin America Operations, speaking in the India Today Conclave 2007, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, said, “You have to consciously switch off your blackberry, turn off your computer and not read your email. You should go on a vacation with your family and take a break, or else, it is coming to you all the time!” (India Today, April 9, 2007), Shall we say, “Amen!” to her very biblical suggestion!

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Max Lucado, the famous American author talks about how he gave a preaching assignment a miss to be in his daughter's school function in one of his books, Lucado also humorously writes that he found out that the meeting he was supposed to preach in, went on well, and that the organizers did not miss him! DISCIPLINE The efforts for Work – Life balance must be on-going. It should not be done once in a blue moon. I learnt this from God himself. God called Israel, his treasured possession when she first came out from Egyptian bondage in Exodus 19:5. When she was still wandering in the wilderness, God called her again by that title (Deut 7:6; 14:2; 26:18). Some of the Psalms were compiled during the exile – the time the people of South Israel spent in Babylon as a punishment and for pruning. At that time, God once again calls Israel, his wife, my treasured possession! (Psa 135:4). Finally, in the Post-Exilic period, God once again calls his wife by that title (Mal 3:17). You see that God repeatedly expressed his love for His Wife time and again down through the centuries, thorough out history. We too should be disciplined in expressing love for our family members. Saying, “I love you!” to our family should be a never-ending process. I write poems, make hand-made cards expressing my love and appreciation for my wife, every now and then. It was not going to be enough that I told her that I love her once upon a time, long back to keep our marriage going! She needed constant reminders and reassurances of my love for her! When I was working in HSBC as Collections Executive, I wrote this one line poem for her – a poem that was flashed all over my department: Evan, you were changing diapers there, while I collected dollars here! I love you! Raising up early or staying up late after you finish night shift is one way to create some extra time for devotions. Jesus did that. When “everyone was looking for him” he woke up early and prayed (Mark 1:35-37). We must be disciplined in reading the Bible everyday for the Bible itself tells us that we must read the Bible everyday (Deut 17:18-20). DRASTIC CHANGE As personal and professional commitments clashed, Kavya Raman, mother of a one-year-old, quit her high-profile job in a Corporate Company. She was willing to settle for a less paying job which means less stress and ample free time! – so I read from The Week, March 11, 2007. Kavya had to take a drastic step to strike the WorkLife Balance! Kavya was unconsciously following a Jesus-taught principle: take drastic steps to avoid a dangerous destination! (Math 18:8-9). We must take such drastic steps as the Holy Spirit leads us to. We must take desperate measures to spend time with our children: 82 % of teens wish to talk about themselves, but 76% parents discuss only career issues, reports India Today, April 28, 2008. This statistic was part of an article which explained why there were 98


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so many teen suicides in India. If both parents are working in Hi-profile, timeconsuming jobs, it is suggested that one of the parents quit the job so that he/she would be able to spend time with the children and rear them in the fear of the Lord. This step may seem drastic and the world may think it is plain crazy but it could be the difference between your having your child happy and living or having your child sad and dead! DELIGHT The young unmarried woman in the book of Song of Songs said, “Do not gaze at me because I am dark, I am dark, because the sun has looked upon me. My mother's sons were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the Vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept!� (SS 1:6). The point this young lady is making is this: I worked at the cost of my health! She worked in the Vineyard in the hot sun. The result was that her skin became tanned. We must take care that we do not spoil our health even as we work. Learn to enjoy life in a way that pleases God, who gives us everything for our enjoyment. Delight yourself doing things that will improve your health. For example, you must get sufficient sleep. People who slept four hours or less per night were 73% more likely to be obese than those who slept between 7 to 9 hours a night. This was revealed in a study carried out by Columbia University in the U.S. (Deccan Chronicle, 7 December 2006). Less than 6 hours of shut eyes every night could double the chances of developing a condition linked to heart disease. Lack of sleep raises risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, a large waist measurement, and problems controlling blood sugar, says a study by University of Pittsburg School of Medicine. This study was based on a door to door survey of 87,000 U.S. Adults from 2004-2006 (Deccan Chronicle, 3 May 2008). Walk. Trek. Cook. Stich. Enjoy sin-free fun! My wife and I enjoy watching cricket together! After India successfully chased 325 runs in the Natwest Trophy Final in the Lord's Cricket Ground in July 2002, Saurav Ganguly jumped on the top of Mohammed Kaif, India's hero that night along with Yuvraj Singh; My wife and I were jumping on each other too! I also recall how I celebrated lustily along with my son after Sreesanth took the catch offered by Misbah in the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup Final! May I have a word or two with those who are single? Do not even consider marrying an unbeliever. Think of Solomon's fate. The one you take to bed, will definitely influence your head. You must marry a young person whose commitment to the Lord is as feverish as yours. Marriage, for the man and his wife, is a life-long walk together in the journey called life, is it not? Can two walk together unless they are agreed, asks Amos (Amos 3:3)? Do not postpone marriage just because you have a good job (unless you know that you are called to be single, which again means that you will not want to flirt!). 99


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The arrogant attitude of Isaiah 3:16 will land you in the sad condition of Isaiah 4:1 where one once-arrogant woman begs 7 men to marry her! Billy Graham's Regret Do you know that not spending more time with his family and not balancing Work and Life adequately is the regret of a man as great as Billy Graham – the man whom God has used to announce the Gospel to the maximum number of people ever in all of Church history. This is how he talks about it in his autobiography, JUST AS I AM: “Although I have much to be grateful for as I look back over my life, I also have many regrets. I have failed many times, and I would do things differently. For one thing, I would speak less and study more, and I would spend more time with my family. When we look back over the schedules I kept thirty or forty years ago, I am staggered by all the things we did and the engagements we kept. Sometimes we flitted from one part of the country to another, even from one continent to another, in the course of only a few days. Were all those engagements necessary? Was I discerning as I might have been about which ones to take and which to turn down? I doubt it. Every day that I was absent from my family is gone forever. Although much of that travel was necessary, some of it was not.� Let us, by the help of God, make the necessary changes right now to strike this elusive balance between Work and Life!

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Chapter Eighteen

SHOULD WE SAY, LET LIVING-IN LIVE ON?

Salman Rushdie, Riya Sen and Living-in! The Sunday Debate of The Hyderabad Times, July 6, 2008, edition asked a question: “Should live-in relationships be subjected to moral judgment?” Living-in with a person of the opposite gender not married to you is seen being “normal” and “cool” by today's youth. It is not a big deal, for youth living in corporate-infested cities such as Gurgoan, Pune, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Salman Rushdie, the 61year-old famous author, reportedly pursuing 27-year old Bollywood starlet, Riya Sen, was particularly eloquent when he supported living-in over marriage in an interview to a lifestyle magazine. He reportedly said, “It's strange, given that I've been married four times, that I think marriage is not actually necessary. When girls say that they like to be married, especially if they are never married, they say it because of the dress. Yes, they want to wear a wedding dress before a beaming audience at least once in their lifetime. Trust me – girls want a wedding, but they don't want a marriage!” (Adapted from Deccan Chronicle, 14 July 2008, page 20). How would God view living-in? Would He say, “Let living-in live on?” That is our question. Living-in, I believe, would not please the Lord for the following reasons: 1. TEMPTATIONS: When two young people from the opposite gender who are not yet man and wife start living alone in a house, it is an open invitation for sexual temptation. And the Bible is pretty clear as to how we must take on sexual temptation: we flee from it. II Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth.” Joseph ran from sexual temptation. He refused to even be with the tempting Mrs. Portiphar (Gen 39:10). Staying with her behind a locked door was out of question for him. And Joseph won the temptations that came by his way, hands down. Quite unlike Joseph, another young man went to meet with a lonesome “aunty” whose hubby was on a long tour. From “smooching” they graduate to “sleeping” together during the times they were 101


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alone (Prov 7). When we read in the book of Proverbs, “Can a man scoop fire on his lap and yet remain unhurt?” it is a picturesque exhortation from the Bible to escape tempting situations. Living-in will enliven the hormones of normal people to do the inevitable: have sex outside of marriage. And having sex outside of marriage is not only disobedience to God, but it will bring about a devastating effect of the two people doing it. Boris Becker's Salaam Namaste! Boris Becker had sex outside of marriage with a Russian Model after he lost his last Wimbledon game. It was an act that lasted for five-seconds. It was an act he deeply regretted, he stated. The model became pregnant and this fling cost Becker his marriage. In the movie, Salaam Namaste, we see two Indian young people in Australia deciding to live in together. The boy insists, they would be only friends while they lived in and there would be nothing further than that between them. But soon they end up having sex. Not only that, the girl also becomes pregnant despite the boy using condoms. You see, living in and sexual temptations cannot be ever separated. 2. TESTIMONY: Billy Graham's model The Bible teaches us that we must do what is right not before the Lord's eyes but also what is right before man's eyes, especially when the reputation of the Gospel is at stake (II Cor 8:21). Billy Graham, the great evangelist understood this and implemented this in his life. In his gripping autobiography, Just As I Am, he talks about a day when he decided, that he would not “travel, meet, or eat alone” with a woman other than his wife, as a young evangelist (page 128). What an example he is for godliness for the Google Generation! The reason Billy did this was not hard to guess. Hear it in his own words: “We pledged among ourselves to avoid any situation that would even hint the appearance of compromise or suspicion” (page 128). Yes, Billy Graham avoided being behind locked doors with a woman who was not his wife, to protect his testimony. And that is yet another reason why a Jesuspleasing youth would shun living-in. 3. TRICK Corporate Girl's comment…. Many young people decide to live-in with a person of the opposite gender because they are tricked into believing that it helps them to get to know the other person better. Such knowledge would help them decide if they want to marry the person they are living-in with or not. If they found something absolutely objectionable in the other person they could always back off without the burden of a lifelong commitment like marriage, they argue. Living-in is “being willing to take the risk to see if a relationship will work out” according to a young woman who works for a corporate company in Hyderabad. Hmmm. Well. You really cannot 102


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know any person in full. Only God knows each one of us in full (John 2:25). Talk to married couples who have celebrated their wedding golden jubilees together. They will tell you that they are still discovering new things about each other. Knowing your life partner is never a completed process. It is always on. While this is true why do you want to fool yourself thinking that you get to know the person you are livingin with? There is absolutely no need to even try what is not even possible. While you are reading these lines, a question arises in your mind: Should I not take any efforts to get to know the person I want to marry? You should. In a group setting, in a safe environment you can go about doing this. But know this for sure: whatever you discover about your potential partner may not be true forever when he or she gets married to you. A person you observe as being extraordinarily patient may not be patient once he or she is married to you! So do not build castles in the air thinking you are getting to know the person you are living-in with. It doesn't work that way! You can live-in with this person! The only person you can live-in with, without any second thoughts or reservations, before you are married, is the Savior. Paul, apparently wasn't married. And he lived-in. Don't faint after you've read this. I'm not finished yet. Paul lived-in with Jesus. Let him describe this earth-shattering experience for you: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). Did your boyfriend walk out of your life? Did your boyfriend walk out of your life? He enjoyed every inch of your body while he lived-in with you. Now he tells you that he is plain bored and wants to explore the possibilities of living-in with an equally-sheepish girl like you, but of course, a girl with a better figure than yours. As a result, you are heart-broken, you feel used and thrown and are absolutely shattered. Come to Jesus. He will accept you just as you are. And He will start living-in with you! He has no impure motives. Can the One who died a brutal, bloody death for you on the Cross mean any harm to you? You just have to open the door of your heart to Him – to Him who knocks gently. And if you will, you will find meaning and purpose in your life, as you start living-in with Him (Rev 3:20). Why are you waiting?

103


Would God Wink At Divorce?

Chapter Nineteen

WOULD GOD WINK AT DIVORCE?

A website announced: Model and "Top Chef" hostess Padma Lakshmi, 36, split from her husband of three years, "Satanic Verses" author Salman Rushdie, 60. His rep announced yesterday, "Salman Rushdie has agreed to divorce his wife, Padma Lakshmi, because of her desire to end their marriage." Sources told Page Six the "desire" was stoked by Lakshmi's close friendship with an unidentified billionaire and she was also seen recently getting close with a well-known chef at the Rose Bar (Courtesy: nypost.com). I wasn't too surprised to read this report. But what surprises me is this: bible-reading believers are now increasingly ready to divorce their erring spouses and get ready for a second innings in marriage. The trend we observe today is that married believer women working in corporate companies, earning loads of money, have no qualms about divorcing their 'good-for-nothing' husbands and marrying their office-colleagues they have been flirting with all along. What would God, the maker of Marriage, think of this? When a man and woman get married, the Bible makes it very clear that it is a life long relationship. Here are three straightforward Scriptures in this regard: For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage (Rom 7:2). A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord (I Cor 7:39). He may not divorce her all his days (Duet 22:19, 29). Divorce was not original plan of God. Jesus himself said that. Hear Him: "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so" (Math 19:8). God hates divorce (Mal 2:16). Jesus allowed divorce only in the case of sexual immorality by one spouse (Math 5:22; 19:9). But the comparative passage in Mark's Gospel reads, “And he 104


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her’ � (Mark 10:11). Mark's Gospel was written before Mathew's Gospel, by the way. What is written in Mathew's Gospel about divorce must be interpreted in the light of other passages in the Bible. We have the example of Prophet Hosea who did not divorce his wife even after his wife's repeated adultery (Hos 1 and 2). He rebukes his erring wife but does not divorce her. In the New Testament we are told that the love between married people must be like Christ's love for the Church - a love shown supremely on the Cross (Eph 5:25). Jesus suffered silently on the Cross for the larger good of mankind. He provides us an example to take suffering in stride for a greater good when it comes to marriage relationships. When the Bible talks about repairing marriage problems, it talks about the approach of love, rather than divorce. Here Peter's counsel: Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives (I Pet 3:1). Husbands who are not believers should not be divorced. They should be wooed to the Lord by a loving conduct. The Bible is clear here. So the only grounds for divorce is sexual immorality. But even if that happens in a marriage, we have Bible examples in Prophet Hosea who suggest to us that we must not divorce our spouses. When one's spouse repeatedly physically abuses the other, you could take precaution by staying away from him for sometime for self protection. Staying with a physically abusive person is suicidal. And suicide is not God's will for us - he wants us to live (John 10:10; Suicidal Judas was doomed to destruction). But even in that case, divorce is ruled out. Forgive your husband as Christ forgave your sins (Col 3:23). There is no place for recording each other's mistakes in a marriage. If God did that with our sins no one can stand, the Psalmist writes (Psa 130:3-4). Win you husband with love. Even if he does not get won over by your love, at least you have done your part and are blameless in God's sight. These things, are easier said than done. But does not the God who made us and created the institution called marriage know what is best for us? When He says divorce is not his original plan and that it is a result of our hard-hardheartedness should we not shun divorce?

105


Jesus Would Have Preached, "Remember Gately!"

Chapter Twenty

JESUS WOULD HAVE PREACHED, "REMEMBER GATELY!" (Why it is so very dangerous to stay stubbornly in sexual sin or any sin)

His voice was "so sweet". It was very melodious. A voice you felt like hearing time and again. His singing was awesome. Simply suberb. But now, he is gone. He's dead. He was the voice of Boyzone's best ballad, No Matter What, one of the first modern pop stars to come out before he was outed, and an enthusiastic live performer who'd grab his crotch as high notes approached, allowing the audience's screams to drown out any vocal shortcomings. So wrote Peter Robinson for The Gaurdian. About who? About Boyzone's Stephen Gately. He is dead. Suddenly dead. Suddenly dead, when he was holidaying in Spain with his homosexual partner in a gay club, Andrew Cowles. He was not even 35. When I heard the news of his sudden death some somber thoughts crossed my mind. Some serious reflections flashed through my mind. May I share them with you? I recall having listened to his smash hit song, "Words". The words for "Words" went this way: Talk in everlasting words and dedicate them all to me... And when I heard those words I recalled that is exactly what God had done for me. Confused? Stumped? Hang on. Let me explain: God talked in everlasting words and dedicated them to me. Jesus' words were everlasting, weren't they? Didn't He say, "Heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away?" Those eternal words He spoke were specially meant for me. They were meant for you. Have you taken them seriously? Stephen Gately didn't. If he had, he would not have continued to be a homosexual. The Bible takes its stand against homosexsuality through an episode (Sodom and Gomorrah) as well as through edicts (for example, I Cor 6:9). It is to be noted that Stephen Gately suddently died when he was holidaying with his homosexual partner. It is quite possible that God sent judgement on him. I could be wrong. But I could be right as well. Read Amos 4:6-12. Verses 6-11 talk about the disasters God sent to the nation of Israel, to get His people's attention. But they did not repent. But they did not listen up. So in Verse 12, he tells them that they should 106


No Beating about the Bush Straight Talk on Hushed Up Matters

get ready to meet Him. You will meet with God the moment you die. In other words, in Amos 4:12, God was telling His unrepentant and stiff-necked people, to get ready to die! This is what God could have kept telling Stephen Gately: "Your parents gave you the name of the first martyr for the faith - Stephen. I gave you a voice that would 'wow' millions. Yet, you have turned against me, your Creator. You have rebelled against my Word to become a homosexual and do other things displeasing to Me. Repent!" But Stephen Gately did not listen up. God was patient with him. Extremely patient. He gave him a long rope (He has been a homosexual for over 10 years, atleast). He gave his many chances. But you know what - God's patience has a limit. Read Jeremiah 6:16 and Jeremiah 7:16. Between these two chapters He lost his patience with Israel - a nation that told him, "No - we will not follow your ancient paths". That is why He stopped Prophet Jeremiah from praying for them. When they had become too stubborn, and there was no way they would repent (God knew this), why should a prophet of God waste his time, praying for them? God gave them up, because they gave God up, stubbornly (Romans 1:18-32). What about you, buddy? God is being patient with you. Extremely patient. He does not want you to perish. He does not want you to live a life of hell and go to actual hell. But don't take His patience for granted. That could prove to be very costly. As Stephen Gately probably found out the other day when he was holidaying with homosexual partner in Spain. You cannot mock God and get away with it. Your sin will found you out, my Bible declares (Num 32:23). Certain websites and newspapers also reported that Stephen Gately and his homosexual partner, Andy, were boozing away to glory in a gay bar they partied in, that fateful night. It was an "eight hour booze marathan". They continued boozing even after they returned to their holiday home with a Bulgarian young man they met up at the bar at the wee hour of 4:30 am. Andy went to the bedroom to have sex with a Bulgarian young man at 5:30 am while Stephen collapsed on the sofa in the living room in a drunken stupor. When Andy woke up he found Stephen in the prayer position. When he tried to wake him up, he discovered to his horror that his homosexual partner was dead. Police believed he died a natural death after he choked on his vomit. Prophet Jeremiah warned in the Bible that vomiting and collapsing never to rise again while getting drunk could be a God-sent judgement (Jer 25:27). Did Stephen cry out to God before he died saying, "Oh Lord Jesus, please forgive me! I have sinned against you by living a homosexual lifestyle. On top of it, I have gotten drunk today, which is again a horrific violation of Your Word!"? We only hope that he did. Only the day of Judgement would reveal if he did. Come now to the Lord Jesus. He can transform you from being a Stephen Gately (a talented Christian only by name, living in open sin) into a biblical Stephen (a Spirit filled believer who was willing even to die for Christ)! Stephen Gately's 107


Jesus Would Have Preached, "Remember Gately!"

"husband" was unfaithful to him on that tragic night he died - it looks like. The friends you hang around with, committing sin after sin, may leave you high and dry, during the time of your crisis and pain. They could be far too busy to help you - busy enjoying sin's pleasures themselves. But, let me tell you that there is a "friend who sticks closer than a brother," about whom the Bible talks about (Prov 18:24). His name is Jesus. Come now to Him! You don't have to wait till you are looking at death in the face to pray to Him. Yes, you don't have to wait till the eleventh hour to pray the sinner's prayer without being even able to complete it only to land in everburning hell. You can pray that prayer right now and turn over your one life to Jesus to experience an earth-shattering joy and peace which money cannot buy, the world cannot give and the Devil cannot take away! You might say, "I am neither this Stephen or that Stephen. I am somewhere in between!" That is a very dangerous postition to be in, friend. Here is why: the words of Jesus found in Revelation 3:16 which goes this way, "So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." Alexandra Topping wrote at the website, gaurdian.co.uk on 13 October 2009 thus: Stephen Gately had recently said he hoped his children's fantasy novel, The Tree of Seasons, which he spent three years on, would be released for Christmas this year, adding that it would be his "dream" for it to be turned into a film.You see, Gately had many wonderful plans for his earthly future, plans that did not materialize because of his unexpected death. But, unfortunately, he did not plan things out for his eternal future. May be he could have thought, "I have lots of time to do that!" But, as you and I know buddy, he did not have lots of time to do that. He passed away so suddenly, swiftly and shockingly. Mrs. Lot, the woman who wanted to have one last look at sin in the then homosexual capital of the world, Sodom, too passed away so suddenly, switfly and shockingly. If Jesus preached today, He would say, "Remember, Stephen Gately!" I say that because He said then, "Remember, Lot's wife!" (Luke 17:32). Mrs. Lot did not have lots of time to repent and prepare for eternity. Stephen Gately, too, did not have lots of time to repent and prepare for eternity. And, guess what, you and I, also, may not have lots of time to do that. So, let's run to Jesus, right now! A living, daily, deep, relationship with Jesus will land you in heaven after death. And without it, you and I, would have to go to eternal literal hell on the other side of eternity after a horrible life of living hell on earth.

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HEARING & VIEWING THE MESSAGE OF THIS BOOK IN THE COMPACT DISK (CD) FORMAT Were you blessed when you read this book? Would you like to view and hear the message of this book? We would like to inform you that some of the messages presented in various chapters of this book are being made available in the CD format. These CDs feature the lively and life-changing messages of the author of this book, Duke Jeyaraj. These messages were recorded live when Duke spoke to audiences with Google Generation Youth across India at various times. There are two kinds of CDs available – DVDs that you could view and MP3 CDs that you could hear. There are about 20 different DVD messages featuring about 40 messages that Duke has preached, currently available. Each DVD, on an average, has two messages recorded in them. There are about 10 MP3 CDs featuring over 100 messages that Duke has shared, with each MP3 CD containing about 10 messages. The cover images of these compelling and captivating message CDs are found in Duke's Facebook account under the name of “Duke Jeyaraj”. Please get in touch with us using the information found in the next page to order for these CDs. Thank you!

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SUPPORTING THE MINISTRY BEHIND THIS BOOK This book is published by G4 MISSION – Grabbing the Google Generation from Gehenna Mission. Gehenna is the Greek word that Jesus used for Hell. This Mission, founded by Duke Jeyaraj, the author of this book, in February 2006 goes all out to use creative ways to save modern youth from rushing towards eternal hell. It helps existing local churches and para-church organizations in ministering to present-day youth and corporate company employees from an inter-denominational standpoint. It conducts monthly Bible Book Summary studies and Month End Midnight Prayers for the Google Generation. See www.TheDaysOfYourYouth.com to see and read the magazine which wraps Bible Truth around contemporary events that this ministry publishes. View www.G4Mission.org and www.G-4Mission.blogspot.com to read picturesque reports of the ministry this Mission presently does. Duke Jeyaraj and his wife, Evangelin, live by faith executing this ministry, fulltime. They solicit your prayers for them and their two children. If you are lead to support this ministry that is totally supported by individual Indians who believe in its vision, please use the information below: Bank: Karur Vysya Bank, Dr. A. S. Rao Nagar Branch, Hyderabad, India Account Name: G-4 Mission Account Number: 1465155000004395 Or Bank: State Bank of India, Dr. A. S. Rao Nagar Branch, Hyderabad, India Account Name: Duke Jonathan Goforth Jeyaraj Account Number: 30024777226 Or Bank: ICICI Bank, Dr. A. S. Rao Nagar Branch, Hyderabad, India Account Name: Duke Jonathan Goforth Jeyaraj Account Number: 024401000969 Please intimate Duke via a message to his mobile +91-9441352433 if you have made a deposit in any of these above bank accounts. Some of you may prefer to send a Demand Draft or Cheque or money-order in the name of "G4Mission" or "Duke Jeyaraj" and send it to Duke Jeyaraj # 34, Church Colony, Vellore - 632006, India. Phone: +91-9441352433/+91-0416-2245017 God bless you! 110


No Beating About The Bush Straight Talk: Bible Teaching on Sex, Love, Marriage - Duke Jeyaraj BOOK  
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