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Joseph Devadason Steinway & Sons, founded in 1853, is the maker of the finest pianos in the world. They make grand concert pianos and also smaller family living room pianos. Steinway pianos are unique; no two Steinways ever sound exactly alike. Each and every Steinway has its own distinctive personality. Some have a quieter voice and others have a big, booming sound. Steinway explains that it is impossible to build “perfect” pianos, because they are all different. It is the difference that makes them special to individual musicians. When famous artists select their pianos for their performances they try one piano after another till they find that one particular piano that exactly suits them. Steinway attributes the different personalities in each piano to their unique, hand-made building process. Building of a

Q& A

Steinway begins with a careful search for wood from Alaska. This is followed by months of curing. An entire team of 450 craftspeople (many of them second and third-generation Steinway artisans) work

meticulously for 12 months. About 12,116 parts and more than 125 patents go into the Steinway. This is why to most world-renowned pianists, these Steinways aren't just pianos. They are like living beings, loyal friends each one unique, alert, and responsive. Steinway builds less than 5,000 pianos in a year

Q: Is it OK to tell a lie if it is for a good cause?

A: Most people would say that lying is wrong, except when there's a good reason for it - which means that it's not always wrong! The modern day people have come up with various arguments to justify some forms of lying. This falls under the banner of Situational Ethics. So they use the example of Rahab in the Bible to prove that lying in certain situations is permitted if our intention is good. One of the things to note is Rahab lying to the soldiers to save the Israelite spies is not intended to be model for us to follow. Rahab is praised for her faith in the book of Hebrews 11:31 and for receiving the spies in peace and not for the sake of her lying. The Bible also says Rahab is a prostitute and that doesn't mean that prostitution is permitted in the Bible. On the basis of this story we cannot conclude that Bible permits some forms of lying. Rahab's lying is a sin. But we have to understand she didn't have the knowledge of the living God. She did all she could in her abilities in order to save the Israelite spies. She could have chosen a different way of protecting the Israelite spies which would have been commendable. God honors her not for her lying but for her act of faith. Rahab had her weaknesses like all of us but she trusted in God and acted on behalf of God's people. This needs to be the highlighted instead of her lying. The story of Rahab doesn't give a leeway for Christians to lie even if it is intended with good motives. Similarly, both Abraham and Isaac lied to the foreign kings (Gen.12:11-20, 20:1-12, 26:7). As God did not rebuke or punish them openly, some say, that God didn't really think Abraham's and Isaac's lies were such big deals. This is a faulty interpretation of the events. God's silence cannot be taken as his approval. Lying is clearly condemned in the Bible (Lev. 19:11, Prov. 6:16-9 and 12:22, Col. 3:9 and, Jn. 8:44). The Bible unmistakably draws a distinction. Lie originates from Satan (Jn.8:43-47) whereas God is the source of Truth (Num.23:19, Jn.14:6, Heb.6:8). By Ashwin Ramani

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DID YOU KNOW? I n 1 7 3 3 , A a r o n o f Cuddalore, one of Zieganbalg's converts was ordained as the pastor ofthe Tamil Protestant church in Tr a n q u e b a r ; t h e f i r s t indigenous Protestant Pastor not only in India, but also in Asia. 唠 Krishna Pal, the first convert of William Carey happens to be the first Indian missionary. In 1804, he was sent by the Serampore missionaries to Calcutta. He preached Christ in many places for twenty years until his death. The Marthoma Evangelistic Association formed by a group of Syrian Church members in 1888 is the first indigenous missionary movement. They initiated cross-cultural missions outside Kerala. 唠 Tamil is the first language to have a Bible in India. The first Tamil New Testament was published in 1714 and the Tamil Bible was published in 1728.

Matthew Paul Faith and trust are most essential for the very existence of human race. For example, we trust our milkman. If we have a little doubt about his milk, we would not be able to have morning coffee with milk in it! We trust rail way time tables. We trust taxi drivers. We trust people around us to make our lives. Otherwise our life will be miserable. Sometimes we get deceived. Some people are not trust worthy. In spite of this vulnerability, we are compelled to trust to make our life on earth. The word 'faith' is a misunderstood word. To many, faith is believing something which is not real. But the Bible says faith is assurance, faith is evidence of things unseen (Heb.11:1). Unlike people, God is always trustworthy. His word is always true. Jesus said, "heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not... (Mt.24:35). So when we trust God's word, we are putting our trust in something which NEVER changes, never deceives. There are hundreds of clear promises in the word and all are for anyone who believes (Jn.11:40). Do you have a mountain to be removed from your life? Find if there is a corresponding promise of God in His word. Take hold of the promise of God and tell Him that you trust His word and go on trusting His word without a speck of doubt and see the mountain being removed from your life. Amen.

Editor: Sam K. John Editorial Team: Joseph Devadason, Shibu K. Mathew & Ashwin Ramani SOUL CONNECT is published by Things Above Friends Network (TAFNET) with the objective of inspiring Christians for authentic discipleship lifestyle and to kindle a passion for World Missions.

A life totally committed to God has nothing to fear, nothing to lose, nothing to regret.

If you would like to receive SOUL CONNECT regularly send us a mail with your postal address to soulconnect2india@gmail.com Your comments and feedback are most welcome.

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Vol. 1

Inspiring you to live for Christ

Relax! God is at Work!! Sam K. John

T

he Bible begins on a grand note. The first two chapters of Genesis give a vivid description of the creation account. God kept repeating, “Let there be…” until all he had planned came into being in perfect unison. In spite of the fact that human language cannot fully capture the wonder of God's creation, we are simply awestruck! Therefore, while reading a spectacular narration like the creation story it is quite possible for us to miss those things that are not so bright. Have you ever paused for a moment or two at Gen.1:1-2a, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…” It is very difficult for us to think that there was a time when God’s creation was filled w ith darkness, emptiness and shapelessness. Before the earth adorned with beauty and glory,

INTERVIEW

In God’s Hands...

while another popular piano maker mass-produces 2, 00, 000 pianos in a year. When God made you and me, he was like the Steinway piano maker who carefully handcrafts each and every piano. Each one is unique and each one is different. When people leave organizations, some say: “Men may come and men may go but the organization goes on forever,” or “No one is indispensable.” But in God's world, I am indispensable and you are indispensable. Everyone is indispensable. The reason: each one is so unique that no one else can replace; no one else can make that contribution for which you and I are uniquely gifted. King David's expression is fitting as he says to God, “I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.”

it underwent a 'dull and difficult' phase. We do not know how long it remained like that or why God chose to do so. For some reason (not known to us), God allowed the earth to remain dark, empty and formless! Even in our lives, God sometimes takes us through dark, empty and formless periods. During such times, it is very difficult to make sense of one's life. Everything in our life may seem to be falling apart. We may not be able to see our future or prospects. We may become depressed, bitter, and frustrated with life. Some would even begin to question God and His purposes. In our moments of desperation, we forget the fact that God is at work even in our dark times. Now take a close look at Gen 1:1-2, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty,

darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.” Even when the earth remained in darkness and emptiness, the Bible notes that the Spirit of God was at work. When our focus is so much on the surrounding darkness, emptiness and formlessness, our eyes fail to see the Spirit of God hovering over our lives. Dear friend, you may be going through a difficult time in life right now; a dark, empty and directionless phase. I want to assure you that God is at work in your life. Perhaps, you are not able to understand what He is working out. You are not able to see Him at all. You are worried about some outcome. Relax. He is at work in your life.

Rebecca Thomas is a pianist par excellence. A teacher at the Bangalore School of Music where she has taught since 1991, she has performed in many concerts and accompanied many a famous musician. Recently she was part of the choir that performed for the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

What inspired you to take up music? My parents enrolled me in piano lessons when I was 9 years old. I guess they were more inspired than I was at that time. There were times when I loved the piano and enjoyed practicing, but there were other times when I was forced to practice by my parents. But with constant encouragement from them, and a very experienced and loving teacher, with whom I studied for 12 years, I was able to successfully pass the Piano Performance Diploma in 1995. . Were your parents supportive about your decision? They have been absolutely supportive of my decision to take up music as a career. They have provided me opportunities to excel. As a child, I was always taught to do what I love doing and to do my best in it. Even today, I try to follow that principle. Best moment of your career as a musician so far? For the past 5 years I have been involved in music therapy, which is, reaching out to children with special needs with the gift of music. When a handicapped child whose response to stimulus is very very limited by their physical and mental condition, is able to smile, clap, sing, move and “create” music that is by far my greatest moment as a musician. Nothing compares to the joy I have, than when I can share music with the less privileged.

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Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Your life is in the hands of a God who knows well what He is doing. He will never make a mistake. At the right time, He transformed an empty, dark and formless earth into a beautiful and glorious human paradise! In the same way, he knows how to change your mourning into dancing and tears into laughter! Trust Him!!

Bee a Christian! To make just one tablespoon of honey, a bee has to visit 4,200 flowers! A worker bee will make up to 10 trips a day, visiting 400 flowers. And to make 500ml of honey, worker bees need to visit more than 3 million flowers and travel the equivalent of three times around the world!

Inside... Pg 2 The Way Out Of Porn Addiction Is It Possible To See God?

Pg 3 Ideas For Christian Giving

Pg 4 Lying For A Good Cause, Is It OK?


Michael Thomasraj

T

he Scripture states that some men of the Old Testament era saw God face to face. The special list includes people like Jacob (Gen. 32:30), Moses (Ex. 33:11), Isaiah (Isa. 6:1) and Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:28). Likewise, the elders of Israel also saw God on the mountain (Ex.24:9-11). However, the New Testament seems to contradict this phenomenon. For instance, Jesus said, “No one has ever seen God.” (Jn.1:18). Paul echoed the same essence, “No one has ever seen him, nor can anyone see him.” (I Tim.6:16). So, what is the truth? Is it possible for anyone to see God face to face? An answer to this question depends on how we interpret the word 'see' and the phrase 'face to face.' Confusion arises when we take these words in a literal sense, ignoring the fact that these are special terms used by biblical authors to highlight intimate God-human encounters or experiences. For instance, Israel's elders in Ex. 24 saw God wherein they 'sensed' a divine presence on that mountain. There is nothing in the passage to suggest that they saw a physical form of God. Similarly, Isaiah and Ezekiel saw God but the related passages suggest that they saw a 'vision' not a real image. How about Moses talking 'face to face' with God? Moses had a unique closeness with God, which is expressed by the phrase 'face to face.' Clearly, this phrase cannot be taken literally.

Paul says in Rom. 16.4 that some 'laid down their necks' for him. Literally, this means they cut off their necks for Paul. But actually (contextually) it means they risked their lives for Paul. So a 'face to face' conversation would simply mean a personal conversation not a literal face to face physical meeting. Similarly, Ex. 33:18 tells us that Moses saw God's back. This word God's 'back' in the original Hebrew can be translated as the 'after effects' of God's glory. Let me explain. Moses requested God to show His glory, which God denied. However, when His glory had gone past, God allowed Moses to view the results that His glory had produced. Now, the 'after effects' might have been a bright light or a thunderous sound or a strong breeze. I am not sure. The biblical author simply describes this supernatural effect as God's back. We know that we can 'hear' from God without hearing an audible voice. We know that we can be 'led' by the Spirit without being physically dragged by him. Likewise, seeing God need not mean literal seeing. Remember, God is Spirit (Jn.4:24) and He is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17, 6:16). No one has ever seen him or will (Jn.1:18). This is the clear teaching of the Bible. However, God can manifest his presence in such a way we can 'sense' him or if needed express his nearness to us through a vision!

INTERVIEW...continued from page 1 Most embarrassing moment? I was playing for a famous city choir for their annual performance. My music scores were arranged in a folder. In the middle of one of the songs, after turning over the page, I realized that the same page had been copied twice and one page was missing from the folder. I had to stop in the middle to find the missing page... Yikes! What an embarrassing moment in front of 500 people! How has being a Christian influenced your career? Music is not for my own pleasure and enjoyment. It is a tool to bless others and share the love of Christ with them. In all my concerts and teaching sessions, I try to bless others with the music that I share. In the words of Paul “Do all for the glory of God!” What are your future goals in the field of music? I’d like to continue to create awareness of the possibilities that musical intervention can have for people with various limitations physical, mental, emotional and social. God has created music to transcend all barriers and my prayer is to reach thousands of people with it. Interviewed by Jaichand Sudershan

Is There A Way Out Of Porn Addiction? Sam K. John

I

t is seldom that one escapes the snare of porn during the growing up years of life. Easy access and privacy make internet pornography one of the most vulnerable traps for today's Christians. Honesty requires that we admit this. Sincere followers of Christ know that pornography is sinful and deceptive. It corrupts one's mind and leads to addiction. Porn addicts constantly wallow in the ocean of guilt, hurting themselves and their loved ones. Nevertheless, they lack power to break the stronghold. Many say, “I have vowed a thousand times not to yield, I have fasted several times, prayed over it, but nothing seems to work. I fall again and again.” Many ask, “What must be done to overcome porn addiction?” There are no easy solutions. The following are some suggestions to help you in your battle against the flesh. Pray continually. You need divine help to break the stronghold. You need more of His grace and strength. So don't lose heart. Keep praying for deliverance. Claim God's promises when you pray (John 8:36). Fill your mind with pure thoughts. Your mind matters. Fill your mind with God's word and pure thoughts (Phil.4:8). The more your mind gets renewed by His word (Rom.12:1-2), you stand a better chance to overcome porn addiction. Remember: only God's light can drive away sinful darkness from our lives. Identify root causes and take precautions. You need to identify the situations that lead you to porn. Some seek comfort through porn when feeling lonely. Some look for porn as a way of relaxation after a hard day's work or study. Some take the porn route to drive away boredom or monotony. Ask yourself: “When do I feel like watching porn?” Identify your vulnerability and take precautions. Find alternative ways of relaxation. Find new stress busters. Keep yourself occupied and avoid being lonely. Channelize your creative energy into something useful. At times, you may need to be harsh on yourself. For instance, if your private net connection is making you vulnerable, disconnect it. Talk to someone about it. Tell your struggle to someone who knows you well (and has the ability to keep it confidential). Struggling alone is tough. We are all co-strugglers in one thing or the other. Share your struggle with someone and pray together regularly. It will help each other to grow and mature in Christ. Seek Professional Help. There are times when a porn addict needs professional help. When things are out of control and you feel your normal life is being affected by your obsession with pornography, it is better to seek help through a trained Christian counselor or psychiatrist.

Continued

He Loved Them Enough To Give His Life

A

veteran missionary stood before the general assembly of the Scottish Presbyterian Church to make an appeal for missionary work in India. But there was no response. In the midst of his appeal he fainted and was carried away by a doctor. When he opened his eyes, he cried, “Where am I? Where am I?” The doctor said, “Lie still. You just had a heart attack.” The missionary shot back, “I haven't finished my appeal. Take me back. Take me back. I must finish my appeal.” In spite of the advice of the doctor and organisers, the missionary wanted to speak to the crowd. So, with the help of two people, one on each side, he stood on the platform and renewed his appeal. He said, “When Queen Victoria calls for volunteers to India, hundreds of young men respond, but, when King Jesus calls, no one goes.” Then he paused. There was silence.

Again he said, “Is it true that the fathers and mothers of Scotland have no more sons to give for India?” Again he paused. An uneasy silence continued in the hall. Then the missionary concluded, “Very well, then aged though I am, I'll will go back to India. I can lie down on the banks of the Ganges and I can die and thereby I can let the people of India know that there was one man in Scotland who loved them enough to give his life for them.” At this moment, the silence gave way to the cries of many young people who said, “I will go! I will go.” The veteran missionary was none other than Dr. Alexander Duff (1806-1878) who brought English education to India. Adapted from Oswald J. Smith's The Challenge of Missions.

Sail With With Christ Christ Sail Jerritta Arun

Frustrated, Devastated, Shattered, Desolated Periled with life's problems that abound From all directions, corners and nooks And everything small or big gets hooked! Perspectives change, Views clash and differ Conflicts, debates, disputes comes in to offer The best, which are forever the worst of worst Tapping all strength - blown and lost! The missing factor, offering peace and grace To ride, hinge and succeed all life's struggles Lord Jesus is the only way to set you free Come unto Him and sail your life with glee!

Thomas climbs to the top of Mount Sinai to talk to God. Looking up, he asks the Lord. "God, what does a million years mean to you?" The Lord replies, "a minute" Thomas asks, "And what does a million dollars mean to you?" The Lord replies, "A penny." Thomas asks, "Can I have a penny?" The Lord replies, "In a minute.”

Is There A Way Out Of Porn Addiction? If you are not comfortable meeting counselors in person, help is available for you online. www.exodusasiapacific.org, www.settingcaptivesfree.com, www.thefight.com.au, w w w. p u r e o n l i n e . c o m / h e l p - f o r- p o r n - a d d i c t i o n . c f m , www.xxxchurch.com, www.pornfree.org 4Prepare yourself for lifelong battle. Perhaps, you wish that one day you will overcome porn addiction once for all and become a 'porn-proof' person. I have come across people who were instantly delivered by God from certain addictive habits. I believe in such experiences. Nevertheless, the experience of many sincere followers of Christ has been different. Porn continues to trouble many despite their longing for deliverance. They need to depend on God on a daily basis and be cautious all the time. The struggle with pornography may be a lifelong one for you too. But the good news is, with God's help you can experience victory day by day!

IDEAS FOR CHRISTIAN GIVING Shibu K.Matthew Are you frustrated that you are not able to give regularly? As believers we are called to give and we are asked to excel in our giving. Everybody desires to give, but it doesn't happen automatically. So here are some ideas that you can implement to give regularly. 1. Plan to give: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So plan early, how much to give, whom to give and how to give. Make a yearly financial budget and incorporate giving as part of your financial planning. 2. Separate the money: If you’ve made a budget and know how much to give, then separate the money as soon as you get your salary. One way is to move the money to a separate bank account or keep it in a separate envelope. Now most of the banks have automatic withdrawal/transfer facility or use the NEFT feature to transfer the money automatically. 3. Reduce the expenses: I still remember a student who gave me Rs.500 without spending all the money his parents gave, when he went for a tour. Reduce your expenses, reduce your debts and then you can give more. 4. Integrate giving in daily life: Women in North East India have a practice of taking handful rice, whenever they cook and keep it separate for mission work. I know of an old woman who passionately collects new coins and puts them in a piggy bank to donate.

Review

Book

Is it possible to see God face to face?

This book is not yet another compilation about future events and predictions directed to pique the interest of the casual reader. It is an easy and practical study guide for the serious reader who yearns to study and understand Biblical prophecy. Tim LaHaye gives solid guidelines to interpret bible prophecy, a step-by-step approach to study and analyse the prophetic passages, exercises to write down, and lastly his understanding of those verses for comparison.

The author explains the urgency for God's people to know His truth so that we are not deceived by false teachings and rumours about which Jesus repeatedly warned (7 times in His Olivet Discourse alone) his disciples to be wary of. Prophecy is not so difficult that we cannot understand it else God would not have put it in His word. As per the golden rule of interpretation ‘When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense, but take every word at its primary, literal meaning, unless the facts of the immediate context clearly indicate otherwise.’ Tim LaHaye is not dogmatic in his explanation but gives ample references and has adopted a question-answer method to enable the readers to do a self-search of the Bible and come to their own conclusions. The book is a complete overview of all the events pertaining to the Second coming of Jesus Christ the Rapture, the Tribulation, the Glorious Appearing, the Millennial Kingdom right up to the Great White Throne Judgement. Though the study of these future events is intriguing, exciting and intimidating all at once, the main objective is to re-emphasise that our time on this Earth is very limited and we ought to win as many people as possible for Christ before they are lost forever.

Shirley Robin

SOUL CONNECT Vol.1, No.1  

First issue of SOUL CONNECT magazine

SOUL CONNECT Vol.1, No.1  

First issue of SOUL CONNECT magazine

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