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EDITORIAL

The Power of the WORD

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n the last issue, we discussed about the power of a prayerful life. Equally important is the beauty and the power of the Holy Bible. When we read the Holy Bible, at one level, it would impress our soul about the profound moral teachings and the mighty acts of God. But then our eyes also will be opened and we would be equally amazed at how each of the events, details, whether it is numbers, symbols, colours, names, every living being, etc mentioned in the Holy Bible are beautifully intervened together to provide us the glimpse of the grandeur and majesty of our Lord's glory (Luke 24:27), and how these things are written for our instruction (1 Corinthians 10:11).

seat- the human beings who are made in the image of God. Again, we begin with the articles of the tabernacle and exodus of Israelites – the altar of the burnt offering and the Passover, the laver and the crossing of the red sea, the table of showbread and manna, etc. We can repeat this many times. In the interest of the space, let me say with the sweet singer of Israel – “Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit” (Psalms 119:96- NLT). The consistency of the Holy Bible, which we use as one of the evidence for its inspiration is not just the logical coherence, but also the absolute unity of its every texture and granular details- truly the mark of the Holy Spirit.

God, modern day enterprises would also become exploitative). Further, they made good use of money for the betterment of the society and fight oppression and slavery. Now, instead of adducing proof from the past, we have articles in this issue from accomplished and eminent men and women of God of our generation in India.

When Bro. James Varghese, IAS writes that “somebody doing a so-called secular job, be it agriculture or tailoring or hair dressing or medical practice or teaching is doing a job which was advertised and recruited by God” and provides us an example of an enterprise that believers started for the glory of God and for the benefit of society, Bro. Peter Christopher Raj writes about the For example, let us take the sequence of Further, the Word of God is also need and principles of running business the articles of the Tabernacle of powerful. It has converted sinners into as God's calling. We also have an article Testimony. As we begin to walk from saints, murderers into martyrs and by Bro. Sanjay Macwan, Sis. Melissa the altar of the burnt offering, which extorters into charitable men and Walavalkar and Sis.Kristina Craven – represents the sacrificial vicarious women. It is evidenced across writing from their own experience how death of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is centuries, across cultures and is known believers can fight against injustice and also the beginning of our Christian life, to all of us and in our lives that it we come to the laver, representing the requires no further proof. Psalms 19: 7 oppression and restore the broken hearted. Further, we have the testimony cleansing and separation from sin, the “the law of the LORD is perfect, of Dr. Raj Kumar Songa on how he table of showbread- our fellowship with converting the soul; the testimony of God and fellow believers, the golden fought against the medical malpractices the LORD is sure, making wise the lamp stand- divine light of the Holy which cost him his job but that very simple.” Moreover, when the Word of Spirit, the golden altar- the sweet same instance turned out to be a God became an open book, it worship, and the ark and the mercy blessing to him- he is now the chief transformed nations, brought seat- the fullness of our Lord Jesus panel physician for US, UK, Australia reformation, alleviated poverty and Christ. While all the anointed things of and Canada Embassies' as they not only taught men and women to fight against the tabernacle is filled to the full wanted a highly competent person but a injustice and oppression. When men (fulfilled) in Messiah (THE Anointed) and women were inspired to take their man of distinguished integrity. We have and finds its complete expression and more articles on the same line daily vocation as God's calling, the meaning, we also see its partial filling in displaying the power of the Word of practical outcome was their quality and the every work of our most blessed God in addition to the regulars. productivity increased. As a result, their saviour Lord Jesus Christ. Let us again income increased. When they began to On a different note, this would be my begin with the articles of the tabernacle last issue of the Harvest Times. I thank and creation. The fire at the altar of the use their increased income judiciously as stewards of God rather than burnt offering represents the light that all the readers for their support and irresponsibly spending it or wasting it was created on the first day, the laver hope that these few issues were a on the lust of this world, their surplus and the water- division of waters from blessing to all of you. I wish the Harvest and savings increased. This when they waters on the second day, the table of Times and its readers all the very best invested in business which ran on showbread- the fruits of the third day, for future. innovation and integrity rather than the golden lamp stand – the two great In Christ manipulation and craftiness, the lights of fourth day, the smoke that modern day enterprises began to ascends from the golden altar- the birds Jerry Thomas appear (of course, without the Word of of the fifth day, the ark and the mercy Harvest Times for Your Family

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FEATURE ARTICLE

- James Varghese

James Varghese, IAS, is the Principal Secretary, Fisheries & Ports Department as well as Local Self Government Department, Government of Kerala. He is also an apologist who has defended the Gospel of Jesus Christ at different places. He shares his thoughts on the Biblical perspective of secular vocation exclusively to the Harvest Times.

Harvest Times (HT): Welcome to Harvest Times. We have come across many believers who are dissatisfied with their secular jobs. They are unhappy that they have to interact with ungodly people in the professional setting and as a result want to separate and be in “full time.” How do you address that? Bro. James Varghese (JV): Excellent question. Let us look at the Holy Bible. Jeremiah 29:7 says “And seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.”(NASB). This was God's instruction to the Jews who were about to go to exile to Babylon for 70 years. The Scripture advised them to pray for the gentile nation in which they were going to be exiled and also to share its welfare. But this principle is also applicable to all of us who are living 4

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in this alien land as strangers and sojourners (Lev 25:23). The Bible is equally emphatic on the separation to be kept by believers from the world. “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. (1 John 2:15, NASB). The scripture also commands "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," (2 Cor. 6:17, NASB) What could be extent of relationship permissible for the believers with this world and the people of this world? Can we be of the world and love the world? The answer is no. The word of God is conclusive about these aspects. Should we alienate from the world and live an ascetic life? Again, 'No' is the answer. The Bible which explicitly forbids association with immoral believers,

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permits believers to associate with immoral, worldly people (1 Cor. 5:10). 'Associate' here means intimate association as that between the ingredients of a perfume (The same Greek word 'mignumi' is used in Ex. 30:35 in the Septuagint to denote the mixing of perfume). This verse permits the believers to associate even with worldly immoral people! Are these commandments contradictory? Again, the answer is no! Though these commandments are apparently contradictory, they are complimentary in reality. HT: Can you explain that a bit more? If we are commanded to be both separate as well as associate, what is the meaning of separation and association? JV: Good that you asked it. Let me clarify. The 'separation described


here means an abstention from imbibing and sharing what is there in the world and 'association' is for enhancing the worth of the associates just like an ingredient does for its co- ingredients while maintaining its distinct identity.

meet colleagues, clients, etc. there, who may be facing the whirlpool of problems and worries. Because of this, it is very important that we see our work as a calling. We are probably the solution for the problems that many people face, because we have a direct contact A believer should associate with people and systems of the world with with the all-knowing and loving Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. We are the the sole aim of enriching them, catalyst or the “change agents” of the ultimately by bringing them to the Lord. This principle is demonstrated world. in the case of the Good Samaritan Secondly, quite often, believers and the man who was robbed. The regard everything in this world as Levite and the priest demonstrated evil and try to keep their distance wrong separation and the Samaritan from it. They want believers to be demonstrated the right association. ascetics. This thought is rooted in Gnosticism which saw every material A question may arise: 'Is it prudent thing as evil. The Gnostics therefore for God to allow any association between His people and this crooked rejected the human nature of our Lord saying that the son of God can't world'? God does nothing imprudently. But, it is His plan to win have an evil body. But Christ himself preferred to designate himself as the the worldly to his side through His committed saints who are the salt of Son of Man and He is God and Man fully at the same time. He is God-man the earth. If we are saintly and and that is central to His mission as committed to our Master, we would definitely fulfil this mission. The call the Redeemer. Therefore, the Gnostic view of the material world needs to to us is not to stay aloof from the be rejected by His people. Our world but to be holy within it. interaction with the world is a part of The two aspects show that a balance the commission given by the is required for believers to be faithful Almighty. to both these groups of Thirdly, people often forget that their commandments which seem contradictory but are complimentary work is their calling. They seem to think that secular and sacred are in reality. different and that the secular is HT: Thanks for the explanation. unholy and the sacred is holy. They However, believers in secular jobs are oblivious to the fact that even also feel that they are not spending believers doing so-called 'secular enough time for the mission. After works' are actually called by God to spending over 70% of their active do what they are doing in the time in work, they get frustrated that workplace. According to them, only they are not able to do enough pastors, evangelists and church outreach. How would you address leaders have a calling from God. As a that? matter of fact, the earth and its JV: There are several reasons for this systems are created by God and God wrong attitude. Let me correct some wants to keep its socio economic system going and He appoints people of the misconceptions underlying to man them. Somebody doing a sothis wrong attitude. called secular job, be it agriculture or First, mission field does not just tailoring or hair dressing or medical begin when you come out of your practice or teaching is doing a job office. The 9am to 5pm window of which was advertised and recruited life is one of the most important by God. Therefore, the works they mission fields in the world today. We are doing is very important. Seldom

is this taught by Christian teachers, but it's true. God wants us to feel affirmed in this calling, and to know that you have been anointed to do the very work you are doing in the marketplace. Colossians 3:23, 24: says “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Isn't it astonishing to know that there is reward for sincere secular work in a private enterprise as well, just like Christian evangelistic work? We all play our roles in multiple arenas like family, education, government, media, arts and entertainment, religion, or business. We should seek God for where He wants us to be, and be faithful in what He has given us right now. We should do the work we are doing with excellence. Our work has eternal value as service to our Heavenly Father, our King. Ephesians 6:7commands us to “Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” When we live out our faith in the workplace, lives will be touched, and communities and nations will be transformed. Paul exhorted believers in Titus 2:810 to literally adorn their lives with the Word of God to express the nature of God to others even in difficult work environments.“Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back, not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” HT: You have spoken about individual believers (professionals) in secular settings. Is there anything that believers with a professional calling can do together?

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MISSION

– Pastor Chander Mani Khanna However, this troubled my family and I was sent to Mumbai in 1969 to stay with my sister hoping that I would be cut off from Christians. However, in a year I was baptized and an active member of New Life Fellowship which nurtured my early Christian life and bonded me with Christ forever.

Pastoral Responsibility: A Desire to Serve and Not a Job

(Image courtesy : Boaz Eapen)

God's Ways are Mysterious From childhood, I had no contact with Christians or Christian literature. In fact, I only heard the names Jesus and Moses but had no idea who were they nor did I have any idea about Christianity. Since childhood, I was in the company of a tantric guru who led me to deeper experiences which often led me into a trance. This permanently impacted my mind and I would long for those experiences. However, my parents soon forbid from having them and I was pushed to focus on my studies. After I graduated in Science, I, once again, desired to return to my guru. But my parents hindered me. I 6

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wanted to be possessed again and rebelled against my parents. In the night, I would go to the grave yard in my home town, Jalandhar. After spending two weeks in this manner, I expected an evil spirit to possess me. However, instead of being possessed, I had an unexpected experience of unspeakable joy. I was amazed that I could experience this even without my guru. This incident began a search which was fulfilled when I met the members of the Operation Mobilisation team. From them, I learned about the Holy Spirit and realized that it was He who had touched my life. This was the beginning of my Christian life.

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Though I never desired to become a pastor, at the urging of some local elders, I studied B.D. But after serving as a deacon, I decided to become a Christian wandering Sadhu like Sadhu Sunder Singh. After living like hermit for a few years, I appraised my life and rationally decided to serve the people as a pastor. I completed my M.Th and was made pastor of a Jammu church for 14 years and later in 2002, I was sent to Srinagar, Kashmir. Here, the Lord prepared me for a different kind of ministry which I did not understand at the time. I was a part of the reconciliation work among the Kashmiri Pandit and Muslim communities and was also a member of the peace committee of Global Gandhian Family. I was given the Gandhian medal for twenty years of service in the Valley. Besides this, I also actively participated in the relief work after the 2007 earthquake. These activities made me a familiar figure in society.


my inner life. I changed my attitude towards them who abandoned me and doubted me. I received the spirit Simultaneously, the Bar Association During the last ten years of my of forgiveness. I forgave all and of Srinagar notified that no lawyer ministry in Srinagar, I was constantly stopped blaming them for their evil would appear on behalf of Rev. C.M. approached by some Muslim youth actions. First, He made me Khanna for bail. But God intervened with an interest in Christianity. So in sympathetic to fellow suffering miraculously and I was bailed out 2010, in response to this need,,I believers but later the Lord taught with the help of Bar Association started teaching sessions every me to love my persecutors and President of Jammu and Delhi High Friday. These classes continued for attempt to soften their hearts Court lawyer Jyoti Aggarwal. I was more than a year. A total of 45 through faith based reconciliation. bailed out on the condition that I seekers attended these sessions. Of This is my testimony; that my post would not leave the state of Jammu them many expressed a desire to be persecution life is more blessed and and Kashmir. Later, the Sharia court baptized and in August 2011, I enlightened when I take the new issued the verdict against me in baptized them in three groups during ministry by faith on daily basis. This January 2012 banning me from J&K Sunday worship services. There was made me to go to the people and for life. This led me to appear before great excitement among them and in nations of Middle East and South the High Court in Jammu with a the congregation. However, someone Asia with the message of request to grant a stay on the F.I.R. in alliance with a Muslim reconciliation in the tradition of that I may be protected from any fundamentalist group, pretending to Abraham. The heart of God is to untoward physical attack. The stay be a seeker recorded the baptism reconcile and to bring the moral was granted in March 2012. and uploaded the video on YouTube. vision of reconciliation. It is indeed a Though I was granted relief by the This led to commotion among the miracle that I could go by faith to judiciary, society and even my own Muslims in the valley. As a result, Iran and Iraq for reconciliation and people gave me the cold shoulder. So, will soon travel to the Syrian border thousand of Mullahs brought the in this strange manner, I sensed that in Turkey for the reconciliation matter to the notice of the Islamic Sharia court and the local media. On my ministry here had come to an among the Syrian Christians, Kurds end. Soon after, I received a letter October 28, 2011, I was summoned and Nomadic Arabs who are looking from my institution with whom I to the Islamic Sharia court by the forward to live as a nation at Al worked sincerely for thirty five years Hassake region. I am experiencing Grand Mufti Bashirudin. My family asking me to hand over the charge to the grace of God every day when I was placed under house arrest till someone else. It was indeed an my appearing at the next date in launch by faith and He has been extremely unceremonial exit of my November 2011. I was falsely miraculously providing my ministry life. This incident caused much charged by the fundamentalists of needs on a daily basis. It is a great joy various Islamic groups in the Islamic introspection about my spiritual to depend upon Him for everything Sharia Court. The deliberations went insight. I was amazed to realize that in life. Without passing through the it was God using the undesirable and persecution experience, I would not on for four hours under the unwarranted events for my good and have enjoyed this rich fellowship protection of heavy police force. I to better His ministry. was pressurized and tricked into with God. signing a document in Urdu. It stated Attestation and Preparation Lastly, I quote 2 Timothy 3:12, that I used money to convert the Philippians 1:29 and Matthew 5:11from God youth. The court left the decision 12 which clearly point out that pending. However, the next day, state This persecution and suffering persecution and suffering is the and national newspapers published revealed to me the Lord's mind and hallmark of Christianity. It makes the news reports about me based on the purpose. I started looking at horrible believer a shining diamond in the above document which was leaked events and appreciating them same way as coal undergoes out by the Sharia Court. Hence based because they revealed to me God's pressure and heat beneath the earth on this, I was arrested by the police love and care for me. At this time, I to become a diamond. Please on severe charges framed under the found the Lord teaching me to continue to pray for my strange and Ranbir Penal Code. understand His love and care as a unique ministry. Amen response to my faithfulness and I was under police (Special obedience in ministry and mundane Investigating Team) custody for 13 Pastor Khanna served the Lord in Jammu & affairs. I found that God was days. On the day of my arrest, my Kashmir and is now an Itinerant preacher. preparing me for a greater ministry house was sealed. The next day, in through the process of suffering and my presence, police officers searched persecution. In fact He transformed

Persecution and Disappointment

my house for proof related to the charges against me.

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FINANCE

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY OF A CHRISTIAN (PART- V)

– Koshy Zachariah

1. Personal Finance (c) Responsibility as a recipient or Evangelist (Contd) Continuing with the topic dealt with in the previous issue, let us consider some other issues on the accountability of an evangelist. We considered the need to be transparent in financial matters; the importance of being impeccable in 8

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the sight of the fellow-believers. Since the past few years, it has become a common practice for evangelists, particularly the known ones, to visit USA and the Gulf nations. Some move heaven and earth, to get invited and once invited, the urge to visit again and again becomes an obsession. These visits abroad extend to for longer periods, covering every Indian Assembly possible in the tour programme. The efforts behind such

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visits are enormous, even at the cost of the local Assembly where an evangelist plays a crucial role. Let me at this juncture, reproduce William MacDonald's comments on Colossians 1:25; 'The Apostle (Paul) had a twofold ministry: first, he was commissioned to preach the gospel (v.23); and secondly, he was sent forth to teach the marvelous mystery of the Church (v.25). There is a real


lesson in this for every true servant of Christ. We are not expected simply to lead men to Christ by the gospel and then abandon them to get along as best as they can. Rather, we are expected to direct our evangelistic efforts to the formation of local NT Churches where the converts can be built up in their most holy faith, including the truth of the Church. The Lord wants His babes to be directed to feeding stations where

If a project involves money spent on personal affairs, it is vital that all is above board.

they will be nourished and where they can grow'. When a local Church is left unattended for a long period, jealously, back-biting, hatred gets generated and the local Church becomes a scene of unspiritual conduct and behaviour. Allegations and counter-allegations abound. With its testimony now lost, the Church is no longer a source for bringing souls to the Lord. Here we pointedly see the warning of the Apostle coming into full play “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”.

as foreign currency and converted into local currency apart from the lawful sources, it is a violation under Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) of Reserve Bank of India. Another common violation is not declaring taxable goods at the Customs counter on arrival. Money that cannot be openly deposited into a bank account is another financial violation. Above all, when unaccounted funds are brought into the country without filling taxes, it is a clear violation of the Income Tax Act. Moreover, bringing in money from foreign countries also needs the approval of the Government under Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

There was an instance of an evangelist indicted for mismanagement by a fellow brother.

He had been entrusted with substantial funds for relief work and wound up going on a trip to Jerusalem at that juncture. This raised many problems and caused much embarrassment to the Funding Agency as well as the different contributing sources. When this was pointed out to the evangelist in question, he clarified matters by revealing his uncle from overseas as the sponsor of that trip. A point to be remembered is what Lord Gordon Hewart said “Not only must justice be done; it must also be seen to be done” An evangelist at peace and happiness Another issue of concern is the before his foreign trip may meet with frequent appeals for monetary aid in loss of face, sleep, honest means and hospitalization or medical expenses. what not. Even if the numerous legal Sometimes, a bank account may be conditions are fulfilled, the question set up specifically for the receipt of to be asked is, “Am I justified in gifts and support. In such situations, keeping for myself more than my fair it is important that all the gifts and expenditures are properly accounted needs? How eager or willing is one for. However, this kind of financial to gift away the excess money responsibility is too often ignored. In available to fellow evangelists in some very rare cases, the excess need or to a Funding Agency whose financial affairs are transparent! It is amount is handed over to the my experience that funding agencies funding agencies. I can clearly like Gospel Fellowship Trust of India recollect a situation where an evangelist faithfully handed over the (GFTI) which supports more than excess funds collected for the 925 evangelists at present and with medical expenses of his son hurt in which I am closely associated, has seldom received any communication an accident. from an evangelist when he goes on a Further, some people invest the foreign visit for long periods. Neither excess money either in a car, real are requests made to hold estate, or fixed deposits. While real contributions while away on tour. estate investments and fixed Nor is a portion of the contributions deposits may not be noticed, a car shared with fellow needy evangelists. purchased will attract the attention

Another prevailing trend is that of visiting the Holy Land. If an evangelist desires to the visit the Holy Lands, it is only fair to expect him to consult and take into confidence his local church or Wth this spiritual basis, the practical financial supporters. Since such a application of financial responsibility project involves money spent on is simple. If the contributions personal affairs, it is vital that all is received is brought into the country above board.

of all. As a steward, it is unbecoming and shows unfaithfulness to utilize resources for purposes other than clearly specified. If an evangelist is in need of a car, such need shall stand the scrutiny of a local Church or at least the commending Church. I am not advocating against the use of a car by an evangelist but he should ask a question to himself “What would happen to the credibility of

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my ministry?” In my experience, it seldom happens that an evangelist, who is well off, authorizes a Funding Agency to disburse the allocation meant for him to other needy evangelists. We hear of evangelists whose budgets for evangelism defies all logic. It is now common to hold seminars in big hotels. The question that comes up regarding the kind of message, such expenses give to the people of God and to the outside world. To maintain a lavish standard of operation, some evangelists partner with nominal Christians and organizations to mobilize financial support. All such human activities mostly fizzle out or end up in bad testimony conveying faulty notions

about Christian activities. The good Christian testimony wins souls and when souls are saved, the testimony is apparent. There is a saying “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”. In such a situation, the question may be asked, “Where are the large number of people saved as per the reports published over a period of time?” Another issue to be pointed out is: how many grown-up children support their parent's ministry? I am not suggesting that they should follow the parent without a definite call. In many families, the children of evangelists receive good education settle down well in life. Such children ought to bear the responsibility to support the

In the World but Not of the World JV: Yes, there are many things that the professionals can do together. One practical illustration is the Great Commission Enterprise (GCE). GCE is a project undertaken by believers (professionals) by following ethical business practices. They come together and meet some need reasonably well. The input of the believers is free. The profit, if any, goes to mission work. The people working would derive eternal life as well as livelihood. Attracted to this concept of GCE, some believers in Kerala ventured into it. They got a trust registered. A believer magnanimously handed over a plot of land of about 23 cents on deferred payment basis. It is a very well developed area with all amenities. It is close to the Medical College on the Medical College Pattom road. The Airport is 6 km away and they Railway station is 3 km away. They secured all licenses for construction without bribing anybody and followed all building 10

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rules in letter and spirit. They completed the construction of an apartment complex there called 'Tower Shalom'. The quality of construction is high and no commercial gimmicks were used in marketing. The units were sold exclusively to believers. They set up lodging and boarding facility for the patients and bystandees of the Medical College, Cancer Centre, Sree Chitrathirunal Medical Centre, Kims, Utradom Thirunal Hospital, Cosmopolitan Hospital, etc. as a part of their ministry. The Gospel is shared along with the compassion of Christ. Many people have received physical and spiritual healing. It is looked upon as an Elim by many afflicted people without money and hope. It is hoped that the income from the rent for the commercial space will meet the expenses of the ministry. They got two floors as profit which houses a meeting hall with capacity

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evangelist-parent. There is at least one case where an evangelist has communicated to Gospel Fellowship Trust of India (GFTI) with which I am closely associated, that the financial support could be discontinued as the children's support is adequate and sufficient. But a large many, would be hesitant to do this. Money can become the root cause of all problems in life when it is not handled discreetly and not accounted properly. Instead of the person controlling the money, the money controls him. Koshy Zachariah was formerly the Executive Director-Finance with MRF Ltd. He is currently one of the elders of Bethesda Bible Chapel, Kilpauk, Chennai

contd. from Page No 5 to accommodate about 150 people and also some commercial space. Many Christian meetings and prayer meetings are held there. The 'Disha' exhibition which was witnessed by about 17,000 people and the newspaper evangelistic messages which reached about 1.5 crore people were planned and prayed for in Tower Shalom. Eternity will definitely reveal the fruit of the labour. The building with 10 floors stands tall as a faithful witness to the goodness of God declaring the effectiveness of 'Great Commission Enterprises'. HT: Thanks for your valuable time. It was a pleasure having you. JV: Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts as well. James Varghese, IAS, is the Principal Secretary, Fisheries & Ports Department as well as Local Self Government Department, Government of Kerala.


FAMILY believers are expected to abide by this moral code of God. In 1 Cor.7:39, it is clearly stated that a believer should marry “only in the Lord”; that is- with one who has trusted the Lord. There are several reasons why God gave us this instruction. Since oneness is the main purpose of marriage, spiritual oneness is possible only between two children of God. The living cannot be united with the dead. In order to be united spiritually, they both must be bornagain children of God. Only then can they both experience the depth and fullness of Christian marriage. Both possessing the life of God within is

– Dr. Varghese John

– John Kurian

-IV

If both husband and wife are not living under the Lordship of Christ, this will be impossible.

W

e have been looking at the importance of choosing our marriage partner. A very important truth to be considered at this point is that a believer should marry only a believer. Scripture admonishes strongly in 2 Cor. 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” All

the basis of spiritual compatibility which is an essential factor in Christian marriage. Let us remember that a believer is a child of God and an unbeliever belongs to the Devil. There can be no relation between them. They cannot function together unless they are under the same head. God has instructed in Deut.22:10 “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together” (as they are not of the same nature and character). A man and woman should be

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Their lives will be focused on two different directions and they can never be one. Scripturally yoked to fulfill God's purposes in marriage. They both need to have the same divine nature.

of evangelism. If it was so, the Lord would have commanded his disciples in the great commission “go in to all the world and marry unbelievers.” It has been noticed in some cases that the unbelieving partner has also come to know the Lord eventually. That is just an expression of God's abundant grace. They are to be treated as exceptions and not the rule. Such cases should not be taken as a license to marry an unbeliever.

relatives will arise, if we follow him wholeheartedly. We should be willing to face these difficulties and pay the price. The Lord will give us the grace we need. He has honored all those who have thus stood for Him. Ever so many examples from real life situations can be quoted to prove this. If we yield to the pressure from our relatives and make the wrong choice, then God cannot work on our behalf. We will suffer loss by missing the best God Has kept for us.

We know of many who married unbelievers against the will of God. Christ must be the centre of all What about them? Can they come affections of a Christian family. If back to the will of God again and both husband and wife are not live a life pleasing to God? Marriage living under the Lordship of Christ, has already taken place and nothing this will be impossible. Since the can be done about it now. The best The Word of God instructs us to Bible is the rule book for Christian thing to do now is to go to God with obey our parents only in the Lord. marriage, problems arising in a genuine heart of repentance and In other words, if our parents ask us Christian families ought to be cry out for His mercy. As 1 John 1:9 to do something against the Word of handled Biblically. This again is says “If we confess our sins, He is God, we should refuse to obey. We possible only if both are believers faithful and just to forgive us our submit to the authority of Scripture. should tell them gently but firmly sins and to cleanse us from all that we cannot act against God's A believer's goal in life is to please principles. A clear, uncompromising unrighteousness”. The Lord will God and glorify Him through forgive and show mercy. Though stand has to be taken in that marriage; but an unbeliever has they may have to face the situation. If we stand faithful to the other goals in life. Their lives will be consequences of what they have Lord, He will work in such a way focused on two different directions done, He will give grace to face it that we can be married in and they can never be one. All and draw them closer to Him. accordance to the principles of His believers are under the great When the believing partner lives an word. But we may have to pay a commission of the Lord as given in exemplary life of godliness showing price for taking such a stand. It may Mat.28:18-20. Therefore, both love and care for his/her spouse, sometimes, result in an ill-feeling husband and wife have to be the Lord will use that to save the and animosity with family committed to this cause. unbeliever as we read in 1 Pet.3:1, 2 members. It is often said that if a believer “Even if some do not obey the word, marries an unbeliever, the unsaved In some cases it may create they, without a word, may be won troubles, because they are unable to partner also can be brought to the by the conduct of their wives, when understand our position. However, Lord through this relationship. In they observe your chaste conduct we need to explain to them that we the first place, we must remember accompanied by fear”. They have no are willing to obey our parents and that we are not to disobey any clear doubt, incurred some loss; but let respect their views except where command in the Bible to bring them learn lessons from the past they clash with God's principles. We someone to the Lord. Secondly, and live the remaining part of life in need to show our love and concern 'bringing someone to the Lord' or intimate fellowship with God, never for them in all other matters and 'saving' someone is not in our straying from His perfect will again. pray for them. If they still refuse to power to do. The Lord alone can understand us, we will have to leave save people and there is no John Kurian is an evangelist, a widely guarantee that any one will be saved it to the Lord and keep quiet about acclaimed Bible Teacher and preacher based it. Our Lord Himself has forewarned if we share the gospel with them. in Kerala. us that problems from parents and Moreover, marriage is not a means 12

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Someone might raise a legitimate question here: What can be done in a situation where only one member in a family is saved and he is compelled to marry an unbeliever?

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FAITH IN ACTION

Each of us is responsible to influence the market place (that is, the secular nonmission setting) for His purposes.

I

n Jeremiah 29:10, 11, we learn that God has a 'plan' for His people. He also has a 'purpose' for each of their life, as the Psalmist sings in Psalm 138:8. God's plan and His purposes are realities for all His children, irrespective of whether they do mission work or secular business or on a professional career. “Whether someone has a call for fulltime mission” is a more popular question, than the understanding that both mission and business need

a calling. Our God is not a God of churches and religious organizations alone, but is known as a 'God of heavens and earth' – to reiterate, the whole earth and everything in it. If God is the 'King of kings', then all kingdoms are under him. If he is the 'Lord of lords', then all authority is under Him. Similarly, He will be the 'CEO of all CEOs' the 'Super CEO'. All kingdoms are under Him, authority over all administrative bodies is

under Him, and all the companies and board rooms are under His authority. It is cognizable that He calls His children to play specific roles on His wider kingdom – some within the church and mission settings, and others secular side – both being part of His kingdom. Both the full-time ministry role, and full-time secular professions are equally valid and inter-dependent in the kingdom of God, to work together for godly purposes. He is the head over every power and authority (Colossians 2:10) What matters are, the plan and purpose of God for the life of each of us, and what he has 'anointed' us for. This clarifies that all those who are not in mission-related roles are also equally responsible in His kingdom, like those who are in. Each of us is responsible to influence in the market place (that is, the secular non-mission setting) for His purposes. No less responsibility than

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our full-time brotherhood. We know the examples like Lydia, Dorcas, and others who continued to play a role in God's kingdom while still working on their businesses and/or professions. Paul, in many of His ministry trips, ran a profitable business and financed his ventures. In Ephesus his for-profit operation was large enough to provide for him, his team and even the needy (Acts 20:33-35). In 1st Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul urges us to 'remain in the vocation' to which God has called us. We should 'bloom where we are planted' without fail. Each of is as much a minister as a pastor or an evangelist, and surely not a 2nd class citizen in the kingdom of God. Our life and our business practices are our most effective sermons. The church is God's medium to influence the world with his good-news and those among us in a business / profession have one more closer to the world and already have its acceptance for influence. If more Christians realize that they are 'anointed' for business / profession like those in missions, God's kingdom would come much faster to this earth. In Luke 19:13 we read 'put this money to work until‌ I come back', in which parable Lord Jesus Christ was drawing parallel to the kingdom work. From pulpits to corporate boardrooms, we children of God should impact our society with integrity, righteousness and kingdom values. God needs His children 'at the top' of companies and non-profit organizations to be a blessed influence in the world and the scarcity of the same is one major reason for the rot of values in this world. We need a paradigm shift in our thinking and thereby actions. Lord Jesus Christ designed the Church to be the counterculture in this world rather than a subculture. His mission goes beyond people who frequent to churches. If each Christian in secular professions is 14

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conscious about his role in relationship to God's calling for him and anointment for his business / profession, each of their workplace can be influence, followed by city after city, state after state, and country after country. If a business is touched with kingdom values and godly influences that bring God's blessings, all those work in them, their suppliers, customers, and business associates and all their families and friends can also be influenced positively. Can we truly have business on the Biblical principles and yet be

From pulpits to corporate boardrooms, we children of God should impact our society with integrity, righteousness and kingdom values.

paved the way for Wal-mart's tremendous growth. Deere (dedicated to godly stewardship): Robert W. Lane modeled Christian leadership as CEO of Deere & Company for a decade (2000 – 2010). Lane used 1 Corinthians to regularly to challenge his employees to be faithful stewards. Deere is considered as one of the most favored companies of Fortune magazine for its commitment to integrity. J.C. Penney (a legacy of fairness): James Cash Penney, a devout Christian, vowed to treat both his employees and customers with dignity and fairness. He quickly achieved partner status at the Golden Rule store chain in 1902. Sam Walton was employed in J.C. Penney starting in 1940 before establishing his own retail store, Wal-mart. J.C. Penney remains one of America's leading clothing retail brands, having adapted to decades of marketplace changes and consumer shopping habits. Alaska Air (Sharing the Gospel): The Seattle-based Airline distributes Bible passages along with your inflight breakfast. They are not apologetic the other way.

Interstate Batteries (Existing for the Glory of God): Interstate Batteries speaks to its own religious identity in its mission statement. According to the company's website, the mission profitable? The answer is yes. I is "to glorify God as we supply our would like to cite a few examples. customers worldwide with top While these companies have their quality, value-priced batteries, share of shortcomings, these related electrical power-source examples are provided to show that products, and distribution services." the Biblical principles helped them to Former Company President Norm succeed rather than hindering their Miller was recognized by Dallas growth. Baptist University for "his strong Christian leadership at Interstate Wal-mart (the rewards of servant Batteries as well as in the leadership): Wal-mart founder Sam community." Walton subscribed to the Biblical servant leadership model, Basic differences between Business incorporating it into the structure of with a godly mission and Others his company. Servant leadership has Let us see two basic characteristics

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of kingdom businesses that are way different from secular ones.

organic growth. They are conscious about and committed for employee welfare, social responsibility, accountability to consumers of their product and services, and absolute compliance to industry regulations.

We can remember Samsung story which got God's promises more than 30 years back that it would be the Purposefulness: The founders of world leader in future, which we see kingdom businesses have clear before our own eyes. Who can forget realization that they are called for Colgate story of God's (only) their business, being part of God's invitation to test him on tithing big plan for His universe. They know Results (Malachi 3:10) and more. We know that they have to play their role to as to what some business students, It is also imperative to note that bless the household of their business based on the challenges they faced, when a business is run in godly (suppliers, employees, customers decided to start as a company to manner, good profits, organic and business associates, and their growth, successful sailing through all provide real fruit juice without families) basically, and incidentally adulteration and too much water economic lifecycle stages, become earning their profits. They are not content, at affordable prices, without just natural byproducts. The driven by their lust for profiteering. business will have multiple stories of adding chemicals in the name of They know well that God is the preservatives and artificial godly provisions of breakthrough ultimate owner the business under sweeteners, the brand Tropicana was them and they are only custodians to business opportunities, experiencing born to be a world leader. Each of us miraculous survivals, outburst of run them, rather than thinking like growth potentials and providences of come across various such regional the 'foolish rich man' in Lord Jesus stories. On the other hand we would business relationships. It is so Christ' parable. They realize that have also seen many businesses (or interesting that they get counseling they are not only responsible to business leaders) that collapsed with regulators for the manner of running of wisdom from 'management sad ends, after they decided to make consultants' from heavenly sources, his business but more responsible some compromises. What matters like that from godly advisors and before God. They are also conscious most is 'how we want to do' the prophets provided on time to kings about the manner of running the business. Are we ready to play our business, and know that running the and leaders as we see in Old part as a kingdom business in Godly Testament. God's providential business in ungodly way is a sin. For ways? guidance won't be a miraculous them, 'means' are more important experience, rather part of regular life. than end results. They have a Like a town on the top of hill cannot compelling urge to seek God's Peter Christopher Raj is an Associate be invisible, the business will surely Director with SS&C GlobeOp. approval for business decisions experience the shining glory before rather than seeking God's blessings 1.Book written by John Freame- Scripture other competitors and industry Instruction: Digested into Several Sections by for the decisions already made. Way of Questions & Answers in Order to participants, and live through the Promote Piety & Virtue, and Discourage Vice & Values: In these businesses, the right history, and most often become a Immorality, with a Preface Relating to Education manner of running the business, great success story. The world is yet 2.http://christiancompanies.org/five-fortunefulfilling God's purpose for the to see fully what and all God can do 500-companies-founded-on-christianbusiness, bringing glory to God to, and through, a business whose principles/#sthash.voyHLLqm.dpuf through the business, and being a leaders are fully dedicated to run it 3. http://www.businessinsider.com/17-bigblessing to the 'household' members absolutely in Godly manner, aiming companies-that-are-intensely-religious-20121?op=1#ixzz2ZLGMnQBr (as referred to in the last paragraph) His glory and being responsible in gets precedence to profiteering, self- playing their role. 4.http://www.businessinsider.com/17-bigcompanies-that-are-intensely-religious-2012reliant decisions and fast-track 1?op=1#ixzz2ZLIaaRl2

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(Republished from 'The Balance of Truth', November 1958.)

– Christina Durham “Behold! to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” 1 Sam: 15.22.

“I have performed the commandment of the Lord,” boasted the first of Israel's kings. The prophet, heavy from grieving and lack of sleep, was not deceived. God had spoken to him the night before: “It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king; for he is turned back from following me, and hath noth performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel, and he cried unto the Lord all night.” 1 Sam: 15.11.

Thus the Chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah opened with the tragedy of disobedience and its consequences.

Many decades had passed, and the last of Judah's kings was languishing in a Babylonish prison. How many times down the months and years of imprisonment had the king suddenly tensed in the quiet of his cell, his face contorted by agony, remorse and hopelessness, while across his inward Now, as he listened to the king's bold vision flashed that unforgettable sight claim, against a background of the upon which his eyes had last looked. protesting of hungry cattle in His young and lovely boys in the hands unaccustomed surroundings, he asked of murderers, their terrified faces, the with challenging implication: “What sudden scream as the avenging sword meaneth then this bleating of sheep in slashed through tender flesh, the quick my ears, and the lowing of cattle which convulsive movement of violent death, I hear?. . . .Wherefore then didst thou and then the sight of their bleeding not obey the voice of the Lord . . . ? And little corpses flung athwart the Saul said: Yea, I have obeyed the voice mangled bodies of the princes and of the Lord . . . but the people . . . ! And nobles of his kingdom. That was the Samuel said: Hath the Lord as great last sight on earth upon which his eyes delight in burnt offerings and had looked before cruel revenge had sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the plunged him in a total and agonising Lord? Behold, to obey is better than darkness. sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of How often his thoughts must have rams... And Saul said: I have sinned... gone back over all that had led to that because I feared the people, and end of terror. He had been but an infant obeyed their voice.” 1 Sam: 15.20-24. of about three years of age when the 16

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mighty revival had taken place in the days of his father Josiah. During his childhood he had doubtless heard many tales of the iconoclastic zeal of the young king, his father, which had purged Judah and Israel of the abominations and idolatry which had defiled the land and had brought upon it the wrath of the God of Israel, whom not even the zealous efforts of his father had been able to placate. 2 Kings: 23.26. Inseparable from his very earliest memories, and prominent down the whole story of the years, moved the strange lonely figure of the prophet Jeremiah, by nature sensitive and shrinking from publicity, but compelled by the spirit of God to cry the awful threatening of his prophetic burden against the complacency of a self deceived and wilfully disobedient people. He had stood outside the temple cleansed by the zealous young king from its outwards defilement, and declaimed against the inward hypocrisies that excused the grossest sins by blaming Fate and human frailty and pointed to the recently redecorated temple and its revived ritual as sufficient atonement for their


misdeeds. How the people and young Zedekiah himself had wearied of the constant accent on obedience. “Obey my voice and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people, and walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.” Jer: 7.23. The constant reiteration of this old-time exhortation and promise was the burden of the prophet's cry, varied by many degrees of emphasis and illustration, and often accompanied by lamentations and tears. Zedekiah's nature was weak rather than aggressively evil. He had followed the line of least resistance. Spiritually lethargic, he could not take a stand against popular opinion, yet in his heart he had a tender regard and respect for the harassed prophet. “Pray now unto the Lord our God for us”, he had pleaded, without making any attempt to change his own ways or those of the nation. In various ways he had sought to soften the rigours of the prophet's imprisonment, and had quite sincerely sought his advice when defeat and ruin threatened the city. The prophet's answer had been the same: “Obey, I beseech thee, the voice of the Lord, which I speak unto thee; so it shall be well with thee, and thy soul shall live.” Jer.: 38.20. But the appeal fell upon fear-deafened ears,—the fear of man,—the fear of popular opinion. “I am afraid of the Jews...” confessed the weak king (Jer.: 38.19.) “Let no man know of these words...” (v.24.), and he continued in his disobedience and wilful blindness, till the shock of physical blindness opened his spiritual eyes! But then it was too late! Thus the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel and Judah closed also on the note of disobedience and its awful, but certain consequences! “O Jerusalem! Jerusalem! thou that killest the prophets and stonest them that that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Behold, your house is left

weakness of Saul and Zedekiah, but how do our own lives measure up to God's standards of obedience?

Spiritual lethargy and the fear of man have as great hold on the people of God as ever, and lives of disobedience are the result. unto you desolate.” Matt: 23.37-38. After a scathing indictment of the hypocrisies with which the spiritual leaders of God's people pretended a slavish fulfilment of the letter of the law while rejecting the spirit, the Lord burst out in His impassioned cry, which prophetically closed the history of the nation itself with the accent on that same tragedy of disobedience and rejection. The history of the church begins with the same tragic story of hypocrisy and defective obedience to the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit in His claims upon the believer's life and personal possessions. Acts 5.1-11. The sin of Ananias and Sapphira is one of that is repeated in a greater or lesser degree in the life of every child of God. It was simply this: they were afraid to appear to fall short of the prevalent standard of consecration. Who among us is not guilty of withholding from God His due, and of covering the defection with a fair outward shew that deceives men, but not God? We are apt to look with pitying scorn upon the failure and

The Lord's last and greatest commandment is a simple one indeed: “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another,” John: 13.34. In the last book of the Bible, the Lord addresses the churches He has gathered out to His name. He praises the church at Ephesus for its labours, and continuance, and intolerance of evil, but warns them that their failure to obey His “new commandment” exposed them to the danger of the extinction of their testimony. “Repent!” His words burn with the longing with which He appealed to His people of old. And again to the Laodiceans: “Be zealous, therefore and repent!” Today He cries still to His churches, as well as to the individual: “Repent! And do the first works. Remember from whence thou art fallen–—the first love!” Spiritual lethargy and the fear of man have as great hold on the people of God as ever, and lives of disobedience are the result. The remedy is simple as to statement, but the implications only the individual can realize! “Hear my voice...open the door, I will come in”. Rev: 3.20. Christ enthroned in the heart and life is the only assurance of a life of victory and obedience and blessing. But what does it cost to give Him that place?—and are we willing to pay the cost? “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne”. Rev: 3.21. Behold! I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be”. Rev: 22.12. “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Rev: 22.14 The late Christina Durham was the cofounder of GLS. She was an avid writer and poet

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WWJDWhat Would Jesus Do? -

O

n her first day after the summer vacation, Rechal eagerly entered the school bus. As she looked around, she saw Aradhna and happily waved out to her. Aradhna had recently shifted

18

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Tabbsum Roy Paes

into Rechal's neighborhood, was from a born again Christian family, attended her church and now was in her school! She was excited about having company in sharing Christ's love in school.

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However, Aradhna coldly ignored her and stared out the window. Rechal felt embarrassed and sat on another seat. As the day went on, she was more and more confused about Aradhna's


response. “Where is the friendly girl who visited us at home?” she wondered. Every time she came across Rechal, she pretended not to see her. Rechal could not understand her behavior. So, she decided to stay distant from Aradhna for a while. Meanwhile, she noticed that Aradhna behaved very differently in church. She was a good Sunday school student, took notes of Pastor Uncle's messages, sang enthusiastically, memorized verses and participated in dramatics.

bunk school, change clothes and head to the mall with her friends. This reminded Rechal of the parable of the lost sheep. She thought on how keenly Jesus would want Aradhna back to His fold. “What would Jesus do in Rechal's place? How would He help her?” She decided to be persistent in approaching Aradhna until she opened up to her.

It was evening in the society park when Rechal saw Aradhna, gave her a friendly smile and tried to speak to her as always. Shaking her head, Aradhna smiled back However, in school, her way of and walked up to her. walking, dressing, vocabulary, and attitude was completely “Huh! You just won't give up, the opposite, like children will you?” She asked. “Do who did not fear the Lord. really want to know what's Rechal observed all this with going on? Then listen, I great concern for Aradhna. behave at school like that because of the others.” So Rechal prayed for her and one day approached casually They sat down and she went her. Before she could say on, “Don't you want to be like anything, Aradhna rudely everyone else? I was like you warned her, “Stay out of my but I would feel out of the way; I have no time for your place among my friends. We lecture. Am I loud and clear?” had nothing in common. They Rechal was stunned. She had made fun of me and called me never met anyone like her. 'granny' for talking about God. I was left out and lonely; Still, she decided not to give I would eat my lunch by up on her. She continued to myself. Then one day, I got pray for Aradhna and asked fed up and decided to be like God to lead her so that she them. I need friends. And I could help her. She saw her

don't see what's wrong in that.” After listening to this, Rechal asked her, “But Aradhna, can we have a friend better than Jesus? Will these school friends remain in your life forever? Jesus will. Think about God's love for you and His friendship. We have to please Him and not our friends. I would choose to be alone than be with people who make me do wrong things. But anyway, how can I be alone when God is with me? I know it isn't as simple as it sounds. Pastor Uncle always says, “Christian life is not easy. It is not bed of roses.” But the question is if Jesus died on a cross out of love for you, what will you do for Him? You are ready to change yourself for your friends. What are you ready to do for Jesus? In fact, His love makes me special and so I enjoy it if I am different from others. And Aradhna, there are people who like you as you are. Me for example. I hope we can be good friends with Jesus and each other."

Tabbsum Roy Paes is a writer and lives in Gurgaon.

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EXPLORERS

Gizmos and Gadgets

– Cynthia John

In today's homes, gizmos and electronic devices are a source of many fights and arguments. 20

Harvest Times for Your Family

“Mummy, please! I want an Xbox for my birthday,” Dipak whined. “Vinod got one for his birthday, and it's just awesome!” His mother sighed. “Dipak, you play video games on the computer. That's good enough. You don't need an Xbox.” “You don't understand, Mummy,” Dipak screamed. “An Xbox is totally different.”

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“Talk softly, Dipak. The Xbox is too expensive. We would prefer to spend that money on something more useful.” His mother sorted a few magazines and left the room. Dipak was very angry. He really wanted the Xbox. He wished his mother and father would understand that. He sulked for the rest of the day, ignoring his homework and other chores.


In today's homes, gizmos and electronic devices are a source of many fights and arguments. Who will handle the remote? Should we buy the latest tablet or gaming device? How long should one watch television or play computer games? Parents, teens and kids fight over such issues every day. Electronic devices are very much a part of daily life, but they also create hundreds of arguments and fights in the home.

keep them. Paul says, “I have the right to do anything—but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1

Let your focus be God

You could be dreaming about a film or sports star. Or you could be waiting for the next chance to play your favourite video game all the time. Like many other things, using Be content with what you have electronic devices requires balance and moderation. If we are spending The television and other media too much time on any of them, we constantly tell us about the new need to re-examine our hearts. God What do you think? Do you also face features of the latest gadgets. New wants us to have the right focus in problems like these? Are you making gadgets hit the shelves every other life. Jesus. He wants our hearts to be the right choices in these matters? day and it's simply not possible to fully tuned towards loving Him and Here are some things to think about. keep up with them or what others others. That creates many needs – to have. We could focus on using the spend time in prayer, Bible study, features of the devices we do have helping others, reaching out to (many of which we don't use) instead others, spending time with family of chasing the next model. The Bible and friends, etc. When we want to tells us, “Keep your lives free from please God, there's so much we need the love of money and be content to do. He gives us opportunities to with what you have...” Hebrews 13:5. serve others every day. If we are Being grateful and content with what neglecting those to be with our we have is not easy, but it's the right gadgets, we need to think about attitude for a Christian. Thank God whether we are spending too much for your computer, even if it is not time entertaining ourselves. the latest model. Thank God that your family has a television or God is interested in what captures mobile, instead of fretting that you our hearts, and what we think about. don't have a Smartphone. He wants us to focus on certain things: “...Brothers and sisters, Honour your parents whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, When you honour and obey your whatever is lovely, whatever is parents, you can be sure God will admirable - if anything is excellent or bless you in a special way. Obedience praiseworthy - think about such to parents is a command from God, things.” Philippians 4:8 and He uses it to shape your life. He Don't be under the control of also uses it to give you more Gadgets that glorify God blessings. When you obey God's anything command, you are showing that you We can use our gadgets to glorify Whether it is watching television, trust Him to do what's best for you. God in many ways. Playing Christian reading, facebooking or playing So, the next time your mother asks music on television, reading video games, watch your attitude. you to change a television Christian material on the internet Are you addicted to it, thinking about programme or stop playing 'Angry and sharing prayer requests on it all the time? Social media like Birds,' just obey. It's not easy to do it, Facebook are some ways. We can find Facebook and Twitter can take up a but you can do it because you love hundreds of other ways to use lot of time, letting you do less of God and want to obey Him. You can gadgets to glorify God. Let's do it. other things. They can be used as a also do it because you are thankful great communication tool, but we for your parents and love them. The Cynthia John is a children's writer and an illustrator of Sunday school and VBS books. need to make sure we set limits and Bible says, “Children, obey your There are many activities that may not be “wrong” but we must not let them control our lives – we must not be addicted to them.

There are many activities that may not be “wrong” but we must not let them control our lives.

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CHALLENGERS

Standing for Truth: The Cost and Consequence – Dr. Raj Kumar Songa

D

r. R a j K u m a r S o n g a , MBBS(AIIMS), MD (AIIMS), currently the Chief Panel Physician for USA, Australia, Canada, and UK Embassies as well as the founder director of Centre for Migration Medicine, shares his inspiring testimony of how he stood for truth in his 'secular' job, and the cost and consequence of that with Jerry Thomas. Jerry Thomas (JT): Welcome to the Harvest Times. To begin, can you tell us your family background and how you met and accepted Lord Jesus Christ? 22

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Dr. Raj Kumar Songa (Dr. R.K.S): I come from a family where we were taught strong ethics, integrity and social justice, but were 'festivalchristians' at best. I met with the Lord Jesus Christ in 1998 and was in a large part due to the prayers of a wonderful believer classmate who had prayed along with his prayer partners for 9 years! I thought I found Him after seeking in my ups and downs of life, only to realise that the Lord was calling all along. JT: You had worked in a corporate hospital; you stood against the medical malpractices and suffered retaliation. For the

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I was convinced that 'unjustified silences' are as sinful as committing the error itself.


benefit of the readers, can you briefly tell us about the issues, the stand you took and the price you paid for it?

JT: As I understand, the hospital authorities never directed you to do any wrong things and you could have remained honest and continued without questioning Dr. R.K.S: I had noticed a certain others' malpractices. What drug brand not working in patients motivated you, both Biblically despite the antibiogram telling us and professionally, to question that it is supposed to be effective. On the malpractices? further investigation and study of cases I quickly realised that the drug Dr. R.K.S: It was a sense of responsibility to the patient, was spurious or faulty and commitment to professional ethics and the conviction of the overseeing Eternal God that prompted me. The courage to follow through with my conscience at whatever cost, came from my faith in God who is just and is watching and is the real Employer. The example of Jesus Christ who stood for truth at whatever cost was something that I could fix my eyes on. I was convinced that 'unjustified silences' are as sinful as committing the error itself.

We must be the 'mask of God' in our workplaces.

requested for stopping it. As the profit margins were high on this drug brand the hospital pharmacy refused to withdraw it and was informed to stop writing that it was spurious. After objective proof was provided they said they would withdraw it but was not. Similarly, poor dialysis practices were causing longer stays of certain patients in ICU in view of new infections. When I had submitted my report on this, the hospital had to spend a lot of money on rectifying the systems and were quite upset. After a few months I was given notice to leave the hospital and was given false reasons for this. I only knew that I had done my duty as a responsible doctor for my patients and that 'God is my real employer'. It is better to bear the cost than to be part of an evil system.

JT: The Lord honored your truthfulness and commitment. You were forthright even when you went for interview in the US Consulate. Can you tell us how the Lord turned all these to be a blessing now? Dr. R.K.S: I did not find it difficult to mention that I was fired from my previous job and briefly mentioned that there were ethical issues. I knew the Lord would reveal the truth to them. When I was on the road after being fired, I was still sure of the Lord as my employer. The Lord can take us out of a workplace as an act of mercy, when we stick on in evil systems. We must rely on God for strength to pass these 'integrity checks'. Truly enough, doors opened in fulfillment of the prophetic word in Psalm 23 - As I looked to the Lord as my Shepherd, the inevitable

consequence was that surely goodness and mercy followed me (all the days of my life) - like a puppy! J.T: You are now an employer. What are the Biblical principles that guide you in running the organization and what would you expect from an employee? Dr. R.K.S: That work is a gift of God and not a curse nor a burden even as Adam was blessed with work before the fall. To do the work as unto God, but being careful not to worship work in the process. The diligence and integrity at work reflects the way we worship and honor God, and can be considered a part of worship but not worship itself. That the Lord wants us to reflect His character as we care for the patients or clients at business. We must be the 'mask of God' in our workplaces. To consider that the business is owned by God and that I am a manager of His workplace and the resources generated. That the Lord wants to use the business/work place as a place of provision and care for employees and the clients, and the resources to be used for the kingdom of God. JT: Many thanks for your valuable time and inspiring testimony. God bless you. Dr. R.K.S: Thanks, it was a blessing for me to recount God's goodness in my life.

Dr. Raj Kumar Songa, MBBS(AIIMS), MD (AIIMS) is currently the Chief Panel Physician for USA, Australia, Canada, and UK Embassies.

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SOCIAL ISSUES

Restoring the Broken Seeking Justice for the Poor – Sanjay

Macwan, Melissa Walavalkar and Kristina Craven

In any case of abuse, the process of healing can only begin after the abuse ends. Abuse scars a victim, damaging their being down to their very soul, and while the abuse cannot be reversed, healing can take place. Sexual exploitation in the form of trafficking and forced labour slavery (bonded labour) are two major forms of abuse ravaging the sons and daughters of India. It is the goal of International Justice Mission, a human rights agency, to bring healing and restoration to victims of such abuse. Together with its partners, IJM is committed to bringing freedom and restoration to victims and works to ensure perpetrators are prosecuted for their crimes. It is estimated that there are 20 to 65 million bonded labourers in a variety of industries across India; 16.5 million are child labourers, 12.6 million of whom are engaged in hazardous occupations. In 2009 the Government of India also estimated that 3 million individuals are being forced into commercial sexual 24

Harvest Times for Your Family

exploitation, 1.2 million of which are children. Across India, a woman is raped every 22 seconds and a child is raped every 76 minutes; only one in every four accused of this crime is ever convicted. Crime and injustice against poor and vulnerable women and children is rampant, destroying society and preventing rule of law and justice in this nation. The law of India protects citizens against forced prostitution and bonded labour; however these abuses still occur at a rampant and devastating rate. Perpetrators who violate Indian laws and compel the labour of others infringe upon the individuals most fundamental rights of freedom and security. International Justice Mission (IJM) works to utilize laws, end abuse and oppression, heal victims and hold perpetrators accountable. IJM has five offices in India: Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata; four of which support government authorities to combat sex trafficking and forced labour slavery. The fifth

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These survivors prove that restoration is possible, even for those that have been violently oppressed . office, in Delhi, specifically works to improve government policies with the government itself. The intervention of IJM has resulted in freedom for more than 800 individuals forced into the commercial sex trade and over 5,500 bonded labourer in India. IJM uses a four-fold strategy to secure freedom and justice to victims of abuse. IJM intervenes in cases of slavery and abuse and partners with


local authorities to release victims from the locality in which they are held. Victims of bonded labour are often held with their entire families; the entire family being enslaved and abused under the oppression of a slave owner. Victims of sexual exploitation face a similar situation, trapped within abuse from a brothel keeper, trafficker, and malicious customer. IJM works to find and remove girls trapped within the darkness of a lodge. IJM combats the abuse of a slave owner or brothel keeper, physically removing these victims, returning their entitled freedom.

It takes a lot of courage for a survivor to trust the social workers who are strangers to them, but time and time again girls stand in their boldness and walk into freedom. After the girl exits the brothel and the labourer is removed from the facility, the IJM legal team takes up a case to pursue perpetrator accountability, ensuring that slaveowners and brothel keepers are prosecuted with sentences commensurate with their crimes. The legal trial is a crucial part in the aftercare process.

In the immediate days following the rescue of a trafficking victim, several Removing a victim of trafficking and processes and procedures must take sexual exploitation comes with many place; this is often a hectic and challenges; aftercare for survivors challenging time for both the begins on the night of the rescue. survivor and the social worker. One might think a victim of sexual Freedom itself is can be strange and exploitation would be ready to leave scary for someone who has been the brothel, lodge, or bar abused and oppressed, and to immediately after the rescue team compound this, the survivor is arrives. While this is sometimes true, required to go to court hearings and most of the time girls are hesitant to give testimony regarding their time follow rescuers and their promises of in the brothel. freedom. Inside the brothel keepers confine the girl with the lies that she During the process of the trial IJM will be arrested if the police come to ensures government support is know of her prostitution and that she utilized and benefits the survivor. The benefits entitled to a survivor will be rejected by her family if she include the full spectrum of tries to return to them. The girls are government rehabilitation services, taught to lie about their age, their situation, and how they got into their including financial compensation. Former slaves and survivors of work; they are taught to hide the trafficking are provided with other truth of everything relating to their aftercare services such as abuse. Victims fear rejection, harm, counselling, employment assistance and even imprisonment because of and educational programs and the lies they have been told, for this school registration, financial reason, victims sometimes find assistance, such as opening a bank trusting rescuers difficult. account, and former slaves are All of these lies and psychological placed into a community group abuse make the night of rescue a which will act as further support. very challenging experience for the Immediately following the rescue of social workers. IJM social workers a trafficking victim, the girl is taken comfort the girls and tell them they into a loving and protective partner will be safe, assuring them that they will not be arrested. That night itself Aftercare home. IJM Mumbai partners with 12 Aftercare homes, girls receive counselling and are which are run by the government or encouraged to boldly step out of abuse and into a new life of freedom. by private NGOs. Also during this time, the girls undergo several

medical examinations. One of these examinations is an age verification test, as most of the girls that IJM rescues do not have identification to show how old they are; they are also tested for HIV/AIDS. All of these tests and procedures take place within the span of a few days. For a victim of trafficking, it is also necessary to determine her background and learn the events that led up to her abuse in the brothel. In order to do this, IJM Aftercare staff complete what is called a Home Inquiry Study. The caseworker travels to the home village of the survivor and inquires of the family to determine if reintegration would facilitate successful rehabilitation. Sometimes the Home Inquiry is a cross-border process, if the survivor is from someplace like Nepal or Bangladesh. The Home Inquiry takes several days and takes the caseworker hundreds of kilometres from the IJM office. Reintegration is not always a possible or healthy option for the survivor of sex trafficking. Sometimes, when the family learns of their long-lost daughter, they are overjoyed. Other times, they are ashamed of her, which is heart-breaking for the girl. The process of reintegration is different for each girl and IJM works hard to ensure the aftercare process meets the specific needs of every girl. For a bonded labourer, the aftercare process is a bit different. One might think the life of freedom would come naturally to a former slave, but for most of those rescued, this new life of freedom is their first opportunity in their entire life to act independently, live independently and think independently. While in captivity a person's freedom is crushed by abuse and torment; the victim essentially stops thinking. Thinking and feeling become too painful and the hope of a future vanishes in a flash. Thoughts of the past are similarly painful. It is easier

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and less painful to stop thinking and because of this, slaves and those who are sexual exploited, stop planning, dreaming and making decisions and start focusing on immediate survival. It is only after a victim or a family is freed that they begin to start thinking and feeling again. Teaching a survivor to think and feel brings them hope and opportunity.

support themselves. These relationships, counselling efforts and skills training courses have proved to be quite successful and therapeutic. Since inception, IJM offices in India have assisted over 3,000 former slaves and 1,500 trafficking survivors through aftercare services.

individuals who have been freed are great advocates in their community and are empowered to live a life of freedom.

The success that these survivors exhibit proves that restoration is possible, even for those that have been violently oppressed and broken in ways that seem incomprehensible. Kumar and Amita* are two recipients There is hope, and new life surfaces For both victims of bonded labour of IJM aftercare services. Kumar was after these girls are brought out of and victims of sexual exploitation, darkness. first enslaved at the young age of IJM desires that survivors are seven at a brick kiln where he was At the end of the day, God's hand is rehabilitated and become selfsold to cancel a debt incurred by his visible throughout the work of IJM. sufficient. IJM maintains family. He was worked and abused at The goodness of his character is relationships with various vocational the hand of a slave owner for two vibrantly displayed on the faces of and training programs to facilitate years. Amita* was similarly sold by a the girls that have been brought out the placement of survivors in malicious aunt and forced to of utter darkness and oppression and positions where they can generate prostitute herself, daily receiving given a chance to embrace new life. their own income. Survivors are abuse and torture. They were The mercy, kindness and justice of taught tailoring and other skills in rescued by IJM, and their futures the creator is displayed when the homes, and some are employed were returned; hope and freedom enslaved families are restored to in beauty salons, bakeries and secured. They now work with IJM to freedom and children no longer have garment factories. IJM also supports combat abuse and oppression. Their to watch slave owners beat their a variety of counselling programs at stories have proved that while mother, or watch their father wince Aftercare homes including traumarehabilitation has challenges, a life of from the weight of carrying endless focused counselling sessions, group freedom is possible and healing can bags of rice on his back. God is counselling and individual occur. pleased when his people join him in counselling sessions for the the work of justice, fulfilling the survivors, and HIV/AIDS counselling. Stories of hope and success shine amongst the thousands of individuals command given in Isaiah 1:17: Recently, IJM Mumbai and Kolkata “Learn to do right; seek justice. who have been assisted by IJM. offices hosted a team from the UK Defend the oppressed. Take up the Recently, one survivor of trafficking which taught Arts therapies – cause of the fatherless; plead the graduated from a nursing school in including drama, dance and visual case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17 NIV). Bangalore, and two other survivors arts – to counsellors and staff are currently enrolled. In 2013 alone, members at various partner two survivors completed their Tenth U.S. Department of State Bureau of Aftercare homes. Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. (2009). Standard exams and many are Human Rights Reports: India. Retrieved Church members also strive to assist thriving in tailoring and beautician January 21, 2010 from rescued girls, especially during the http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/sca/11 courses. In Bangalore, over 100 9134.htm Christmas season. During the former slaves celebrated the Christmas season, many churches "Children in India." . Comfort for the Nations. completion of a two-year Web. 9 May 2013. partner with IJM to host Christmas reintegration program where they <http://comfortforthenations.org/india.html>. parties in the Aftercare homes. This attended monthly meetings with http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nowgives the girls a chance to hear the planning-commission-lowers-the-povertyother released labourers. The good news of the gospel, eat line/article3013870.ece completion of this program is a delicious food and participate in fun milestone for survivors; a celebration "Activists divided over legalization of prostitution." Times of India. 16 12 2009: n. games. The goal of all of these and recognition that freedom now page. Web. 17 Jul. 2013. programs is to achieve a holistic <http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/200 exists in their lives. Those who model of restoration. IJM aims to 9-12-16/india/28096631_1_traffickingcomplete the program leave the prostitution-ngo-prerana>. help girls recover not just program capable of self-reliance and http://www.firstpost.com/india/a-rape-everyemotionally, but also physically and independent thinking. IJM has found 22-mins-what-makes-us-so-complacentmentally, while providing them with that after completing this 489080.html viable options to develop and rehabilitation program, families and *Pseudonym 26

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